This was a Mother's Day with difference. J is of the age now when she makes less than judicious choices about what to share with her parents and what to keep to herself. While she does not care too much about fitting in with her peers, she does have the need to have to lead the pack. The way this comes about is not always good for her but the only way she knows right now.
It has not helped that the hormones have just started to kick in and boys are starting to become interesting. The combination of forces, have produced some unexpected and unwelcome resultants recently. So when J asked me like she does every year, what I would like for Mother's Day, I asked for a few things instead of one.
Being kind to me - as in not betraying my trust, telling me everything no matter how unpleasant, unnecessary (in her mind) or disappointing. I also asked that she make an effort to express anger and other negative emotions instead of bottling them all up. We talked about how unexpressed anger can lead to anxiety and depression ; how everyone had a right feel anger and resentment - that it was okay for her to be angry at her parents. Since writing comes to her easily, I suggested that she write exactly how she felt in that moment of rage and keep it private. And today, to come clean with all everything she's kept from me for a while - out of fear, shame or plain old carelessness.
So we spent a couple of hours talking and when we were done, it was time for breakfast. I made J's favorite - pancakes. J said "I feel like my insides were emptied out" as she enjoyed them. It may have just been my imagination but the child's body language suggested a sense of lightness. This may not be the last time we have to do this "detox" but at least, I am learning there will be a need to do so - I should be able to prompt her when I see her being weighed down, being abrupt, taking too long to formulate answers to simple questions - a few of the many signs I am learning to read. I hope in time, J will give me all the gifts I asked for this Mother's Day on her own, without me asking for them.