Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Behind that prickly exterior...

... is a girl who's a bit lost I think. But like all porcupines, its hard to get past the sharp spines. I speak of Caitlin of course.

This girl's got the face for poker. Inscrutable. Tears may fall when we talk but I never know - are they tears of sadness or anger? Is she upset with me? Upset with the situation? Upset with herself?

She never reveals her hand. Whatever is in her mind and heart remains known only to her. It's so very difficult to reach her. I never know if I am getting through. I never know if I am effective in my methods of reaching out. And I know it's only going to get harder as she grows older.

Gut feel tells me she needs help. I need to pay attention to her. She may seem like the most independent, the one who learns the fastest, and possibly the most streetsmart of the siblings. But I sense a vulnerable desperate core. It's there in her eyes, in her voice when she tells me a joke, a story, what happened at school, at gym training.

But perhaps the problem lies with me.

I feel disconnected. When she speaks, I find it hard to listen and horrible as this sounds, I feel a sense of impatience: get to the point. I tell myself that there is NO getting to the point with kids. That with kids, it is all about just listening, giving the time, the attention. No matter how repetitious, how boring, how silly, how tiresome, no matter how busy, how hungry, how distracted I get. I admire mothers who can do this - give total absolute attention to their children. Because everytime I can't, I feel less of a mother. A sham of a mother. How un-maternal it is to feel impatient.

I have to keep trying. I cannot give up. I can be angry and I can be frustrated and I can feel like talking to her is like bashing my head against a brick wall - pointless and painful. But I cannot give up. There is something there. I just need one breakthrough. I need to find that connection.

1 comment:

Rita said...

Pat, sometimes Ivan thinks it's the "exactly-middle" child syndrome. We get the same feel with Keagan at times