My Puddin’ girl is away from home this week, visiting her grandparents in Phoenix. I took her to the airport last weekend, not managing to maintain composure at all, and balling when she turned to get on the plane. The mere thought of her being so far away makes my heart hurt and my soul ache. This little person is more than my daughter, she is a part of me, and having her out of the house right now is like being forced to give up my soul for lent. I suppose that I should be enjoying the break I’m having, and logic tells me that she is just fine with Grandma and Grandpa, but my heart is slowly withering up without her piping little voice and need for several snacks throughout the day. As God as my witness, I will never find her ten thousand demands for treats in a day annoying again!!
When I called last night, Grandpa, Grandma and Puddin’ were all playing Monopoly together, and my phone call essentially ended the game, which Grandpa was winning by a landslide. Yes, Puddin’ darling, I could have told you that. Never play board games with my father; he has sort of a halo hanging over his head, rendering him the luckiest board game player on the face of this fair earth. No matter what the game, Dad will always win it. I can only assume this is sparse reward for residing in a house full of women for several years of his middle aged life. (As I was growing up, my father was often heard to mutter “Even the darn dog and cat are female!!”) Whatever it is, entering into a game of Monopoly with Dad is as good as entering a figure skating competition with Kurt Browning. You aren’t going to win, don’t bother trying.
Unfortunately, Puddin’, being an only child, is not well versed in the art of losing to anyone, anywhere, any time. As a result, her second place finish at Monopoly caused her to curl up into a ball of frustration and rage. When she was forced to get onto the phone with Mama, she grunted in my ear for several seconds until my father finally took the phone from her in an effort to stop the insanity. I was torn in my emotions at this point. My daughter was clearly misbehaving, and not being able to talk to her properly caused me to feel slightly faint, and short of breath. On the other hand, the mere fact that she was misbehaving at her Grandparents house filled me with an indescribable sort of glee.
Since the day Puddin’ came into this world, my parents have regarded her as an angel sent from heaven to save me from myself. (This isn’t far off the truth, either, and yes, I think of her as my angel most of the time too…unless she’s trying to shave the cat.) Puddin’ can do no wrong, and is, of course, a much better child than I was at her age!! Many a time Mother laments the unfairness of the fates, bestowing such a wonderful child on me after she was made to suffer through the heathen child that was I in my youth. As Puddin’ grunted and then, after being made to relinquish the phone, howled, I felt a smile spreading widely across my cheeks. God, in His infinite wisdom has once again performed a miracle, this one showing my parents that even their wonderful granddaughter has moments that would cause Satan to run for cover.
The difference between my daughter and I really doesn’t start with the way we behave. As a child, I was stubborn, cock sure and mouthy. Puddin’ is stubborn, cock sure and mouthy (and I LOVE her for it so much I could combust with the weight of my adoration.) As a child, I was difficult at times, sad at times and angry at times…so is my perfect little Puddin’ girl. As a child, I hated my parents and everything they represented…my daughter is not yet a teenager, so I truly can’t comment on what is going to happen. However, I like to believe that things will be different for her. You see, Puddin’ and I have a completely different relationship than my parents and I had. I’m not saying it’s better or worse, simply different.
When I was born, both of my parents were older, married and established. When Puddin’ was born, I was young, foolish and alone. As I grew up, my parents, having raised my sibling before me, were positive and confident in their parenting skills. As Puddin’ grows before my eyes, I am unsure, nervous and sometimes terrified that I’m not being a good a parent as I can be. The main point of all of this being that when I was born, my parents were grown up adults…whereas each painful step of the way, Puddin’ and I have grown up together in a world where we really only have each other on a day to day basis. That’s not to say my family isn’t there for us, they are and they always will be. It is, however to say that daily living is just us two, struggling through life’s ups and downs together.
Somehow, that sort of lifestyle makes you incredibly close to one and other. Even at your worst, you know in your heart that this human being over here loves you to pieces, and would literally lay down their life for you in a heart beat. It creates an intense adoration that is truly the most unbreakable thing in this fair world. In other words, it makes it so that most of the time even at her hardest moments I can understand where her frustration and anger is coming from, even if I can’t condone it.
I can’t say that her teenage years won’t bring turmoil to our household; I’m sure that as she grows more and more, things will sometimes be very difficult. I can, however say that we have the kind of relationship that demands honesty through tears; the kind of relationship that knows that even if I don’t agree, I’ll always, always adore and I’ll never stop being there for her.
Today, I’m missing that little person more than I can ever imagine missing anyone. She is coming home this weekend, and in my mind, I’m trying to speed the hands of time so to get to the point of her being home in my arms as soon as humanly possible. The house has never been so empty, so lonely and so void of life!! My heart has never wanted to be somewhere more. That’s the definition of true love, isn’t it? Knowing that wherever this person is, that’s where your home has to be. Nothing else matters except that person, warts and all, and you die a little inside when they aren’t with you. Today, I’m wishing that I never let her leave my sight, as much I as know that she needs to start being more independent, and having her own life adventures. Today, I don’t want her to leave me behind, ever…
I’m happy that she is having fun, and I’m equally happy that she is NOT being the perfect angel over at my parent’s house. However, I would be a lot happier if it was next week, and she was being a little devil in the comfort of her own home. Today, I’d give anything in the world to hear that little voice demanding ice cream for breakfast, and torturing the cat. This weekend really can’t come soon enough. By the end of the visit, I have a feeling my parents are likely to feel the same way, albeit for different reasons entirely. That, my friends is the fundamental difference between a parent and a grandparent. Grandparents send the little ones home when they get out of hand, parents long for their babies to be home, getting out of hand where they can see them, and hold them close. Today, I thank God for this week, because within it I am rediscovering what a wonderful, incredible gift He gave me when he decided Puddin’ was to be my daughter. Thank you God, for that little person you have allowed me to share my life with, and continue to allow me to share my life with. She has shown me true love, and through her eyes, I see your face every day of my life. Please take care of her, and bring her home to me safely, God. Today, this is the only thing in the world important enough to ask you for, God; not to mention the only thing in this world that makes me sure, and I mean absolutely positive that you do exist. Like I said, I see you every day in my little one’s eyes and her beautiful smile. What I would give to see that little smile here right now. Safe journey home, baby girl…your poor Mama can’t breathe right until you are back in my arms.