Jan 23, 2012

My Face

You thought I died, didn't you? I'm still around, stirring up trouble wherever I go. Lately I've been bugging the crap out of my 8th grade daughter who simply can't understand why I don't believe C grades are acceptable. All my harping, checking, and offering to type papers has done nothing to motivate her. I was ticked that I took her to two plays so she can turn in an outside performance review. The first one was too late. The second one, already typed, she turned in two days too late. She got half credit. Her grade overall? C. All my lecturing slid right off her back. Her retorts included that she wanted to be a "well-rounded person" and not "all about good grades."

She tried out for a special year long drama class. She practiced for hours doing her monologue. She was good. I mean really good. She went early to school and auditioned. The list of lucky classmates was posted. All her friends were included. She was not. She was disappointed. We went together to ask the teacher why she didn't make it. In order to be considered, she had to have either an A or a B in the first Drama class. She took the news stoically and we drove home. She cried quietly. She really wanted to be in that class. She didn't need another lecture right then. I took her to Kneaders and gave her a hug.

I also want to go and yell at her teacher about clearly stating the minimum requirements so sweet little girls don't put their heart and soul into a monologue, hoping to get into a class. On the other hand, for once I don't have to play the bad guy. I can be the supportive, loving mother who gives her daughter a hug, tells her she's a great kid and I'm sorry she didn't get in. I don't have to connect the dots for her. If the lesson transfers to other classes, great. If not, too bad. I love that kid.

The other night at dinner, I could feel her scrutinizing my face. After a few seconds, she announced, "Mom, I like your face." What a random and wonderful sentence to hear. In hindsight, though, what better way for a child to let a mother know that she is familiar with your features? She knows you and has a history of interactions with you that seeks out your face above the rest. It is my face she looks for when her heart hurts. It is my face attached to my arms that she wants to be surrounded by.

That night as I brushed my teeth I looked at my face. Instead of seeing the aging skin, smile and frown lines alike, the maverick hair or the tiny scar on my cheek, I saw the face of my mother. Not the physical face but the familiarity her face brings. It is comforting to know that I am providing that service to my children simply by existing. No matter how old my mother gets or how bald the chemo makes her, it is still her face I seek when I need comfort and home. She is still beautiful to me because she epitomizes safety.

I don't remember what my mother taught me through words. I remember that she was there. I remember feeling safe. Maybe I'll just stop lecturing and BE.


Kim said...

Sweet post. Hopefully, your daughter will get her act together.

I fear that The Boy sees the disapproving face far too often to say he likes mine.

I guess I need to work on that.

Mom24 said...

Thank you. What a wonderful message. I think I'm afraid to just trust and "be", yet my kids are doing great. I think I need to back off a little and make sure they're getting the message that no matter what, they're loved.

mCat said...

What a great post! It wasn't until I actually realaxed and let myself "be" that I found more success and fulfillment from being a mother. Not to mention my sons and I developed a much much closer relationship.

Klin said...

No greater lesson than that of natural consequences. What you do affects what you can or cannot do tomorrow and you just got to hold her and love her through her disappointment.

Sweet tender memories.

I see my mom's face in my face, too. And my sister and I have very similar features. Very comforting as we lean on each other in hard times.

Amy said...

This is a beautiful post. Love it!