I am a mother of a daughter. I realize, with the passing of each day, that this is one HARD job. She's just six. She delights in one moment and fumes in the next. She seems annoyed a lot, about a lot of things. She sighs. She slumps. She cries about happenings I would describe as small and insignificant. When I inquire about her feelings, asking why she feels the way she does, she gives age-appropriate answers but not emotionally insightful ones, i.e., I don't think she's acquired the vocabulary to give her own articulate, state-of-the-emotional-union.
Do I push too hard? Do I not motivate enough? Am I too harsh? Am I squelching her spirit? I have many questions. But for now, the biggest help comes from this admission: I don't know. I don't have the right answer, the right words, the right strategy.
My words, which used to calm like a salve, now seem to incite like a red flag to a bull. My patience, of which very little remains, seems to offer no reprieve. Maybe, if I could remember what it what felt like to be six, and in first grade, I could reflect and find some answers. Even if I could rely on my memory, I doubt it would offer much insight because Abby and I, we're different. Same last name, same gene pool, same face. However, she's on her own unique journey and I'm on mine. We're lucky enough to meet here, now, to travel together.
Tonight, her pouty, whiney mood escalated to a grand crescendo. After I read her a great new book (another attempt to guide her on her journey), we snuggled, as we always do. She started fake crying (again) and whimpering (again) about how uncomfortable she was. (This came after two hours of the same sighing, whining and groaning.) I grabbed her shoulders and said, very sternly,
"If you are uncomfortable, then get yourself comfy. NOW. These things are NOT worth crying about. A broken arm, worth a cry. No clothes, no house, no money to go to the doctor or eat, all worth a tear. But not this. STOP!"
I tried to shake her out of it. I wanted to slap her out of it--but fortunately, patience paid a visit again and I did not. Instead, I pulled her body on top of mine. Her ear lay suctioned on my chest. If she chose to listen, she would've heard my heart beat. Hopefully she deciphered its Morse code message:
"I love you."
"I am here."
"I support you."
"You are intelligent, special and gifted."
I took her back to our beginnings. Tranquil. Warm. Heat beat. Peaceful. Her breaths lengthened, her body heavy. She slept. I stayed still, soaking up the moment.
I still have no answers. But tonight, Abby and I broke through to a peaceful end. Goodnight, Abby. I love you.