Originally written December 30, 2014, immediately following the event.
She huddled on the floor between the nightstand & the wall, bathed in the soft glow of the touch-lamp set low. I waited.
Not yet 3 yrs old, she has me trained well. Her emotions are too big for me to be anything but calm.
“I don’t want you!” she told me, most emphatically. “I want my daddy!”
“I know,” was all I offered. I waited.
She cried a bit, some real, plus a little extra in case I had not grasped the depths of her displeasure. I waited.
Hands flung wide, finally on her feet, moving toward me, she declared, “You don’t understand!”
I held out my arms. She climbed into them, burying her face into my chest. I waited.
Her sobs grew more sincere as she told me again, soft yet harsh, “I don’t want you, I don’t want you.”
Gently rubbing her back, I replied, “You want your daddy.” I waited.
Rubbing her nose on me, absorbing my familiarity while her crying eased, she quietly announced, “I don’t love you.”
“Okay,” I said. “I still love you.”
“I don’t love you!” she repeated.
“Okay,” I answered, continuing the gentle touch. I waited.
She pushed herself up, shifting her head to my shoulder while easing an arm to loosely entrap my neck. So much trust in that embrace. I waited.
Little muscles relaxed in the safe haven of Mommy. I waited.
Shallow, rhythmic breathing brushed my shoulder. I waited.
I tried to understand this child, my toddler, so different than me. She has me all day, & the night is for Daddy.
I am her sun, while he is her moon.
And when the occasional bedtimes arrive when Daddy is not here, she feels the loss keenly. The night is dark without the moon.
I eased to my feet, careful not to jar her. I waited.
I slipped to her bed & gently eased her down. She twisted away from me & sleepily muttered, “I don’t want you.” I waited to ensure she still slept before I crept away.
She’s probably right, I don’t really understand their connection. But I try. I will always try.
Because even when I don’t understand, I can still be her safe place. I can still listen to all the words & the emotions which fuel them. I will still be here. I will still love her. I will still respect her feelings – see them as legitimate – without holding them against her. She knows. It is why I live, for her & her sister, ready to soothe with my warm acceptance.
I am her sun. There’s nowhere and nothing else I’d rather be.