My daughter’s going through a personal crisis and I can’t help but feel guilty. It’s time for my dark little secret to be exposed. I let her down. Bike riding in the park. Many years ago. She was about ten years old and we were having a mother-daughter outing on the local bike trail. It was a sunny cheerful day but lots of muddy puddles from the previous day’s showers. Jenn was riding ahead and I warned her to be careful. Her tire caught a rut and she skidded and fell. I pulled alongside her and, instead of being caring and concerned, I got all huffy and angry.
She needed me to say “Ouch, I feel your pain” but my tone and look conveyed “How dare you fall off your bike? Not acceptable. Just pick yourself up.”
Her fall from the bike was my fall from grace.
After my initial anger and impatience, I saw that the kid really did bang her knee up and it was bleeding. Jenn was in tears and let me know that I wasn’t giving her what she needed, compassion not anger. To her credit, she called me on my shoddy behavior. I softened and promptly fell into mother mode, rummaging through my jeans for a tissue to wipe away some of the dirt and blood. We didn’t have any water bottles with us, but I did have a thermos of iced tea. Trying my best, I poured the iced tea on her scraped knee. She yelped and the tea probably stung but it let me clean the wound. Hey, you do what you gotta do.
That was then; this is now.
My daughter is falling. There is no room for my own agenda. She needs kindness and compassion. Her tears do not upset me. I feel her pain. I am there to lift her up.
I think this time I got it right.