it's in the trash if you were looking for it

i discretely threw away the picture she drew of me today.  i really disliked it, but at least i told her, "oh, the feather you drew on the top of my head is pretty snazzy."

she brings it over and lays this crayon picture down next to me and says, "it's you mom."  happily.  innocently (but in my life, i am used to wondering what the passive aggressive message is with a picture like this, so not sure if innocently is the choice word).  she returns to her coloring area to start a new piece.

without words, she shook something inside of me that's been slowly starting to unhinge anyway.  

there was this picture with a large circle, the outer-rim in a dark, very noticeable color.  but this circle was colored-in to match the color of the rest of my crayon-blue chiffon blouse.  my stomach?  yes, i'm pretty sure my daughter colored my stomach.  large.  or was it a tumor?  

remember, i don't have the picture to show you, so just trust me on this one.

i didn't talk to her about it and i'm not even sure what she meant by it.  maybe nothing.

but with all of the squeezed-in bits of life lessons on how to love your body the way you are--to appreciate the shape and size and find the beauty in the curves--had it come to this?  the version my five year old saw and then on top of that, my insecurity and disappointment and a missed mini-sermon all for the benefit of my daughter's impressionable mind.  or for me, anyway.

but maybe it was nothing.

yet, here's what's been happening:  she doesn't want to go on dates with me anymore.  i write this line and it fills my eyes with tears.  it's possibly temporary, right.  the offers to find a babysitter or ask dad to watch audrey has turned to, "i don't want to."  "i'd rather..."  "i can't wait to have a date with dad!"

so i say, okay that's fine.  and try to just enjoy the moments we do have together while audrey naps and just appreciate the non-flare of going out on a special mommy-daughter date.

this shift--possibly temporary, right?--has made me think of how she needs me less, in a way.  how i don't know her all that well, but at the same time, she's trying to discover who she is.  in this i find i have to stay mom, and not lose that while wanting to fight to be her friend. and i have to give her space to decide what she feels.  

of course i could feel rejected and that would be so personal and messy and not sane.  i can also say, this is my five year old growing up.  and if this time means she would rather not go on one-on-one outings with me now, then she is free to choose that.  i give space, but expand and absorb her when necessary.

so, how'd i get from the drawing of what must have just been me with a large balloon under my shirt (i mean, her imagination is pretty wild, right?), to this revelation of the absence of our special time and how i feel i'm grieving the loss of that (possibly temporary)?  i'm not sure.

but we go on loving our littles and scratching our heads.  and sometimes just throwing away the crap they give us.