The Joys of Parenting A Daughter


I had not seen Maria since Friday morning when I dropped her off for school with the exception of a few minutes on Saturday afternoon between her return from a friend’s house and her departure to her cousin’s house.  I pulled into the driveway at 5:30 pm and she ran down the driveway yelling “MOM!”  What a marvelous feeling. 

I loaded her and Mario in the car to head to Wendy’s Gymnastics.  She asked me if she could run in the house and get a snack.  I told her I would head in with her (knowing that her snack may be a four course meal).  Indeed, she was ready to rip into another cereal bar (after eating one a half hour ago with the sitter).  I told her that she could have an apple or grapes rather than the cereal bar since we would be eating dinner right after the gym.  She looked at me in disgust and walked away.  I asked her if she wanted fruit, and she shut the door behind her.  Lovely.  When I opened my car door, I got the following pleasantry thrown my way:

“I can’t wait until you are away in Cancun. You can’t leave soon enough.” 

Even lovelier.  I gave her a sad face that I know she saw through my rear view mirror but it stirred no response.  When we got to Wendy’s, she opened her door, stepped out of the car, and marched into the gym alone.  Mario looked at me as I picked her up out of his seat and observed “She seems mad at you.”  He is a smart cookie.  He gave me his sweet Mario hug to make up for Maria’s quick departure. 

Once inside, she continued to ignore me.  I had a pack of Tic Tacs and I offered her a few.  She accepted and whispered “thanks, mommy.”  I didn’t press the issue any more.  I want her to feel that she can assert herself with me – without retribution or revenge on my part.  I am not going to give her grief for saying she wanted me in another country – she needs to be able to get her feelings out (although there are times that it takes me biting my lip to near bruising to avoid saying something to her I will regret (and sometimes I say it anyway and slip up; I am human after all)).  I will draw the line if she cusses me out or behaves like a crazy woman but other than that, I am going to let her process her feelings. 

About a third of the way through gymnastics class, she waved me down and motioned for me to watch her jump off the balance beam.  I did.  And I gave her a thumbs up and a standing ovation.  She smiled at me. 

All is good.

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