Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It's been earned with tears. This first book reading session.

The tears make it even more victorious.

We had a rough start, my Miraclegirl and I, to our school year. We had to dance fight our way into a rhythm of understanding. Her that she is capable. Me that she is only five. I had to learn patience coupled with grace, she needed to discover confidence coupled with perseverance.

Perfectionistic to a fault, I demanded the same from her. In response, tears and "I'm so stupid" erupted as paper was ripped to shreds. She too wanted perfection. For herself and for me. To not achieve destroyed her world.

I believed I could not teach. She believed she could not learn.

Parenting is hard. Add the teacher role, and for six weeks, it was impossible. Not a day went by I didn't consider making a 7 mile drive to enroll her and tears were frequent on both our parts. I was a failure as a teaching mother and she took on the belief she was a failure of a daughter.

Her wounds ran much (much) deeper than mine.

But then I remembered. 

She is five and my identity is not wrapped up in her school knowledge.

Reading? Math? Those aren't the flags of successful motherhood. Love is. She needed believing love rather than expected demands. So I released the demands and hugged instead.  I learned how to take breaks when the tears threatened and I added cheer-leading to my motherhood roles.

A simple shift from standing in front of her desk, towering over her, to pulling her into my lap at my desk, turned our world upside down.

The words, "You so got this, Baby!" as we cracked open the phonics book which was the inevitable faucet for the tears, redirected the flow of our current that day. I was determined I was going to carve out a new path, not dig the current one deeper.

Her lips began trembling. "Mommy, I. . . can't. I can't do this!" In her mind she had failed before she had even begun.  And I was the one who had planted that seed with my attempts to prove to the world I could be a success as a home schooling mother.  The more I insisted she prove me right, the more I broke her spirit.

No longer an option to grow immediately frustrated, I now had one option and one option only. Believing love. 

"Yes you can. I soooo know you can do this! You're so smart and I totally believe you can find this easy-peasy if you try just one more time. You so got this. I'm sure of it. Will you try? Not for me. For you?  Because I think once you discover you can read, you are going to love it! Will you try, Baby? One more time?"

And so she did.

From refusal to try to quiet, mumbling, fearful attempt, waiting for my frustration to erupt as she stumbled over her sounds. But God had broken me in the process of me hurting her and I simply hugged in silence. The longer my voice stayed mute, the louder her voice grew in confidence.

Our corner was turned. The tearful battle of the first six weeks, done. Just like that. Because demanding expectations became believing encouragement.

So this box of books arriving in the mail wasn't just her celebration. It was mine too. Because while she learned how to read I learned how to have grace. And that, was the lesson that truly mattered.

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I am a stay-at-home-wife and mother, busy with home educating my children, doing daycare, and preparing our church-turned-home to embrace special needs and terminally ill children in need of a forever family.
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