Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Drip Drip Drip

After years of steady patience, the so small drip of water makes a dent in the sturdy, durable rock. Drip drip drip the water falls, each small drip doing its part to leave an indelible smooth dimple on the rock. The water cannot see its effect, it is only with time that the magnitude of the water’s movement can be seen and felt on the rock’s surface.

I am the drip of water. My daughter is the rock. Since her life began, I’ve been dripping away at
her. Please be gentle. Drip. Please say thank you. Drip. Please don’t bite. Drip. Please pick up your toys. Drip. Please don’t whine. Drip. Drip. Please use your words to tell me why you are upset. Drip. Drip. Drip. Many weeks and months pass and I keep dripping. Sometimes I plop and others I rage like a white capped river. Sometimes the rock seems to defiantly throw my little drip back up into the air. At other times the rock is steadfast, not changing, no matter how many times I drip.

In my nascent parenting years, I thought raising children was a bit like molding clay. A pliable, malleable young life in my hands and my charge was to mold him or her into the right form. I now know that this thought was delightful yet naïve. Children are beautiful, natural, exquisite miracles. Jagged, hard miracles.

My children are delightful. They are well-mannered and sweet. They also do very good sturdy rock impersonations. As the (mostly) patient drip of water, I’ve been witness to the most amazing thing. I can actually see the dimple of my efforts on one of my sweet little rocks, Abby. After years of working with her on good and appropriate ways to manage her moods and emotions, she has folded all of the advice, tips and drips into her repertoire. They are a part of her. The last two weeks I’ve watched my sweet daughter have a wave of whininess descend upon her and instead of me dripping advice onto her, and instead of her whining and crying at me, she’s taken quiet time. (!) And then come to talk to me rationally and politely about what she’s feeling and what she’d like to see happen. (!!!) It is tremendous, refreshing and heart-warming. All my days of guiding, moments of frustration and drip, drip, dripping have sculpted a tough rock into a smooth little girl who is striding further and longer with confident, sturdy steps.

I know I will always drip. It is the maternal way. I will always probably remind my children to write thank you notes and to R.S.V.P. in a timely manner. They will probably say, “Moooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmm, I know! Will you stop?” And I’ll try. But like any good water drop, I’ll continue dripping diligently remembering that long after I’ve stopped, the paths and ways of my children will always be paved, indelibly etched, with my advice, guidance and love.

Post script: I just realized I’m resting my feet on Henry's dump truck which has somehow found a home underneath my desk. “Oh Henry,” drip, “come on over and let’s put this truck away.” Drip. Drip. Drip.

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