I drove up Canal Street this evening just as dusk painted the sky in soft pink hues. I snapped a picture in my head, committing such beauty to memory. Our youngest Rylie was almost finished with flute lessons and I was on my way to pick her up. She received some recognition at school today so I cooked up a quick plan as I turned left into the high school parking lot.
She opened the car door and slid in the passenger seat, quickly taking charge of the music selection. I announced that I was taking her to get a cake pop and drink to celebrate today's good news.
While I drove she selected songs that we both knew. She cranked up the volume while we sang loud. We didn't care that we erroneously belted out every fifth word. We were unashamed at the moments we missed the notes.
We got our celebration concessions and decided to cruise what has become our mother/daughter drag from Helena Avenue down to the access road where we make our way to Spurlock and then around the school. A song from a show I'm familiar with came on. To my surprise she gave a solid summary of the show.
Projecting a voice of curiosity more than judgement I asked her where she'd seen it. I'd watched a few episodes but hadn't been in favor of some of the agendas that were pushed on the show. Regrettably she'd seen it on Netflix at our house on my iPad. She mentioned that the girls were talking about it at school and that she'd seen me have it on a time or two so had decided it was ok to watch it.
I told her that I'd quit watching the show because it wasn't appropriate. We established new rules for show choices and usage of the iPad. Here's the kicker. It went abnormally well! As I typically do when situations surprise me, I did an assessment.
I'd just been asking myself this week what boundaries I should set in keeping her straight. In addition to being her moral guide I've appointed myself her social/fashion coach. Just yesterday I pointed out a few things I found slightly bothersome; a laugh that was too boisterous. I also explained her inability to recognize when she was talking too fast, and too loud, and too expressively.
I was rescuing her from possible rejection by teaching her to be more peer pleasing I told myself.
I'm certain she was wishing someone would rescue her from me.
I believe a certain rescue happened tonight as I sang with her rather obnoxiously and off key. She was rescued from the weight of hovering expectation. We both plugged our own words into the parts of the songs we didn't know...and it was ok. It was a good rhythm, us singing, just for a moment unworried about whether or not we were getting it all right.
Too many times I miss the opportunity to promote security and freedom in this soul that's currently plagued by expectation everywhere she goes. I'm a watchdog around the clock making sure she never forgets to wash her face. I tell her that her navy shirt would look better with a lighter pair of jeans. I do her ponytail in the morning to avoid her attending sixth grade with less superior hair.
Home should be the place where they're safest not getting it all right. In addition to receiving necessary instruction and consequences, time with us should be time when our children can let their perfect pony-tailed hair down as much as our good sense allows.
Life is more harmonious when we look for times to sing with them, and not just over them. They just might handle things a little better when we have to put our hand back on the dial.