Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Lesson in Emotional Masonry

This morning as the kids were scrambling to get ready for school...

Me:  Hey kiddo, are you about ready to go?  You’re not going to be late for school again today. 

Lib:  Sure…just about.  Oh, and Mom…I just want to let you know so you can stop asking about Eric*.  We broke up.   But it’s okay because it was mutual.  I mean…it makes sense. 

Me:  Uh…are you okay?  Who initiated it? 

Lib:  He did.  Through a text message.  So…yeah.  I mean…that was crappy and stuff.  But…yeah.  I’m good.   Totally good.

I saw in her face behind her smile that she was not, in fact, good.   But dammit that 11 year old girl is me.  Through and through.  Her eyes began to water and turn a rosey shade of “this sucks so bad”.   But she continued to smile as I stuttered through what I thought she should hear. 
And what is that, exactly?  What do you say to your sweet girl who just got dumped by her very first boyfriend?

I’ll tell you what my instinct told me to say…

“Honey, boys are stupid…except your dad and brothers of course.” 

“You don’t need him…his loss.”

“He’s obviously too chicken to talk to you face to face…better you know what he’s made of now.”

“Asshole.”

Ah yes…all of the accoutrement that goes with the emotional masonry lesson I so want to teach my daughter.  “Here’s your first spade, and your first brick…build carefully.”  But I can’t.  God, I can’t build her up by teaching her how to harden herself.  How to build those walls tightly around her heart.   While I have made brick-laying an art-form, do I really want that for her? 
Has it always been satisfying for me in relationships past to smile, nod, agree and wish the boys well when they suggest we need time apart? 

Absofreakinlutely.

Even if I cried myself to oblivion in the private comfort of my bedroom, those boys never got the satisfaction of knowing they had the upper hand or were in complete control of the relationship.  In fact my reaction, or lack thereof, always seemed to shake them a bit.  I liked that.  And as they walked away I quickly slap down that next layer, or ten, of brick and mortar.

While I want to protect my daughter from hurt, I don’t want to prevent her from feeling love.  I mean real true deep love.  Can you ever really experience that if you’re only peering at the boy over the fortress you’ve built around you?  I realize she’s young…but dammit right now I’m laying the foundation for her.  How to navigate through relationships and break-ups.   I’m teaching her how to feel about it.  How to respond.  Do I want her upset?  Hell no.  But she has a right to feel emotional about it.  I can’t brush that off and expect her to be tough as steel.  She shouldn’t be.  I want her to let boys in.  Because they AREN’T all bad.  In fact some are quite wonderful.   And nurturing.  And careful.  And I want her to experience THAT.  She deserves to feel swept off of her feet.  And the boys she may encounter (waaaay down the road)…the good boys…deserve to be loved fully and freely by her. 
Yes she will encounter some d-bags-in-training along the way and have to experience a few heartaches in the meantime.  It’s my job to be her soft place to land.  And help her steady herself and focus on the good in her life.  Take the spade and brick from her hand.  And the next time she experiences this kind of hurt…my job…is to embrace her and say:

“I love you, my sweet girl.  It’s okay to cry.  And I’m so sorry.”
 
 
* Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

16 comments:

  1. *Tears* --> "While I have made brick-laying an art-form, do I really want that for her?"
    Big tight hug, Lib. Big tight hug, Miss Bliss. Big. Tight. Hugs. <3

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    1. Thank you, Kristi...if I can get through her teenage years the boys will be a breeze! <3

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  2. she is indeed lucky to have you for her mama. You get her and you are doing such a good job. Sweet girls. both of you.

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    1. Thank you, Katy...I do get her. Usually. She is me now not me when I was 11...that part is a little scary! :-)

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  3. “Honey, boys are stupid…except your dad and brothers of course.” <--- That would be a hard one to hold back. Lib is super lucky to have such a wonderful mother. So many parents would just blow it off...for you to acknowledge her hurt means more than anything else. Hugs and ice cream to you and your girl. xo

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    1. Thanks, momma...we definitely hit the ice cream last night. AND the shoe store! xoxo

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  5. Boys are stupid. First hand experience.

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    1. Not all of 'em. There are quite a few good eggs. :-)

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    1. Thanks, lady...she is one tough cookie. I just don't want her to feel like she has to be too tough. xo

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  7. She is so incredibly lucky to have you for her mother. Love her, love you, love you both for being so fabulous. xo

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  8. I admit, I probably would have used her phone to text him back, telling him that only cowards have difficult conversations over text, and to say thank you from releasing **me** from the relationship because you should really only make a habit of dating people that are into you. And to wish him luck finding the girl that deserves him.

    I would make sure that my daughter puts the blame for the breakup off of her own shoulders, so that she doesn't try and not be herself for the next one. Obviously this guy was too immature to handle being in one, or the text-breakup wouldn't have happened. I would teach her that real love should never look like this...that it should be easy and that there are no hoops to jump through, no strings attached except for the one that binds you together. That one day, she will find someone who lets her be herself, and loves her for it.

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  9. Unfortunately, having an 18 year old, emotional SON is no easier. Sometimes, when I see him struggling with the pain of losing his first love, and I find myself stammering, trying to remember what I was when I was his age and heartbroken... But I didnt have anything to help him, because I never had anyone TO tell me what to do or how to recover when I was his age. So, I do my best, and hope he doesn't hate me because I can't stop his hurt. When I'm alone in my room, I cry for him. I cry because I can't stand to see the pain on his face, and in his eyes. All I can do is try to come up with something coherent, something wise that I can pass on to him, so he can get through this broken heart, and hopefully be able to successfully navigate future romantic catastrophes, since I know NO ONE ever has just one..... <3

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  10. Unfortunately, having an 18 year old, emotional SON is no easier. Sometimes, when I see him struggling with the pain of losing his first love, and I find myself stammering, trying to remember what I was when I was his age and heartbroken... But I didnt have anything to help him, because I never had anyone TO tell me what to do or how to recover when I was his age. So, I do my best, and hope he doesn't hate me because I can't stop his hurt. When I'm alone in my room, I cry for him. I cry because I can't stand to see the pain on his face, and in his eyes. All I can do is try to come up with something coherent, something wise that I can pass on to him, so he can get through this broken heart, and hopefully be able to successfully navigate future romantic catastrophes, since I know NO ONE ever has just one..... <3

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