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The Sweet Spot

No, I’m not talking about that spot on her neck which always smells divine and calls to me like a siren, “Come nibble on me!”

Though that is pretty sweet. 

Rather, I’m speaking of the point I’m at in my relationship with my daughter.

I look at Maddie right now, and I feel absolutely confident in my understanding of her.  I can tell when she’s hungry, when she’s happy, when she’s tired, and when she wants a pick-up.  I thoroughly trust my instincts, and have faith in my ability to interpret her desires and needs.  My daughter is an open book (though she won’t tell me why she refuses to nap for more than half an hour), and I feel no shyness or awkwardness or uncertainty around her.  I know her intimately and revel in that knowledge.

For I realize that there’s a point in the future – I’m thinking pre-teens – where she’ll be a closed book: unreadable, unfathomable.  Even sooner than that, she’ll be forming her personality, making choices, developing a rich inner fantasy life to which I won’t be privy, and some guesswork will come back into our relationship.  I’ll be second-guessing some of my decisions, trying to discern her needs from her wants with only a blurry line between them.  And as for the past – well, let’s say I was desperately wishing she came with an instruction manual when she was born.  Screaming in my arms while I watched helplessly, unable to figure out what’s wrong and how to help, or lying on the changing table and staring at me inscrutably, Madeleine intimidated me with the sheer volume of opportunity I had to screw up, and our communication barrier seemed insurmountable.  It’s almost as if she could smell my fear, and her disdain was palpable. 

Call it the eye of the hurricane, the halcyon waters, whatever you like.  We’re in it, and I’m loving it.


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