This is the first night in so many nights that I am unable to sleep well.
This Homeschooling journey has blessed my family so much, that rather than documenting it here, I wanted to bask in the glorious sunny glow that is our family routine. Everything that I had wanted for our family has happened, and we are in love with it.
So when today’s incident with Miss 5 (she had a birthday! Yay) occurred, I was not just stunned by my response, but so convicted by it, that I felt I could not choose any other option.
Miss 5 and Mr. 6 have swim classes. Mr. 6 loves them. He has them so he doesn’t drown. He spends most of the time submerged. Miss 5 however, has always had a intense fear of water, especially over her face. She has had this fear since baths as a little baby, and has only now been okay with showers. Miss 5’s first classes began this year, and we began our 2nd term last week. Still not wanting to completely submerge her face into the water, she is now happy to have the goggles on, and quickly put her face into the water for a second. If you had seen her at the beginning of term 1, this is actually progress. Getting in the water was difficult. To see her happy to look through googles, even briefly, made me happy. She progressed well with her kicking, her floating… all was going well. Until they changed the instructor.
And the instructor, not understanding Miss 5’s previous apprehensions, saw her unwillingness as stubbornness. She kept asking her to just simply put her face in, how hard can it be, everyone else is doing it. She started to cry, but only a little. She kept it in. She held it in.
Today, the instructor was less delicate. And Miss 5 broke down. She quickly rushed out of the pool, wet, distressed and upset, ran up to me, and without waiting, held on to me, wet and soaking, and asked me not to let her go. Begging me to hold her.
Another instructor who was attending to other students, simply said to me, “You’re better off just leaving her, going away, and getting a cup of coffee. You are making it worse by holding her.”
I looked at the instructor, and did something I would have previously not done. I said to her, “No. I’m going to hold her.”
Previously, and I have done this with Mr. 6, I have left my child crying, upset, distressed. I had left them because the world told me that if I stayed and made an issue of it, that they would then believe that something was wrong. So ignore their cries, walk away calmly, and let us deal with it. And I listened, thinking that this was what I should have done, that it was right.
Spending so much time with my children this year, getting to know them intimately, how they think, feel, act, I am getting to a place where I understand how every fleck of difference and change affects them. It is a wonderful place. It is a place I am gradually getting to. So slowly in fact, that until an incident occurs, I don’t realise how much I have changed.
Because today, every part of me did not see a stubborn child, or a child that needed to simply get use to fear and get over it, or a child who would not be affected by their mother walking away from them because the world says that this is the way children should be treated when they cry for them.
Every part of me was angry. And like a big lioness surrounding her cubs, I simply could not let my child go. I just could not walk away and get a coffee, put her back into that pool, screaming, crying, distressed and upset.
She had no one to trust but me at that point… and I was not going to walk away from her.
I am still shaken. Not so much by the incident today, as seemingly small as it was compared to so many other incidents that have/could occur. But I am shaken by how much getting to know my children, spending most of my days just talking with them and being with them, has made me so different to who I was, even just 6 months ago.
And I am still getting to know this new person, that I have become. I have always loved my children. I use to believe I knew them. But I now know, that I know them so well, that I feel that I know exactly what they want, need, crave, wish for, everything before they do. I love learning every single thing they learn, I love seeing what makes them tick, and I absolutely love just being able to hold them through their tantrums, their hard times, and their stubborn outbursts. I love running to them in the middle of the night, if they cry from a nightmare. I am their defender, and I am there for them, no matter what anyone says or will say. My world has changed, as I suddenly, am only living for this family. I am there for them and my husband, 100%.
I have read a lot of articles, blogs and a few books on resilience. Yes, I am concerned that Miss 5’s resilience isn’t quite where I would like it to be. I had hoped that this time of homeschooling could have made her stronger. She use to be the strong one of the family. Teasing about her height and people calling her ‘baby’ has somewhat etched that away. She still talks about these incidents that occurred last year (please see previous blog). When she is on the stage, when she is singing and dancing, acting, she shines. She is brilliant and beautiful and such a graceful being. But there are things in her mind she is still dealing with.
So my time here, at home with her, has been to build her up. What I have somehow inadvertently done is allowed her to project all of her that energy into ensuring that I am her protector. Being at home, I had no idea this was the case, until today. So the thing that shook me, was that if I walked away from her today, she would have been alone, without her protector.
Was it the right thing to do? I don’t know.
I just know that at the time, it was all I could do. I simply could not, and would not, go away, and get a coffee.