Fragile – Handle With Care

7 05 2008

My daughter is full of love. For all the anger her little body can hold when she has been crossed, there is at least as much love there. And she has not yet come to understand that the world is not comfortable with love given freely.

This kids in this neighborhood frustrate me deeply. There is an intense lack of parental involvement. Small children play in the parking lot, wandering from building to building, no guardians in sight or even earshot. But there is something else lacking that I cannot put my finger on. Whatever it is, these kids are not full of love and don’t understand it when my girl is so free with hers. Even her best friend in the building didn’t know how to react when M told her singingly, “I love you!” Lucky for my M, she is socially naive and didn’t notice.

Unluckily for my M, she also doesn’t notice when the kids taunt her in cruel ways that makes the mama bear in me want to do horrible things to them. She has a vague understanding that the situation hasn’t gone exactly right, but she doesn’t know why. I see her watch the other kids with a blank, bemused stare in her eyes.

Last week, I witnessed an incident which I can’t even speak of, I am so emotionally hurt by it. It was small enough to fly mostly under M’s radar (how far under I do not know), but makes my heart black with fear and violent with anger. Likely reliving some of my own childhood trauma there.

The thing about this incident that stands out is that the very next day we went to see some friends. I have often said lovingly, that M and her friend, L, have a certain “chemistry” together. By that I mean that they often clash and argue – or did when they were younger anyway. Even still, their relationship is so full of love that the clashes pale in comparison.

And I realized that, outside of our neighborhood, we have only had these loving experiences. All the friends I have made, and that my children have grown up with – from those first walks around the lake when we were still recovering from childbirth and all of the amazing moms I have met along the way – they are loving friends. I have no fear whatsoever about my daughter playing with these children or putting her little heart in their hands. I know that no matter the situation, they have a strong basis of love and that will get them through many, many clashes.

On the contrary, I know that there will come a day when my little girl’s heart will be utterly smashed to pieces by someone else – maybe a kid in our neighborhood, maybe someone else. And I am not talking about first loves, but just simple relationships with people in general. She will be crushed and I will not have any clue what to do.

My greatest fear? Is that she will learn to hide her love, tuck it away so deeply that she forgets how to show her love for her friends. That she stops saying she loves her friends, that she forgets how to hug those outside her small circle of safety. I am terrified that she will become awkward and weird around people she very much wants to be close to, but completely unsure of the things which should be simplest among friends.

I am terrified
that
she will become
like

me.

And if that day comes, when she is forced to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Social Ettiquette, and if it breaks her like I have been broken, I am afraid of what I might do.

Perhaps, I should be more afraid of her love being broken slowly, again and again, they chip away at it. She learns here it’s not OK to say “I love you” or here that hugging a friend is a sexual act, or here that being friendly seems “desperate”. She learns to modify so that her armor is built over time and I never even notice it. That is a horrible thought that sits sickly in my gut.

How can I guide her to be who she is in spite of shitty people in the world? Lord knows, the world needs more love flowing freely. Is it possible at all to grow up strong and loving? Madeleine L’Engle’s characters always do, and, thus, I suspect her children and family did. But I am not like Madeleine L’Engle and my loving has already been broken.

I would like to gather up all these neighbor children of mine and teach them to love. But the thing is I don’t remember how, myself.

But my daughter? She is full of love and light and endless friendship. And I need – we all need – for her to stay that way.

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3 responses

8 05 2008
lola coca-cola

Wow, if I was good at writing my feelings (or able to put them out there), this is pretty much how I would write about my fears for Nina going to school. At least you won’t have to deal with that one!

8 05 2008
ellie

“I would like to gather up all these neighbor children of mine and teach them to love. But the thing is I don’t remember how, myself.”

I think you do.

Life, it give us these things, these hurts. Parents, they give us the stability to learn to cope with them without tucking away our love. And those of us whose parents never learned it? That’s what therapy is for, LOL.

I don’t think your kids will need therapy, at least not for that.

8 05 2008
Anna

(((hug)))

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