My little angel is surely growing up. I am savoring these moments with her that I know will soon disappear as she enters into her adolescence. She is only seven years old, but I can't help to think about this especially after the type of conversation we had tonight. We were driving home, and she told me that she feels that her life is just miserable. That she just doesn't feel right these days. She went on to explain how she felt by comparing herself to Mumble the Penguin, in the movie Happy Feet.
"Look, you know how Mumble was dropped by his father when he was still in his shell and when he was born, he couldn't sing like the others, but only could dance. All the other penguins made fun of him and he always had a hard time."
"I feel like that because I am always hurting myself, tripping and falling down."
"And I am always getting in trouble, just like him. My life is just getting harder for me."
" There is more, but I don't feel like talking about it now."
It's hard for me to express in words how that made me feel. I was thrilled that she was opening up and sharing with me her thoughts and feelings. That she trusted and felt comfortable to do so. Of course, she's my daughter, but even at seven, children won't neccessarily do this.
I also was very proud of her with the way she choose to analyze her situation. She must have been giving it a lot of thought and to be able to find that analogy and express and articulate it so brilliantly, really floored me. Especially because it's been over a month since when we saw the movie.
And I felt sadness - that she is feeling this pain. I didn't push her into telling me anything else, I just left it up to her to talk to me whenever she needs to - that I am always there to listen and so is daddy. I then asked her if she wanted to talk with her school counselor, which she only knows her as the nice friend at school that helps different children. She is actually a Special Ed. teacher but since it's such a small school, with only 80 children, she has many roles. Nat said that she did want to meet with her tomorrow, but was afraid that she wouldn't have time for her. I reassure her that her favorite friend will always make time for her.
I know that many people pooh pooh the times we live in; that we are too self absorbed and too into getting therapy whenever there is a problem. I think it's very healthy that our children are aware of these resources. That they know they always have an outlet and are comfortable with asking for help without the stigma attached to it. No way could I have ever imagined this conversation when I was a child. Noone even thought about sending me to a counselor when my mother died at age 6. Noone ever spoke about my mother's death or how I was coping with it. It happen, you moved on and adjust.
This is going to be an increasingly hard week for both of the kids. My father-n-law was diagnosed a few weeks ago with liver cancer and passed away yesterday afternoon. We were very fortunate to have spent both holidays with him, Chanukah and Christmas, when he was not too frail for the grandkids. We explained to Natalie about his disease. Thanks to Randi for her words of wisdom on how to best broach the subject. Upon her suggestion, we made a clear distinction between being sick and a disease, such as cancer. So often we use the word sick and we forget that children take it so literally and it's very easy for them to become anxious whenever they learn someone is "sick." There is a fear that the person who is sick will die too.
Children find all sorts of ways of coping that may not make any sense to us, adults. We just need to be able to recognize the signs, trust our instincts and always have an open mind and plenty of room in our hearts so they will feel secure and comfortable to come to us with anything on their minds.
Just a little funny and unrelated sidenote - last week when Nat and I were visiting NY, we went into Manhattan to gaze at many of the famous department store Christmas windows. To warm up we went into Bergdorf Goodman(cuz there is no other reason for us to be in such an upscale store) and we ooh and ahh over the $100 earmuffs that were on sale and the cool purses and such. We made a detour to the restroom which is on the 7th floor, aka the China, Vases and other beautiful gifts that are too expensive to ever even consider purchasing, so lets keep our hands to ourself and be very careful, kinda floor. As we were making our way through, Natalie said "Mommy, this floor looks just like Grandma's house." Of course, I had to immediately call my MIL. It's no wonder that our Nat is Grandma's favorite grandaughter. How can any child top that. ; )