Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Failing Her

My six year old is a planner. Actually, that's an understatement. Her very favorite thing to do is to plan and arrange a complex, gigantic event with as many people as possible involved. She's a hard worker too...she's not just a bossy kid, she does as much work as possible to see her plan through. When she has a baby-sitter, she creates a check-in table, name tags, and a night full of activities. When she plays school with the three-year-old she has homework, lesson plans, parent-teacher conferences, test scores, and report cards. It's not difficult to imagine her twenty years from now tossing her heavy curtain of hair over her shoulder, raising a fist and shouting into a megaphone at a huge political protest. Someday she'll be unstoppable.

But today she's six. And when she comes to me and plunks down her entry in a charm bracelet contest that took place at her imaginary school, with every charm idea illustrated and scored by a panel of judges, and informs me that I need to get her a prize because she beat "all of the other" entries...I just sigh. And tell her that I can't.

"What?" I asked impatiently. "Do you want me to drive to Target and buy you a bracelet? I'm not doing that. I'm already in my pajamas."

"Give me an old one!" she said.

"I don't have an old one," I retorted. "You girls have broken all of my old ones."

"I'll take a broken one!" she said. "Give me a broken necklace. I'll tie it around my wrist."

"No," I replied.

"Well, give me some yarn! Just some yarn! I'll pretend!" she cried. I wavered, and then she said, "You can attach this little horse to it as a charm."

"No," I sighed. And she huffs off to her next plan. I lean against the counter and sigh. It's been a long day - I have a demanding job feeding the needs of kids and adults. It's work that is, at times, emotionally draining. I also have three kids who need me intensely to listen, to help, to find, to encourage. By the time she runs up to me with her next plan, I'm just too tired.

I feel like she could do amazing things if I could just give her a boost...but I'm so tired that I can't give her the leg up. When I'm with my son, I feel like I'm doing okay...all he wants is for me to be his audience, and to give him hugs. With the three year old, she's content with snuggles and stories. But the six-year-old wants so much more.

Someday I hope I can live up to her potential.

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