In an effort to not be as hard on myself, yet still uphold all my standards and values, I have boiled all my goals down to one goal:
I want to be better.
I want to be a better mother, daughter, friend, listener, achiever, dreamer, student, believer, writer, artist, learner, and adventurer. I never want to stop being better at those things. I will base decisions on that goal, and that will pave my way.
After 2 weeks away from my daughter and a weekend of her time being divided between other family and pet doggies, I felt overwhelmingly disconnected, both from my daughter and just from motherhood in general. Yesterday afternoon, I just thought to myself, "There was just an entire chunk of time where I have no clue how my daughter's life was. There was an entire chunk of time where I didn't get to be her mother." I vowed to be a better mother in our time together and really spend more quality time connecting with her.
Last night, I only used my phone to take a few photos and videos of Kimmy and to look up some silly prairie dog, elephant, and owl videos that she wanted to watch. Other than that, we just talked. It was the best evening I've had in a very long time.
I watched a little girl--who is almost a not-so-little girl about to turn 4--blossom from feeling uneasy about being back home and knowing she has a brand new pre-school routine coming up into my happy little talkative girl full of silly ideas, tons of jokes, and loads of creativity. She was so happy to be home and so happy to have my full attention.
We talked all about my travels while she was at her daddy's house. We went out and looked at the garden together. She had a fashion show and tried on her new school clothes for me. I showed her my trip pictures and surprised her with a few souvenirs. I bought myself a harmonica a few weeks ago and have been teaching myself the basics. She was deeply envious of my purchase and wanted to play it all the time, so what did I do when I saw a harmonica in a pretty blue case at the Biltmore toy store? I bought a harmonica!
We've started a Kimmy-Mommy harmonica band. Kimmy took right to it. She made up a song and consistently plays it over and over. I know anyone can pick up a harmonica and blow into it, but it's actually a tricky little instrument (you can't see where you're blowing and have to rely on muscle memory) that makes replicating a tune pretty hard unless you have a good feel for which of the 10 holes is which note. She's a natural.
After a very long and exhausting day and lots of evening playing, Kimmy got to sleep in Mommy's bed. We slept 10+ hours and woke up feeling wonderful.
I have actually not seen Kimmy so calm or happy in the morning in quite some time. I know the sleep had a lot to do with it, but I also think I was a better mother to her last night than I sometimes am.
It's so easy to get caught up in all the trillion things I need to do in a day that by the time I make it home after work, there's very little of me left to give. My daughter, as my only other household member, takes the brunt of that and sees the worst of me more than anyone, simply because she is there to witness it. It's one of many unfairnesses of single parenting: my child needs me most, but circumstance dictates that I have to be spread out thinly elsewhere before I can get back to her.
So, I want to be better for her. She deserves to see the best of me more than anyone in my life. She is my constant. Friends and dudes may come and go in the years to come, but I will always have my Kimmy. She deserves to always have me, too.
I will be better.