Our Saturdays are now filled with dance classes. And sometimes smiles
Some relationships are a constant battle. A journey. More marathon than sprint. Some relationships no matter how hard you try, are still going to be a trial on your heart. This is still my lament with my oldest daughter.
Saturday morning was filled with tears and shouts and parenting tactical maneuvers.
We should have gone to bed earlier on Friday night.
We should have set our alarms earlier for Saturday morning.
We should have started our morning with cuddles instead of shouts and tears.
We should have, we should have, we should have...
Instead we cried about brushing our teeth too hard and drawing blood from a tooth that refuses to come out. We cried about having to wear our hair in a braid. We cried about having to wear socks with our shoes. We cried about having to eat a granola bar in the car instead of cereal at the table. We cried because we had to hurry, we cried because we were crying, we cried because mommy had her mad face.
While I watched my oldest in her dance class, I reminded myself, and prepared myself for the many Saturdays to come. I reminded myself that life with this one has always been a battle. Since the countless efforts to breastfeed, sleep train, to drop off at preschool. There has been a battle at every turn, a challenge to climb every mountain. From the very beginning I have been quick to lose my temper, quick to throw in the towel, quick to admit defeat. Defeat in motherhood and defeat in myself. From the very beginning I have wanted perfection, in an inhumane and absolute way. And yet, after all these years, all the experiences, all the battles, I still for some reason expect more. More from her and more from me. How can it be that I still have not learned this one lesson?
Caitlin in my challenging child. She is more like me than she will ever know. She sets her expectations so high, just like her Mommy. The problem is that her expectations and my expectations don't ever align. I'm learning. I'm trying to identify that. I'm trying to accept that. I love her. I love her in a way that is so astonishing and so selfless, it's frightening. I love her in a way that I want to be perfect for her, I want to make things perfect for her. After all this time, I'm sure that this will be my battle for the rest of her life. It's perhaps this battle that drives the other battles we tend to set before us. Caitlin is my challenging child, but it's not her fault, I think it's mine.
I took a picture of her after dance because I wanted to remember the morning. Even though it wasn't one of our better ones. I want to remember the battles. I want to remember how I felt. I want to have it to remind myself that with all the tears and loud voices, I am still blessed to have this amazing girl in my life. That life has been just that since the day she was born, amazing. Caitlin and I have had our dark days, we've had some bright days, we've had some blessed days. I took a picture and thought, this is perfect, this is what perfect should look like. Because only you, yourself, can define perfection.