Monday, February 26, 2007

Stardom Week - Part 8

This is Part Eight of a Nine Part Series

I was not sure how to reach out to J that evening. In the end we both had to come out of this unscathed - that was imperative for our happiness and well being. It would just not do for J to think that she had caused trouble for me or worse it was safer to lie to Mommy than invoke her wrath. I held J close until she was done crying.

"J, have I ever been mad at you for doing anything wrong ?" I asked her.

She said "No"

"Are you scared of Mommy when she does get mad at you for something ?" I asked.

"I know Mommy still loves me" she said. I was glad to hear the confidence in her voice.

"That's what I want you to remember always. No matter how mad I am at you, I never stop loving you. No matter what anyone tells me about you, I will always believe what you tell me. I want you to know that there is no good or bad about anything you do. You are not supposed to know the difference. All you need to do is to tell Mommy. As long as you and I don't keep secrets from each other nothing and no one in the world can hurt us. Do you understand, J ?" I asked.

"Yes, Mommy" she replied.

"No one in the world will understand you as well as I do. Unless you tell me clearly what you are thinking, what makes you happy and what makes you sad, I won't be able to help you when you are in trouble. Do you promise to always tell me everything ? " I asked holding her close.

"Even if it is not important ?" she asks

"Yes. Even if it is not important. It may not be important for you but I still want to know. Did I tell you about how God gives each one of us a job to do in life ?" I asked

"Yes" J said.

" What is my job ? Do you remember ?" I asked.

" To help me be a good little girl" J replied

"And to help you, I need to understand you completely. I can never have an outsider tell me anything about you that I don't already know. Sometimes, little people like you don't know enough words to express difficult thoughts. You may be thinking something that is too difficult for you to tell me. When you don't use enough words to describe something, Mommy does not understand correctly and does the wrong thing. Does that mean you are lying ?" I asked

"No" J replied after some thought.

"For instance you are wearing a red sweater today. The pillow has a red cover and the coffee mug has a pattern of red flowers. If I were to tell you 'J get me the red' would you understand what I am talking about ?" I asked.

"No" she replied after giving the scenario some consideration.

"In the same way, something happened in school on Tuesday that made you say that Mrs H forgot all about the poster that day when in fact you did get your turn. Because you did not explain to me everything that went through your mind, I was not able to understand." I said

"But sometimes, it takes a lot of time to say everything." J said

"Have I ever told you that I don't have time to listen to everything you have to say no matter how long it takes ?" I asked her.

"No" she admitted.

"Unless you try to give words to your thoughts you will not learn how to do it. As you learn bigger and more difficult words to express your feelings it will become easier and take lesser time. You have to try saying what you are thinking and feeling using the words you know now. Mommy can help you out when you get stuck. " I said wondering if I was even being able to get my message across.

She listened to me silently.

"The other thing to remember is, no one in the world should be able to tell you what you should or should not tell Mommy. It could be your grandparents, your friends, Mommy's friends, your teachers or even the principal. If anyone of them were to come up to you and tell you 'J, this is our secret and you should never tell your Mommy about it' would you listen to them ?" I asked her.

"No I would not" she replied with conviction.

"If something happens and they want you to tell it differently to your Mommy would you listen to them ?" I asked. She said no once again.

It had been a long day and a longer evening. I knew I was going to have to revisit these lessons with her many times until speaking her mind in front of me became second nature, until I was sure she had the emotional strength to resist forces that wanted her behave in ways contrary to it. I had not felt so exhausted in years. Tomorrow was going to be another busy day at work and I would have to make the 4:00 appointment with Mrs H. I dreaded it all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My take is what happened wasn't a black-n-white thing as who had lied and who hadn't. I think there is more grey area where there could have been some lackadaisical approach from the teacher's side and a little amplification of emotions from J's.(my daughter's emotions are sometimes larger than her body :>)).Also..playing the devil's advocate...I think I would let my daughter figure out the impartialities of a society on her own.. and not attribute too much credence to it when asked my opinion. Except for sexual harassment.. all other kinds have to be tolerated because they are wrapped under layers of diplomacy. Even in India.. when I was growing up.. there were teachers who favored others all the time, based on their father's stature, tuition-kids, etc.. so we just accepted it for what it was.. and if the teacher singled me out for certainly made my day.

I was also reminded of Scout from "To Kill a Mochingbird", where her teacher treats her a little differently because she is smarter than the other kids and knows everything that the teacher planned to teach..something like that..

Anyways.. I hope the meeting with the teacher ended with just the right words.. sorrys and thank yous and appreciate it... yada yada.. and all's well that ends well :)