Thursday, April 7, 2011
Ok. Here's the deal. My daughter is slow.
Not in brain function. Lord knows this child is brilliant. She knows all about placentas, spine surgeries, and autopsies, thanks to Discovery Health. The girl is a relationship guru-- able to bring peace to just about any conflict with her hostage negotiation skills. She is a master communicator-- able to let her feelings flow with beautiful linguistics. She's a singer/songwriter that puts most top 40 artists to shame. She's an A/B student-- school work isn't really a problem.
But getting ready to get out the door? S-L-O-W.
Packing to go on a trip? S-L-O-W.
Getting out of the car? S-L-O-W.
Running an errand, like "take this to your room"? S-L-O-W.
We're running late, the meadow is on fire, and we need to go NOW? S-L-O-W.
This irritates me beyond measure.
All my life, I've been "ahead of my time." I always looked older than I really am. I age like my daddy (no offense, Dad). Had 6 teeth at 6 months old. Read proficiently by the age of 3. Hit puberty at 9 and a half. Seriously. Was constantly mistaken for my baby sister's mom at age 13. Married at 19. You get the picture. And my nature is "get it done, and get it done NOW." We get home from vacation at 5:00 pm and I guarantee you by 8:00 pm, I have unpacked. (Which may be why I got a speeding ticket a mere three days after getting my license).
She's the kid on the Family Circus comic strip who goes around the world to get to the mailbox and back. Life is not a mad rush for her. She will do what is asked of her... eventually. And at first, I thought this was rebellion. However, once I slowed down (ugh) and observed her, I realized that to expect her to walk at my pace was in essence, trying to reprogram her altogether.
One morning recently, I saw her doing her morning thing at her normal Abi-pace, and I was completely irritated. When I told her to brush her hair, she did. But she did it as if she was Rapunzel, staring into a magic mirror and singing a love song about her luscious locks while she brushed. When I told her to get her clothes on, she did-- but not before laying them out on the bed and looking at them closely first. When I said "get your shoes on," she obliged, but not before adjusting the hem of the toes on her socks evenly with her toes and ensuring the heel of her socks evenly caressed her heel as they should. I barked, "ABI, HURRY UP!!!"
Her response, calm as can be. "Mom, just one morning, I wish you wouldn't say 'hurry up' to me."
Here's the thing. When there's something to be done, I am task driven. Get it done and move on to the next thing. Abi is NEVER, EVER, EVER task driven. She is people driven. She lives in the moment. She's concerned about the little bird that I never saw while we are unloading groceries from the van. She has a song in her heart and it will be sung whether she's doing her reading homework or cleaning her room. She won't walk to the mailbox, but she WILL skip-- and along the way will pick the tiniest flower you've ever seen and bring it in for my viewing pleasure. Thanks to her Abi-pace, she notices sad people-- the ones I pass and never see because I need to get laundry detergent and get home.
I've started making myself appreciate the Abi-pace a little more. Because as I see it, life tends to pass by and one day blurs into the next, and I missed a few moments that were noteworthy in my rush to get it all done. And honestly, I can't stand the thought that in my haste, I squished the life out of my daughter because I "needed" her to hurry up-- forcing her to miss the caterpillar crawling down the sidewalk so she could get in the van quicker.
Slow down. Take your child's lead sometimes. This may mean getting up an hour earlier in order to accomodate for the detours.
But at the end of these 80-90 years... aren't the detours what made the journey worth traveling?