Saturday, February 7, 2009

The music swells

Setting: Our breakfast bar yesterday around 11am
Players in the drama: DD and I after major meltdowns all morning. She was mad at having to stay home - doesn't like that it's not a party when you are sick. Both of us still in our pjs and me feeling like a nap already.
Trying to accomplish: Getting her math homework for the day completed. She is so anxious about it - I didn't even know if it was being assigned, but she couldn't stand to not do it - so here we were. I was trying to teach a 'new' concept...
Enter stage right.
Me: DD, you can do this. Calm down and look at what I'm showing you. You are so smart and I know this is new, but I also know that you can get it if you'll listen.
DD: I don't want to listen, this makes no sense.
Me: Ok, then let's not do it. It's not worth arguing and you seem to think that I don't know what I'm doing. Head on upstairs to rest for awhile.
DD: (starts bawling and throws herself into my arms) I'm so sorry mommy. I wish I could trust you, I don't know why I can't. I just want to make you happy, I want to be a good little girl, I wish I could do it. I'm sorry, I'm sorry...(really bawling)

It came out of nowhere and it was the first time ever that she's looked to me for comfort when she's upset. Suffice to say that the morning had been tough and not the nicest interactions. I had tried to regroup before I called her down - so these moments at the bar were much calmer. I had pointed out to her earlier that I would be happy to talk with her when she wanted to explore the fact that making me angry makes her happy. It's not something that can be understood...but we both know it's true.

So, I carried her to the sofa (wish I had a rocking chair) and rocked her while stroking her face and telling her how special and wonderful she is. I continued to calm and sooth her. She was able to stop crying and cuddle in. She was relaxed (also a major first) - no stiffness - actually closed her eyes and rested in my arms. She asked me to tell her things about our lives. Things about her life before us (I can only tell so much and always let her know when I'm filling in blanks). She wanted to know about when I was little. She wanted to know why I take medication every morning (for my own bi-polar) - I was honest and explained that both of us have brains that aren't real good at controlling how we feel and aren't real good at letting us relax - for different reasons. What a pair we are, huh? It was actually special - honestly, I felt so a mother and daughter that love each other. It felt real.

I woke up early this morning and couldn't stop the thought train. I wonder if I've done part of this to them. It's not like I was the softest place to land as they left their old lives. I certainly wasn't able to completely fake it every day. I struggled - so does that mean that I'm the reason they still struggle? Oh the guilt that I try to keep at bay - it's back today...

DS2 was angry at me last night. We were eating out and he choose a not-so-healthy meal so I had him order a salad - at least get some greens in him. He was mad and was spacing out - like he often does when he feels an emotion that he doesn't want to/or can't control. However, when I asked him if he was upset with me - he said "yes, I didn't want a salad". OK...seems basic - but for him to verbalize it and not lose it and stay calm and look at me while he told me he was upset - well, it was a great thing! Of course, he still had to eat the salad (and he did)...but I did give him a little hand squeeze to let him know I appreciate what he's trying hard to do. Integrate feelings into life...taking steps toward that goal!

Enter my brooding pre-teen just now into my computer space...asking when he gets his phone back (although he knows the answer and he chose the consequence). As he raises his arm I see the hair - OMG, hair under his arms. Not just a few strays either...real hair. I held up his arm and wanted to discuss it - apparently not a topic that he wants to discuss with me. Tickling him to make him smile and he's hard to tickle now - almost as big as me and strong as an ox. I guess a mom asking where else the hair is growing is a bit mortifying...huh - I'll have to remember that!


  1. Progress in many ways on many fronts...perhaps DD's day home was a good thing for both of you; good that DS2 is vocalizing his thoughts better and, well...that last one...welcome to being a teen parent!

  2. What good news! I hear over and over that some of the biggest attachment leaps come during sickness. I guess it just helps lower barriers and encourage nurturing moments.

    Great boy news, too! Well, I don't know if hairy armpits are great news...but it's certainly moving forward!

  3. What a great post! Having a child be able to relax into you - that's a victory. And as for not being the best place to land - I have to believe that our kids come to us for a reason. Or maybe a number of reasons - but it's not random. I have to think that some of my hardness is what is needed to help my kids make it to adulthood ready to face the world. And I hope that my kids have helped develop in me more capacity for intentional softness (as opposed to the kind that just comes - like when you are holding a new baby). You have to believe that what you have to offer as a parent is something your kids needed. Even if it doesn't always feel that way.