Sunday, June 22, 2014

In Search of Impossible Answers

When you are a very curious worry wart, the sort whose mind constantly tumbles with one "what if?" after another, the Internet can be a very dangerous place. It is the modern day rabbit hole and here I am Alice in mother form trying to find the answers. Thanks to modern technology, Facebook never lets me forget which questions I have searched. I am still getting ads for the best natural delousing products (this from my quest this winter), modest clothes for preteens (this one done on behalf of a friend), and fun retro dresses (this left over from home coming). My bookmarked pages look like those of a most unbalanced (and highly curious) individual. There are dozens of medical sites (ADHD, diabetes, skin care, hair care, the dangers of food additives, natural anxiety treatments, and of course cancer treatments), directions for the keeping of ants, turtles, Beta fish, rabbits, dogs, teen aged children, and not so teen aged children, dozens of recipes that I may never get to, shopping sites for practical shoes, comfortable and funky clothes, book reviews, blogs by other awesome mothers, movie reviews, TV show reviews, home repair sites that I can't possibly follow, and multiple weather sites.

The older I get, the more frustrated my family becomes by these lists, worries, questions. And I wonder why Lily is so curious, perhaps she is my child after all. Knowing the answers helps. The answers are a compass in the storm, they give me a direction. When you are a person who is easily lost, directions are very important. The Internet is a GPS for my brain. My brain might frustrate those nearest to me, but the older I get the more I relish and celebrate it. This brain keeps a family running AND teaches a first grade class AND runs a team of first grade teachers AND, well you get the picture. I don't have ADD, but I can so relate to those who do. We are both multi-taskers. Maybe not always in an efficient manner, but we are.

I am so glad that my brain and I are reaching some kind of an understanding. We are finally becoming a team. I know myself, so I can't be tripped up by myself (or if I am I can reach peace with it more quickly). I hope this makes sense. Sometimes, I think that it is impossible to understand my ramblings unless you too have a rambling mind. All of this leads to Lily. My amazing, beautiful, impossible Lily. 

Third grade was so very rough for her. She was sick, she was overwhelmed, and yet she pushed on. She came out having learned so much. None of which can be measured by state achievement tests (six tests on four years worth of learning, really?!). She has learned how to find us when she is overwhelmed in public (by taking a walk, a break, a joke, or even a private snide remark). The next step is to teach her to take a break while staying in the room. She has learned to handle teasing from children who feel they are brighter than her (and yet seemed to miss learning manners and compassion). That one is probably the one I am proudest of. She doesn't shut down or get angry. She fixes them with a steely stare and proceeds on her way. No one does aloof better than my daughters and I. I explained that she will have to deal with this all of her life. People seem to want to "fix" my child. I stopped sharing her struggles and simply proceed forth. Who defines normal? My child is being herself, and that is her normal. I have lived with misconceptions myself. Someone told me a couple of weeks ago "You are really sweet and adorable, but I don't understand you." Of course this was after she watched me rescue a stranded butterfly. But I am who I am. I have no one to impress, but myself.

So my job this summer is to teach Lily to impress herself. I will continue to push her to tackle the things that scare her and push through the things that bore her. We promised her that if she reads 25 books and practices math everyday, she can get her ears pierced. Lily never makes thing easy or does things the way I would do them, but she will get them done. She is going to need to find her own rabbit hole and navigate her Wonderland. I have no doubt that she will do just fine.

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