This almost 3 year old is amazingly loving for such a little person. I adore her and she loves me so much and so hard, that sometimes it’s actually a little too much for me. Scott says it’s because I’m still nursing her twice a day that is making her so attached. I actually think she’s still nursing because she craves closeness and gets that from breastfeeding. She certainly is not getting much, in terms of milk, in her 6 minute sessions. I have wanted to be done with the nursing many times and thought of stopping on many occasions. I even went out of town for 4 days and thought that would be it, but she went back to it like I never left! (Seriously, how amazing is the female human body? I was gone four days and three nights. I didn’t even bring my pump. I never even got engorged. And yet went right back to producing milk. That was in April and it still blows my mind.) But Gemma’s attachment to nursing, my milk, and ME, has me ready to commit to seeing his through until she is done. Plus, the fact that she is my last baby makes it easy to rationalize (and explain to my judgmental mother. Not that I have to, I know, but blah blah blah).
Well, this was not supposed to be a love story about extended breastfeeding, so I’ll get to the real story. A story I have to tell so *I* never forget how this little one expresses her love to me.
It started in January/February when I was substitute teaching 1-2 times a week. I would come home from work and pick her up from my parents and she would just cling to me. I would hug her and tell her “I missed you” and “I love you” for the 20 minutes or so that she insisted on snuggling with me. I couldn’t really nurse her because I would get a lecture from my mom that I didn’t want or need, so she started lifting my shirt to expose my stomach and was satisfied with rubbing her hand on my belly.
This happened most of the days that I worked. She started saying to me “I missed you” and “I love you”. Then one day she stopped saying the “I love you” and solely told me that she missed me. In her toddler mind the two phrases merged and “I miss you” meant the same thing as “I love you.” But she would only say it to me. And she says it with such meaning in her voice. Like I have been away for weeks.
At first Scott and the kids tried to correct her and get her to say “I love you” instead. And she would. She’d say that to them…. and mean it, but still told me she missed me. So then they tried to get her to say she missed them. But nope. She’d laugh at their attempts and say “I miss MOMMY!”
She has said it to Scott once, and he was so thrilled! But she hasn’t repeated it. She tells him she loves him all the time, so he’s fine.
She says it to me countless times each day. Sometimes it overwhelms her and she repeats it until I hug her like she wants. Sometimes she’ll grab both sides of my face and only say it when we have eye contact. If strangers overhear her, it is almost impossible for them to not tilt their heads in awe… many times actually saying “Awwww!”
I think it is because they can hear the love she has for me in her voice, as I do too. And it is awe-inspiring. It is also something I try to deserve every day.
Gemma, I miss you too. Always. Forever.