Remember when Jane got Moody? Well, one of my favorite moms framed it up nicely for me. Elizabeth who has two girls older than my own who I think are fabulous.
Elizabeth gave me a cat and dog analogy, but here it is in context.
From the moment Jane was born she looked to me and to her father for guidance. She walked with us, she mimicked us, she snuggled us and we delighted in one another. She was like an adoring labrador, playing games, swimming, loping, and always wanting us.
Jane is morphing into a cat. She’s gaining independence, separating from us. On her terms we are allowed to stroke her hair, snuggle her and play her games, but Jane isn’t looking for Mom and Dad as much as she did in her early childhood. Jane is looking to her peers.
I try and give her space, I participate in the parts of her world that she wants me in, and I quietly observe the other. I am fascinated by my sleek new child and I ache for more of her. I want to know about her fascination with Robert Pattinson, but she just blushes and gives me the “oh Mom”. I want to hold her hand in public, I have two and Alexander only requires one.
I want to pull her in close and say, “Jane, you’re still one of us, you’re still a Gottlieb and we need more of you.” Instead I say yes to sleepovers that I wish she didn’t want, I say yes to long bike rides that take her out all afternoon, I say yes to sleepaway camp and to walks and trips to the store. Inside I’m falling apart, I need Jane more than she needs me. She’s my first child, the one who taught me how to love. She made me a mother and indebted me to the universe. My soul wants to cling to her; my head knows better.
My sweet Jane, the cat.