Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fragile children

I was talking to another mom today about something ... I can't remember exactly what it was but I think it had to do with stress about moving and how that has been showing up in our family with us yelling at each other and having short fuses. Then I said something without thinking about it much, but it got me thinking. I said, "I think kids are not as frail as us parents."

Now, in some ways I don't know if that is true. But in others it seems to be true. My daughter is worried about moving but after she talks a little about it she seems to pep up and start thinking about how exciting it will be. When she thinks of going to a new place with strange kids her usual response is, "Cool! I can make new friends!" Whereas I fret and worry and can't sleep and obsess in my head about how people won't like me or I won't like them and isn't there a crystal ball I can look into? Like with Woodinville, I've been trying to figure out if all the moms are going to be "spa moms" and I'm going to be lonely and have no one I can relate to. And I find myself trying to figure out how I can know this ahead of time. Can I tell from the photos on the PTA website? Aren't there any blogs from the moms at my daughter's new school? How can I find out beforehand??? Eeeek! Whereas my daughter is sleeping fine, eating fine and just wanting to talk about how things will change once in awhile.

I think too about my friends, S. and H. who lost T. about a year and a half ago. T. was one of my best friends and S.'s wife and H.'s mom and H. was five years old when she died. I saw S. and H. over the summer and was comforted by how well they were both doing and I was proud of S. for how he seemed to really be dealing with his grief while still continuing to life and move forward (just like T. would want). And H. was a happy, well-adjusted kid. And I thought how I had been afraid it would totally devastate him to lose his mother so young. But he's surviving and in fact not just surviving but thriving. I can't even tell you how relieved that makes me!

It makes me think about when I was pregnant and all the ways people told me I had to really be perfect or my baby wouldn't be healthy. I had to eat perfectly and never be in smokey rooms and not even smell alcohol. In fact, I was even told not to watch horror movies (I love a good spooky movie ... although I don't like gore ...) because the stress of watching a scary movie would harm my fetus. Nowdays I hear about not saying "No" too much and not stifling the child with discipline and all this crap. And I think that children are not as fragile as our modern society thinks of them. It's good for them to hear no and get in trouble when they act out of line. And I ate nothing but mac & cheese and beefalo burgers for months when I was pregnant because everything else made me throw up and my baby came out fine. But it's hard as a mother not to feel like my child is incredibly fragile and I have to be there all the time to deter any blow that could come her way. Even now just thinking about her new school I shudder to think of "what if it's full of bullies?". So, I just need to intellectually keep reminding myself how strong and resilient children naturally are and keep slowly letting her go and find her way little by little as she learns how to be an independent person. Damn that's hard though!

1 comment:

  1. I think we don't become (or possibly find out that we already are) fragile until someone points it out to us. When a toddler falls, unless she's seriously injured, she can be easily distracted by turning it into something silly. The same fall for an older child is devastating because she's been taught that the reaction is supposed to be hysteria and tears rather than laughter.

    A calming thought about the moms at the new school: even among the "spa moms" there will be some moms who are down-to-earth. If I could find them in MonkeyDoodle's "rich white kid school," you can find them in Woodinville! It might take some searching, but they're there!