Sometimes it just sucks being a mom. Sometimes it would be so much easier to just pretend I’m not a mom to my 8-year old daughter and that instead, I’m a fellow 8-year old girl. Sometimes I wonder if I’d get better results and have less guilt if I said things like “I’m not going to be your friend any more if you don’t pick up your dirty clothes.”
“Sometimes” always happens when I’m close to The Line. You know The Line. It’s the one, that, if you cross it, a little voice from a corner of your mind reminds you ever so casually that you may have squashed, just a little, that beautiful, wondrous, majestic spirit still residing in your kid.
My daughter is one of those children who can have fun all by herself in an empty room, or as the Southern expression goes, can be happy playing in a pile of shit. She is imaginative, insightful, intuitive, and wiser beyond her years. Her teachers repeatedly tell me they’ve never seen a child like her, that they look forward to seeing her as an adult to learn about the fabulous things she’s destined to do. They assure me she is bound for some kind of greatness. They repeatedly admire the depths of her sense of diplomacy, the ease with which she reads between the lines, the comedy of her adult-like wit. Everyone remarks on how she seems to have an endless amount of enthusiasm for everything in life.
I should be grateful for such a child, which I am. I should celebrate her uniqueness, which I do. I should encourage her not to be afraid to reach out, to branch out into the world and yet stay true to herself and her abilities, which I do.
But trust me living with her ain’t easy. That boundless energy must be curtailed periodically, otherwise things in the house get broken, homework doesn’t get done, and she’d never sit still long enough to actually eat a meal. That insightful, intuitive mind of hers can combine with the adult-like wit and create one hell of a sarcastic attitude (not unlike her mom, apparently, according to her father). And there are times when an 8-year old just shouldn’t read between the lines.
I fear reining her in as much as I fear not reining her in. I’m trying, probably with a sense of desperation that she senses and takes advantage of, to find that point of balance where I can encourage her beautiful self to exist while happily co-existing with the rest of the family. That’s The line I keep approaching and probably cross more often than I should.
I guess I’ll know how well I did or didn’t do when she’s an adult. If her teachers are right and she is bound for greatness, I’ll read her autobiography and learn exactly where I screwed up.