Sunday, March 13, 2011

Needing Nana

On Sunday afternoon, Geoff handed me the camera after he'd taken a picture of Kaya in her kitchen. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I saw, not only my daughter in the photo, but my mom, too. There she was, hair around her ears, soft, inviting eyes, sweet smile, right in my kitchen, baking bread as my daughter.

It's been just over 9 months since she's been gone, and as much as I carry a connection constantly, I miss her immensely. The past few days, especially.

That night, as I was rocking Kaya for the N'th time, I had a flashback of my childhood. I was sitting on the bottom stair of our 2nd-level stairway in our house on Del Oro Drive. I could feel the shag carpet on my barefeet. Peering around the corner, I hoped, both, that my mom would and wouldn't see me. I so eagerly wanted to go snuggle with her on the couch, and hoped she'd see me to invite me down. I was simultaneously so afraid that she'd see me and tell me she 'just couldn't do it tonight, honey', and I'd have to go back upstairs, lonely and sad.

Sitting in that rocking chair, snuggling my baby, I had this overwhelming feeling of compassion for my mom and wished that she were here to let her know how hard it must have been for her. Single mom, with anxiety and depression, doing her best to make life work. Tonight, Geoff brought me Advil, warmed a bottle for my pain, and helped me change her diaper. On those late nights when my mom just needed space, it pains me to think of her having to go through it alone.

I've known of my mom's struggle for a long time. It's not like tonight gave me any new information. But to make the connection between my child needing me, and me, needing my mom...that was definitely something. I felt trapped in my guilt, and as much as I wanted to leave, as much as I wanted to ignore her cries from on the couch, I couldn't. I fell 'pray' to her pleas to "schaukeln" [rock], and couldn't help myself from giggling when she engaged me in her games. On the one hand, I felt like I should let her learn to fall asleep on her own. On the other, I knew right well that she's plenty skilled at falling asleep independently.

How often do I get to have her snuggle in my arms, ask me to "Sing ein Lied" [sing a song], and request, so sweetly, that I keep "Schaukeln"? As you may know, as a Kaya-fan, not very often. Guilty or not, I like to milk it when I can, this snuggly-baby thing. Especially when I miss her Nana so immensely.

Right in the middle of our last rocking session, Kaya sat up in my lap and said something that had me smiling from ear to ear. Generally, Kaya will let us know exactly what she needs by saying just that: "Kaya need a ________." Before tonight, I'd never heard her use the term in German, despite my 'prodding'. But tonight, as she was providing my much-needed snuggle time, she let me know in her super-sweet-Kaya-tone that "Kaya baucht eine Decke" [Kaya needs a blanket (baucht = braucht)]. At first, I thought she was telling me that she was building something, as the term 'baut' means [builds], whereas "braucht" means [needs]. As I was questioning her, however, ("Kaya baut was?" [Kaya's building what?]), it hit me that she suddenly, for the first time ever, had a breakthrough in her needs. Or at least in her ability to express them!

This 'breakthrough' was exactly the mood-lifter that I was needing at the end of my long day full of low patience and missing my mom. Is it coincidence, or do our kids have us figured out, even at 2?

I bet my mom would know the answer...


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