Lately, Avi’s had a hard time with her roomie.
She’s been mean to her: just plain old mean. Repeatedly.
And nothing I said made any difference. And I’ve been concerned because I don’t have a mean child, just like I don’t have a screamer.: she’s mean for a reason.
I just couldn’t figure out why.
Until the morning I pulled her into my lap and asked, “Are you worried that I love L__ more than I love you?”
Her toddler eyes welled up with adult-like tears.
I explained that L___ is our friend. They can pretend to be sisters but they’re not; L__ has her own mommy and I am Avi’s mama. Avi will always be my daughter no matter the love I have for our friend L___. Those adult-like tears poured down her cheeks in relief and a choking sob lifted from her throat.
She had spent all this time pushing her beloved roommate away with the hope that I would not love her as much as I love my own child.
And my heart hurt a little:
how wonderful that my child’s perception of family is so fluid.
A family can have as many mommy’s and daddy’s as you want.
A family can have children with many homes.
Can have grandparents or aunts.
Friends who we call grandparents and aunts.
A family can be, as my roommate calls us, a tribe.
My heart hurt for her hurt because this is only the beginning. She has another 98 years of figuring out family.
Because, really, what is a mommy? A daddy? A grandma? A sister? A friend? Who are these people and what do they mean to us? Do they love us? Do we love them? Do we have obligations and honor towards each other? What does it mean when it changes? Who have I become because of my family? Who have I become because of the new family I create?
And she’s only two.