Saturday, January 31, 2009

Growing Together

June, 2008

A few weeks ago, Maya told me that a 3rd grade boy punched her in the stomach. As the story unfolded, it became clear that she was an innocent victim. Although it was quite an ordeal, by the time I saw her, she was her cheerful self. “I was tough as a nail…I didn’t cry and I forgave him”. I was also pleased with how professionally and thoroughly the incident was dealt with by the school. We talked about it, but we didn’t dwell on the matter too much.

I started to notice Maya was acting strangely a few days later. I couldn’t really put my finger to it, but let’s just say, she wasn’t her normal self. So, I strongly urged her that if there was something, she should tell me. She told me that the incident still hurt her heart. Maya is a black-and-white, concrete, and logical thinker. She has a strong sense of right and wrong. So, in her mind, if someone says “I’m sorry”, you forgive. End of story. And this is what I told her. I said that Forgiveness is a process. You say “I forgive you”–that doesn’t mean that you forget everything and you become best friends. It takes time. And It’s okay. You might even want to say you need time to think about it. In the end, you are responsible to forgive, but before that can happen, you might want to cry or scream. It’s okay. And when you thought you forgave him, something might bring back that feeling all over again. It’s a process. It’s okay.

Next day, Maya spent the entire day with her dad–a rare treat. Maya packed little brown sacs of snacks complete with cocktail umbrellas for a bike ride. She packed the trailer with books and told her dad where to go. Go see the horses…just keep riding so I can read in the trailer. I am grateful for the wonderful relationship they have. When I returned home, there they sat under our poplar tree reading books together. ”Best Day Ever”. A few days later, I let Maya skip school. After dropping Mona off at playschool, I asked Maya what she wanted for lunch. ”A & W”. Okay. We drove to the top of the “Three Hills” where we can see the farms, animals and the storm moving in. We just sat there and had our burgers together…uninterrupted. She was beaming.

I realized that because she is my oldest, Maya doesn’t get to enjoy “being a kid” as much. She is my big helper, which she does so well. She is pleasant and she likes to be in charge. But after those two wonderful days, I saw the importance of the time where she can just be herself with our undivided attention. Even the fact she got to sit in the bike trailer was huge to her. When I ride with her, she has to ride her bike, because the trailer is for Mona & Tori. I think I always knew that about kids. Scott and I always thought it important to have a “date” with each of the kids. I am sad to say that it took an unfortunate incident for us to put this into motion, but I am hopeful. I hope to continue this tradition with each of my precious girls. I want to know them, intimately at every stage of their lives. I look forward to those moments where we can connect. So I guess I’d better go buy more cocktail umbrellas.

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