The Fierce Diva is on re-runs for the next few weeks, dusting off some of my earliest posts, the ones I wrote before anyone was reading, and giving them a second life. I thought this would be fun to do leading up to my one year anniversary of blogging, which falls the end of the month.
“Love” is one of my favorite posts, and was also where I introduced Miss F. to my readers. Raising Miss F. can be a challenge for me, which also makes her my greatest teacher.
Happy Valentine’s Day and love to you and yours!
"Mrs. Evans," the school nurse begins on the phone, "Miss F. has a piece of plastic notebook spiral caught in her finger. No one is exactly sure how it got there."
My daughter is the Accident Queen. She has fallen out of trees and down stairs, chipped teeth, jammed staples through her thumb, had her lip split with a baseball, and has given herself black eyes. I've learned that unless the fever is over 105 degrees or there is blood coming out of someone's ear, not to get too worked up over these things.
I arrive at the office of the school nurse. Miss F. is sitting at a small table, reading a book. "It's in pretty deep," the nurse says. "I didn't want to fuss with it. I think it's best you take her to the doctor to have it removed."
"Let me see, baby," I say to Miss F., who tentatively raises her finger, along with the attached small plastic spring, the kind you find on party favor notebooks.
Before anyone can say another word, I yank it out.
"Ah!!!!!!" Miss F. yells. "Why did you do that?"
"So you can go back to class," I say, grabbing an alcohol swab from the nurse. I hug her and kiss her forehead as I bandage up the tiny cut. Miss F. shoots me a wounded stare. She takes my impromptu surgery as a betrayal. Miss F. does not like surprises.
Miss F. has been unpredictable this year. Some days she wants to curl up next to me on the couch and other days, I feel like I've lost her, to her friends, her diary, and the chapter books she escapes to for hours at a time. One of my most valuable informational takeaways from studying yoga is the knowledge that the onset of puberty begins at the age of 8 for most children, when the pineal gland, a tiny gland at the top of the spinal cord, which has a balancing influence on the activities of the brain, begins to degenerate. When this happens, many children become emotional, or easily disturbed.* This would explain the changes that many parents see in their children once they hit second grade, the sassiness, the mood swings at a new level of intensity.
Second grade has not been easy for Miss F. It has marked the beginning of social disappointments, the year that the girls become more discriminating within their friendships, and the discovery that the girls who were your best friends a year ago may not be your best friends forever.
Part of the problem is that Miss F. has impossibly high expectations of others, a trait she has inherited from me. I have learned to temper this liability through maturity, but not before experiencing much suffering, at the realization that sometimes in life, others may not love me the same way I love them.
A few weeks ago, on a Sunday, MIss F. asked if I would take a walk with her.
"A walk..." I stammer. I rummage my brain to figure out if I can make the time. There is the dog to take care of. A stack of medical bills to decipher from my husband's surprise hospital stay a few weeks back. I need to start dinner.
"Ok, let's do it," I say. I need to take her up on these moments, where she will still allow herself to be my little girl.
We walk through the neighborhood, chatting about school, softball, the summer, which is only weeks away. We come to a bridge that goes over some marsh lands. Miss F. wants to divert from the path and head down a small trail.
A few yards into the trail she stops. "Mommy! Look at that spider web! It's perfect!" She points to some reeds that have become the stakes for a perfectly shaped orb, the fine silky threads shimmering from the reflection of the late day sun. I kneel down next to her and inspect the web. It's beautiful. I never would have seen it, had she not pointed it out. I bulldoze through life, barreling through laundry, emails, homework, dirty dishes, teaching yoga, writing, and making school lunches for the kids. I am always onto the next thing, never stopping except for sleep.
"It looks like Charlotte's web, doesn't it?" Miss F. asks.
"It does, baby, it's beautiful."
We head home. It's dinner time. The smell of barbecue wafts through the air.
"I can't believe I'm eight already Mommy. I just can't believe it!"
"Me, neither baby."
"I wanted to tell you something else. I forgive you."
"Forgive me for what?"
"For taking that spring out of my finger at school. It would have been silly to go to the doctor. Besides, it didn't even hurt when you pulled it out. It hurt more in my mind than when you actually did it. You know what I mean?
"Yes, baby, I know exactly what you mean."
Miss F. grabs by hand. She holds it tightly as we walk.
At least for this moment, she's still mine.
*Taken from Yoga Education for Children, published by the Bihar School of Yoga,
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