A Female Prerogative

If I had a dime for every time someone has described my little girl as ‘sweet,’ I’d be able to pay for her college tuition.  She owns sweetness.  But there are moments when sweet turns salty.

Return with me to a scene in my kitchen seven months ago….Eight year old daughter is throwing a tantrum worthy of a Terrible Two.  She slings accusations of treason, threats of mutiny, and plenty of parent bashing.  My crime: signing her up to play fall Lacrosse.  By the magnitude of her reaction, you’d think I’d told her she was committed to prison or to an orphange.

In my most delicate and patient Mama voice, I reminded Miss Sweetness that I signed her up for this session months before – when she was enjoying lacrosse.  “But I DON’T love it now and I WON’T do it and you CAN’T make me and….” screamed the angel with her halo on fire.  The tension escalated when I told her definitively that she would be honoring her committment to the team – i.e. I’m not throwing away hundreds of dollars in fees.  BUT, no worries, Peach, I wouldn’t think of signing you up again after this season.  You’ve made your wishes clear.

Periodically, the tantrums replayed themselves.  Each time, husband facetiously pointed out, “We’re gonna miss this.”  When emails reminded me to sign up for the upcoming lacrosse season, I confidently hit delete, delete, delete.

Enter Peach on the opening day of Spring lacrosse.  “Mom?  I was talking to my friends today and decided I want to play lacrosse.”

Silence.

More silence.

I was livid.  And speechless – which turns out to be a very lucky (and uncommon) thing.  Lucky because I’m certain I would have regretted a word or two.  Visualize me, if you will, a cartoon character – face beet red, steam shooting out of its ears.  A multi-dimensional “Oh?!#$%” escapes my lips.  “Yes,” she replied guiltlessly.  “And I’ll need a new mouthguard and shorts.”  Off she skipped, blissfully ignorant of the fury rising within me.  Admidst the brew of poisonous thoughts in my head, a glimmer of admiration popped up.  Imagine, after what she put me through, she has the nerve to declare that she simply ‘has changed her mind.’

How frequently I’ve commiserated with girlfriends who refuse to change their mind or admit a wrong choice for fear of inconveniencing or angering another.  Why, and when, do we lose the courage to speak our truth without fretting over what others will think?  Might it be best, then, to honor this courage in a young girl instead of stamping out the fire with a vengeful reaction?

I coach myself against the desire to make my little tigress suffer in kind for previous infringements on my sanity.  Still, I reach deep in my pockets for a reason to deny  her new whim.  I even consider how she will compensate me for the late fee I’ll incur.  (I can hear Yoda assessing me, ‘The need for justice is strong in this one.’ )

Failing to justify the need to reap revenge for revenge’s sake, I return to the fact that my daughter is just 8.  I can’t hold that against her.   In fact, I can learn from her.  I just hope I can muster her level of courage when I need it.  If I’ve made a committment to you, be forewarned, I may change my mind simply for the practice.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Heather Manolian
    Apr 06, 2012 @ 10:53:42

    I would certainly like to borrow a little Olivia in my life today. Great reminder that sometimes it can be as simple as changing our minds and honoring our inner guide about things!

    Reply

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