This is one of many arresting acrostics I've received from my dear literary daughter. It's evocative and unconventional (moonlight!), but then ... hmm, kind of strange with the mine business...and then oh dear, always mine makes it sound like it's coming from the pen of a poetic stalker. Or just a very direct, earnest little girl.
Lately Frances has been possessive and particularly resentful of the attentions her super cute little brother gracefully receives. Alternately a pretend baby and a shockingly accurate adolescent-in-training (she matter-of-factly told me she was taking the shoelaces out of her sparkly sneakers yesterday, except that's not what they're called. Mama! I have told you a hundred times they're not called sparkly sneakers!), Frances seems to be uncomfortable in her own six-year-old skin.
She worries that she's a bad person. She worries that she's so bad her parents might not love her, so she clings and demands and baby talks and pushes away. How did my baby girl come up with these fears? And why do they persist despite our many gentle yet firm talks with her about her infinite goodness and the necessity and okay-ness of mistakes?
Oh, why do some of us have a harder time than others accepting the gift of unconditional love?
Though she has rarely been relaxed when it comes to receiving affection, some of the things that have come out of her mouth lately would make more sense on the lips of a recovering addict at an NA meeting. Someone who's done some serious harm in her life, not a child who spilled the maple syrup and is having a hard time mastering the cartwheel. Frances struggles to accept her own loveable-ness. It breaks my heart.
The worst part is that the behaviors that stem from her fear and discomfort are just plain irritating. It's not easy to give affection that's demanded of you. I fear my responses reinforce the problem. At this point, all I can do is look for ways to affirm that are about showing, not telling. Thank goodness for books.
Today we snuggled and read three chapters of All of a Kind Family, a favorite which Frances may soon have memorized. There is absolutely nothing like sharing a story we both delight in to take the pressure off and reconnect. Frances especially loves Henny, the rebellious second sister in a large family of outrageously well-behaved and loving girls. We laugh together over her funny and clever refusals to be good like her sisters. I can only hope that our shared, genuine affection for a grand, independent, sometimes lazy, sometimes selfish, always loveable child like Henny is healing for my extraordinary, dear little girl.