I came across it by accident really. I check our girls’ social media pages frequently, see if they’ve added friends, their pictures, comments…just general checking in.
I came across this thing called Ask, and there was a link and I clicked it. And it brought up pages of questions that my blondie had answered. Some funny. Some cute. Some heart breaking. And so many revealing answers.
She opened up to strangers things I think she must not have the trust to say to me. Questions I have asked that she has always given much…safer…answers to. Questions I have never thought to ask that obviously mean so much to her.
There really were pages of these. I read them; re-read some. Some of these things I know about her, so many I don’t.
Would I have parented her differently up until now if I had knows these things? Have I tried hard enough to try to get her to tell me about these feelings, these struggles, these truths I found accidentally?
Many things I read will stay with me, but the one thing that has pressed on my heart the most…it almost sounds silly to say this was the most important. And maybe it isn’t the most important, but for whatever reason it is on my heart.
What is one thing you would change about yourself if you could? How loud I am. People are always telling me I’m too loud but I can’t help it, it’s just the way I am.
I read this. Re-read it. Stopped. I didn’t go any further. People…me…I’m always telling her to lower her voice…talk more quietly…inside voices…I’ve noticed her reactions…haven’t I? I’ve seen her shut down immediately. Not quiet down, but completely close herself off.
Have I been doing harm here? How many times have I hurt her by trying to change who she is?
I have been so careful not to try to quiet her strong will…I’ve always listed it as a strength on those parent/teacher “help me get to know your child” forms…I know how strong willed she can be…So much so that sometimes I forget how vulnerable she is too.
We parent each of the girls differently…they are different people with different needs, feelings and personalities. But I have always tried to encourage their individual strengths and traits…
Mostly…at least…but not always. I have discouraged this part of her. This way of being that she sees as an intrinsic part of who she is.
For the past week and a half, I have stopped myself. When she is louder than I think is necessary…or even appropriate…I have stopped myself from quieting her. When I know people across the room can hear her I push aside my worries of what they will think of my parenting. When she’s telling me a story so loud people turn to look, I smile at her and give her all of my attention, ignoring the onlookers.
It is a beautiful thing. To see and hear her uninhibited, boisterous, and yes, loud, personality come to life. How many stories of her day have I left unheard because I thought her voice carried too far? How many times has she hesitated to talk to me because I’ve gotten on to her for being too loud earlier in the day? How many times have I been the reason she shut down…burying her heart a little deeper to hide the pain.
No more. I welcome her loudness. I find joy in the animated way she confides in me. I fill with pride at her ability to capture a room’s attention. I look at her…being just the way she is…and I love her for it…not in spite of it.
My beautiful blonde, dimpled, brown-eyed, strong-willed, precious, loud child.