The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

If you're happy and you know it, just move on

Thanks to everyone who talked me down from a ledge yesterday. It was especially helpful to get feedback from people who self identify as shy -- to hear your articulate input helped me to understand a little bit more that people really can choose to be quiet even when they have a lot of worthwhile things to say. Food for thought for this if-I-have-a-thought-in-my-head-I-simply-must-share-it-with-the-masses-without-delay extrovert.

As long as Julia is truly happy, I could care less if she ever utters a word. My goal is not to groom an extrovert, it's simply to raise a happy kid. It's when Julia expresses a real, heartfelt desire to talk more with her peers and then demonstrates an ongoing inability to do so that I get concerned. I know that I can't protect my children from heartache, and I'm confident that I'd be doing them a real disservice if I tried. What I really need to learn, I suspect, is how to protect myself from the pain of seeing my children suffer.

When I was a sophomore in college, my electric typewriter with built-in memory (yikes!) died the night before an important group project was due and I lost a 23 page paper. My mother called in the midst of my panicked scramble to re-create a semester's worth of work which represented 3/4 of the final grade not just for me but for 3 other students. I hung up quickly to get back to work, and when my mom called back the next day, her voice was full of concern. "I was up all night thinking about you," she said as soon as I picked up the phone. "How ARE you?"

"I'm fine. Why?" I replied, confused. "You sounded so upset last night, and you had so much work to do," she answered, equally confused. "Oh, that," I laughed. "Turned out that Angela took really good notes while we wrote the paper the first time. We managed to recreate the paper pretty quickly and then we all went out for a beer." My mother still talks about how strange it felt at that moment to realize that she had suffered more than I had, that in fact she had been lying awake wide-eyed with concern long after I had kicked back with a beer and moved on.

Julia's teacher sort of shook her head behind Julia's back today when I asked how things had gone and mouthed the words "we'll keep trying." But when Julia got in the car, she couldn't wait to tell me about her terrific day at camp and the "great conversation" she'd had with her teacher. She's pleased with her efforts even if Miss Masha was less than impressed with the results. So I'm going to take a clue from my mother's experience and let this go. Instead of lying awake worrying about Julia again tonight, I think I'll just kick back with a beer. And I'll toast my happy child, because as long as she's happy, I am too. Really.


At 1:07 PM, Blogger Joy said...

Too cool! The teacher may not have thought much conversing went on, but look how excited Julia was and how she thought it was a great conversation!



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