Here's the thing.
I hate playing with dolls.
Yes, hate is such an ugly word with iron black clouds and vampires hissing inside it yet I still declare: I hate playing with dolls.
Ah, there is such freedom in the truth.
The problem is my daughter loves playing with dolls. In fact, there are approximately 12 thousand new water stains on our carpet from all the tea parties she has had with her and her gaggle of children. She cannot get enough of the tea parties.
Abby is an active parent. She doesn't give them something "so fun!" to do and then run like hell to load the dishwasher. She sits with each bald headed baby and lovingly applies lipstick to their nostrils.
Abby has the patience of a saint with her children. She will gently rotate their stiff plastic limbs back and forth until they are the correct longitude and latitude for sitting on their own. No Boppy, pillows, or couch cushions needed. How does she do it?
She fondly and sweetly fawns over each of her babies to read with them, spoon feed them raisin soup, or place kazoos and recorders in their frozen grasp for "Music Class."
"Call me Teacher Abby," she corrects if I ask about the contrail of toilet paper leading to the living room classroom. In her world, every class needs a red carpet.
Abby has the mom thing down so well she even
So you see, try as I might to do the right thing, I shamefully buck some requests to "change this one for me, Mommy" with every load of laundry, sweep of my broom or menu planning I can muster to take me away from more child rearing.
"I cannot love your children, my Dear," is probably what her 3 year old self hears when I busy myself with plucking feathers off my imaginary Derby hat. And tragically, worse is what I fear she feels, "I cannot love you."
I want to explain to her: It's just that I am chipped goods. Beautifully and unapologetically fractured from the heart up. You will be too one day and it will serve you well. But now you are soft, innocent, and vulnerable to the bruises the world will inevitably give you. Oh, how I want to protect you from those bruises but someday they will serve you well also. Enough bruises and you learn how to navigate (all by yourself) away from things that hurt you.
One day you will rather play in the rain, search for ladybugs, build forts out of old prom dresses, make cupcakes, play too many hours of soccer, walk the dog, do your taxes, or cut off your own arms but play with these silent wide eyed creatures that require something of you. Something of you that you no longer have to give.
But for now Teacher Abby, you show me the way back. You are the mommy I am striving to be. I had sound nurturing to give once but years, days, hours, cruel and interminable minutes between 4 o'clock and 2012 have filled me up with a labyrinth of survival tactics, brick walls, and empty coffee cups.
Today, if she asks?
I will do my best to hold her baby. Love on her baby. Play with her Sharpie faced baby.
And maybe, just maybe, she will know what a great teacher she has become.