To My Daughter…

You are capable.  I am sorry it has taken me so long to fully understand this.  You are smart and able to learn and know so much more than I ever knew.  You understand that sea turtles lay their eggs beneath the sand and then, once hatched, the baby turtles must make the treacherous trek toward the ocean.  An ocean many will never reach.  You understand this.  You understand that turtles live in and out of water.  We did not categorize them yet as reptiles, but we will get to that, possibly tomorrow.

You know Christopher Columbus is said to have reached America in 1492 and that there were people already living here.  You pointed to an illustration of an American Indian and typed that this person was called a Native American.  You showed me where we live on a globe and then suggested we take a boat to England over the Atlantic Ocean so that you might visit an old therapist you still remember and speak of with great fondness.  You became particularly excited by the thought that we would have to stay in a hotel and inquired whether that hotel would have a swimming pool.  I know.  A hotel is not a good hotel without a pool.

You told me an insect has six legs and that a spider has eight legs and even though it kind of seems like a spider should be called an insect, it is not and in fact eats insects which is why all those insects in the Miss Spider book you love so much are scared of Miss Spider and that makes her cry.  You demonstrated your innate acting talents by pretending to cry about Miss Spider’s predicament.  It turns out Miss Spider is a vegetarian and happily eats the flowers offered to her much to the relief of all the fearful insects.  That made you laugh.  Then you remembered how “Bertie kitty” was admonished for getting on the dining room table and eating the flowers and said so, again in a very convincing and stern voice.  You are so talented.  I believed both your pretend tears and your pretend/scolding voice. Thank you for telling me you were pretending because you were very convincing.

You are so, so capable and for so many years I’ve been blind to just how capable you really are.  But maybe, just maybe now I have the tools I need to hear you.  Those tools I thought I was learning to use for you, it turns out are tools I needed for me.  I need them so that I can hear all the things you’ve tried to tell me for so long.

I promise.  I promise to keep listening.

23 responses to “To My Daughter…

  1. That was great to read. I’m glad Emma is doing well. It is a rough day here as my daughter is refusing to go to school because of her anxiety. I told her that we told the school no more cursive writing but she says that isn’t the problem. They are trying to get her to write a paragraph which she is doing but she is being told she is rushing and to add more. She said this has happened several times for the same paragraph. The example they showed her was on Nunavut and is the same example they always show her. Good for Geography but not when writing about a story! Her teacher told me on the phone to tell her it is her job to go to school and then she can have her riding lesson on Thursday. They use the job thing in class and First/ Then I already knew. If it was that simple she would be at school! It is anxiety! I will not take way the one thing she looks forward to especially when the problem is anxiety. You can’t punish that and taking away something a few days away is pointless. This is one of the best autism classes in our area but they still don’t get it. I’m about ready to give up on school and homeschool her but I’m also worried she will become housebound. Sorry for being long! I haven’t had anybody to talk to about this yet.

    • Mandy, I’m really sorry to hear this. It sounds awful. I agree though about not taking away what she loves and looks forward to! You are so right, anxiety is horrible and not something to be punished for.

  2. Perfect start to a bright Monday morning!

  3. This is beautiful. Truly.

  4. All I can say is, me too.

  5. Your love and willingness to listen is absolutely beautiful. This is what I want for my child, too. ((beautiful))

  6. Chock-a-block with empathy! YAY!! TY

  7. This is so amazing and exciting Arianne! I am so happy for you and Emma and your family. I wonder all of the time what Olivia really understands. She is only 4 but I know there is alot going on inside her head and wish I could peek in there to find out. You give me so much hope that we too will be able to communicate much better in the future. Rock on Emma!!! xoxo

    • When Em was really little people would say things like – enjoy her. She’s got her life ahead of her. It’s all going to be okay. And I couldn’t/didn’t believe them. But they were right. They were so right!

  8. Lovely!!!!!! 🙂

  9. “You are capable. I am sorry it has taken me so long to fully understand this.”
    Lovely. Emma’s clearly a great teacher.
    Not just you on the long march backwards through our presumptions. You put it better.

  10. My kiddo blew me away today with what she knew. Yes, we need to listen!

  11. Hey Mandy…homeschooling doesn’t equal housebound! yesterday we explored stores while I thought her, went bowling with a local homeschooling group, and music class. She has pretty tough anxiety issues, but we are working through on the outings. Homeschooling is a huge commitment, but it is possible.

  12. thought=taught above..sorry! kiddo yanking on my arm….

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