Friday, January 30, 2015

Goodnight

Dearest Daughter,

This past Tuesday night was the first time since your birth (when you have been with me, anyway) that I did not tuck you in to bed and kiss you goodnight.  I am sure that there will be others, but this was the first. I am not happy about it.

You are going through a phase in which you seem to go out of your way to demonstrate your lack of respect for me.  That isn't it at all, off course - impending puberty has given you a short fuse and a need to push against something.. to demonstrate your independence.  (That's the reality.  What is feels like is another matter entirely).

But the fact that I understand the why does not mean that I can allow you to to shout "NO" when I tell you to do something, or "WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM??" when I ask you a question.

Threats have never worked on you, reason only works when all parties have cool heads, and shouting back (which I am way too prone to do) is like Br'er Rabbit fighting the tar baby - you get sucked in with no way out.  So I walked away.

I went and picked up our jackets by the front door and set the thermostat for the night. I checked the door locks. When I came back by your room the lights were off and you had burrowed under the blankets. I suspect you were waiting for me to make peace with you, but I did not. In my experience, women seem to take that as a weakness. So I took a bath instead. When I came out you were asleep and I went to bed.

As I said, it was the first time ever that you had been with me and I did not tuck you in and stay there by your side till you fell asleep. So when I say I went to bed, I do not mean to say I went to sleep.

By the next morning, you were bright and perky and could not understand why I was, in your words "Quiet even for you"  Which is good. Like all parents I harbor a deep-seated belief that everything I do is scarring you for life. It's nice to see evidence that that is not the case.  And I still feel I had no choice. There's no point in pushing if I don't give you something to push against.

But still.. it fills me with a sadness. It is not a first I am proud of.