Tag Archiv: daughters
compliments of morguefile.com by dave
A week ago I was on a very well planned vacation. I knew everything about who, what and when. There were lists of options and lists of set itineraries. I knew it so well I stopped looking at it.
And then my brain missed an entire day. The plan was to leave Georgia at 6:00am sharp on Thursday morning. Somewhere in there I started saying, “Thursday is our last day.” This despite weeks of excited planning about meeting a friend along our route on that same Thursday. It was 7:15am Thursday when I realized that I had invited my aunt and her family out for the day to a home in which we no longer had accommodations. 7:15 when I realized that there was no physical way to meet my friend by 1:00. We weren’t packed. No one had eaten.
I felt sick. This does not happen to me. Except it was. My aunt was looking forward to another day with us. The much anticipated hours with my very dear friend were being cut down to very little. There was no way of fixing it with either of them.
We drove to my aunt’s home. She met me dressed to the nines in preparation for our visit. I explained the situation and apologized. “It’s alright,” she said. But it wasn’t alright. We visited there for an hour. I wiped my eyes and tried to hold it together. We said goodbye and got on the road. I set to crying in earnest. My husband could not get past the idea that eating a sausage egg Mcmuffin was the answer. I ate it and he felt better.
There was no way to undo anything. Now we were late. For more than 7 hours we were late. I am not wired that well for ongoing failure. I’m big on making things up to people but there wasn’t any way to make it up. Until 5:30pm we were not there yet.
It should be called a good day. Although shorter than intended, the visits with both my aunt and my friend were deeply meaningful. I was still muttering about my massive failures getting ready for bed when my oldest daughter began singing softly.
Everyone makes mistakes oh yes they do . . .
It’s a song Girl two brought it home from school a few years ago. Turns out it’s from Sesame Street:
Everyone makes mistakes oh yes they do
Your sister and your brother and your dad and mother too
Big people small people matter of fact all people
Everyone makes mistakes so why can’t you?
At home a few days later, I was telling the story of Michelle’s most awful disaster. “My aunt, my friend, the kids, they all forgave me, but it was awful . . .”
Which is when a freckled eavesdropper marched over to the sink where I was going dishes and tapped me on the arm.
“You know what I noticed,” said my youngest daughter on her tip toes so only I would hear her. She is missing her two middle teeth at the top. “Everybody else forgave you but you didn’t forgive yourself.”
She turned on her heel quickly and walked away, armed folded across her chest the way she does when she is sure that she is right.
Girl one loves things that sparkle or shine. She started asking to have her ears pierced before she was in school. I said no, pierced ears were for teenagers. How much longer until I’m a teenager, she wanted to know. When she was seven, we offered to let her pierce her ears for her birthday. Disbelief. Belief. Leaping. Wild celebration.
It was my idea but I was sick to my stomach. Ashamed that I was failing to hold onto to the standards set by the God fearing, tradition loving pioneers. For all I knew, we would soon be watching soap operas and drinking beer for breakfast.
At the jewelry store, I watched the woman pick up the piercer gun and waited for the lightening I deserved to strike me. A few seconds later, Girl one hopped off the chair beaming, a new spring in her step.
Mirror time had always been popular. Now it was a frequent necessity. I rolled my eyes at the silliness of it all. And I began to look forward to twice daily ear care. Me carefully cleaning around the new holes. Her mouth full of wiggly teeth grinning at the site of her ears in the mirror in front of her.
The sparkle of ear rings has been a happy part of the last year and a half. Christmas Eve, with much advance shouting from her siblings, Girl one appeared. She said nothing, her eyes filled with tears begging me to fix it. An ear ring dangled by no more than a string of skin from her ear, the blood long dried. Instead of a hole, there was an already healing rip to the outside of her ear. No one knew when it happened.
I cleaned the ear and held her. She sobbed until she was gasping for breath. When she could finally speak, she wanted to stay home forever. Cancel all Christmas celebrations. Never go to school again. It kept my own tears in check trying to focus enough to gently redirect the passions of my little mad woman. I don’t know how long I held her, or how many times I kissed that head of hers.
My feet felt heavy when I took a step. I wanted a good cry myself for letting this happen. For failing her so greatly in something that mattered to her so much. Christmas Eve afternoon does not afford time for personal meltdown. I told myself that I didn’t live in Syria. That my child was disappointed and embarrassed, not hungry or dying. We still had more than enough reasons to celebrate.
Girl one’s ear is rather tribal now. I have promised to have it pierced again. Just above the small sliver of air that softly divides her ear lobe into two sections. There will be no ear rings worn outside in cold weather with hats, but I didn’t worry about the lightening when I promised. I’m content to have fallen in love with the mystery that is my daughter.
When I was a teacher, I would tell my students that it was important to dream. That really no one, including you, knows who you might become. At the same time, I would tell them, we are only human. We have limits. There is something called reality. If you are two feet tall, you are not going to star in the NBA. Accepting your limits is ok. It doesn’t mean you stop dreaming.
I have a child who wants to become a saint. Let’s just say, it’s a long shot.
It hurts to watch her struggles. Her dream is painful to me. Part of me wants to tell her to give it up until she can at least listen to her mother, but something tells me to keep my mouth shut. There are worse things to dream about.
I want some comfort. I want cold hard facts. Tell me that Mother Teresa once had a thing for stealing chocolate milks, and I’m there. Mostly. Maybe add in that Mother Teresa lied like a cheap rug. Was a master storyteller, practicing her art at a tender age, before she taught us how to live.
If sainthood requires compliance, this mother superior sees trouble ahead. Things like, do not go into my room without permission, are routinely ignored despite consequences. Nail polish, scissors, or a button are deemed worth suffering for. I went through the boots last week and found something to fit everybody. Young saint deemed her grey boots unsuitable. She hides sneakers in her bag because they are boy boots and she would rather have her toes frozen than inside them.
Give it up, child! I want to scream. It is hopeless even without your dream.
She frustrates me , confounds me. Her dream to be a saint is beautiful, but it hurts to think about. Her teachers couldn’t possibly do anything but laugh at the idea.
This summer at the bus shelter, I discovered chaos. My recycling had been raided. Plastic bottles filled with this and that were on the floor. The benches were covered with piles of papers, disheveled, some also on the floor. I clenched my teeth, sick of the messes and picked up a few of the pictures. They had little money signs taped on them. 25 cents. 1$. A sign said, “Art sale.” Beside it was a labelled jar. “Money for the poor,” it said.
Sitting in a parking lot yesterday, I realized that I was being asked to give more than clear re-direction, and considered consequences. Against the odds, in the face of everything that laughs, I need to believe in her dream.
I didn’t arrive home to angels dancing. I arrived home to stories that didn’t add up. Today I will drive her to school and stand with her while she makes amends. Others may rightly shake their heads in frustration. I am sad at her choices, but I will hold her hand today and believe that this little girl will someday be a saint.
(Fasting from all things masculine as prayer for the sick? Stolen art for the needy? anybody? anybody?)
No, really, I’m going to believe it. We both need me to.
So Mr. 13 is bowing out of the celebrations this year. I got involved in the brainstorming last night with the girls. Ms. 5 was adamant that they wanted to be something scary. Ms. 8 listed off all the scary things they could think of, which would, incidentally, have given them nightmares about each other for a week. Luckily, they went to bed cheerfully diverted. Not sure what the forecasted rain will do to their plan to be professional violinists . . . but really I am only posting on this because of Mr. 10.
The formerly mad scientist announced yesterday that he was going either as a ninja or a spy. Both seemed to involve track pants and a hoodie pulled down over his head. From there the general malaise deepened. I offered suggestions. My husband heard the ten or so rejections and came down to try and help as well. I thought he and I were rather persuasive on the merits of being, a) one of the men in black, b) a s’more or c) Indiana Jones. A and C involved inquisition from Mr. 10, followed by excitement and enthusiasm about how he could pull it off. A lot of time later, still no decision. Exasperated, I give Mr. 10 one minute to make a decision – because how hard is it to choose between a man in black, Indiana Jones, a ninja, or spy?
“Got it!” he said thirty seconds later. Sly grin. Arms folded across chest. “I’m going to be an Egyptian Writer.”
Mr. 10 has a bacteria infested very large and perfect feather that he found in the field this summer. For some reason, I had not thought of a costume based on this. The Egyptian Writer plans to have his feather and a scroll covered in hieroglyphics . He will be sporting the flesh coloured pants from the hand-me-down bag that we have marvelled over but never worn. He also plans to fashion an Egyptianish toga type covering for his top half out of the blue sheet that ripped en route to the wash last week.
The boy brings new meaning to that whole verse about being in the world but not of it.