My friends have been raising my daughter. After a recent injury I haven’t gotten around very well. So my friends are pitching in, and here is what I have noticed.
They have a lot more patience with her. They speak kindly, and love on her, and correct her when needed. She listens to them. She listens better than she does with me. They take time that I don’t teaching her. They treat her with love, and respect. They don’t get annoyed like I do. They don’t get angry like I do. They are so good to her.
One friend taught her to clean the bathroom, even though I had taught her before. She didn’t do it, and acted like she couldn’t so my friend came alongside her and taught her again. She listened, and went to do her work. She was so happy to do it. There was no arguing, and no tears. It was so different.
Another friend took her alongside, and taught her how to use a blender, make pancakes, and plant a garden. She loved the attention, and being useful. She was so attentive, and so grown up. She was so responsive, and loved.
I was jealous. I keep wondering why she responds so well to them? Why is she so much happier? How can they be so patient? I felt like a failure. She tells me all the time that I am mean. I tell her that I’m not mean I am just being her mother. Making her do her work, and pushing her to grow is not mean, it’s just my job. But what if she is right? What if I really am mean? I have rarely felt like I am mom material. What if I am right?
I love that my friends love on her. She needs it so badly. She has had a hard life, and she needs that love. I suppose I do too. I never know how to respond when a friend loves on me. It’s so foreign right now to feel loved.
Today, a friend gave me a massage. As her skilled hands kneaded my sore muscles I didn’t know how to feel. As another friend fixed my car I kept thinking that I could just hug him out of gratefulness, because he cared enough to do something practical, and needed for me. But, I didn’t. I don’t know how to respond. I don’t know how to accept love. I spent so long unloved that I forgot how to do this.
I don’t know how to love or be loved anymore.