The other day I was sitting on my circular swivel love seat with a child in each arm. The weight of them there against me had to be one of the best feelings in the world. Pillows of faux suede beneath us emphasized the softness of the moment. My legs were laid in front of me on the chair in a bent up sort of "N." My babies were single quotation marks snuggled up against me.
It was sweet but unremarkable until Number Two reached out across my chest to grab The Boss's hand. For ten unbelievable seconds, she let him hold her. She, who does her best to avoid any contact with the physical reminder that she is no longer the sole source of her parents' affection. She, who remembers to resent him only when he needs my attention, settling for ignoring him the rest of the time. While I held my breath, she let his grip, strong as silk but less slippery, wind itself around her fingers. Then she shook him off and I exhaled. Her mouth set in a line of distaste. She wiggled her shoulders as if shaking him off.
Her coldness was off-putting, but I tried to understand. I took heart in the heat of ten seconds of unity and decided that it was enough, for now. I leaned into her and rubbed the side of my head against hers. She held onto me with both arms.
It's a long winter coming. I'm sure she'll realize somewhere along the line that it'll be better to warm up to him than to freeze.