Thursday, April 14, 2011
the agony and ecstacy of raising girls
A few days ago I arrived at the gym to find Vivi's favorite playmate weeping giant tears on her mom's shoulder. When I asked what happened, the mom muttered "Maddie wouldn't hug her goodbye." I looked into those huge wet eyes, and all I could muster was a choked-up empathetic nod. To my pleasant surprise, Vivi demonstrated more emotional intelligence than me and just walked right up and gave her a huge hug. No more tears! They were back to all smiles and giggles and ran off to play together.
While the girls may have forgotten the sting quickly, I certainly didn't. I find myself overcome with frustration and a broken heart when Vivi is slighted by her peers. Once when she had just turned 2 she ran up to a girl about 6 years old on a playground and enthusiastically called out "Hi!," which was big for her since she typically lacked courage to break the playground ice at the time. I beamed proudly, until the girl quickly turned to her mother and shouted "I don't want to play with babies! I told you this playground wasn't fun" and stormed off. What did Vivi do? She shrugged it off and ran over to the slide. And moi? Red hot anger. I slammed that brat to the ground and pinned her there WWF-style until she apologized. Well, in my head I did. In reality, I attempted to channel my inner quiet ("Serenity now!") and move on.
Because I once was a young lady myself, I unfortunately know all too well that the days of slighting and rejecting are far from over for my two little girls. Like this mom who describes a teary episode of teen angst, I only hope I can provide the right mixture of intervention and restraint that will allow them to grow up to be confident enough to fight their own battles.
On the flip side, I am thrilled to be raising girls because they are so sweet and cuddly. The old saying "sugar and spice and everything nice" is already coming true in our household, and I am looking forward to years to come of attentive and caring children.