The Dance

We have a dance, she and I. I’m not sure if it’s a tap dance or a jig, but it’s a dance we do daily and it’s wearing me out. I offer suggestions and then wait, holding my breath, my feet waiting for the dance to begin. Will she yell, scream, slam doors, tell me she hates me? Or will she just simply say “thank you Mama” and go about her business? Sadly, the former is more of our life lately and it’s hurting my heart.

Softball. She’s the veteran on the team by a year. She is a good fielder; good arm, good idea of where she needs to be and when she needs to be there. She asks to pitch and Doug lets her. She struggles and we both offer suggestions. Suggestions lead to full on meltdown in front of parents, players, coaches. Lots of “I’m horrible, I stink, I don’t want to play” fill the air. Is the pressure too much? No one expects perfection. We just want her to have fun. She is not having fun. Neither are we.

Music. She is taking keyboard lessons weekly at school and practices at home on our piano. She is learning the recorder for music class. She rushes through each practice session like she’s on fire, never stopping to really learn any of the pieces that her teacher has given her. When she struggles, I try to help. I’ve been a musician since I was 10. She is better than I was when I was younger. Hell I didn’t learn to read bass clef until I was in college and she already knows it. She fights my suggestions, getting defensive. “I’m no good, I won’t earn my belt” she yells. Then she puts the recorder away and goes to her room to read and will yell at me when I reminder her that she still has at least 20 minutes of piano practice time to get in.

The dance has left me sad. It’s left me angry. I don’t want to do this dance every day. If I leave her to do things on her own, then I hear that “I don’t care about her and don’t pay attention to her” and if I remind and try to help and pay attention, I get hear “You make me nervous. Go away. I don’t want you here”.  It’s a never ending dance. I go right, she wants left. I go forward and she takes three steps back and whirls away. Do I let her go? Do I pull her closer at the risk of pushing her further away? Some days the dance is too much and I put away my dance card and tell her I’m done.  Some days I wake up hopeful that the dance will be a slow, easy dance or even no dance for the day. My feet are tired and I keep stepping on toes that I’d rather not step on. When will this dance end?

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3 thoughts on “The Dance

  1. I'm so sorry. I've only seen the sweet side, so I know you must miss it when she's acting otherwise.She's so lucky to have you, even if she doesn't know it yet!

  2. i have been in those shoes kristin. sadly i don't have any advice to offer. the girl and i do this dance too, though now it is not every day and not so blatant. some days it is blissfully sweet. we are in sync and she is sweet and ….god i love those days. others? not so much. she doesn't say she hates me any more, but, we did go through that period too. she was mean and hateful. ignoring it sometimes helped. it still hurt, but it kept her from escalating. and, yes, sometimes i just pulled her close and hugged it out of her to keep from going crazy. it will get better. it really will.

  3. I'm sorry. That's got to be frustrating. I wish I had some great advice for you, but I'm still trying to figure out the toddler brain. Lord help me when the kids get older. Hope things get easier soon.

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