Over the past few days, due to Craig's basketball tournament schedule, Natalie and I have had quite a bit of Momma-daughter bonding time.
And we sure did need it.
I know that all kids go through phases of preferring one parent over the other. And I know that as her mother and the person who felt her (not so tiny) kicks from the inside, there is a bond between the two of us that runs so deep....almost as if our souls are forever linked.
So during the past week when she would demand for Daddy to hold her and me to "go away" or when she would squeal in protest as I tried to get her dressed....I prayed. Prayers for forgiveness because in those dark and cloudy moments, I truly believed that I had caused the rift in our relationship. That because I wasn't present emotionally in her very first few months of life, that I had somehow damaged our relationship. I prayed for the patience to see this phase through with grace and kindness so that I could show her that a mothers love is unwavering and unbreakable.
And quite frankly, I might have even prayed for a glass of wine.
I worried and stressed about the upcoming tournaments when Craig will be out of the house more often than he is home. I prayed that this phase would wash through soon and I would be back in the good graces of our tiniest tyrant.
Tonight those little prayers were answered.
We took a bath and played with Ariel while practicing our swimming arms. Good lotion was applied to sweetly soft toddler skin followed by the brushing of delicate curls. We watched Monsters, Inc. while eating popcorn in the big bed. We snuggled under blankets and hugged stuffed animals, baby dolls and one very special plastic dolphin. And then it was time for bed.
Ugh. Bedtime. The bane of our existence as of late. Needless to say, I was dreading fighting the good fight all by myself.
So I laid her in the tiny toddler bed, covered her with her blankness and all her favorite stuffed compadres (and that plastic dolphin) and I got down close to her face.
"I love you Natalie Nelson."
Without missing a beat, she answered, "I love you Momma Nelson."
I melted and she giggled.
Prayers have been answered and we are back on track.