When I worked in the corporate world, especially in customer service, I felt like I was interchangeable with the next person. The company didn't care who I was or what I was capable of achieving because they could easily change me out for the next unemployed person in line. Anyone could just answer the phone or send an email. I was just another gear in the corporate machine. How demoralizing!
I found some solace outside of the work place where I felt like I had value and purpose. I had family and friends that loved me and knew me. They knew I was irreplaceable. That there was no one else like me in the world. How wonderful!
Fast forward to the present...
Once again, I feel interchangeable. Only this time it is because my daughter doesn't appear to miss me or want me.
Rae's low muscle tone appears to be weakest in her arms so she never reaches for me. Not when she's crying. Not when she's hungry. Not when she's tired. Not ever. Her arms, for the most part, just lay at her side or she sticks one hand in her mouth. The most I can coax out of her is placing her tiny hand into mine, but that is a very rare occurrence. In all fairness, she doesn't reach for anyone so that should offer me some comfort...right?? This weakness also limits her ability to use sign language.
Since she is non-communicative, she also doesn't call for me, not in the traditional sense anyway. She will screech from her crib when she's awake and ready to get out, which is pretty standard. She will scream bloody murder when she is hungry or when she's ready for bed. I have no doubt that our mailman could walk into her room and pick her up from her crib, shovel food in her mouth, and tuck her in again. As long as she gets what she wants, when she wants it then she is good to go.
She isn't mobile either. No walking. No crawling. Some rolling (very little). So, when I walk away from her...she just lays there. I see other children crawling as fast as they can trying to track down "Mama" because she went to the bathroom. I, on the other hand, am one of those rare Moms that receives complete and total privacy when using the bathroom. While some may envy that privacy, I doubt they'd trade places with me. Seriously, NO one wants this for their child no matter how intrusive they are being. (On the flip side, no parent wants their child so anxious that they can't even change clothes without a nuclear melt down occurring.) Either extreme blows chunks and I just wish we could land somewhere in the middle.
Once a week, Rae stays the night with her Mimi and G-Boss (Long story short it was a nickname that stuck and turned from THE "Boss" to "Grandpa Boss" to "G-Boss!") and not once during these overnights has she cried for me. At first, I thought she might be a little upset, but after the first two or three weeks I stopped expecting (read as hoping for) that phone call saying, "She won't stop crying. She wants YOU."
It stings. Feeling like your child is okay without you, doesn't really "want" you and anyone can just glide right into your place leaves a deep wound in your heart. I know this is probably temporary, but it still hurts. I'm sure there will be a time when I will long for some privacy or wish she would just calm down when I step out of a room, but right now...well... I want to know that from time to time she wants ME and that only I will do. Until that time, I will do my best to keep it all in perspective and cry till my eyes burn when I need to release the pressure.