My daughter was begging me to spend some time with her yesterday. Just the two of us. Sounds simple enough and sad. I am home with my kids everyday now, since quitting work and home-schooling this year, but my daughter is still having to ask for time with me. We spend 8 or 9 hours a day together doing school work, but that is me being teacher not mom. We spend time relaxing with family and friends, but it's not the same as having me all to herself.
She had worked hard on a list of things we could do, ranging from going out of town to a mall all the way to just going out for ice cream. I would have gone for the ice cream bit, but it was cold, cloudy and wet outside and it sucked all desire for ice cream right out of me. We had dinner plans already, so going out of town was out of the question.
We (truth be told, I) decided we would go to the store and get the items we needed for dinner and then she and I would prepare it together. All other persons would be banned from the kitchen with penalty of no dinner if they entered. She was not fond of this plan of action, and felt dejected that I had not chosen one of her ideas.
On the drive home from the store I explained the reasons why we were not doing the other stuff and tried to help her to see how much fun we could have making dinner together. I thought she understood until I looked over and saw her quietly wiping tears away from her sad eyes. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she wanted to be away from the house. I did not understand why being home made a difference to her until she explained that at home she would have to share me with dad, Studly and any household chores I decided to become distracted with. Talk about a gut punch!
I lost my mom five years ago in a car accident. I still have moments where I break down because I can't call her to let her know what progress her grandchildren are making. I tear up at holidays and birthdays because she isn't here to watch the kids grow and me become a more developed mom. I have moments where I want to ask her what she would do or did do in certain situations with us kids when we were young, but I no longer have the opportunity. I miss dinners at home. I miss the feeling of being taken care of by my mom. I miss laying my head on her lap and letting her comb her fingers through my hair. Here I am struggling with these thoughts and my own daughter feels the need to beg me to spend time with her. Another gut punch.
We arrived at the house and unloaded the groceries. We were making meatloaf, homemade mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. She and I sat down at the kitchen table and, for the first time ever, peeled potatoes together. We talked some and I praised her for her hard work. She was able to get two potatoes peeled, chopped up and placed in the pan with the others. Not bad for a first timer. When she finished the potatoes she moved on to the green bean casserole and successfully assembled it with only verbal directions from me.
It was a wonderful evening! I was able to spend time with my daughter making memories that she and I will cherish always. She also placed her request to be my new 'expert' potato peeler. I enthusiastically accepted her offer and trumped her offer with one of my own: I requested that she be my new assistant in the kitchen. She answered me with a smile and a big bear hug (as wide as her nine year old arms could reach).