Me: Here, find these words on this word find puzzle 5 yo: *40 minutes later* I'm finished Me: okay work on your puzzle while I check them 5 yo: *walking up the stairs* Seriously Mommy? Me: *surprised but after a 2 second pause to dissect whether my immediate reaction was necessary and what reaction would be more beneficial at this moment* Yeh-ah! seriously I struggled a few seconds with my response because I am a Caribbean Momma which means I don't play around with certain things and that would normally require a quick eye-brow raised, slow-turn, head-cocked 'excuse me?'. BUT, because one of things I have been working on with my daughter is authentically being herself, expressing herself, speaking up with the truth you know even in the face of a stronger presence or opposition (yes, these are the conversations I have with my children even at their ages), it's been a few years and at times the thought would try to come that 'you're fighting a losing battle. Some people just don't have that in them' to which I say 'shut up, you obviously don't know who she belongs to' (that is a double entendre - she is God's and she is mine). But in little moments like these I see evidence that the seeds have taken root - like a bamboo apparently I have to wait to see the evidence above the surface while the root system is being established underground.
She didn't say it disrespectfully but it actually was what I say in moments of usually incredulous inquiry. She didn't even say it how I do which is simply 'seriously?!?!'. Her tone and adjustment of the adding in of Mommy told me that her intent was not disrespectful. So it is working Momma you can relax a bit.
The evidence is peeking above ground...In moments such as me asking her if she wanted a hug the other night and a child that did not know how to give one but instead seemed rather confused by it - and even after explaining how a hug works more often than not she would just present her side for me to hug her stiff body. I knew the why but after all of this time, it still saddened me. Sometimes she lingered and I took those moments to show you can with an extra squeeze and added lift up...a spin...but usually it was obligatory even though she said yes. This time SHE opened her arms and came towards ME.
The evidence is peeking above ground...In moments where I ask her what she did in a certain instance and usually I'd have to ask three times to get the real answer because her anxiety is usually what answers first and in the presence of her strong mother who had already drawn a shell of a conclusion that she was not happy about, she stood and in a clear voice stated the same answer which I knew after the third inquiry asked in different ways - she didn't budge - so it was indeed the truth, and not the conclusion I was leaning toward. So I backed down, crossed my arms and said 'reeeally?' and she said 'yes'. I simply said, after a moment of looking at her intently, 'mmmkay' and walked away but inside I was beaming ...and exhaling. She stood up for herself in a quiet, solid albeit shaky strength. I teared up because this is the part of the same conversation I had with her recently with tears - you. have. got. to. be. stronger. I am concerned for you. Know that the way YOU see yourself and present yourself will either garnish respect or people walking all over you, manipulating and abusing you - I also told her 'you have no choice in this matter, you will not be walked on'.
I can't explain the load that lifted because I was hearing the clock tick on the urgency for her as she is approaching another birthday. I don't care where she should be at this age according to society but I do according to what I have poured in for all these years. There comes a point where your protection is hindering rather than helping. I will have to start stepping away inch by inch so she can start to stand. Just like my son when learning to walk - I had known for months that he could walk but HE didn't believe it. So I finally devised a way for him to realize it and the normal pulling your hand away wasn't working, he would just drop. I held the back of his collar and walked him across the room slowly lightening my hold until I let go and finally stopped as he kept walking so that he would realize that I am still here but you don't need me in that way anymore - it's stunting your progress and I have to back away because whether or not you believe it I know it so listen to your mother and walk forward son. It reminds me of the story of Jesus and His Mom at the wedding where he performed His first miracle that started His ministry that changed everything for all of us. Your past is not your story, it's not who you are but I cannot believe that FOR her. Ultimately she has to choose to believe it and KNOW it no matter what. So the way I parent is not typical but neither is our family or how we came to be. I have had to adjust and continue to adjust to be the parent that they each need. Sometimes you question the way you are and then God shows you why you couldn't be any other way. And then you can go mmmkay, I see what you did there. Don't know that I appreciate the method but I can't argue with the results. I guess like Father like daughter - my children will likely say the same to me🤷♀️