We are in the midst of one of those difficult times that makes being a parent so much harder than ought to be legal. Because the backtalking, yeah, that’s dreadful. The bickering amongst siblings, sure, that’s crazy-making. The leaving things all over the house, the eyerolling, the complaining, the whining—oh Lord, the whining!—these are terrible things, yes? But they pale in comparison to The Hurt You Can’t Fix.
And right now, Chickadee has a hurt we can’t fix. She is trying to speak up for herself, and she is trying to be brave, and yet she’s in a situation where she is not being heard. And it is breaking her heart.
It is breaking my heart.
She is the louder and more attention-demanding of my two children, and yet when it comes to claiming herself in this sort of way, she struggles. To watch her finally overcome that hurdle, to emerge with conviction and deliberateness, and then be ignored and pushed aside when she’s risked so much?
Painful doesn’t even begin to cover it.
There was a long talk last night, and all I could do was praise her for trying, implore her not to give up, encourage her to keep speaking up for herself until she is heard. “We’re listening,” I murmured into her hair, as she curled against me, leaking tears on my shoulder. “We hear you. We’ll keep listening. Don’t you stop talking. You are heard. WE HEAR YOU.”
As I lay in bed last night—unable to sleep, struggling to recover from my child’s pain—I tried to comfort myself with happier thoughts. Happier times. Times when I do and say the things that make it all better.
This past weekend, Chickadee managed to leave her hairbrush behind with her father. It’s not a big deal; we have other brushes, of course. But every day this week she has crept into my office first thing in the morning—in the dark, while I sit there checking my email—and asked to use the brush I keep in my purse.
I’m the sort of person who likes things in their place and order, and it would’ve been easy for me to harp on her (continually) about the misplacement of her own brush, but instead, every day this week, I’ve taken my cue from Larry the Cucumber.
So as I lay in bed, last night, I realized that what I needed to do, this morning, was get up and check my email, as usual, but also to hide our Flip under my desk so that I could record our exchange.
The Hairbrush Opera from woulda on Vimeo.
It’s a good way to start the day. It’s predictable, it never fails to make us laugh, and at the end I solve her dilemma. (Sort of. It doesn’t really offer a solution for the dilemma of your mother screeching off-key and waving her arms around at 6:00 in the morning, I’m afraid.)
After we finish laughing she hangs out in here with me while she combs the knots from her hair. Sometimes I help; sometimes she does it all herself. And then we have breakfast and finish getting ready for the day.
These are the things we’ll forget, her and me, without a little archiving help. And these are the things that CAN be forgotten, I suppose, without a problem. But I hope and pray she will always know and remember that no matter how silly we can be together, or how often we’ll butt heads over minutiae, that I am always, always listening.
I hear you, my girl. Always.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. This week, I wish you the kind of love that opens your ears, as well as your heart.