May 16, 2010

Dancing On

I attended my daughter's dance recital today.

She has been having a rough time lately. She has the language, the intelligence, and the maturity of a child well beyond her years. Which is a blessing. BUT it also is a bit of a hardship when your family life is not at all what it should be.

She thinks about what is taking place in her life on a different level than the "typical" four-year-old. She wonders, and questions, and worries like a much older child ... and, yet, she still has to process all her thoughts through a four-year-old brain.

My most important goal for my amazing daughter today was for her to make it through the recital with no tears. You see, she has been having some major separation anxiety recently. And, even though I was going to be the one curling her hair, helping her put on the sparkly costume, and brushing the hint of eye shadow across her lids.... I would not be the one getting to put her to bed tonight.

I would not be bringing her home.

For whatever reason, my daughter has found it so very difficult to say goodbye to me lately. Even when she knows I will be the one picking her up from school, she still clings to me in the morning when I drop her off -- something she hasn't done since she first started preschool at the age of two.

I have my own theories as to why she is having these problems. The bottom line is that I can only try to make the separation easier. And, oh, how I want to make it easier.

But, first, I wanted to get through the dance recital in as happy a manner as possible given all the tears and meltdowns of the past few days.

As I said, I just wanted my daughter to get through her recital with no tears.

Goal achieved. But at moments, it was touch and go.

In so many ways, both verbal and nonverbal, my daughter told me today how much she is hurting. In so many ways, she told me how very much she worries about the length of each separation. In so many ways, she told me how this family situation would NOT be the one she would choose if she were in charge.

I know, Olivia, and I am so very, very sorry.

But .....

She had some happy moments during the day. Thank God for the extraordinary Cassie, the buddy who brings smiles and comfort even on tough days.

I know what it is like for me to have a friend like that at 34.

It must be JUST as important, if not infinitely more so, when you are merely four, and even though you have been blessed with so much language, you still don't have the coping mechanisms you need to get through so much chaos and change.

Heck, I am still finding my own coping mechanisms, and I'm the adult.

We made it through the day, and, surely, the next recital will be better. There will be a little less stress, a little less tension.


In the meantime, I want to remember something her dance teacher said before the show.

She thanked the parents for sending their daughters to her classes. She told us what a blessing our children were in her life. She also told us how she believes God works through our children to show us what really matters in this world, what really is worth treasuring -- how our children embody the true meaning of life.

Ms. Jo-Anne, I couldn't have said it better myself.

1 comment:

  1. Leah:

    You have to email your phone # or an email address or call or something! I really want to talk to you sometime.

    That being said, I am sorry for all of the pain you are bearing -- both your own and your kid's pain as well. You will get through this. It is so very, very hard though.

    I do know a little something (but probably not as much as you do) about leaving a crying child with your ex to stay over and feeling like your heart might rip out. It's not fun. But you WILL get through it. It will get better.

    hope to talk to you soon.