Chloe often takes my hand when we're on a walk or out at a store. It's very sweet, her small-but-growing hand in mine, and the fact that she still likes to be in physical contact with me.
Except that sometimes she clings too long, and I wonder if it's because the sidewalk only admits two across and Maia is behind or ahead of us. Maia likes to hold my hand, too, but not as much. She's more independent. But she's more comfortable when she does snuggle. Chloe likes to wriggle and gesture, to stick her foot in my ribs (labor and delivery were supposed to put an end to that!) and demand to be tickled, to throw her limbs everywhere. She's affectionate, but her affection hurts sometimes.
I feel bad about not wanting her close all the time. She's five years old, almost six, and I imagine that before long she's not going to want to hold hands with her mom anymore. I love to hold her hand, and to snuggle with her at bedtime. But she doesn't want to be still the way a baby does; she's big and wild and intent on her own agenda, her own interests, and they involve flailing against me, literally as well as figuratively. And it makes me uncomfortable. And that makes me anxious. Am I too uptight about little things? Am I wrong in sacrificing my comfort to maintaining that connection? Am I wrong in even worrying about my own comfort?
"When people say you have to cherish your children when they're small," I said to Eric today, "are they right, or are they assholes?" I don't enjoy all the small moments with my girls the way society says I should. I do enjoy a lot of them, but I'm also honestly bored or frustrated or immunized some of the time. Maia draws me pictures every day. They're sweet and I'm proud, but I have dozens of them. Current society tells me I should be treasuring each one, valuing each moment. But I don't think that's reasonable. Society is an asshole. I think.
It would be nice to know. But there's no good way. So I keep holding Chloe's hand while we run along the sidewalk to catch Maia, and I keep pushing her off my lap when she's keeping me from getting up to do something, and I hang up some of Maia's pictures and I throw some of them away. I want to ask my mom if she ever learned to be content with her own compromises as a mother, but I'm afraid I know the answer.