Lately I've started getting this weird feeling. It's something I didn't expect to experience until my daughter was at least 12 years old.
It's kind of a combination of my-baby's-really-growing-up and my-baby-doesn't-need-her-mother-anymore. My little girl can do all kinds of things now, like rolling all over the place. Also, she makes friends very easily, which is nice and everything but it kind of feels like she doesn't want to play with Mommy anymore.
I started noticing it when we went to visit my husband's parents. Everything was new and different, and suddenly Mom wasn't the most entertaining thing in the room anymore. Before, I could get her to giggle just by looking at her; at Grandma's house, where everything but me was exciting as all get out, I had to perform a circus act just to get her to crack a smile. Half the time, she wouldn't even look at me. (Grandma and Grandpa, of course, got all the grins.)
I know, I know. My child is seven months old, not fifteen years old. She still adores me (I was relieved to find, after we came home from vacation, that I could get her to smile at me again), and she still can't even feed herself. But I can't shake the feeling that my daughter is beginning to understand the world, and Mommy is more like a piece of the set than a primary character.
I'm actually starting to miss the days when she would do nothing all day but sleep, eat, and stare at me. The two of us would have thrilling, sleep-deprived staring contests, because we had nothing better to do. (At least, that's what I remember now that I've had time to romanticize things. At the time, I felt like all I was doing was watching TV, and gazing into my child's eyes was not as fun as I'd hoped.)
But there was one night at Grandma's that made things better. I was holding my baby and singing to her before putting her down for the night, and for the first time, she turned her head toward me and snuggled with me. She wanted to be near me.
So maybe I'm not the most exciting person in her life, but I realized that being a mom isn't about being exciting. It's about being a permanent fixture in your child's life--boring, maybe, but always there, always reliable. I don't want to be a busy, mysterious mom; I want to be a mom that my daughter can always count on. I don't want to surprise her. I want her to know, without a doubt, that I'll be at every sports game and piano recital, and I'll be there to comfort her when she skins her knee at the playground.
She can go out and play in the big, colorful, exciting world, but I'll know--and more importantly, she'll know--that I'll be there to snuggle with at the end of every day.