Today I realised that I’m going to have to work harder at accepting that my family life is not going to be anything like I imagined it was going to be. My brain is starting to accept this. Unfortunately my heart is not.
The shame that I have been carrying around, that I love one of my children much more than the other came to a head today.
The first two days of the holiday went well. We were planned, structured, we did things we knew Big could cope with and we did well. We then had Christmas Day. We did okay. We kept it as low key as we could and we got through.
That’s when we made the mistake of not being as planned. Of thinking that because we needed a rest, we could have one. The last three days have been awful. I have been punched, accused of hitting her (Big has a ‘thing’ of standing in doorways to stop others getting through, ordinarily I just wait her out but Little needed the toilet so I gently moved her to one side. My husband and I watched her throw herself into the door and scream ‘you pushed me’. She’s done this twice since.) We’ve had hours of holding. We’ve done bottles, theraplay activities, rocking, singing, clapping and it’s not helped.
But it could have been helped if we’d been planned and we knew what we were doing but we just couldn’t.
I realised today that I have to accept that this is what we need to do. We need to be planned, she will always need to know what’s happening. We need to do things that she can manage. That every decision we make as a family will be based on whether she will be able to manage it or not.
But I also realise that I need to accept that she may never love me. She may never show me any affection, any loving gestures, any kind words. (Unless anyone is watching.) Because why should she have to? She didn’t ask for any of this. She didn’t ask for a new family. She loved a family already and look where that got her. So I need to work hard at accepting this. Do I have to accept being hurt everyday? I’m not so sure but I have no idea how to address that one at the moment.
But, for me, the real problem is that I have one child who shows me love every single day. When I was crying on the kitchen floor today, she came and kissed me better, gave me a hug, then looked at me with a wee twinkle in her eye and said, “I think reading me a story will make you feel better’!
So I feel shameful everyday about how I feel about my children. Every time I enjoy a hug from Little, I feel guilty that I’m not giving one to Big so I stop the spontaneous hug from Little to go and give a hug to Big. Every time my heart fills up with pride for something Little has done, I feel guilty that I don’t feel that way about Big so I make sure that I praise her for something.
Getting the balance of letting Little love me and not making Big feel worse is a constant battle. One I think I get wrong everyday. I try so hard to keep my interactions the same and ‘fair’ but are they? Probably not.
Everyday I start with a hug and kiss and a ‘good morning’ and everyday I get nothing back. But that’s for me to deal with. Not her.
The best bits
The girls got some duplo for Christmas. This morning Little had Cinderella driving a rescue helicopter. It made me smile.
We’ve had lots of time on the beach recently. I’m grateful that we live so close and can give the girls chance to experience it in all elements.