My Jessica wasn’t ever really a Daddy’s girl. Not like the other three girls were. Lilli and Sarah were always close with him, and Julianna thinks the sun rises and sets with her Yaya. But Jessie was always my girl. Not that she didn’t love her Daddy, of course she did, and he’s always adored her. But she’s always been closer with me. Part of that is my fault, I was raised by a single mom, so my default parenting style is to do everything. I’ve gotten better about sharing as each child came along, but my instinct, especially with Jessie, is always to do it all.
Jessica is an intense kid – which is to say, she’s always been a girl who lives with an enormous amount of drama. Where none exists, she’ll create it. It seems to fill some need within her, and it’s been a part of her personality from the start. Not that she always enjoys it, but she can get herself completely and totally wound up over virtually nothing, and talking her off the ledge is always a challenge. Because in the end, the only one who can really get herself off the ledge, metaphorically speaking, is herself, and teaching her to calm down, and relax and breathe, instead of losing herself in the drama of it all is one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn.
Today was one of those days. Her hair wasn’t working, and it was more than she could bear. Between the hair slipping out of the ballerina bun, and the persistent thumb injury, she started crying and just couldn’t get out of it. I tried, I really did, to try and stay calm, not feed into the emotion, but eventually, I got mad, and started yelling at her to calm down and knock it off. Oddly enough, this didn’t seem to help.
Marc took her to religious school, but she was still a hot mess, crying and distraught and emotional as could be. After about fifteen minutes, he took her back home, and I put her in her room. I gave her a hug, told her I loved her, and handed her a book. Told her that she couldn’t think of anything else, I didn’t want her to do anything other than to sit and escape into the book for at least ten minutes. And she was so worn out, she did just that. She sat and read for a while, and then I went in to talk to her. She still couldn’t decide if she should go to religious school or not, and started to get upset again, and I cut her off and told her that I was making the decision to keep her home. I wanted her to stay home, eat something, and just relax.
Then I took the younger two off to the tot services. Julianna flat out adores it, and I didn’t want her to miss it. And Sam has a new sports coat that someone gave us, and he wanted to wear it in the worst way. I spent the morning with my younger two, and Jessica spent the morning with her dad.
It was strange, because normally, when Jessie is emotional and upset, I’m her go to girl. I’m the one that wades into the hysteria, and makes it all better. But today, Marc just handled the whole thing so beautifully. Not only did he sit with her for twenty minutes or so outside of Hebrew school, after I left with the other two, he then took her grocery shopping with him. They came home and baked birthday cakes, and then he took her out to lunch before dropping her at dance class.
I was… thrown off, a little. Part of it was just realizing (again) that he’s as good with Jessie as I am, and part of it was, I think, not envy, but something sort of like that. I didn’t have a dad like that, and I realized today how much I missed out on. Because I had my mother, all the time, and she was fabulous and awesome. She’s where I learned how to be a mother, and I’m pretty good at it. But I didn’t have a dad that would sit with me for twenty minutes while I sobbed because my hair was crappy, and then take me shopping and feed me lunch. My girl is a lucky, lucky girl, and today, I’m extra happy that I married her father, because he’s awesome.