Hallelujah Highway

Celebrating the Journey

Mommy Lesson #2: The Loss of my Child Who Was ~ Kristi

on October 18, 2012

My daughter and I are a month and half into first grade.  First grade means a full day of school… a full day of sitting quietly and doing work…. two short recesses… raising hands… talking only when called upon…  First grade means learning the “rules of school.”  The rules of school are the antithesis of who my daughter is.  My daughter loves to learn, but her learning is messy and noisy.  She wants to enthusiastically tell you every thought in her head.  She will ask a million really good questions and wait impatiently for the answer. 

This was fostered by the nurturing environment of her preschool.  When I would walk into her preschool classroom after work, I would see her flitting from one center to the next.  She would be building a tower with a friend, then painting a picture with too much paint, and then venturing into the “home-living” area to whip up dinner while adorned in a princess gown.  For four years of her life, she whirled around the classroom and playground enjoying the freedom to learn… and play… and just be her magical little self.

Kindergarten was a bumpy transition.  The teacher and I would communicate via behavior charts so my daughter could be rewarded for “playing school” well.  By the end of the school year, she was doing well, but kindergarten started to change her.  She was able to sit for longer periods of time and not talk.  (Ok, that meant she could sit for seven-minutes without interjecting random comments.)   We could sit in a waiting room without it being an epic game of “can-mommy-find-enough-things-for-you-to-do-until-we-get-called.”  I loved the changes in her as it made managing her leaping-jumping-running-singing-shouting-talking energy easier. 

Now, we are in first grade.  As my daughter was concentrating on her new form in Tae Kwon Do (another activity I put her in to teach her discipline and focus), I started to ponder: how will first grade morph my child further?  I got tears-in-the-eyes sad because I know at some point she will be a quieter, less exuberant version of herself.  All the behavior charts and reinforcing of the “school rules” that I do will turn up the volume on the voice of society that will encourage her not to be that wild, free, do-life-with-abandon, artistic spirit.  Society rewards the individuals who are quiet and conform; it rages against the individuals who live outside the norm.  I am sad for that part of my daughter who will not survive growing up because of the demands to be “good” and “normal.”  I will miss the girl who was my child in her most raw, untouched, and innocent state.

I vow, even though it goes against my “like-it-perfect-and-neat-nature,” to carve out time for my daughter to laugh and giggle and to be messy and free.   This will be work for me and I will need to be very aware of and breathe through it as I protect her spirit by providing moments where she can be her most authentic self.  She does not always have to live up to other’s expectation of what a “good” child should be, including mine.  I will try my best to teach her how to play the game of school and life.  Also, I will try to buffer her from the rules that may damper her bright, free flowing spirit for as long as I can. 

But when I get still and get really real with myself, I wonder how to do this for her when I am not 100% sure that I allowed my inner child’s spirit to survive.  I was once free to dance, jump, and giggle.  In fact, I was notorious for laughing so hard I would fall off chairs, even in high school.  I wonder how well I protected my inner child against the monotony of life.  Have I given her a voice to fight back against all the rules, restrictions, constrictions, and complications?  Have I made room for her to play and be free?  Maybe this is the very thing that my daughter is teaching me.  As I hold this sacred space for her, maybe I hold this sacred space for me. 

Hallelujah for the sadness for the loss of my girls who were; the knowingness that it is acceptable and mandatory to protect their spirits; and to expose a part of my spirit that is buried under the muck and mire of life’s responsibilities to the joys of freedom and play! 


5 responses to “Mommy Lesson #2: The Loss of my Child Who Was ~ Kristi

  1. Cindy says:

    This is why I loved having her in my library in Kinder. And the main reason I would start out our Library time with a story, then Movie, and then Wiggle, Dancing time!! It was the reward for sitting and listening to my (probably boring) stories. But she was always engaged and listened intensely! But what she was probably thinking was, “come on Miss Cindy, lets get on to the DANCING time LOL!” I love her spirit and I know she will never lose it!! It just might show in other aspects of her life now! Oh, let her fly!! She has a beautiful outlook that we could all learn from!

    Like

    • Cindy, thank you for being a refuge amongst the public education system. Thank you for “getting it” and giving the kids wiggle time. As an English teacher, thank you for making library time fun as that exposes kids to the awesomeness of reading. As a mother, thank you for really seeing my daughter.

      Love,
      Kristi

      Like

  2. Shan says:

    Beautiful and so true… I know you will find your giggly, messy self again, and what fun to do it with such a fabulous partner. Love her and you (and your awesome mama, while I’m flinging the love).

    Like

  3. 2572jfs says:

    Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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