Thursday, 11 October 2012
I’ve had one of those months where besides the ‘everyday stuff’, I feel as if I’ve spent nearly every waking hour, running around trying to put out one ‘fire’ after another – of the emotional kind – and frankly, I am exhausted. Years ago, someone knowingly chuckled when I mentioned I have three daughters. Back then, I didn’t get it. But now, I am just beginning to understand.
It began with me trying to encourage my eldest to participate in the everyday with honesty and awareness, instead of just going through the motions and/or only skimming for the barest of details before throwing herself head-first (or heart) into a commitment. That said, in spite of my not-so-subtle hints, she procrastinated over one of the matters for a little too long – and then the issue was taken out of her hands and she felt bereft and hurt. Sigh. There is only so much a pep talk and motivational one-liner can help when you are feeling down; and at the end of the day, its up to the individual to haul themselves out of that emotional 'ditch'. And yet, considering she was also negotiating a new school AND the ending of a crush-that-was-going-nowhere, to her credit, after earnest tête-à-têtes, she appears to be getting on with it with a grace that I never possessed at her age. But before I could say “Whew, let’s do a happy dance for surviving that challenge!”, another ‘fire’ appeared, and another and another… You get the picture.
Meanwhile, in-between trying to encourage my other child to believe in herself and see how exceptional and wonderful she is, I ALSO had to discourage her latest occupation – creating drama (which I sense also stems from her insecurities). The crazy thing is, she is the child who achieves so much with so little effort and always seems to be able to form strong friendships which aren’t wrought with jealousy! So why the theatrics? I am still trying to figure it out..
Sigh! And just when I finished clearing up all the balled-up snotty tissues yielded from that 'case', I noticed my other child’s inability to say “no” was getting her in all sorts of situations. Luckily, at nearly-9, the scope is limited in what KIND of ‘situation’ you can find yourself in. But as I imagined all the types of bothers she COULD get herself into later on in life if she didn’t learn how to say “no”, we had a few heart-to-hearts. But yet, as I watched her from across the school playground a few days later, it was evident she had a long way to go before she learned the lesson and I reconciled myself to the knowledge that it was going to be an ongoing conversation for the foreseeable future. But before I could take a breath, another situation cropped up which involved all three!
Urgh! Trying to teach the girls the fine balance of standing up for themselves, but in a way that doesn’t cause them to mutate into mean girls, is no easy matter. In our household, all three are quite awesome when it comes to standing up for others, but when it comes to themselves, it becomes an interesting study. One child becomes overly defensive and aggressive, one is deceptively passive but actually on a slow-boil – until her emotions get the better of her and she explodes. And the last? She just wants everyone to be happy but forgets that she too deserves that satisfaction, until it all becomes too much and overwhelms her. But no matter the behavioral feature of the child, it all ends in frustrated and confused tears. Sometimes, even mine!
And its these times especially when I am grateful I have the choice to be there for them because not everyone is lucky enough to be able to nominate the role they want to play in their children’s lives.
Yes, the drama, whenever it crops up, is draining. And more often than not, unnecessary. But, I understand it’s a rite of passage – the drama and zits, the tears and menstruation-induced mood swings, the angst and emotional roller coasters. Throw into the mix the different personalities and traits, and with no ‘surefire-guaranteed-to-solve-it-all guide book’, all you can do is 'doggy paddle' (and in my case, pour myself a nice stiff drink at the end of the day!).
But yet, in spite of the drama, tampons and stuff that seem to magically walk out of my room and end up in their’s, I would not swap my daughters for all the tea in China because they are MY girls. I may not always understand them or their needs but I think, alongside Matt, they are the most wonderful people in the world and so I try my hardest to figure it out, often learning on the job and making it up as I go along.
And so I pray. For guidance, wisdom and insight. For patience. And most importantly, a healthy sense of humor – for us all!