** I'm finally getting to relaying the Shawl Dance Mishap referred to in last week's post. I'm not sure why I didn't post about it at the time it happened... I think we were just too upset. I'm a little long winded but I took some time to lay down a little peek in what makes E, E. ;) ***
This parenting stuff is tough. It's not enough to just care for and feed your children somehow you have to help them navigate through life's daily struggles. Some days are really good and for those I am glad. My E comes home with a smile on her face and a lift in her step eager to share her day. Other days are not so good and it's those that make a mother struggle with the right words and the right pieces of advice.
Just like nothing really prepared you for how exhausting it was caring for a newborn child. Sure people told you it would be tough, but until you live it you just have no real idea. I never knew that the sound of my children crying would be as if nails were being driven into my head. I'm not talking newborn baby cries, I'm talking the shrieking tantrum type crying. I could never have guessed that.
So nothing prepared me for the daily drama that living with three children entails.
E is my first born and probably my most challenging child. I always say she suffers from first born syndrome. If your child suffers from it, you know what I mean. I was labelled as child as being moody. Something that always bothered me so I have tried to always refer to my challenges with E in a positive light. Like she is passionate about what she wants and has no problem expressing it. Translation: has a throw down hissy fit/meltdown when asked to transition from play time centres where she has set up an entire store for the benefit of her kindergarten class (and I must say it was pretty cool) to having to actual school work. In the behaviour, I can read how important and how neat what she was doing and I can completely understand why it was hard for her to switch tasks. I get it. It just doesn't make life easy. She's not difficult, she's passionate.
However, she is also extremely kind and creative. She is always the first to be at a child's side when they are injured and will stay with them until an adult comes. She will spend hours creating works of art and science projects from bits of junk from all over the house. She loves to collect garbage. Literally. It drives me crazy. Anything plasticy, stringy or shiny must be brought home along with rocks, sticks and leaves. Like I need more garbage.
She also wants to perform. So when she came to us and told us she had signed up for the First Nation Shawl Making Class, I encouraged her. What a great opportunity for her to learn a little about a different culture and have fun at the same time. This went on throughout the fall. Early in December we received an invitation from the local Band to come to a potlatch at the community hall to celebrate the holidays. I didn't like the idea of trying to supervise 3 kids at a big dinner event so I sent E with hubby after assuring ourselves that E would not be performing the shawl dance that night.
It wasn't long after they left that I received a frantic call from K that yes, indeed they were performing the shawl dance and where was her shawl. WTH? The shawls were never sent home. They are always at school for the kids to work on them. Well apparently some kids have shawls but our child and 3 others didn't. The liaison didn't know what tell him. The main coordinator, L, was busy in the kitchen supervising the dinner. So after a frantic search through the shawls it was determined that for some reasons these children's shawls were missing. E was very upset. This was a big deal to her. Still when they call up the children to get ready E goes with them. Very quickly she comes back, shoes in hand to K and tells him she wants to go home. Turns out they told her that since she forgot her shawl that she was not allowed to perform. Tears are streaming down her face. The liaison lady comes to get E and tells her that it's okay that the 4 kids will get to do something else special. Guess what they got to do? Stand on the sidelines of the stage and watch the other kids perform. K could see E and she cried the entire time. It was more than a little difficult for him to sit there and listen to the Coordinator go on and on about how special she considers her relationships with the children in the class and how important families and the children are etc...while he watched his little girl sob on the sidelines excluded because of their mistake. Not ours. Theirs.
I, of course, am clueless about the whole thing until they arrive home. My husband's first words were " I wish we never went" I was completely astounded that such a thing could happen. E was completely heartbroken and I had to hold her as she sobbed her little heart out. I tried to reassure her that it wasn't her fault because for some reason she felt it was her fault. I have no idea what those people said to her backstage but I know she blamed herself. It took some time to calm her down. Later as I was coming into her room, I heard her talking to herself in the bathroom... "and it was a real stage too not the stupid gym." Turned out she was excited at the opportunity to perform on a real stage. In her school they have to make do with a platform set up in the gym for the concert. I had no idea this was so important to her. Another thing taken from her. She told me her heart was broken. You can imagine how upset we were.
The next day she was upset because one of the girls told her teacher that E didn't get to perform and she was sad. E was embarrassed and begged me not to talk to the teacher about it because it was her fault she forgot the shawl. It didn't matter how many times I tried to reassure her it wasn't her fault, it obviously touched her little heart deeply.
We hadn't talked much about it since then. K and I were too angry about it and didn't want to speak negatively in front of her because despite it all, she was still eager to do the class. Which, as you may know from last week, they took that from her too because we are moving.
Still it was with a little gladness today that she finally brought her shawl home. It was beautiful. She obviously worked so hard on the pattern. Apparently it's a hummingbird done in the Native style. I would have thought it was an eagle but no matter what it was beautiful and she was obviously proud to show it off to us.
After telling her what I thought of it.. I said it was too bad that she didn't get to perform with it. She agreed. Then I said it wasn't her fault though, right. For the first time she agreed with me. It wasn't her fault, it was a mix-up, the person who was supposed to bring it forgot it.
Although she did throw in there in the end... my heart was broken mom, I could tell from the happy look on her face and her easy acceptance that her heart has mended.
So like I said parenting is tough. Being a mother means that somehow I will need to come up with appropriate words of wisdom and comfort. Being a mother means that sometimes all I can do is love and hold them and just be there for them. Being a mother means that my heart will break every time theirs does.
Until I was a mom.... I just never understood.