I have a problem. I don’t like my best friend’s daughter.
I feel kind of guilty writing this. But only kind of.
Let me state my biases. Most of my experiences are with youth ages 12-24. When I first began doing youth development work it was in 2002 at Milton Hershey School. I was 19. The kids with whom I worked were 5-8 (ish). Things went great. We spent a lot of time laughing and just being silly. I have no recollection of feeling this frustrated.
In fact, one of my favorite people in the entire world is 4 and I’ve loved him since before he was born. He’s pretty awesome. We would go for hikes, play soccer, play basketball, play “football,” and he’d help me cook some random meal in the kitchen. I liked hanging out with him. His parents weren’t too bad either. 😉
With this current issue she is the daughter of my best friend and her partner. Both were former roommates. My best friend knows everything about me and we’ve been close since the moment we met performing theatre in Chicago. It’s about 6 or 7 years since our first meeting and a lot has changed. I live in another city. She lives in the same place. I’ve had several partners in this time, and she’s still with the same one. Other than that, we’re still the same people.
Enter her child.
When I’m not around, her kid asks for me. We talk on the phone. She talks about me when I’m not there. When she found out I was coming she was super excited and she looked forward to my being there. I was told this from her parents. When I visit which has been several times over the course of her life. Initially, she was SUPER loving. I could hold her and she’d rest her head on my chest in the most adorable way possible. I mean even her mom would be like, “Yeah, she doesn’t do that with me anymore.”
This most recent visit she was excited to see me and was loving for a while. The first night she fell and slammed her head on an end table REALLY hard and she opened up all her faucets and screamed. I held her and she cried. Her mom was RIGHT next to her when it happened. But, she held on to me and cried. It was cool. That was two days ago.
Five minutes ago her mom handed her to me and she started crying. She wanted mommy. She wanted daddy. It was the end of the world. This kid doesn’t want to be held by me. Please understand I’m an advocate for giving people space regardless of age. We’re all people and should be able to set our own boundaries. As a result, I don’t chase after her. I don’t try to pick her up all the time. I let her have her space.
She still cries when I hold her.
After a while, that shit hurts. I told all of this to my friend. I came to the conclusion that it’s super hard for me to get this from the offspring of my best friend. I love her and her partner to death and its weird to not be embraced by another member of their family. Shit, it’s hard not being embraced by people, let alone a 2 year old. Unfortunately, my walls are up and I’m starting to take it personally. Because it is. She’s responding this way as a direct result of who I am.
This is so frustrating. I’m at the point where I’m just going to back away from the kid and try to reconnect when she gets older. Maybe she’ll reach out then with some shit like, “My parents suck and don’t understand me.” I’ll be like the aunt she can come and talk to when shit gets real.
For now, I’m over her.