When Hope’s English grade bottomed out a few weeks ago, I found myself having to really make some hard decisions about what my next chess move would be.
For the last year, I’ve been just focused on giving everything I could to help Hope with her school struggles.
Constant contact with teachers.
Meetings with social workers and counselors.
If I could think of it and afford it I threw it at the wall and assessed whether it could and would stick. I tried just about everything.
The day I got her progress report I nearly cried because none of it seemed to help. I felt like I failed; she felt like she failed. We both felt like isht.
So, here’s what I chose to do:
I laid down my king on this chess board.
I dumped the tutor for the rest of this semester. I backed off talking about it. I vowed to myself to stop emailing the teachers and counselors for the next few weeks.
I chilled out, and focused on just loving Hope.
And, she loved me back.
It’s funny, whenever I focus on attachment above everything else, Hope thrives. You’d think I’d simply maintain that focus. The reality is that with so many issues to juggle, sometimes I end up just going through the motions with the attachment thing.
I feed her, tidy up, make sure the laundry is done, make sure all basic needs are met. I go to the multiple band events, the multiple medical and dental appointments. I’m meeting with the teachers and the music coaches. And that’s just Hope’s stuff.
Sure we are affectionate. I tell her I love her every day. I try to hug her every day.
But it just is hard to focus on attachment in the middle of the whirlwind that never seems to end..
But the last two or three weeks, I did. I focused on doing things that mommies do: I fixed her hot breakfasts (that were portable); I packed her yummy lunches. I meal planned and made sure we ate dinner together every night. I asked about life. I hugged her. I teased her with my secret pet name for her that she loves but pretends to hate. I watched Korean dramas and music videos. I listened to her teen girl problems. I offered no criticism; just positive direction and reinforcement.
Did it work?
Well, yesterday, we went shopping, and it was everything I thought it would be. We were a mother-daughter duo who had fun, giggled, went way over budget and went for a diet busting bite before the long drive home. She randomly hugged me. When a booth vendor accused Hope of scratching a patent leather purse I mama-bear growled at him ferociously to my daughter’s quiet delight.
We felt loved, both of us. Yesterday will be one of my great mommy memories.
We talked about school. I learned to keep my pie-hole shut. I know she wants to be successful, and that she wants do see if she can do it her way. I want to give her the space to try.
And if backing off means I might get more days like yesterday, well, heck, I might never call the school again.
Of course, I’m going to call the school again, but more judiciously. I want her to be successful, and if her way works, then how wonderful would that be.
That English grade hasn’t gone up one point yet. But all the other grades have gone up; so there’s that.
I love this kid so madly, sometimes my heart hurts.
I will continue to focus on attachment. I will also focus on redefining success…and acknowledging that most days, we actually are successful.
December 19th, 2016 at 6:02 am
Great job!! Way to check yourself and help you daughter feel even more loved. It was a fantastic idea.
December 26th, 2016 at 7:43 pm
The moment we made homework optional at our house, Middle went from failing kindergarten to the top of her class at her second attempt and in first grade to now, in 2nd grade, attending the accelerated academic magnet program and scoring in the higher percentiles on all her assignments and tests.
Amazing how backing off can help in some areas!
February 1st, 2017 at 8:16 am
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