"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Thought Remorse Was a Rumor

"When Princess comes here, we're all about her. She gets all our attention, and she hasn't hurt any of us. So we end up seeing some different things than you're going to see at home. And one thing I'm seeing is a very, very, VERY remorseful girl. If she's done something big to you, she walks right in and tells me, 'I beed really mean to my Mom." After your vacation, she made a b-line to the crafts. I had other things planned, but she would have nothing to do with them. She couldn't think about anything else until she had made you something. You know. Like a three-year-old. They think if they give you a dandelion, it's going to be all better. She is all about YOU. And she knows she's hurting you and she doesn't know how to stop or make it better."

"But how can that be? How is it I never EVER see that? At home, everything's about how everything is everyone else's fault. She NEVER seems sorry. And all those things she makes me? She shoves them at me with a "here" like she's done with it now and doesn't know what else to do with it."

"Have YOU ever had to apologize to someone? You know how much anxiety that makes."

Oh no. Oh no oh no. Ohnohnohnohnohno. She can't be right. Because that changes everything. As Princess's medication balanced, she got meaner. It wasn't like it didn't know what was happening. I knew she was suddenly feeling everything without knowing how to deal with it. I knew it. But I got scared. She was never sorry; she never felt bad; she always acted the next day (or the next hour) like nothing had happened. She didn't care. Why should I? The implications were horrifying. It was easier to pull away. I told myself it was ok. I was giving myself space. I was taking care of myself. Right? Right?

Except that's not really what it was.

And then a little grain of anger formed. And that was ok, too. Wasn't I entitled to feel angry? I mean, who wouldn't? It was all so unfair and all. So I periodically took it out and stroked it and polished it, and pretty soon it was bigger and hard and shiny and I could carry it everywhere. And so the wall went up. Which was great, because things didn't hurt so much then. Because what did I care?

Only this. This changed everything. I knew what she said was true because I felt my insides whump as soon as she said it. Because if she cares, then all I'm doing is reinforcing her shame, reinforcing her perceived worthlessness, her unloveablity.

And that's not why I'm here. That is not what I set out to do.

The same day (of course, because that's how things work), Christine said something about being brave enough to trade anger for silliness. It was just enough to kick my butt back on the wagon.

"I know you're not listening. That's cool. Thanks for picking that up anyway."

Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day.


  1. No, Rome was indeed not built in a day. Our "Rome" won't be either. We just keep plugging along.

  2. Being Silly helps families have fun laughing together. That memory can last for a long time.
    Drop the attention to anger when possible. You're right, it just gets bigger. Focus on the goal. Whatever it is for now.

  3. Small children regularly and routinely learn and can be taught to apologize - the kid you call princess can't seem to be bothered to. You could interpret her handing you a little trinket she made as an apology OR simply teach the kid to apologize when she's made a mistake.

    Why reward crappy behavior with silliness??? It's the perfect thing to do!! Yours succeeding in reinforcing bad behavior in princess n making yourself feel better by calling it "rad" in lieu of "overindulged kid".

    1. Julietta,
      Perhaps you are not paying attention in your reading of this blog to the heart of this family. Or that they started out with a bit of a "handicap" in golf terms or bowling rather than the you get to park closer to the store version of the word.
      Overindulgence is not something these children suffer from. Rather thoughtful parents who take seriously their roll in raising citizens.

      I for one am routinely impressed by how God is shaping them as parents, and as a family.

      Keep up the awesome work Kerrie and Josh! You are an inspiration.