Thursday, January 23, 2014

Y is for You

I have a confession. I tell my daughters why I love them. It's a problem - and here is why...
When my husband was out of town for two weeks my oldest daughter would wake early in the morning to make lunches for her sisters. She would insist on morning prayers and schedules kept. She is intrinsically motivated to do everything by the book. The world is painted in strict black and white lines. She wants nothing more than to be and do right. For three straight years she was honored with Student of the Year award. She out-read (by over 100 points) her entire grade last year. She strives for perfection and praise.

But sometimes I forget that perfection comes in many forms.

My middle daughter doesn't color in the lines. She rips the pages from the book and creates her own picture. She embarrasses her older sister with her imaginative stories and colorful ensembles. She doesn't march to the beat of her own drum - there is no drum, there is only her.

Charm rolls from her tongue, friends flock to her, and adults adore her. But her mother wants to kill her. As cute as she is, it's incredibly hard to teach (or discipline) a child who's never had her feet touch the ground. 

My oldest has thrown her hands in the air. She's frustrated because through her diligence she has earned her way at the head of the class. Yet her sister floats about from one fantasy to the next, coming down only when a teacher or parent demands her attention. She aces the task, and promptly excuses herself from reality.

Yesterday, I stood in my house wondering how to reach my middle child. I had a stack of papers from her teacher (she had stared off into space the day before and hadn't done her classwork). I walked from room to room and saw only her clothes scattered throughout the house, her written stories littered in various rooms, and her art projects plastered on several walls. 
I questioned why she couldn't be more like her older sister. Why couldn't she at least pretend she listened to me, or anyone.

Today, I would teach her a lesson.

She greeted me outside the school and slipped her hand in mine. I tried not to mirror her dimpled smile, that kid was too cute for her own good. She froze, pulling me to a stop.

"Today was the best day ever," She clapped her hands together. My heart sank. I couldn't discipline her now, her smile had reached her eyes. "____ got Best in the West today. I am so super proud of him. He so deserved it. I am like beyond happy!"

The boy my daughter mentioned had been struggling. I had forgotten her devotion to him. And to every kid that was different. In that moment she reminded me of when her older sister was being bullied and she intervened, not caring that she was a fraction of the girl's size. I had forgotten how she held my hand when my dog died.

Today, she had taught me a lesson I hope never to forget. 

She doesn't value the world the same way as her sister, or her mother. Nor does she value people in the same light. Everyone's a person. And every color has a purpose. It's not a black and white world but a colorful, fantastic world. And one day, I hope to see it through her rainbowed set of eyes.

I hope to tell her, I love her. Not because of what she does but rather who she is. I need to say, "I love you, because you're you" and nothing more.

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