Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Girl Walks Into a School With a Cookie

My sweet, multi-faceted, complex, intelligent, lovely, warm daughter had a no-good-very-bad morning. So sad sad sad. She cried. She bawled.

After pulling herself together, she started crying again. You see, being the oldest child and therefore predisposed to pleasing the world, she crumples when she realizes I am not pleased. And this morning, I was calm, but definitely not pleased. I calmly explained why her behavior (screaming) was unacceptable. And then, I calmly asked her to go to her room. When she responded by screaming and slamming her door as she retired to her room, I calmly explained that she just lost a privilege (which, by the way, undoes her).

(An aside about me here because, at the end of MY day, it is all about moi: I went through a screaming phase lately. And I didn't like it. My anger flared quickly. I was constantly astonished at how little my children listened to me and so I started making my voice loud and my face ugly...maybe now they'll listen, I'd think. I mean, really, I was like one of those people who talk more loudly to someone who doesn't speak their language, as if increasing the volume of the words would magically translate them. I felt the wheels falling off my bus--the carnage in the aftermath of a yelling rampage is, ummm, bad. So, I recalibrated and returned to calm. As my good friend G says, "take the emotion out of it". It's one of the best things I've ever done for me and my kids. Also one of the hardest.)

With a blotchy face and red-rimmed eyes, Abby finished readying for school. And as I watched her, something happened. Instead of being angry and frustrated at her behavior, empathy started oozing from my heart. I think my calm meditation actually broke the hardened shell that started to reside around the outer chambers of my heart. The chasm, large and vast, healed. Both me and Abby.

She sat in my lap for another round of tears. I had all the time in the world. Nothing was more important.

And then everyone got a cookie.

Henry declared that this was a really, really good thing.

Apparently, sugar and chocolate sprinkle light and frivolity back into people's eyes...Abby began to shine once again.

We climbed into the car and drove to school. Abby requested Miley's Party in the USA. We listened, noddin' our heads like Yeah and movin' our hips like Yeah. I watched chocolate stained faces (and one tear-stained one) in my rear view mirror. Gratitude rumbled in my belly and poured out my heart.

I dropped Abby at school. She still wanted to walk in by herself. I pulled to the side to watch her entrance into the building. Even from a distance, I could see her sniffles, the swipe of her eyes with her sleeve, and I thought I could see her last bite and swallow of cookie. I sent her mental hugs and kisses and warmth for a good day. Her belly was full of cookie. My stomach lurched, my heart hurt and I realized, with absolute certainty, that she got my telepathic message. She turned and waved.


Jennifer Stack, M.S., R.D., C.D.E. said...

Despite my training as a dietitian, I KNOW there are healing powers to chocolate and cookies. When chocolate is eaten in the form of a cookie, it has double the healing powers. Throw in some milk for the calcium and vitamin D and we are very close to a well-balanced meal!! are a very good writer. I have no time or inclination to read blogs about motherhood yet here I am. Your writing grabbed me.--Jenna

Anonymous said...

So lovely...and I'm with Jennifer on the healing powers of a cookie. But with also being able to find the wherewithall to take a breath, step back and start again. I'm having to learn how to do that quick at my house. I have hot-tempered 18mo, my oldest wasn't like that. I feel like I'm learning how to be a mother all over again!