Thursday, February 05, 2015

No sloppy seconds

It took five years after Sutton was born for me to have another baby. Part of the delay was the unexpected, gut-wrenching pain of childbirth, accompanied by some unfortunate complications (I wasn't going to do THAT again), but the other issue was I knew I could never love a next child as much as my first. I found out at my initial ultrasound that Reagan was a twin, but her twin no longer had a heart beat. My hesitancy and ambivalence at having a second child went out the window when I discovered I had lost a baby. Guilt and shame covered me. Suddenly, this child I was unsure I could love whole-heartedly became a treasure I could not want more.

Reagan was everything I wasn't. She was born head-strong and very independent. From her very early years she was convinced that she was the boss of everything and everyone. Her focus in life was to play and she would hear of nothing else. She was not interested in school or rules or structured routines. She was a total free-spirit who only wanted to laugh and frolic about. She craved mama hugs, but not too long; she was very busy. Yet she watched me, analyzed me, told me what I was feeling. We were opposites in demeanor but our collective subconscious was somehow weirdly intertwined. We had an understanding.



I was "Mommy" long past what others deemed acceptable, but she didn't care. She just loved people; she loved them fiercely. As she aged she kept that love of play and the love of people, to such an extent that I tried to MAKE her stop being so overly nice to those who were so overly mean to her. It didn't work. She still loved them. They were still mean to her. She cried. I cried. She still loved them.




When I left off here in 2011, Reagan was a sophomore in high school. With Sutton away at college, the oldest child position was left wide open and Rea eagerly dove in. Consequently, as a single-parent family, we were lacking a person to do all of the "man" things. Reagan jumped in to that roll as well, taking it upon herself to be the designated TV trouble-shooter, remote control guru, read-the-instructions-and-build-stuff person, and our occasional bug-killer. She had a fearless exterior, but the real her, the frightened her, was in there, acting contrary to the way He made her, muffling the small cries of her little-girlness simply to fill a role she was never meant to play.



And as things came against us, much came against her: she had to quit playing volleyball, she had to move to a new high school her junior year, she had to leave behind friends she'd been with since kindergarten, she did without a lot, she had to start over...again. But you know what? Once she got past the hurt, the ugly curve-ball thrown at her, she just dug right in. She focused her attention on raising money for a mission trip to Zambia, she took dual college classes, she got her dream job working for the Texas Rangers, she made new and just-as-special friends at her new school, and she eeked out every glorious second of her high school experience. In short, she did what she does best: she had fun and she loved on people.







She is a sophomore in college now. I look at her and I marvel. She's still head-strong and as hard-headed as all dickens. But now I see her learning how to make those attributes work for her. It's been a challenge to convince her that she's not the "man" of the house anymore; she doesn't have to be; she shouldn't have been. My bad. Relinquishing that role has been very hard for her. But she's still the first to want to go on adventures and to try scary things and to have fun in every weird way imaginable. Basically, she continues to be everything I'm not, and I relish that. At nearly 20 years old, she still calls me Mommy. She watches me, "reads" me when I least expect it, and she is rarely sometimes usually right. And thankfully, she still likes her mama hugs, only now she's not so busy; she holds on a little longer...we both do.


No comments: