dear ruth,

please stop screaming.  no, seriously, though, in all earnestness.  stop screaming.  ok, i understand you’re just venting.  i do it too.  usually not quite so loud or for so long that it makes the neighbors want to call protective services to come over and investigate….but i get it.  you’re four.  the world is a big and frustrating place.  especially when none of your clothes fit you right some of the time.  and especially when your little brother is on my lap and goddamn it if you weren’t about to sit on my lap or at least you really want to now that he’s there and no you can’t calm down and play quietly in the other room while he wakes up slowly, this is urgent.  i know, i know.  everything is urgent.

especially when dad tells you it’s time for bed and you suddenly realize you’re starving!!!  and on top of that, you’re not done playing!!!  plus you’re not tired.  why doesn’t dad just go to bed and you’ll stay up and have a chat with mom as she tries (in vain) to put baby brother down for the night and then go to sleep when you’re good and ready?  that seems to you like a win-win as dad is always saying in his work lingo.

i love you to death (at least partly because you look like me) and i try hard to understand when you say a million and a half times that you want to watch your show on youtube, you’re not trying to drive me crazy.  you just really wanna watch your dang show.  i get that.  but something in me feels like a great big loser when you spend so much time glued (literally, your eyes are inches from the screen) to the computer watching that certain show for so long (basically as long as i’ll let you which can be a pretty damn long time if i’m cleaning).  i can almost hear your brain cells dying, can see the bad bad cultural norms being imbedded into your perfect innocent head (i’m a terrible person).

your energy astounds me, makes me feel old and sedentary.  especially when you can jump and flip for hours on the furniture only stopping for a few sips of orange juice and a couple of bites of cheese.  i envy your exuberance for life.  i wonder where mine went.  probably accidentally mailed it off with an energy or phone bill (on one of the months where i talked for way too long to my mom, my aunt, my cousin, and, oh yeah, my friend too). i would call and ask them to return it only i don’t want to spend all afternoon on the phone trying to track it down.  i never get anywhere with those people anyways.

you are smarter than me.  i can see it by that ever-present skeptical (in a good, not bad) way that you look at me, size up what i’m saying.  how quick you are to call out any inconsistencies, any gray areas.  “what do you mean, mommy?” you say and bore your eyes even deeper through me.  you are brighter than me, your quest for knowledge and understanding astounds me, leaves me sputtering on the sidelines.  was i ever so curious?  and when did i become so attached to predictability?  to routine?

your sense of humor might be your greatest crutch.  use it.  to conquer whatever uncertainty or shyness you possess.

you are better than me.  i wish the world for you.  my only hope is to do no harm.  that’s my mantra: do no harm.  leave you be.  give you my love and support and let you shine.  not to burden you with my downtrodden-ness.  my heavy mind.  my small-minded ownership of you as my child.  your life is your own.  and i am so happy for that.

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Author: Terry

Welcome! I am a Waldorf and unschooling-inspired homeschooling parent of three, ages 2, 4, and 7 living in the Lansing area of Michigan writing from the front lines of parenthood. Join me as I try to navigate homeschooling and bask in the craziness of life with young ones. Feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

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