Posted tagged ‘parenting’

Love is (hardly) unconditional

August 30, 2009

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This week I’ve noticed myself getting annoyed with my daughter — I mean, really annoyed. Why?

Because she doesn’t do what I want her to do. She doesn’t talk to people, she barely talks to me. She doesn’t make eye contact. She is moody. She doesn’t hug. She doesn’t say, “I love you,” — except for the one time. She, quite frankly, challenges me.

I keep getting this phrase in my head, “Love is NOT conditional.” Over and over. And, it won’t leave. Right.  And as seen in the list above, I’m seriously conditional! But, I so don’t want want to be judgmental or conditional.  I hate it.  I feel stuck with my awful feelings.

But, today in church, things became clear.  The pastor spoke about seeing others through Jesus’ eyes, not our own.  We see the outside.  Jesus sees the heart.

Suddenly, it clicked.  I could apply this to my daughter and get unstuck.

I saw her behavior.  The outside.  (And got irritated.)  Did I notice her inside?  Her heart, her fears,  her introversion?  Well, that’s a no brainer.  No, I did not.

Wow.

I don’t normally blog about my faith but in this case, it’s relevant to how I can better love my innie daughter.

My life hasn’t changed in an instant but my vista is different.  Rather than a sky filled with menacing clouds, raining on another turbulent day, I choose to see beautiful shapes, shades of gray, smell of fresh rain, and glimpses of light.

I pray that with my new vision, my eyes can see the beauty in my daughter’s spirit and my love pours forth, unconditional and with abundance.  I will love her because of who she is, not what she does.  I don’t want  poor vision anymore.

I want God’s glasses.

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She said “I love you”!!

May 20, 2009

“I love you, too,” my daughter shouts, pulling open the front door.

“What?” I ask.  “Did you just say I love you?”

She smiles, “Yes.”  Then, she’s off to the bus stop.  The door slams behind her.

My world slows down.  I take a big breath:  inhale, exhale.

She finally said it.  After seven years of waiting.

“I love you, too.”

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It’s starting younger

May 15, 2009

We hear a lot about one girl – I’ll call her Madge.

“Madge said I was a looser.  Madge called me a jerk.  Madge . . . ”

Honestly, I think that it’s not bullying so much as the kid is just a snot.  But, never the less, my daughter must learn to deal with twits or bullies.   So, we’ve read many books on the subject & I’ve made a list of favorites.

Talking helps.

Reading helps.

Summer vacation will help even more.  Yea!

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Also, I think martial arts might be a good idea one day . . .

First school lunch EVER

April 27, 2009

Healthy Lunch BoxIt’s the end of April, and my first grader tried school lunch today.   I let her try.  I hoped she wouldn’t like it.

Why?  Packing is less expensive and more nutritious.  Plus, I can see what she ate by what she brings home.

Back to the first school lunch . . .   She loved it.

First off,  it was the coolest day of days to get school lunch.  Today, two Littleton police officers served the kids lunch.  How about that for fun?

“Mom, they were cracking everybody up in line.  And the policeman said that me, Cooper and Dillan were his biggest fans.”

Apparently, one officer gave out trays while the other, bread.

“What did you eat?” I asked.

“Nuggets.”

“You like nuggets now?”

“Yes, mom,” she sighed.   “And, I got chocolate milk.”

“So, do you always have policemen there?”  I asked, confused.

“No, this was the first time I saw them.”

Overall, a very exciting first time buying school lunch.  Darn.  I wonder how this will turn out . . .

Please say, “I love you”

April 9, 2009

So, I know it’s not about me.  Sort of.  I just would love some validation from my child.   Ha.  Who am I kidding?  First, she’s a kid.  Second, she’s an introvert.

Every night at bedtime, I hug and kiss my daughter.  Then, I say, “Good night.  I love you.”

She usually doesn’t hug me back.  Personal space issues for her are HUGE.   She’s not into touching so much.  Her hugs crack me up.  She gets a look of terror on her face, her eyebrows crunch together and she winces.  Nice.  Then, I go in for a hug and watch as her arms become floppy, followed by her body.  I hug.  She waits for it to be over.  It’s so fun!

Then the “I love you” part of bedtime.  I say it.  She doesn’t.  EVER.  Once, she grunted!!

“Would it be so hard to say it back to me?”  I asked her.

“I don’t know.”

“Will you say it one day?”

“Maybe.”

“Do you love me?”

“Yes,” she groans.

“Okay, good-night, then.”

Interesting.  She’s so inwardly focused.  I truly believe that it’s hard for her to verbalize her feelings.  She just knows them and that’s how it is.

It’s not about me.  It’s not about me.  It’s not about me.  . . .

The fun, the terror of a birthday party

March 29, 2009

Last week, my seven year old “innie” insisted I stay at the bowling party with her.   She felt nervous all day.   “Mom, I don’t want to bowl.  Do I have to?”

“No, honey.  You can watch.”

“Will they make me bowl?  I don’t want to, I just want to watch.”

“I said that’s fine.  I even emailed ahead to tell her you wanted to watch.”

Wanting to watch didn’t surprise me.  The ice skating party for another friend consisted of two hours of watching.  Not even close to the rink or a skate.  Just watching from a near by table.

Back to the bowling party.  She watched.  I watched.  I really didn’t want to stay.  Finally, after about 45 minutes, I asked if I could leave for a quick errand and come back.  “Yes, that’s okay,” she replied with decision.  Feeling confident she would be fine, I power walked out of there to the grocery store.

When I returned, the birthday girls mom ran up to me.  “Guess what!  She bowled!  She asked me if she could have a turn.  And she was dancing around.  And she’s really good!  I even got video!  I’ll send it to you next week.”

What?  I could be surprised, and I was a bit.  However, with my introvert, I know that she will do things when she’s ready.  The skating party, she needed more observation time.  The bowling party, she only needed one hour of observing and then she felt comfortable participating.

She smiled, her feet hopping up and down, crazy dancing.  She loved, loved, loved bowling!  On her own terms of course . . . “Can we go again tomorrow?”

Bowling

Bowling

Camping . . . inside

March 9, 2009
indoor roasting - it works!

indoor roasting - it works!

Who says you can’t winter camp with kids?  My husband needed a camping fix last week.   So, he and the girls planned a night of camping right in our basement.   The tent got nixed early on because it didn’t fit in the room.  Apparently, someone named Melissa didn’t read the dimensions carefully when she bought a new “family tent” – and it should say “for a  family of ten with two dogs, a cat and a small hippo.”

Sorry, I digress.

The girls made a river (blue tablecloth), boulders (pillows and balloons), bushes (rolled up stuff) and leaves (actual leaves and paper ones).  They spread out our sleeping bags, headlamps, backpacks and books.  They were ready at about mid afternoon.  “Can’t we start now?”

No.

Camping Out

Camping In

So with our extra time, I turned snack time into “make your own granola” extravaganza.  Bowls of granola, raisins, nuts, pretzels, and dark chocolate m&ms became the “granola bar.”   Yummy.  Yes, I did have to limit the scoops of m&ms to ONE — with exceptions made for adults when the kids weren’t looking.

Finally,  we ate hot dogs by our campfire (an old candle I found.)  For the grand food finale, we found the perfect sticks outside (-a benefit of not raking regularly!) and roasted marshmallows for s’mores.

Remembering our good old camp days, we tried to sing Kum By Ya but the girls just wanted to snuggle in.  Lights out and headlamps on.  Time to giggle, wriggle and listen to the loud, crunchy sounds of sleeping bags.   Good-night.

Family fun in the great indoors . . .

. . .  until my four year old started throwing up.   But that’s another post for another day . . .