How did the rose ever open it's heart and
give to this world all of it's beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
against it's being,
t o o
f r i g h t e n e d.
I have probably quoted this Hafiz passage before on here--I LOVE it--but it just seemed to articulate so perfectly what I am feeling right now. I am so grateful for all your responses to my last post: on Facebook, via e-mail, by phone, and by so many lovely comments here. I am very moved by your stories, by your care and concern, by your encouragement, mostly just by your willingness to walk with me on this journey. Nearly as soon as I posted my cry for help with Little C, the love started pouring in, and I instantly felt safer, and less alone. So thank you for providing "the encouragement of light."
There are a few things I'm aware of right now, after some space from the emotions of that post, and after many real and virtual conversations with you all. One is that I am the caretaker of one amazing little girl. At 4 1/2 her negative behavior is not in any way a reflection on her character. Of course, her deep sense of standing up to injustice is a quality that Papa D and I prayed she would develop (Justice is her middle name... No, really, it is!) and while now I am currently the source of most of the "injustice" she is aware of, hopefully, as she grows, she will continue to speak out about injustice where she sees it.
Another thing that a friend pointed out to me is that she is the daughter of my husband. Now that might seem patently obvious, but for those of you who know my husband, you know that he likes to raise a little hell. In fact, I seem to recall some hazy memories of him patting my pregnant belly and say, "Oh, I just hope she's a little fireball!" So he got what he asked for, and therefore he can deal with her until she's 6.
Another truth that came home to me is that I take her behavior WAAAYYY to personally. I don't think this struggle is unique to me--I think lots of moms have a hard time drawing the boudary of "self" and "other" in response to our small children, maybe especially to our daughters because we identify with them so much. But when she has a fit about something or other, she's just being a 4 year old. I don't need to be offended, I just need to deal with it. And, if at all possible, I should really try to be the adult in the situation.
I have also been reminded of how much she and I both need rhythm and consistency in our life together. It's no accident that I reached this breaking point right after the holidays and a lot of busy, busy weeks strung together. We might need to make some changes to our life to provide a greater sense of structure for her, and for me.
There's more to be said, but I'm VERY tired and need to go to bed. As I have been reminded through this, at the end of the day I love her so deeply, if imperfectly, and she knows that, she really does. And maybe, just maybe, I can turn some of that mothering love towards myself, and rest in gratitude and acceptance. Thank you all for being with me as I find my way.