Sunday, April 08, 2007

Mommy and Me

Bevin can be weirdly wonderous. This is her masterpiece: she pronounces the consonant sound “M” for two words only, Mommy and Me. For all other words, “M” becomes “W.” Hence Milk is “Wa.” Water is “Wa.” Matt is “Wa.” Mike is “Wa.” Mommy is Mommy. Me is Me.

Even Freud would smile.

I’ve spent six weeks now with Bevin--pretty much full time (with the general exception of one overnight with her sister and family per week). It struck me recently, that this devoted one on one has not happened for the two of us since Bevin was a very small, nursing baby. Even then, I left her with her father, I left her with babysitters, and I left her with her siblings. By the time she was three, I was leaving her at a day care center--lots of kids and people. So despite the way Bevin’s language (admittedly limited and perhaps as a result more eloquent) focuses on the isolated dyad of Mommy and Me, our life hasn’t. Which makes the past six weeks all the more instructive.

I came to this experiment with hope. I would detox my daughter--love her, feed her, walk, ride, sleep. And we would arrive at the sweet, wild child I have in my heart, I remember from her babyhood, toddlerhood. . . . . Mommy and Me. The cure.

Ah those twisted family plots. This is partly true. Bevin is happy. She loves me, she cuddles, we have great times together. We love to drive, we love to walk. I’ve discovered that Bev is great in coffee shops and bars--any place where her focus can be on a good drink (for her a soda, or in Bevin speak, “pa” or “poppie.”) But I am now also confronting those epic narratives about mothers and daughters, Mommy and Me. One on one can be more challenging than one in a group. Especially for Bevin, who doesn’t have a great deal of commitment, goal oriented behavior. It’s easier for her to encounter me, love me, fight with me, disobey me, than it is to work herself up to such battle in a group.

Sometimes Bevin seems out of time, out of place. A world to her own. And then I push a bit deeper and I find a truth about the most common place things we do. Mommy and Me. Continuity. Disconnect. Love. Fight. Me. Other. It’s how we come to who we are. Bevin is so very human. And that means, oh so complicated, frustrating, frightening, intriguing, wonderful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mother/Me--ever the primary relationship, as your recent entry depicts so well . . . a relationship much on my own mind these days.

And, thumbs up on Inner Circle.