Not Fine.

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

I talked to my grandmother Wednesday.

She told me that Emma had cried for me at bedtime. And no one called.

“Everything is fine now,” my grandma assured me. “She’s fine.”

Except, she is not.

My grandma told me she whispers when she speaks. “I can hardly hear her she talks so low!”

Emma does not whisper. Not at home. Not with me. Emma is quiet when she is unsure. Or scared. Or worried.

Or wondering where the hell her mommy is.

Hearing someone describe her as “fine” when she is so clearly not damn near killed me. I know my grandma loves her great-granddaughter. She means well.

But she doesn’t know her.

Not like I do.

She doesn’t know that Emma won’t talk to me on the phone because she hates the phone.

She doesn’t know that the disembodied voice confuses her and makes her reach out for what she can see.

She doesn’t know that we sing at night, and that stops the tears.

She doesn’t know about You Are My Sunshine or “the Mickey Mouse song”.

No one knows.

Except me.

But I know. I can tell. I can feel it from here.

She is not fine.

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  1. I used to sing You Are My Sunshine to my little ones too.
    Would it confuse or upset Emma if you made a special card for her and mailed it to her?
    To reassure her that you miss her too and it’s okay to miss Mama.
    Maybe make her a calendar that she can cross off the days until you see each other again.
    Or enclose some stickers she would like, to put one on the calendar each day at bedtime? Tell her to kiss the sticker goodnight when she goes to bed and then to bring it home so Mama can see all the kisses when she gets home.

  2. Fantastagirl says:

    She has her brother with her – that should help some. But Little Miss Sunshine state has some great suggestions! How about a webcam – would that work to talk to her?

  3. Becky says:

    That is the worst feeling in the world. When you know your baby is not OK and you can’t be there to fix it. Little Miss Sunshine State does have some great ideas, hopefully one will work. I know that you miss her probably more than she misses you. :hug:

  4. TSM says:

    I think any mom would agree with you wholeheartedly that being separated from your kids is like having your heart beating outside of your body until you are reunited.

    Do your best to enjoy yourself (as much as you really can) and remember that it will get easier each time.

  5. You’re making me anxious and she’s not my kid. I want to tell you she’ll be fine… try to relax… but I could never do it, so forget I mentioned that and do what you want as far as your daughter is concerned. Life’s too short.

  6. kim says:

    I so totally understand. The phone didn’t work until after 5… but even still it isn’t the same as a hug. We sing hush little baby. And I can’t even leave my guy for longer than a night with his grandparents.

  7. Mary says:

    I’m sorry this so hard for you and Emma. I know the heartbreak. I hope that they get to see your mom soon. I swear, that woman can fix anything!

  8. martymankins says:

    You gotta get a web cam hooked up at Grandma’s house. At least do a Skype to Skype or AIM hookup. We did that last December when we went to Florida and called in to my wife’s granddaughter for her 5th birthday. It worked great.

  9. Awwww…Britt, I’m sorry! I’m sure this is so difficult.

    I think you should send her mail. My kids LOVE mail and it will probably make her happy to get something from you. Ask her to draw you a picture and send it back.

    I know that won’t take everything away, but it might help a little. Hang in!!

  10. DixieGirl says:

    Whenever I used to go visit my grandparents, I would spend the fist part of the trip wishing I could go home. Then I would finally get home and wish I could go back. The first few days away from home are the hardest, and then you start to have fun.

  11. little_lj says:

    Aw.. I’m sure, even if she’s not feeling fine now… she will be. Kids are, I’m told, surprisingly resilient. I even heard that babies bounce! Or maybe that was just me…

    I know it feels awful awful now.. but you and her will be reunited so soon.. :o)

  12. AmyD says:

    *searching for something positive to say*

    I could tell you that she’ll be better for it, she’ll beg to go back when she’s been home for a few days, that the first hug when you see her will be the sweetest ever.

    But none of that matters because you’re baby needs you and you aren’t there. I know. I know.
    :hug:

  13. just beth says:

    that sucks. I’m not going to tell you it’s ok. You should listen to yourself, to your intuition. Not that she won’t BE fine, because, she will. She’s not hurt, she’s not being abused, she just doesn’t quite ‘get it’. However, if you think it’s bad enough, go get her. Fuck what anyone else says. You are her mother, and you ‘get’ her better than anyone else on the planet. That picture of you guys tore me up, and while it is, of course, good for her and for you to experience other things, if you really feel like it’s not right, seriously, listen to yourself. I wish I had.

    xo

    b.

  14. Dawn says:

    :kiss: :hug: :heartbeat:

    I wish I could make your heart stop hurting.

  15. Kristin says:

    I know that being far from her sucks. I also know that Devin never had that problem! But, she does have Devin to comfort her! Make sure you let your Grandma know to sing to her. And I was totally going to suggest sending her mail! While your gram means well, you also know that she’ll do better when she’s with your parents or Jared’s.
    Good Luck babe!

  16. HoosierGirl says:

    I like the mail idea. And Amy is right…she will be fine by the time she gets back but that doesn’t help her or you right now. Hang in there.

    J.

  17. Bucky says:

    I sing “You are my Sunshine” at night to my daughter when she is crying. It usually dries her right up and she goes on to sleep.

    No one will ever know your kids like you do. Ever.

  18. avitable says:

    I’ve seen her be shy and quiet like that, and she usually warms up slowly over a few hours. I’m sure she’s back to normal now. She’s a resilient energetic kid.

  19. SciFi Dad says:

    Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s OK for them to be “not fine” for a little while. I know it sucks, and it is exceptionally difficult as a parent to see it, but in the end figuring out how to handle those feelings of uncertainty or uncomfortableness (is that even a word?) is an important skill to learn.

    Hmm… I don’t think my daughter even knows “You Are My Sunshine”, but she can sing all three verses to “Under The Bridge” by RHCP. That’s pretty much the same thing, right?

  20. NYCWD says:

    I would say send mail… but would she be able to read it? Maybe you should send drawings… or pictures.

  21. Lisa says:

    As a mother I understand that it is agonizing to feel helpless when you can’t reach out and physically comfort your child.

    When Cam was three years old and she first started staying with her grandmother she would not say ONE SINGLE WORD while she was with her. Not a word. In fact, she wouldn’t even nod her head “yes” or “no” if asked a question.

    I remember feeling so incredibly horrible that I put my child in that position but eventually she started to beg to be with her grandmother.

    Emma is resilient. Remember she is your child.

  22. I’m with Adam. It’s probably taken her a little while to warm up and get adjusted to her new surroundings. It has probably also helped immensely to have big brother with her. And? By the time she’s ready to come home? She probably won’t want to come with you. She may want to stay in Iowa! You never know about those wily kids… :) She’ll be OK. Promise.

  23. :heartbeat:

    oh my dear sweet britt, i wish i had the perfect words to make it all better for you and emma. hate that i can’t make it better for you both.

    (guess this isn’t a good time to tell you that i sing “you are my sunshine” to my dog reilly wehn he is terrified at the vet and shaking on my lap.)

  24. Kate says:

    I’m sorry.

  25. Finn says:

    I promised myself that I was going to try not to be the “mom” anymore, so I’m just going to leave you with this:

    :hug: :kiss:

  26. Shash says:

    I sing that to my kids too, and my mom sung it to me when I was little.

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. It’s tough when you are here and they are there. We have cut many a romantic getaway short because we NEEDED to get back to them.

    However, once we GOT there, they didn’t want to go, they were having so much fun. Go figure.

    I hope tonight will help to get your mind off things. MAMMA MIA!!!! :)

    Shash

  27. Em says:

    She will be fine. Kids really do have to do things like this, as hard as it is for their mommy. My son has an anxiety disorder and when I send him off to school he’s not fine, but if I don’t let him go he’ll never learn to be fine without me. Your daughter is going to learn while she’s away to self-soothe a little bit or to allow other people to comfort her besides you. This is a good thing.

  28. Awe…

    All I can say is that she will be ok, and you will too.

    Sending you hugs. And letting you know you are not alone. I know just a little bit what you feel…

  29. J.O. says:

    Just a piece of advice? I learned this the hard way when I started sending my kids off with their grandparents. When you do talk to her put on a happy face.
    I used to ask over and over are you really ok and it made my kids anxious when I did that. Doing a whole lot of I miss yous did too. Once I learned my lesson things went a whole lot easier for their transition.

  30. I wish I had something to say too. But all I can say is that you are a stronger woman than I am – I’d already be in the car, on my way to rescue my baby. (Of course, wishful thinking since they seem to get over it pretty quickly when I’m gone – wow, that’s depressing.)

  31. Sybil Law says:

    That just sucks.
    I’d send her a picture of the two of you, meaning you and your daughter. And one of the family, and lots of x’s and o’s – maybe even kiss the letter with some lipstick on.
    I know it sounds callous to say it, but she will be okay. She misses you, probably at night, mostly, but she’s in good hands, right?
    Oh my heart breaks for you, though. I know what you’re feeling.
    :hug:

  32. Kris says:

    Honestly, Britt, it’s probably harder on you than it is on her. It’s hard to let go.

    But I’m in Em’s camp. My daughter has Asperger’s and Anxiety Disorder. Her OCD goes out of whack when she’s stressed, but if I never let her get out there and do new things without me, she’ll never be able to cope in society. If I put on my happy face and say, “Hey Bug, won’t this be a blast? I’m just a phone call away!” she does wonderfully, especially considering her disorders.

    Emma’s with people who love her. She (and you) will be fine in the end. And being so miserable over it – you CAN’T show that to her or it’ll make it worse for next time. Just let her know you missed her and love her and she’ll be none the worse for wear, I’m sure.

    Remember when we were all kids and fell? What’s the first thing we did? Look around to see if anyone was freaking out over it. If an adult freaked out over us falling, we knew it was worthy of tears and hysterics. If not, we picked ourselves up, brushed ourselves off, and continued playing.

  33. Wildflower says:

    I’m sorry hon :(

    Maybe you can send her a recording of you singing? She can play it whenever she needs comfort?

    Yes, children are resilient. Yes they need “exposure” to things they may not otherwise like, but that shouldn’t mean they can’t be reassured because of it. Maybe I’m just a sap who knows…

    That’s my advice :)

  34. misi says:

    Totally understand.. Over and out!

  35. DR says:

    I have to come out of my lurking mode to suggest a children’s book for you if separation is a concern.

    The book is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. It tells the story of a mother raccoon placing a kiss in her baby’s hand and then folding it over so that when the baby raccoon misses his mother, he can place his hand up to his cheek, etc. Beautiful children’s book and great for little ones going to preschool or kindergarten for the first time or even when sending one off to college. It’s one of those timeless stories of the bond and love between mother and child but it’s told through the animals.

  36. Robina says:

    Yea, and I can feel YOUR pain in every word. It’s so very hard. There is nothing to be said to make you feel better. Believe me. I know.

  37. diesel says:

    I’m sorry, Britt. That makes me sad for you and Emma. :(

  38. Selma says:

    I always try to put on a happy face/voice but it can be so hard, especially when you’re thinking ‘holy shit’ inside. Take comfort in the fact that she is with family who love her. I used to stay with my Grandma a lot when I was young and that was in Ireland in the 60s and 70s when there was only one phone in the village and no email. I missed my Mum like crazy but I became really close to my Grandmother. It was a really valuable experience. Hang in there. XX

  39. Meg says:

    My kids don’t seem to miss me all that much when they go away! Not sure whether that’s good or bad, but it makes the separation easier on all of us, I think. Even if they did miss me, I don’t think either set of grandparents would tell us because they know it would just make us want to come scoop them up and bring them home.

    Worst feeling in the world. Hang in there. Maybe she’ll warm up soon…

  40. noraisins says:

    Do you think that maybe a recording of these comfort songs on a CD or even a video of you singing them would help? Or would that only make it harder for her?

  41. Jennyjinx says:

    Does your grandmother have speaker phone? My little one hates the phone too, but I still talk to her on speaker phone when she’s with her grandma. Maybe that will make her feel better?

  42. *sad sigh* I could not have kids!

  43. Sarah says:

    Honey it’s posts like this that break my heart. For her as it’s her first time away for an extended period of time and for you because it’s her first time away.

    You’ll both be okay. I mean she’s not called mini-britt for nothing right?

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