Sophia, age 9

Today, I knew I wanted to write and I had about seven topics I wanted to write about- everything from catching you up to speed on my restarting roller derby, to deep and profound proclamations of my undying love to my Valentine, to a rundown of how last night played out. Actually, I will still give ya a quick recap on that–Wifey loved her gift. LOVED. I also loved mine and we were totally on the same page getting completely unique gifts from localish artists. She gave me a gorgeous handmade, handwrapped bronze and rhodochrosite necklace. We managed to get all the Valentine’s and birthday prep work handled and Garrett made sure to not let little things like Valentine’s Day and a boyfriend get in the way of his usual, after-school Netflix time with Madi. We aren’t too worried about her having a date in her bedroom. Privacy isn’t really in her future anyway.

madi's date

These are all great topics that I’m sure I can come back to, but for today, the birthday of my first born, let’s focus on this girl. Disclaimer: it’s gonna get real here. I could go on and on about his daughter of mine for hours. That’s been the case every year of her life, and this year is no different. Maybe you remember this kid from here (when she got suspended), here (7th birthday post), or even here (on letting toddler Soph dress herself).

This child has always been the most intriguing and wild mix of spirited and sensitive I have encountered of any human at any age. She’s a bold empath and not someone I was prepared to raise. I often worry that I’m simply not qualified to raise her correctly. I’m too scattered. Too impatient. I hold her to high standards, but then don’t always recognize when all she really needs is a hug. Her worst feeling in this whole wide world is feeling like a disappointment. I never, ever mean to make her feel like that. But I also don’t sugarcoat things, nor am I as sensitive as I need to be. I simply can be at a loss to appropriately and gently guide her through this life. I was raised in a “spare the rod, spoil the child” home. I was not raised to sort feelings and emotions and as much as I personally need that, it’s still hard to convey to her how to do that effectively. This year we hit new trials.

Through 2018 Sophia has been bullied & threatened at school, gone through major life changes with her dad (new gf, moving in, and then getting engaged), and of course balanced that with the usual struggles of having divorced parents in separate towns, a whirlwind of a little brother and two older step siblings, and growing up in a lesbian household in North Idaho.

With all that thrown out there you may think we’ve had a horrid, tumultuous year. Not at all. I’m more concerned it’s slowly breaking her spirit. Like she is getting way too old, way too soon. Yet, here she is, shining bright like a diamond most days. Flourishing in hip-hop dance, thriving in having finally found a theater and been cast in a musical, doing incredibly well this semester in school. Reading. Playing. Making new friends and having guests, and even an occasional sleepover. Working her own sense of style. Dabbling in makeup. For the most part, just doing her thang.

She is my pride and joy. She is an inspiration, but also a frustration. All I want is to effectively let her blossom into who she should be, safely, kindly, and thoughtfully. I want her to be kind, responsible, bold, and smart. And she is. I just don’t want any of that to get lost as the world weighs on her. I want 9 to be her best year ever. I want her to be her best. I want to be the mom she needs, even when I am not sure how. I want her to continue her performing arts as they provide her sense of community, creative outlet, and the attention she craves. I want her to keep using her imagination whether playing baby dolls in her room on the floor, or mastering shimmer eyeshadow in the mirror.

I guess, I just want to get this right for her. My heart gets heavy when I think of all the times I have lost my temper after asking her for the tenth time to really clean her room. Or when I snap at her for snapping at her brother. She bounces back to life of course, but I know each time leaves a little scar and a tiny piece of her free spirit has been reshaped.

But I’ve also seen her sparkle shine brighter than ever in these last few months. I’ve seen her rock a microphone like she owned it. I’ve seen her frolic with puppies, build some really powerful relationships, and come into her own on stage. Her “fash” is certainly detouring from what I’d pick for her, but goddammit I bought the absurd, nineties-esque, over-sized Tweety Bird hoodie and could bask in the glow of her delight for days.

Here’s to you, my Sophia, Valentine Baby. I’m ready to make 9 be your most incredible year yet.

 

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What I Wore Wednesday… On a Thursday

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My outfit of the day yesterday was a bit out of the usual for my Work Wear Wednesday look. Maybe you noticed. I mean, I may be a big slob, but I still don’t typically wear baggy dude jeans and a friggin hoodie to work. I recently discovered, however, that this IS my outfit of choice when my kid gets suspended from school for a day.

Yeah. You read that shit right. I knew I wasn’t in the running for mom of the year, but geezus, suspension wasn’t in the playbook either. Tuesday afternoon I was trucking along at work and getting stuff done. Cold calls, follow up, the whole thing and feeling pretty darn good about it. After one such appointment I was checking my email while still parked and received a phone call – from the elementary school principal. I wasn’t actually too surprised to see the school number flash on my phone. S seemed off that morning. I just knew she was coming down with something. As it turns out, it was less flu-like and more Feral Child Syndrome-esque. The principal went on to tell me about how at recess S was caught tackling a kid on the playground with limbs flailing and hair-pulling. More or less a flat out bar brawl. Nice.

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My little sunshine this summer

I’m the first to admit S is a very emotional child and often her feelings and strong will get in the way of five-star manners, but seriously, full on tackle and hair pulling?!?! It took me some time to process but after hanging up, I went back to checking my email. My boss had emailed to let me know the principal called the studio number, and she had given him my cell. Awkward, but since she already knew something was going on it made it easier to go in a ask to work from home yesterday. Thus the outfit.

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Same kid and her expressive face…

Long talks were had with both S’s dad and Terra. Despite S’s previous offenses, this was and is uncharted territory. We’ve looked at everything from emotional issues with the divorce and all thereafter, to her just actually being ill and tired that day, to other concerns such as behavioral disorders. Finally I got the chance to just be home and talk to S privately. I told her to write and draw me a story of her whole day. She told me how in the morning she was so upset that she just hid under her desk. The managed to “turn her attitude around” but had some “not-so-good stuff” at recess.  Here’s her story:

We were on the playground and two kids were playing with a football and I wanted to play with them and they said I could. But then we were gonna play dogs and I was a dog that loved balls and so I pounced on the girl with the ball and tried to get the ball from her and we were playing and I accidentally pulled her hair and we all got in trouble.

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Sassy for sure.

I wasn’t really sure what to think of all that. She’s such a weirdo. 😛 I turned it into a conversation about bodily autonomy and how she shouldn’t touch anyone without their permission, even nice touches like hugs. Nor should anyone touch her without her permission. She spent the day grounded and suspended, missed the one sunshiney day of the week,and “specials day” at school. Stayed tuned. This is far from the last crazy situation I will find myself in with this one.