It's hard to welcome her, sometimes, and not just when she's fussing and demanding. Sometimes, it's even hard when she's spectacular, full of magic, learning to jump in the middle of the living room.
When I'm tired, when my heart hurts, when life weighs a lot, I want to hide behind my wall, close the door, and sit by myself for a while until life stops hurting again. And she's there, always there, needing and asking. It's like her very existence demands that I come out, that I attend, that I reach out around that door and hold her little hands while she tries to show me her latest conquest.
I'm an introvert, and I need time behind those walls. They aren't bad, don't represent hurts or shame or pain, just my own need to get away and go somewhere to process the things going on around me, because that's the way I am. But she needs me, needs me to open my heart and my very self and be present.
It's easy to fall into a halfway sort of presence, to mindlessly look up from my book or stick my head out of my room when she calls, make sure she's ok, clap if that's what's called for, and never really come out from behind the walls. Much harder, especially with first-trimester exhausting haunting me, to put down the book (or never pick it up in the first place), get up from my chair, and join in games I don't entirely understand with dolls and balls and cars and a barn.
And that's just the truth of the situation. I remind myself of this a lot, when I'm struggling and I feel like I should be doing better. Real hospitality, hospitality of the soul, isn't easy or natural for most introverts, and the need for constant hospitality, even for one who is so precious and darling and loved, is a drain.
Sometimes there aren't easy answers, aren't solutions that work for everyone, and so I pray every day for patience and peace and energy, and that already I would be teaching her to balance her needs for time with me and time alone. And I ask for help, so I can get a little bit of time here and there to retreat and rejuvenate. An imperfect solution in an imperfect world, you might say, but one that works for me.