Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Parenting hurts, then you cry in the bathroom

What's the hardest part of parenting?  The inability to take all of life's hurts away from these little beings you love more than anything else you could ever imagine.  And truthfully, even if I had the ability to take them all away, I wouldn't/couldn't do it.  And that hurts even more, knowing that one of my absolute duties as a parent is to let them experience pain so that they can grow.

Yesterday was Oldest's first day back to school, if you're wondering.  She's floundering over some things right now, she poured it all out over Christmas vacation, so I knew her first day back might not go well. 

Sunday night, I sat down on her bed and told her "I had the BEST Christmas vacation with you.  Thank you."  And she started crying and whispered, "I did too.  I don't want it to end." 

I agreed with her, because as tantalizing as some quality alone time sounded by the end of the weekend, I knew that 1) we did have such a wonderful time together (all of us) and 2) she was going to struggle when she went back.  Sometimes living idyllically in vacationland forever seems SO much better than getting back to real life, doesn't it?  So I understood completely where her tears were coming from. 

Yesterday morning couldn't have gone better.  Great morning routine, left the house totally on time, 3 favorite songs on the radio on the way.  A-W-E-S-O-M-E. 

But the girl I picked up was so much different than the girl I dropped off.  I'm not going into details yet for a variety of reasons, but here is what she said to me (after much crying):
"I feel like the smallest little dot in the classroom where everyone's a giant and I'm just a little dot."
Heartbreak.  HEARTBREAK to hear your child see herself that way.  When she's so NOT that way. 

There are things I can (and will) do to help her through this, but the truth is that much of it is just the pain of growing up.  The pain of being a kid and not knowing all the answers.  The pain of being a gifted girl who thinks so differently than most everyone she meets that life brings some challenges I wish she didn't have to face. 

Parenting hurts, then you cry in the bathroom.  Because you don't want her to take her situation any harder than she already is.
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