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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why did you let me? Why didn't you stop me?!

Once upon a time there was a girl, ...

a girl who dressed like a boy.

No pink, no ruffles, no necklaces and no silly nail polish.

Her mom tried to slip in a "girl" item here and there .. but to no avail.

The "girl" clothes were always discovered ... and the "offensive item" was rejected and returned.

And then ... something changed,

and the little girl who dressed like a boy,

started to dress and act ... like a girl.

And now she looks back at pictures of herself, and she says to me with a little pleading in her voice ... "Mom, WHY did you let me dress that way?!?!"

And I explain ... "Despite everything I said and did, Emme, you insisted on dressing that way.  You insisted that you knew what was best and you did it your way, even though I explained to you that there may be a different and better way.  It wasn't harmful in any way, so I went along with it.  A little girl, dressing like a boy, is not a bad thing, not a bad thing at all.  Believe me, when it really matters, I won't give in." 

"But mom", she pleads, her voice rising now, as she presses an old photo face down into the table, "I didn't know any better and you did, so you should have made me."

And it is at this point that I smile inside,

but I keep a very serious look on my face as I say to her ...

"You are so right Emme.  You're able to look back at that time now, and realize that you did not know best.  So let's keep that in mind when there are times when you demand to do it one way and I demand to do it another.  Maybe ... just maybe you'll look back on those times with the clarity of hindsight and realize that it saved you from asking ..."Why did you let me?  Why didn't you stop me?!?!"

There are times when this little analogy has come in very handy.  I may take a stand on a certain situation with her - and then the old bag of tricks comes out and she throws them all at me at once, with yelling and tears and temporary fury ... "but all my friends are doing it!  their parents let them do it!  you're too strict!  I wish I had different parents!  I hate this family!"

Sometimes I get angry and I meet her fire with fire of my own. 

But we always end up looking back at the time when a little girl insisted on dressing like a little boy ... and the little girl later admitted that her mom knew best.  That comes in handy right now as she traverses the tightrope of the teen years.

Happy 14th Birthday to our beautiful, head-strong, first-born daughter!  We promise to hold that tight-rope as steady as possible and never, never let go. :)

When I was shopping for Emme's birthday, I picked a beautiful, PINK sweater for her, and Maea looked at me like I was crazy and said... "It's PINK mom!  She won't wear that!"  And I smiled my knowing smile at Maea and I said, "I think she'll love it."  About 2 days before her birthday, Emme said to me ... "Mom, don't get me anything that's navy blue or gray, I want something colorful and fun!"

"What do YOU think is colorful and fun," I asked, "your definition and mine have been different in the past.  Are you thinking bright green, or yellow or orange?"

And she smiled a little sheepishly and said, "maybe even pink."

"Hmmmmm", I said, "I didn't even consider pink" as I winked at Maea.


Kim said...

I loved this post, thank you for sharing it! And happy birthday to your sweet girl!!

Karla said...

Happy Birthday - slow down, Emme! All our love to the birthday girl!

Thomas Family said...

Oh, Karen do I so know where you're coming from! Happy Birthday to Emme, and mom-vibes to you for the next few years. I think this is the part where our mothers' words come back to haunt!

Apryl said...

So sweet--Happy Birthday Emme!!