I am in the battle of my life trying to make sure that Clare grows up feeling loved, respected, appreciated, empowered, safe, whole, intelligent, able, independent, you name it...I'm trying to do it. I hear things other parents say or do and if they hit my ears wrong or make me feel ooky, I make a mental note and literally pray that I won't ever forget how those words or that action made me feel at that moment. I have so few "ooky" feelings from my own childhood, and gratefully they are all from people I have no time or respect for anyway. I want to share that freedom with Clare as she grows.
In this vein, I came home yesterday to find my front porch having been moved around to someone else's liking. At first, I was mad. I couldn't believe someone would have the nerve to suggest that Mason "fix" something that was our effort and that we liked. I was appalled at the nerve, really. Then I realized what I really felt was shame and hurt. It's like the little girl that brings a parent a seemingly simple and unrefined drawing that took her all day to work on. She hands it to her father and says "See what I did?" with pride and hope, and her father never notices the love that went into it, only how it needs to be done in the future so that her drawing is better. All of the love that little girl put into that picture is crumpled on the floor and a wound has been fleshed into her heart by someone who should heal her instead of hurt her. Her safe place is gone.
On a small, but similar scale, I felt this way when I saw my porch changed. The effort we put into making our life beautiful and tasteful was dismissed as if we were just too stupid or ignorant of such "fine" things. We were obviously so ignorant that we couldn't even be tolerated.
It stopped me cold and made me realize a lot of things. For one, I think it will make me kinder with my reaction to any effort that I receive from anyone in the future. Everyone is trying much harder than I realize. Also, It makes me love and appreciate the way my parents have always received me - warts and all as my grandmother said and my mother still says.
Basically it was a great lesson to revisit as an adult to serve as warning for how very fragile we all are inside (no matter how tough we think we are - and I imagine myself to be tough). I hope to apply this to the way I treat Clare as she grows and will "maintenance check" a few areas of my life to make sure I apply it across the board to everyone. But mostly, I realize what an impact fifteen minutes and a stupid and callous lack of respect and appreciation can have on your child.