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Finding Sydney's Heart

I guess you could say I am an affectionate mom. My kids and I are very physical and verbal with our love. We say I love you, like a lot. I didn't think I would be this way, I definitely didn't grow up that way. So I probably over do it a bit.It's very lucky for me that my kids suck it up. It's can be slightly weird. I have a love affair with my kids, I mean this in the most pure way. They aren't babies anymore, usually kids this age start to push mommy away right? At least that's what I keep hearing. Thank God no one told my kids.

Summer's an official teenager now. 13!! Yikes right? And she's almost as tall as I am! Thirteen-year-olds are so not into mommy time and snuggles right? WRONG Not mine! At least a couple of nights a week you'll find us snuggled in my big bed pushing my poor hubby to the couch.Heads together, hands intertwined watching a movie or browsing YouTube until we fall asleep her head on my shoulder. She loves it, I live for it. She never leaves the house without hugging me, I need it. I rely on it.

DJ is the most romantic ten-year-old ever! Seriously....he's going to make some lucky girl's day, every day.
At an age when most boys wouldn't caught dead giving their mom a kiss in front of their class. He holds my face when he kisses me at the school bus stop and looks me dead in the eye when he says, have a good day Mommy, I'll be back soon. It's like he's going off to fight is some war, every day he's that intense. It's hysterical to me, and necessary for me.

And Spike, I can admit he may border on obsessive  Everyday when he wakes up, he says Mommy you're here! As if he's afraid I disappeared the night before. For a child on the spectrum, showing affection isn't common but with me Spike is different, He actually offers hugs and kisses rather than grudgingly accepting them. I admit while I love how he expresses his love, It can be almost suffocating, sometimes I feel like he wants back in the womb!!

Every day and night in all these loving rituals, one person is missing.....Sydney.

She's just not that into me.

I think I only noticed it about a 6 months ago. That's terrible right? But once I did, I realized she's always been a bit let's call it..hmm.... reserved. I think someone had bought her a gift and I had to practically push her in to hug them. Or rather let them hug her, she looked trapped and she could not wait to escape.
When the kids come off the bus and I hug them and kiss them she kind of stands there and looks slightly pained as if she is trying to do me a favor. If someone says I love you , like out of the blue or unprovoked, she'll stammer out an "Okay". So after she said that to me for millionth time, I said but Syd I said I love you what do you say " She says umm Thank you?" I think she's always been this way. And so I went on a mission to find out why. I tried to analyze where I went wrong,. I cuddled, I hugged, I breastfed until she self weaned, I couldn't figure out where I failed. I obsessed on this ( I admit I tend to do that) And got some great advice from my dad "Man Syd ain't about that life" (This was his actual answer) After a while I figured I'll just have to deal with it.

Then one day I was cleaning out the kids old art projects to get ready for the millions of handprint turkeys and stick figure drawings sure to take over my house every school year and I come across Sydney's big Red Valentines Heart with the Cheerios glued on it from preschool, it says "Sydney loves mommy" in her crooked and backward lettered handwriting. And tears sprung to my eyes. Then I find a construction paper candy cane that says "I love U mom". These make me smile, I wanna dance a victory dance, see she does like me! Maybe I'm onto something..I take a walk (okay maybe I ran)to our overcrowded refrigerator/ art gallery . In the flutter of DJ's superheroes and aliens and Summer's water color sunsets, and Spike's weird egg shaped guy he repeatedly draws, I notice all of Sydney's pictures have a theme..Me! We are on the swings, we are at the park, we are being chased by a rabbit..I'm not gonna even ask about that, and she writes notes on them, "I love Mom", "Sydney and Mom", "Sydney loves Mom". So of course now I am relieved and overjoyed.

I'm also reminded of a lesson I thought I had learned, everybody doesn't express love the same. I know I can't expect Syd to love me the way Summer  does or Spike does or even the way I love her. So I will love her my way and be forever grateful that she loves me in hers. And if I'm ever in doubt I'll always have that red Cheerios heart.


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