Bloom and grow…

When Molly was a little girl she would zig when I wanted her to zag. I tried to fix healthy meals, and one night when she was 3, I put dinner on the table. Would somebody get me a damn Happy Meal? We have her on video crying over eating carrots. This went on so long, when we asked her why she was crying, she wailed, I don’t know… I told Dave that I refused to spend my life fighting with her. I started choosing my battles. I got pretty good at it- I learned to give her choices- I would pick out 2 or 3 outcomes acceptable to me, and then I would say, “Molly would you like this or that?” It gave her a sense of control. She is the second child, and was born with her personality.  She looked like Jake, but her personality was very different. I was not about to compare them or force her to be like her brother. Truth is- she is a mini-me, and I was going to nourish and foster that strong- willed personality.  If I didn’t like her outfit or hair, I told her she looked nice anyway. Then in public I would say, “Molly picked out her outfit today! Doesn’t she look nice?” It sounded sincere,  but assured the other party that I did not dress my kid like that. When I see those kids in public, I always compliment their sense of style.  A group of Daisy Scouts visited Build a Bear. Of course my kid immediately picked out the ugliest bear possible and a camouflaged boy outfit for it. What are you going to name him, Molly? Did you consider the rainbow unicorn? We would both laugh. I watched the other moms guide their daughters into picking out the bear and outfit they liked. Another little girl followed Molly’s cue. Her mom and she proceeded to argue, and I think the other mom finally relented. She came over to me. “You are such a good Mommy. How can you do it? How can you stay so calm?” I smiled and shrugged my shoulders, I don’t sweat the small stuff. What I was thinking is I want her to have good self-esteem, I don’t want her to be co-dependent on a controlling mother.  I used to zig when my mom made it clear she wanted me to zag.  It was a sport to me that I not only enjoyed, but was good at. Ironically, it made my mom and I closer than ever.  She realized that my style, opinion, taste could be different than hers, yet turn out ok – she often loved my style.  Molly is leaving us this fall to go to college 30 hours away from home. I will miss her fiercely, but I feel very sure that I made the right decision a long time ago to let her bloom and grow on her terms…

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