Abbey was out of school on June 2nd and we have done a few fun things so far. We saw Wonder Woman last weekend, just the two of us. I was a little concerned about her sitting through such a long movie in the theatre but we did use her meds that day and she did so well! She really enjoyed herself and it was quite gratifying to watch her watching a female superhero kick *ss and take names! I wish there had been a movie like that when I was her age. She has always been a super here fan, first loving Spiderman, then moving on to all the Avengers, particularly Black Widow!
I'm glad we took a moment to enjoy each other because Abbey left for her schedule 1 week summer camp this past Sunday. Its through GirlScouts, but she picked this session out a few months ago, not concerned if any friends would be joining her or not. One other scout from her troop looked into this session, but it was full by the time the mom tried to book it. She was however, undaunted, and ready to enjoy camp all on her own. We managed to be the very first person in her housing unit to get checked in. We headed towards her camp and this year she was in "cabins" that were only open structures with canvas tarp/tent like walls. I would have absolutely lost it. The "cabins" are basically just large outdoor sheds with windows, but at least they have walls. However, Abbey showed no such apprehension. She got first pick of units and bunks and she claimed her bed. We had a quick goodbye, she barely wants to hug me anymore as it is, and we told her to have fun. We walked back to the car and I kept glancing behind me, but she was already engaged with her counselor and taking in her surroundings. She wasn't sad, she wasn't watching us leave. She was genuinely comfortable and happy to be where she was. I spent a lot of time with relatives, mostly my Granny and Aunt when I was her age, away from my mom a lot, but I never went to over night camp and I definitely never went anywhere on my own for an entire week, nor did I want to. I was so proud of her and yet so sad at the same time.
I have never been on of those sappy/mushy moms who doesn't want her kid to grow up or stop needing her. I spent all of the toddler years fostering independence and trying to make her self sufficient. I was thrilled when she learned new things, and always encouraging her to do more on her own. Now, I realize that the time I was waiting for is finally here. She's 8. She's a big kid about to go into 3rd grade. She will be in her second year of competitive dance, taking more classes and learning more things. She is strong willed and very hard to parent sometimes. ADHD doesn't help because she is in her own world, all over the place, in direct conflict with my Type A/driven/sequential personality. I lose my patience and then she gets upset and hurt and apparently thinks I am so mean and begins most sentences with " this is why I want to be away from you" or " this is what I don't like...."
And when these moments, just like the good moments arise, I see the shadow of the little girl who did not get to grow up, that I do not get to parent. Josie would have been about 14 months older than Abbey if born on her due date, February 9th. I wonder if Josie would be just like Abbey is, or if she would be more like me, perhaps easier to parent. Maybe have given me a practice round or thoughts on how to better deal with a more challenging child. Maybe she would have been easier, and even renewed my patience instead of zapping it out all the time.
We were invited to a friends to swim a few weekends ago, and none of the couples with children could make it. So we did what adults do at the pool, and we all tried to engage with Abbey a fair amount of time, but as I watched her try and entertain herself, I saw the shadow of her older sister, who should have been her playmate. Splashing with her, having races, making up new diving games, all the things little girls do in the pool. I wonder if I would have more patience because she would not always be talking to me, but instead talking to her sister. But maybe if she had a guaranteed playmate, she would not be so willing to make new friends or do things on her own.
She is at camp until Friday and we have sent her emails that they will print and give to her at lunch each day. Dennis told her in one how proud he is of her for doing this week of camp on her own. I too am very proud of her. I also come home to the very quiet house and wonder how different it would be if Josie was home and I had one on one time with her, and what that dynamic of parenting would even be. I sometimes feel consumed with Abbey and all of her activities and dr appointments and therapy and her schoolwork- I honestly wonder how I could do that x2... but that shadow still lingers and somedays its worse than others. Today is one of those days.
I really hope Abbey is happy to see me when I pick her up Friday....last year after 3 days she cried because she did not want to come home. Maybe the tent walls will at least make her miss her room and her bed....maybe.
I can relate to everything you wrote. I have always worked to make sure I foster independence in C but it hit me hard the other day that I now have an 8 year old! How did this happen to us, they are getting so big so fast....I hate it when we go places and C is the only kid and that's when it always hits me that there should be someone else. But I am finding that C can hold a conversation with any adult no problem and that he has awesome social skills so I try to focus on that. That's awesome your daughter just joined right in at camp without thinking twice. I hope she had fun and sending hugs. Nicki
What a beautiful post for both Abbey and for Josie. You are an amazing mom to both your girls as you figure out how to parent them, one here and one in your heart.
So much love,
I try to foster independence here as well, but I still get sad when they don't need me for things. And I watch how Kaelin takes off to hang out with friends at camp instead of me nudging her forward.
Awesome that Abby had no qualms about overnight camp!
Hugs and love.
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