Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lessons From My Daughter.

I have a tendency to give up. I don't like confrontation. I don't like making waves. I don't like disappointing people. And most of the time, I just forget about what I wanted and take a back seat to avoid those things. Somewhere along the line, the tendency to give up has turned into a tendency to talk myself out of things before I even try. And I didn't realise it. Not really, anyway. At least not until last night. When I realised I was also doing it to my daughters.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about Beege. She is such a brilliant kid. She's funny, and insightful, and unique. She's eight now*, and it's time to start preparing her for the wonders/horrors of puberty. I've worried about her fitting in, because I've never felt like I fit in anywhere. It's a lonely feeling, and like every other bad thing, I want to spare her that.

But really, she's fine. She's more resilient than I ever was. She stands up to bullies, and if she thinks something's important, she makes sure that you listen. She's sure of who she is and what she likes, and I've realised that she is going to find people to fit her, she's not going to worry about fitting herself to anyone else.

Beege and Kee like to watch TVOkids. And every time they bring up the phone number, Beege wants to call in. She always knows the answer, or has something interesting to say about the topic, and she wants to share. I used to let her. But she never got through. And at some point, I started telling her not to bother because she wouldn't get through anyway.

If I could use a time machine, I would use it to go back to the first time I said that and punch myself in the mouth before I could get the words out.

Last night when she asked if she could call, I was in the middle of making dinner. I started to say no, as usual, but instead "Go ahead," I said, and couldn't help adding, "but you probably won't get through."

She called the number and sat there patiently, holding the phone to her ear and looking very serious. I told her to hang up after a few minutes, but she told me it was ringing, and she would wait. Then someone finally answered. She got on the air. She told the hosts about Claude Monet, and that she liked his paintings of Water Lilies. She told them that she also likes to draw and paint.

And she was so happy. I wish I'd taken a picture of her face the moment she got off the phone.

How many times have I told her "no" to something because I thought she might get hurt? Because I thought she might be disappointed? How many times have I prevented that look on her face?

I admire her so much, and I want to help her become whoever and whatever she wants. And that means letting her feel disappointment. Letting her try things that might not work out. Letting her discover her own limits, and not forcing mine on her. Especially when mine are crap.





*Her birthday was on Friday. I'm still in shock.

6 comments:

  1. Go Beege! I am right there with you on this. I hear myself all the time saying things that are the equivalent of "you probably won't get through" in so many situations and I think I'm such an ogre. How do I know? Maybe they will. Maybe they will do all kinds of things I never thought were possible. Isn't that why we have kids? (Besides using them as your minions, of course.)

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    1. I'm noticing lately how little I'm smiling, and laughing, and having fun with them. I spend too much time worrying about them, and not enough time enjoying our time together. And ultimately, it's better that they're disappointed by small things now so that they're not completely blindsided by big things when they're older.

      Lol... they need to be a bit taller before I can fully exploit them as minions. And of course, they'd have to also start doing what I ask them.

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  2. A lovely post! I sooooo enjoyed this - and related to it. Letting kids have their disappointment has been a hard one for me too. When my oldest son started high school he knew no-one and sat alone for weeks. I asked him about making friends and he said 'I'm not going to make friends with people I don't like just to have friends' eventually he became part of a group of guys who were quiet and a little different just like him.
    Tell Beege Monet has always been a favourite of mine. I also like Toulouse Lautrec.
    Merry Christmas to you and the girls:)

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    1. Your son is a brilliant boy. I hope my kids will have that self confidence, because he's absolutely right. I imagine he was much happier than if he'd gone and sat with someone just for the sake of sitting with someone.
      We'll have to sit down and look up Lautrec - she hasn't mentioned him.. I may actually get to teach her something! ;)
      And to you as well!! :)

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  3. LOVE. So sweet. She will NEVER forget that. What a great kid.

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    1. Thanks, Kyla :) She really is. They sent her a "thank you for calling" package - some worksheets, a pencil - and she's writing them a thank you note back.

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