Last year my dad bought me a jacket – moto style, softest leather, perfect in every way – for my birthday. I adored it.
A few months later I left that jacket on my front stoop and it was stolen. I drove off thinking I had loaded it in the car. It was gone.
I was nervous to tell my dad. I didn’t even want to, but somehow it came out that I had lost this amazing jacket he had bought for me.
He started yelling at me. “How could I have done that?” “You lose every jacket I buy you!” “Where is it?”
Then he started demanding that I hurry up because we were late and telling me I was going too slow.
In my flustered condition I forgot something I needed for an appointment and he was then more disappointed in me.
Didn’t he understand that I was already upset over having lost my jacket? Didn’t he know that I had already beaten myself up over it? I didn’t intentionally lose it. I loved it.
I’m lying. My dad was kind. He didn’t go buy me another one, but he acknowledged me and maybe silently expressed I shouldn’t leave my coat on the sidewalk.
Unfortunately I didn’t learn from this experience. Chloe was the target of this tirade about her lost jacket yesterday morning. Then because I was distracting her she forgot her violin.
I went through the day thinking about all my excuses for having treated her in this way. We’ve been under stress and I just snapped. I thought of all the things I needed to change in her. That’s it. No more computer, chores, I’ll make her take care of her stuff, maybe a new jacket out of her allowance.
As the day progressed I became more sane. Possibly what this girl needed was not her mom yelling at her. Possibly what she needed was her attention directed outward from herself and validation of the abilities she did have.
I resisted the urge when I picked her up to tell her I had looked everywhere and called different places and still hadn’t found it.
I brought snacks and took her to the park. When we got home she completed her school report and helped me cook dinner. She got her 30 minutes of computer time. She cleaned up dinner with her dad and helped me put the laundry away. She went to bed easy and woke up happy.
It’s interesting to note how much better she was doing when I held up my side of the mother/daughter relationship and chose not to point out her faults.
I do hope we find the jacket though.
Both of them.
The girl doesn’t even get cold. Why am I stressing?