Last night as I lay in bed, just as I was drifting off to sleep, it occurred to me that I had barely had any contact with Somerset all day. BD picked the kids up from school so I could have a little time to myself in the afternoon, so I missed that pick-up and ride home conversation. She played with a friend all afternoon with me intermittently fussing at her for various infractions. We did all sit down at the table for dinner, and it was a pleasant meal with minimal complaining and the kids talking a little about their day. But I don't think she and I had even a minute of meaningful or significant contact between just the two of us. That realization made me want to cry.
I feel like of all my children, Somerset has the greatest potential to be damaged and have her life ruined by me. She was my baby, the only girl and the object of her two big brothers' affection for almost four years, and then one day, she wasn't. And she knew it. She still knows it. She's a lot like me in that she's stubborn and has a fiery temper. When faced with trouble she will usually laugh in its face, but it's mostly bravado. If I poke at it even a little, her face will crumple and she will dissolve into tears. She fights with her brothers almost constantly because she knows the brotherhood bond between them is forever and unfairly closed to her. I try to make her believe that if she would just stop pestering the crap out of them for a few minutes they might be nicer to her, but she's not buying it. Maybe she shouldn't. What do I know?
I'm the oldest child. There are almost five years between my sister and me and another five between her and our brother. All I ever wanted from them was to be left alone. That was mostly all I wanted from my parents, too. I knew I was loved and taken care of, but for whatever reason, I never craved or expected a closely-bonded relationship with my parents. My kids do, though. Somerset remembers when she was my baby and I held her and carried her around and nursed her until her third birthday. She remembers when I looked at her with nothing but pure, unadulterated love and adoration, and she's aware that too often now, all she can see in my face is frustration and annoyance. She needs attention and the more she raises hell to get it, the more I push her away in ager because her behavior makes my day more difficult.
I have to do better with her. She deserves more than what she's getting from me, and she knows it, and if I don't get it together there's going to be hell to pay later on. I know that as certainly as I know my own name.