At the tail-end of last year, after I once again found myself speaking too harshly, too sharply to my 8-year-old daughter, I pledged to do better.
I then went four complete weeks without raising my voice to Lola. This is probably not very momentous to many people (I mean, it really shouldn't be that difficult to not yell at your kid), but, to her, to me, it was momentous.
I'd been noticing that she and I were ... not having not troubles necessarily, but at the least they were hurdles. Communication was becoming stilted. We still came together and had some fantastic mother-and-daughter times, but they felt fewer, less frequent.
And while, yes, she is getting older and tending to pull away more to her own room more often, I'm smart enough to know that my constant disapproval was wearing her down.
So I forced myself to stop. Not to stop caring, but to keep myself more in control of myself and how I respond to various situations. My main goal was to stop yelling so dang much. But it was more than that, it was focusing on positivity and allowing my 8-year-old to actually be an 8-year-old.
I won't say it's been clear sailing. I've still had a couple of moments that I, again, reverted to anger. (And, of course, regretted it again!)
But I'm trying.
And, it's working.
She, herself, has noticed and I've found that we're connecting in ways that we never did before. She's asking me more and more for "girls time," when she and I can go off alone for a bit to talk about older-kid topics and the confusing world around her.
The best part is seeing her simply becoming her, more and more each day. Sure, most of that is just her getting older and growing more confident with herself and her own personality. But I truly do feel that the change in how I'm responding to her is playing a smaller role in that as well.
I'm just happy to see her happy. Not that she wasn't before! It's just, so much more genuine these days. It's a true happy. Not a holding-back happy.
It's Lola happy.
Motherhood. It's the hardest best thing, right?
Happy Valentine's Day.