Saturday, February 21, 2009

Love - Day 7

Well I guess it's about time I post about Riley, huh? She's the girl stuck in the middle of two rough and tumble boys. The princess of the family and oh does she wear the tiara proudly. Before I had Austin I always pictured myself as a mom of girls. I couldn't imagine parenting a boy. But I did, and it just felt "right". When I was pregnant with Riley I prayed for a little girl. I thought I'd had my fill of all the boy stuff--the trucks and trains and blocks and footballs. I was ready for a house full of dresses and bows and dolls. I thought I was ready for all that a girl entails. I was wrong.

I'm not a girly-mom. I get irritated by all the frou-frou and fluff. And oh, the drama and the emotions? Can't stand it. I'm not a very girly-girl myself. Riley is. We're polar opposites in so many ways. She's got my looks but she has the personality of her daddy. She's extremely outgoing, very hyper, very much into fashion and her hair, she's funny and weird and super sweet all rolled into one. We clash in so many ways. We butt heads on just about everything. She's got her dad wrapped around her little finger and it drives me nuts.

But she's my Ri-girl. The only one I have and I know that one day we'll be super close and will be able to appreciate our differences and embrace them. She makes me laugh (even when I'm rolling my eyes at the same time). Just as I was typing this she comes in (when she's supposed to be getting into the shower) and says "Mom let me show you my new move". She then proceeds to do some funky dance where one foot is stationary and she is spinning on it and shaking her hips and bouncing the other foot. It was weird and hysterical and so just a totally Riley move. She's just that way. Whacky. The girl loves life. She loves making people smile. She's just that kinda girl.

I can't wait to see the woman she'll become. I know she'll be something else, that's for sure. She has the best qualities of her father and me. She's going to be a great mother to her children. She already has such a strong and loving maternal instinct. Riley truly loves her baby brother. He is everything to her and she shows it proudly. She hugs him and kisses him and comforts him when he's hurt or sad. She loves to entertain him and keep him happy. And Matthew adores her. He waits for her to come home from school every day. He kisses her before she leaves every morning (I've got to literally pull teeth to get him to kiss me!!). They have a great relationship and it makes me so proud of her to see the way she cares for him.

Riley makes me strive to be a better mother. She's hard to deal with sometimes because we are so different but I'm learning so much from her. I find that she's the one that I blow up with more that the other two. I know I'm harder on her than I am on Austin and I try not to be. I know my weaknesses and unfortunately for her, she is the one that bears the brunt of it and receives the Monster Mommy yellings. I don't intentionally do it but because of our different personalities she's the one who gets to me most. It's horrible of me and I feel so guilty. But Riley takes it in stride. I think she understands me and knows that I'm not trying to get so frustrated.

One evening a few months ago I had had it with Riley not listening to me or doing what I asked of her. She has a tendency to get distracted easily and flitters back and forth between things. I don't remember the exact things that happened but I know that I was in a foul mood and Riley was driving me batty. I went off on a yelling rampage (I'm horrible with that and really need to vent my frustrations in a better way). Riley went to her room, upset. A few hours later I walked into my bedroom to get ready to go to bed and I found a yellow handmade card on the nightstand. The cover said "To Mom". On the inside was two sad faces and two happy faces with the words "Sad Mom. I'm sorry that I make you upset. Happy Mom. I will always love you no matter what. Love Riley". Oh my goodness. My heart broke and the tears flowed from my eyes. I felt horrible. HORRIBLE. How could I be so mean to such a sweet loving little girl. I felt like I was crushing her spirit and her self-esteem. I don't want to be that kind of mother, the kind of mom that my own mom was to me. The next morning I thanked Riley for the beautiful card and apologized to her for yelling at her. I told her that I was so sorry for being mean and that I just wished that she would listen to me and do the things I asked of her. I will forever keep that card that Riley made me, as a reminder to myself that I need to be a better mom to my daughter.

We don't always agree on things. She may physically look like my Mini-Me but we're so different in so many ways. I love that girl with all of my heart and I don't want to make her feel worthless or unloved or unappreciated. I don't want to ever make her feel bad about who she is, because she is the person that God intended her to be. I need to learn from her and enjoy things a little more, take life a little less seriously. Do my hair and wear glittery lipgloss and stinky cotton candy perfume. Sing at the top of my lungs, crack up at dumb jokes, create funky dance moves. But more than anything I just need to show my little girl that I absolutely love and adore her, despite our differences. She's the only girl I've got and I'm lucky to have her!

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