Sunday, October 20, 2013

Life's Stages

For the last six months, there's been a mama deer with the sweetest two little polka-dot backed deer following her around—nibbling the grass, bushes, and the apples falling in our yard. They look up when we come outside, but are pretty tame. We love those deer and have pretty much claimed them as our very own pets.

A couple weeks ago, as I was driving Bianca to the bus stop on my way to work, our mama deer ran across the busy street in front of my car. I slammed on my brakes even though she had already made it across because I suspected there was a smaller deer right behind her. When I stopped, it frightened the deer and she ran the opposite direction of her mom and the other baby-who-had-grown-up-there-are-no-more-spots. The mama looked across the street with a panic in her eyes. But there was nothing I could do but make my way on to work.

Bianca by that time had started saying in her not-so-sweet tween voice, Why did you stop? And there I was understanding exactly the panic in that mama deer's eyes, being scared for the child she loves so much, wanting to love the child but being so far away and it seemed there was nothing she could do. It wasn't up to her. She just had to wait on the other side and hope.

After I dropped Bianca off, I was upset all the way to work. How did I get to the point where I don't feel like I can even talk to my child anymore without it ending up in some sort of argument? I can't even ask her about her day without her completely clamping up and rolling her eyes. I really don't get it. I know it's her age. But she was my only child for so long and we could always, always talk. I always wanted to be that mom who my kids could talk to and now it seems that I'm just like every other mom I never thought I would be. When I do get small glimpses of trust, they're small and I have to dig for those bits.

On Friday, one of the small deer was lying dead on the road right outside our house. It stabbed me in the heart so hard I cried all the way to work. I don't want to see a heartbroken mama deer staggering around our yard. I'm not ready to see only bits of that family surviving on brown, crumbling autumn leaves.  As moms, we just want to love our kids and keep them close. And I'm trying, but every time I ask my daughter a question, I feel like a deer in headlights. Will she let me peek into her world this time or shut me out again? Bianca turned twelve just weeks ago. I can't imagine it getting worse than this, but somehow know it will.

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