I sit watching my daughter struggle to put her shoes on.
Why must she always pick the most difficult shoes to put on when we are in a hurry?
“I can do it myself, Daddy!”
Yes, you can do it yourself, but it will take forever and once forever is finally over, I will be horribly late for my meeting at school. Just let me put the damn shoes on for you so we can get out of the house!
“Take your time, dear, I know you can do it.”
I continue to work on deep breathing and reminding myself that this very moment will be forgotten in time and life will continue to move forward. But I have a hard time believing it.
“I can’t do it!”
She rips the strap out of the buckle and collapses onto floor, taking us back to square one.
“I know it can be tough, but once you learn, you will be able to do it all by yourself all the time. That’s what big girls do, they put on their own shoes, all by themselves”
My patience have now started to run dangerously thin. Perhaps we should pick up this nice life lesson AFTER my PTA meeting.
“Why don’t I help you this time, and next time, you can do it all by yourself”
Looks like we might just make it out in one piece! I reach for her shoe…
She has now started crying and holding on to her shoes. If I don’t act quickly we could be on the verge of a major meltdown. Think Bryan, think!
“What’s wrong?” I say, trying good old logic on a four year old.
“I don’t want to be a big girl! I want to stay a kid forever!”
Looks like we are going deep. I move closer and just sit next to her. Sometimes just being there is more effective than opening my big mouth.
We sit in silence and I think of the facts: she is annoyed with her buckle, frustrated with being compared to “big girls” and just wants to stay a kid forever. Sometimes that’s all we have to go on. With parenting, it’s not always what sage advice we can lay on our kids that will help them grow up, but simply just being there to support what they may be feeling in that moment. Its been a long time since I was four years old, but I can still recognize her feelings and validate the importance of them.
Today, we are sitting on the floor, crying, holding our shoes, and feeling like time should stand still.