Saturday, March 23, 2013

Clingy

"Mom, we'll always be together, right?"

I've been hearing this question from my daughter quite a bit in recent weeks. "We'll never be apart," she tells me, and then throws her arms around my neck and squeezes with all her might.  I have assured her that when she is 18, she will be so desperate to get away from me and my tyrannical reign that she will probably select a college in Alaska. That way, she can be assured that I won't show up at her dorm room with any regularity. But for now, she would like to be surgically attached if at all possible. Normal? Not normal? Heck if I know.

Even though my daughter is nearly eight, I'm still a first-time mom and haven't traveled these roads before.  So, I have no idea if her recent need for extreme closeness is a phase or not (well, she's always had an extreme need for attention, but it seems more pronounced lately).  I also don't know if it's a "normal kid" thing or a "normal kid-who-was-adopted" thing. I am always hesitant to attribute any random issue or concern to the fact that I didn't give birth to my daughter. She and I are well bonded, after all.  When she was born, I was emotionally moved by the fact that she had a need that I, specifically, could provide. My physical touch was and is important to her.  When I hold her in my arms, she sighs and hums. I feel like I have some super power that was dormant all my life. Little Miss Outgoing will happily accept a hug from any random stranger, of course, but it's different with me, I think.

She also tells me, "You are the best mom ever!"  I think you and I both know that I am fair to middling at best. Honestly, I've never been so popular in my life. How much closeness is too much?  I guess I'm not sure. She likes to hold hands when we're out and about. She frequently sits on my lap at church.  Each morning, as I am pulling out of the driveway to go to work, she runs into the garage and waves to me, pantomiming kisses and hugs. I pretend to catch her kiss and then wave before turning the corner. If she can't carry out the ritual for some reason, she has a colossal meltdown.  When I attended the "Math and Muffins" event a few weeks ago, her teacher told me that my daughter cried when I left.  She also cried when I went back to work after the field trip last week. It seems like an over-the-top reaction in some ways. I mean, I saw her again a few hours later. It's not like I dropped her off at boot camp for the Army or something.

My child is petite and people are inclined to baby her. She is inclined to like it.  However, as her mother, I know it is my job to require some independence from her. It's hard to know where to draw that line. Part of my concern stems from the fact that she is flying to Oklahoma (for two weeks) by herself in a couple months. I bought the ticket last week when we got our tax refund. I know she'll be fine when she gets to her destination. After all, she'll have a Meemaw, a Granddaddy, an aunt, an uncle, and three redheaded cousins waiting for her. But, I'm very concerned about a possible meltdown at the airport after I turn her over to an airline employee for safekeeping.

Who knows, maybe she'll be fine. Maybe I'll be the one having a meltdown at the airport. She does seem to be looking forward to the trip. 

The other day she told me, "Mom, it's fine with me if you and Daddy want to party by yourselves while I'm in Oklahoma. I'll be partying with Meemaw.  She's SO much fun."  Then she used my phone to call my mother so that the two of them could blather on about making homemade ice cream and sleeping until noon.

1 comment:

aliciajill said...

Not an expert, but I'm inclined to say it's just a personality thing. My two are night and day in this department. B could care less, she has been independent since day one and while she will gladly take a hug or snuggle, she is also usually too excited about whatever she is headed off to do to care much about leaving us. F on the other hand is just like A, very clingy, very cuddly, still sometimes has days where her preschool teacher has to peel her off me and bribe her with line leader status or something. Same house, same parents, same upbringing, neither adopted.