We finally, finally closed on the house yesterday. Life can now begin to normalize.
I haven’t the energy today to give many details, but will soon. And please forgive me if this is a bit scattered. I don’t have much in the way of focus to give my writing right now, but need to try, for my own sake if nothing else.
One of the topics I hope to begin writing on (the list is growing, I know) is the growth, stress, difficulty, and healing this entire journey has provided for us. It’s extensive. But one area most applicable to this blog is how the entire adventure has affected my daughter. She is now almost three, and yesterday she learned that she is going to have yet another new place to live. I can’t get into the specifics right now, but want to say a little about why I am so happy we have managed to establish the sort of relationship we have with our kiddo.
When her Papa told her about the house yesterday, he did so in a manner of excitement and happiness. She didn’t respond like he thought she would. Her response was one of fear, dread, anxiety, and tears. We both flew into action to try to comfort and ease her concerns, but it didn’t help. So, I shifted gears and instead of trying to “make it ok”, through her tears I spoke to her as I would another close friend. The parent to child dynamics took a back seat for a few moments, while I simply told her the facts.
She quieted her tears enough to hear me… I explained that we now have two houses. I explained that we still had our existing house (she calls it our “TaosHouse”) and that we now also had a new house to play in. She insisted that we needed to go to our “hotel home” (this is her safe place, nothing there scared her). I told her we may spend a little more time in a hotel home, but that we would have all our stuff (ran through the list of items she has mentioned, like her purple bed, etc) in our new house in just a couple of days.
I spoke to her in a direct & connected manner, and as an equal. She is not quite three. She understands me completely and there is no speaking down or minimizing when we speak with her. I can level with her, share with her, and interact with her authentically and with mutual respect and equality. I don’t choose to be the authoritarian, the babysitter, or the “parent” that uses strict regimen, discipline, punishment, and constant harping. Our relationship wasn’t set up this way and such dynamics are unwelcome by both kid and parents.
She learns, I learn.
She explores, I guide.
She asks, I answer. I ask, she answers.
We feel, we love, we strive for harmony. We have challenging days sometimes too; I call her out on her difficult mood, she holds my nose to the ground when I’m grumpy. I know life isn’t always harmonious, really… take a look at the last 16 weeks… BUT we keep harmony and happiness as our goal and we usually sit in the calm and contentedness that this goal provides.
Does she throw a fit sometimes? Yes.
Do I? Uh-huh.
Is she annoying some times? Yep.
Does she think I’m just plain frustrating? Yes
Am I impatient sometimes? That too.
We communicate to each other how our choices affect one another. The resulting two-way communication is generally sufficient to restore harmony. I try to find tangible ways of explaining feelings to her, seeking harmony, respect, and happy interaction in the future.
And in the situations where I have unfortunately given in to my own weakness and insisted on my will instead of asking for her cooperation and working with her to achieve harmony, the result is my deep regret. Behaving this way never makes anything better for any of us. I may get what I want, but I also get a whole bunch of what I don’t want. I lose her trust in me as her “mama” and turn into just another mom. In those moments, I lose her respect as a result of my choice to demonstrate a disrespect toward her. We lose our harmonious, peaceful environment, and either petulance or dark melancholy sets in. BUT, ALAS, I GOT COMPLIANCE.
My daughter, at 2, understands so much. She is fully aware, even when I wish she were not. Especially when I wish she were not… when I desperately wish I could spare her our reality. Yet, she is not a task, a chore, or something to be conquered. She is what I choose to give my energy to, she is so much.