Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mom, I'm OK

There are few words that stir up such a mixed batch of emotions in me as does this one: PARENTING.

Before children I looked at the whole concept of "parenting" in probably a naive way. I grew up in a family of 5 children, and somehow my parents made parenting look quite easy. I'd like to say it was because we were all little angels, but I know that isn't true. My guess is that to some extent my parents went through the same gamut of emotions I feel as a parent. If not, I hope some other parent reading this is nodding their head so I know I'm not the only one.

From the first time your child grabs onto your finger, and then your hand, you want them to know you will never let go. You got this, right?? Right!?!? But then the first sleepless night happens or they start crying uncontrollably and you don't know what is wrong....then you start to think that there is much to learn. Parenting is challenging yet rewarding, complex but yet at times so simple, rewarding yet so frustrating, tiring yet so energizing...and the list could go on. And, just when I think I've mastered something, I'm taught something new. 

These past two days have twice taught me how resilient children can be, even your own. As a parent you know your children's personalities and what makes them tick. You prepare for each new adventure accordingly. You make sure all the landmines are avoided. You tread carefully. Then the unexpected happens and you are surprised.

Hold on, girls. I'm here...and I'm learning.
Scenario #1
Our older daughter has always been strong willed to the core. She is confident in most situations and likes to do things on her own. Case in point, when she started Kindergarten I walked her in the first day. The second day she didn't want me to get out of the car, and as she walked away she said, "I got this, Mom." Well, OK then....As most of the other moms walked their children inside I sat in my car and tried not to be offended that my child didn't need/want me there. I attempted to make myself feel better by saying a prayer of thanks that my daughter will have the confidence to face many things in life. 

From the time she started all-day preschool she has always enjoyed school. I think last year she maybe complained about a little bit of math homework, but she did it. So, needless to say I was surprised when I picked her up from the first day of 2nd grade yesterday with a sheepish look on her face. By the time we got home there were tears rolling down her face. It doesn't really matter why, it was more the fact that this was so unusual for her. Due to the nature of the tears, I was expecting this to hit her quite hard. 

I was wrong. This girl is resilient. We chatted about the day, and after she had time to soak it in and get a little TV time to unwind she was back at it. By the time my husband got home she was having a dance party with her sister. She was ready to go back out there and tackle the world, and today she was ready to get back to school. 

Scenario #2
Our younger daughter is, in many ways, a polar opposite of her sister. She is much more of a free spirit and has always been more shy than our eldest. Cuddles and hugs are her thing, and she tends to stick close by my side in new environments. It takes her a bit to get acclimated to new people as well. She also went to an all-day preschool, and the first few days of that were not easy ones for her.

Knowing this, I thought the first day of Kindergarten might be a tough one for her. Not only is it a new room and a new teacher and new friends and new expectations, once I leave she wouldn't have my hand to hold onto.

Today was the big day. We found her room and her locker and got her things put away. She went into the classroom and signed in and picked her lunch option. No words were spoken, but she didn't need to because I could tell it all by the look on her face. It is a look she gets when she is taking it all in, and that look was very present today as well. Her teddy bear she was allowed to bring from home was in one hand, and with the other she made sure I was close by. Then it was time to say "goodbye."

Once again I was proven wrong. I knelt down to give her a hug goodbye. I told her I loved her and that I'd see her at the end of the day. She looked at me and I said, "Are you OK?" It was then that she spoke with a clear voice and said, "Mom, I'm OK." With that she walked off, found some new friends to play with and never looked back or called my name. I almost fell over.

I would be a fool to think that every day from here on out will be all peaches and cream for both of my girls, but this showed me that they are more than I maybe give them credit for. When those days come, I'll be here to pick them up and comfort and console them.

These children of mine that I thought I knew so well taught me these past few days the same thing. Our children are resilient. They grow. They mature. And they will surprise us when we least expect it. That is what I LOVE about parenting. 

Simply put...I'm learning. 

1 comment:

  1. Then you for this. I've got my own little girl and I can only wonder what her personality will reveal as.