As she stood at the kitchen counter last night crying over a homework sheet I realized just how far she’s come. Last year these tears would have been just another typical night with Caroline, but last nights tears weren’t typical – not anymore. This girl has grown so much in a year’s time. She amazes me every day.
My sweet Caroline has always been stubborn, strong willed, and hesitant to like people. I used to say that she hates everyone, I still might say that. She is also determined, knows what she wants and can just light up a room with her sass. She forms special bonds with people and is incredibility loyal to those she allows “in”.
If you would have asked me last year at this time how things with Caroline were going, you may have heard a long sigh followed by a list of my frustrations. I thought of these frustrations as little tiny failures I had made as her parent. There were many days and nights that I cried – unsure of what to do or where to go. I asked around, I vented…to those of you who listened and/or offered advice, thank you!
For two years before Caroline was born, I had been a full time stay at home mom. I had a few odd jobs that sent her to the babysitter once in a while…but mostly I have been home with her, her entire life. She went to 2 day preschool when she was 3 and 3 day preschool when she was 4.
Starting kindergarten was tough. 3 half days of preschool then a whole summer at home did not help with Caroline’s entry into full day kindergarten (which I still have my reservations about).
There were tears – refusing to get out of the car – not liking school – not liking her teacher – refusing to go into the school building…this spilled over into her dance and gymnastics classes. Refusing to stay at the gym – crying at the gym – hugging and kissing for 20 minutes asking a zillion times over who was picking her up, and if it wasn’t me…there would be debate about it, mostly me trying to convince her to stay.
I feared letting/asking someone to drive her somewhere or pick her up for fear that she wouldn’t go with them. More that once I had to drag her screaming out to the gym and once I got her into the car, I feared she’d open the car door (which she did) and fall out as I drove away.
I feared the worst – she could be downright mean, defiant, fearing abandonment…
I’m not sure when it happened or why, but this year has been a complete 180 turn from last year.
Caroline happily bounds out of the car at drop off. She loves school (minus last night’s homework), loves her teacher – happily chats about her classmates. She wants me to ask silly questions about her day. I can drop her off without a million questions, and she will ride home with somebody other than me. She has a confidence that can be seen with everything she does. She hugs all the coaches at the gym and just adores the “older” girls at dance. She works so hard at everything she does…the stubbornness and strong willed parts of her personality and now being used for “good”.
(I tell this to Cohen all the time, “I wish you would use your powers for good.”)
Sure it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, there are good days and better days…and some downright bad days, hey – this parenting thing is hard. My message to all the moms out there, keep doing what you are doing – keep unconditionally loving those kids…then when you least expect it, they will surprise you.