I (don't) know you
I like to think I know you.
You are so like me, I say sometimes. We are so alike. Later, you repeat it back to me, especially when you're feeling scared or sensitive about something. I'm sensitive like you, right Mama? That's why I'm scared of monsters?
Yes, I say. We are a couple of sensitive flowers.
I understand when you desperately want to play with other kids but don't know how to approach them. I wince in recognition when you cover your ears and cower in loud places. I know immediately when you are grouchy and unreasonable due to hunger and hand you a packet of almonds I keep in my purse for me - and now, for you.
Sometimes this knowing you through my own experience gets in the way of really seeing you, though. I have to remind myself that you are not scared of heights or high speed or being upside down; that was - IS - me. I have to remind myself that while you worry when approaching new kids, you still do it, rather than hiding behind your mother sucking your thumb like *ahem* someone you know.
That elusive thing we call balance is what I'm looking for, of course. I want to let our similarities be a comfort and a way to connect, not a constraint or a prophecy. I want you to understand and love the parts of you that are like me, the parts of you that are like your father and the parts of you that are unlike anyone else in the history of time.
Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama
I sometimes think I don't know you.
Where did you come from? I think and, sometimes say, gazing at you in bafflement.
You are the little sister in our household equation and as a fellow little sister I understand the feeling of looking up to a sibling, the constant desire to run with the big kids.
But that is where my easy recognition ends.
You are slippery, stubborn, resilient, and not terribly interested in rules. I am surprised time and again that you wake so slowly, completely uninterested in food, while your sister and I are wide awake in seconds, demanding food before anything else and lots of it, please.
I don't want to simplify your complexities by saying that Z is like me and you are like your father but, of course, I think those things from time to time. I don't want to be so determinate about it, to divide you two and act as if each one of you belongs to one of us, when of course, we all belong to each other and to ourselves and to the universe in equal measure.
I think our differences are a gift to us both. You are not a mirror for my own reactions, my swirling, volatile moods. I see you as a separate person so much more easily than your sister, either because you are my second child or because you are so seemingly different from me or both.
I don't want to divide up personality traits and assign them like a warden: You are the sensitive one and you are the confident one. I want you to know that, in this life, you get to try on all the adjectives you like, my dear, including the ones you think your older sister has already taken.
The truth is: you have parts of me and parts of your father and parts that are uniquely, spectacularly you.
Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama