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Wednesday, June 29. 2011
L is an incredibly wonderful child, yet she has also brought us many challenges and keeps stretching us in our parenting. She is very intense and you often feel you are riding a roller coaster with her never knowing when you will dip and dive, twist and turn or what lies ahead. Most of the time you talk to her, you are left wondering if she really took anything in or if she turned a deaf ear after the second word. You usually get the pat responses "OK, OK already!" or "I'm sorry. I won't do it again" even when that wasn't what you were talking about.
This evening, we had to leave A-girl's soccer game early to make it to their piano recital. As we walked towards the van, it was evident someone was parked way too close. I made a comment about the fact that the van behind me was so squeezed into the spot that there was no way we could open the trunk. As we got closer it was apparent they had hit our back bumper as they squeezed into the spot. When we parked there was no one in front or behind us but as it reaches game time people start getting a bit crazed to find a spot to park (over 150 kids are playing at a time). It literally looked like they had taken that van and set it down with a crane as there was no room in between my van and theirs and little behind. It looked like those movie scenes where they just drive forward and back ramming the cars on either end just so they can fit. I avoid spots like that like the plague. L stood outside the van while I pulled forward (there was space and the car in front of me was pulling out) so I could open the trunk and put in the chairs. I noticed that the screws on the license plate of the other vehicle had damaged my bumper. Nothing big, but noticeable and it was annoying to me. Things like that make me really frustrated. I admit that I likely over react to little things like that. I am careful not to park too close, careful to respect other people's property yet I know many are not. The busy-ness of our schedules, trying to get from one thing to another and society's "me centered" attitude seems to cloud everyone's judgement. They forget about anyone else and as long as their needs are being met, all is good.
I was annoyed and pulled out a piece of paper to write a note and leave on the windshield of the van behind me. As I picked up the piece of paper, L said to me in a concerned voice "Mom, don't write a note when you are mad! Let's just go, we are going to be late." I told her I was going to leave a note but that I wasn't really mad and it wasn't going to say anything other than the fact that I thought they should know that they had damaged my vehicle. Again, she told me that I should not write anything when I was really frustrated or mad. She fidgeted as I wrote. She told me again that I shouldn't write anything when I was frustrated or angry. I read to her what I had written and asked if she thought I had said anything mean because I was mad and she told me I hadn't.
What is most interesting, is that L is a very intense girl. When she is very upset, angry or frustrated, she reacts often saying hurtful things to those around her. We have for years talked about how she needs to calm down and then speak, to not respond with words in the heat of the moment. It has felt for many years as though our words had fallen on deaf ears. They have not. She truly understands why and when, she is just lacking the self control needed to do this for herself. This was a gentle reminder for me of how we may not see the benefits of what we say and do as parents for years and years but that we are making a difference and we just can't stop trying.