Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Dance

I am not a perfect parent. I’ve made many mistakes, but due to the amazing resilience of children my daughters seem no worse for the wear. And every once in a while something wonderful will happen, like finding a rose blooming beneath a blanket of snow, that makes the trials and tribulations of parenthood all worthwhile.

As she's gotten older, my pre-teen daughter has begun navigating that age-old peer group dance where one small misstep and the consequences can be devastating. The most recent disruption in this choreographed production involved a young girl my daughter has known for 6 years. After an incredibly rocky beginning, the girls made peace and developed a genuine bond. My daughter, even at that tender age, stood by her friend as best she could through her parents’ volatile divorce and ensuing drama. Things have not been easy for this little girl and, due to this, she has not always made it easy for my daughter to be her friend.

Recently, I thought the situation had reached the point of no return. This little girl lashed out and accused my daughter of carrying out an act completely uncharacteristic of her… an act of pure malice. My daughter was angry and incredibly hurt. She felt that anyone who truly knew her would know that she was incapable of carrying out such an act. The armed camps lasted for weeks and both girls were miserable, but equally stubborn in their positions.

A few days ago it appeared that a truce had been reached as the two girls chatted happily on the phone. When they hung up I quipped, “So she decided to forgive you?” And then my 12 year old daughter turned toward me, a solemn expression on her beautiful face, “Actually Mom, I‘ve been thinking about how she brags an awful lot, and how sometimes she’ll exaggerate to make herself sound cool to the other kids… and then I started thinking about how lucky I am to have my family. I know I can always depend on you and Dad…I can trust you. And then I thought about how her dad says really mean things to her and how she can’t trust him, and how she has to deal with having to move so much…She didn’t decide to forgive me Mom, I decided to forgive her.”

It’s in moments like those that I close my eyes in gratitude, thankful for the knowledge that although I’m not a perfect parent, I must’ve gotten at least a few things right.



Mother Marlene said...

Good job girl. Your daughter has a great role model in you.

Gene Bach said...

When your daughter runs for president I'm voting for her!


Great story .... Really great.

New site I'm working on for some Friends

Women on the Verge said...

Mother marlene-

Thank you for the kind words...I've tried to teach both my girls that harboring a grudge only hurts you, not the person you're angry with...


Hmmmm.... President???? You know... I like the sound of that!!!


TomCat said...

Ethel, I see what you mean when you said we are on the same wavelength this week. Isn't it amazing how the act of forgiveness lifted the load from her? Gene is right. She couldn't help but be an improvement, and I bet she has less trouble with 'My Pet Goat' than what we have now.

TomCat said...

PS -- Love the leopard-skin look

Women on the Verge said...

c bob--

Thank you... she's an amazing kid.


It truly was a beautiful thing to see... she showed a depth of compassion and understanding that are lacking in even many adults, much less kids...

And I can say with absolute certainty that she could out-think a good percentage of most of the politicians already!

Re our new look:
Lucy worked very hard on putting up the new wallpaper... glad you like it!


leftdog said...

What a great post!! I think mother marlene said it all!

Anonymous said...

most adults aren't capable of such an act..great job

SSC said...

Ethel, I love reading your posts. You have a true rhythm in your writing. Your girls are blessed to have a mother who is so well centered.

SSC said...

By the way, Feb 20th is TAKS test day here in Texas. This is the first time one of my kids has been subjected to this torture. My husband I have diligently tried to offset the stress the school has heaped on our 9-yr old dyslexic son, however the power of positive karma would be much appreciated if anyone is interested in keeping him in your thoughts!

Women on the Verge said...


Thank you... I'm lucky to have such wonderful kids, and to have had the benefit of some pretty wonderful role models myself.


I know... she really blew me away when she said that... I was so very proud of her.


Thank you for the compliment! I've always loved to write and it's very nice to have my work appreciated :-) . Maybe someday I'll get around to that book I've been thinking about...

As far as your son... ouch. My youngest is dyslexic and has auditory processing, and fine motor issues as well. Those tests are absolutely demoralizing to kids like that. Just keep stressing that they're about grading how well the school is teaching him, and are no reflection upon him.

No Child Left Behind is up for renewal soon and is to blame for the almost constant testing.( There are several posts concerning this vile act on this blog.) Anyone with children in public schools , or anyone who cares about the intellectual well-being of the nation's kids, needs to call their representatives and tell them to "Just say no to No Child Left Behind!"
I'll be thinking of you and your son...

Good luck!!!!!!!!


Libbys Blog said...

Children are so amazing! They surprise us at every turn!

RUTH said...

Ahhhh.... you've got a great girl there.

Women on the Verge said...


She never ceases to amaze me!


tuco said...

will be thinking of your son. We aren't at school age yet but will be very soon.

It is amazing that they have brainwashed the educators that 'No child left behind' is a good thing.