Sunday, August 23, 2015

Insignificance (And Other Realities of Motherhood)

Today was The Princess's 17th birthday.  My husband and I worked hard over the past week or two trying to determine which gifts to buy, and I spent every spare moment when she wasn't around making a special birthday card for her. I also purchased needed supplies to make her birthday cake (until she notified me late last night that she had changed her mind and wanted something different). This evening we took her, her boyfriend, and her sister out to dinner, where we were met by her mother.  Afterwards, I came home and hung streamers  to make the house a little more festive (because she had indicated at dinner that that was important to her). Of course I had spent the rest of the day doing laundry for her and her sister, Chatty Cathy, washing their dirty dishes, and other mind-numbing tasks only a custodial parent or grand/parent can understand.

After the cake had been eaten and presents opened, she wanted to take a picture with the Polaroid film we had bought for her birthday. I heard her rounding up her boyfriend, sister and mother. "Nana!" She called out, "I need you!"  Naively thinking she wanted to include me in the photo, I headed in the direction she indicated.  "Here", she said, handling me the camera.  "Take this picture of us."  I sucked my disappointment and hurt down into the deep recesses of my Mom-soul where all the rest of my pain lives, and I took the picture. 

So my husband and I, her sole caregivers and financial providers, don't measure up enough to be included in the family photo. At least I wasn't alone.

A short time later, I looked up from my clean-up duties just in time to see her having a picture taken with my husband, arms around each other and with beaming smiles.

I was now completely alone in my insignificance. Gut-wrenching.

I've been called every unholy name in the book because I've been charged with the task of turning her from a childish, self-centered, impulsive teen into (hopefully) a responsible, thoughtful, mature young woman. Not an easy task under the best of circumstances, and not one that makes you especially popular with children who think they know everything and are convinced that you are just an old fool who can't possibly relate to a world which no longer includes dinosaurs.

A little while later she walked into the room where I was trying to relax with my husband, and pulled out the two photos. "Aren't these so cute??!!" she asked.  Looking at the photos that included all the members of our family except me, I replied "Yes, they're adorable!"

I can cry later.

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