lions and tigers and…bees???

Today my sweet, 14 year old daughter yelled in my face “Mom you are NOT listening to me! You may think you’re hearing me but YOU ARE NOT!” There was dead silence from both of us, as well as the two other non-involved people in the room. She had this look on her face that said *Uh oh…have I gone too far?*

After a few moments, I asked “Did that make you feel better to get that frustration out?” She cracked a wee smile and said “Yea, kinda” and then hugged me and apologized for yelling and we were able to chat about her completely phobic fear of bees in a much calmer manner…

Every year when spring and summer arrive in our little corner of the world, my youngest child tries with all her might to become a hermit. Why, when every other kid wants to be outside enjoying the weather, sports, water, hiking, camping, playing, does my child want to hide out in the house?

She is almost deathly afraid of bees.

She was stung once when she was 18 months old and now, all these years later, she is still terrified of them. There is no reasoning with her. There is no talking about it with her. There is no ‘come on honey, I’ll go with you’ with her. There is only “I can’t go out there…there are BEES out there!”

Today, at the end of my rope with this girl, I uttered the words I had just a few days ago told my husband never to utter to this child. “A, you are acting EXACTLY like E and I want you to stop it right now!” E being her oldest, extremely difficult sister who is most definitely not her favorite sibling.

This was what I have come to think of as an RFP (really f*ckedup parent-ing) moment.

I don’t like these moments. As a matter of fact, I’m betting I hate these moments even more than my children hate them. That said, what is one to do after an RFP moment has occurred. I don’t know what other RFP’s do but I stop. I breathe. And I tell my child “Gawd, that was not a good thing for me to do or say or whatever. I am so sorry. Let’s try this again.”

Sometimes it takes awhile for my older, thicker headed self to *get* it. Sometimes my daughters have to knock up against that older, thicker head a few times before I am able to pay attention; before I can finally fight my way out of that older, thicker head and listen to them without my own agenda, my own filters, messing up the translation.

They are miracles, my daughters. True. Real. Beautiful. Honest. Smart. Loud. Determined. Miracles. I am blessed to be able to look into their amazing blue eyes every day and watch them become the absolutely incredible young women they are becoming.

Today I was reminded that sometimes small things can be and often are HUGE things. I was reminded that if I can stop. For just a moment. And listen. I can remember that my job as a parent is not to convince my child that her fears are unreasonable and she simply needs to snap out of it already. I can remember that it is my job as her mom to help her learn to figure it out, to find a way to make her fear more manageable, to help her remember that she is powerful and strong and her fear does not change that.


9 responses to this post.

  1. Greetings from across the pond.

    Go right to the top of the “Good Mum” class!


  2. You are very wise, Traci. Ditto on Vanda’s comment.


  3. Dude. I would have laughed if my kids said that to me. As I say it to them all the time.


  4. My kids are a little bit sassy, too. I let them be angry if they are angry. I take it as a compliment that they know they are allowed to have their feelings and be honest with us about them. I was talking to my husband in the bedroom with the door closed the other day and one of my daughters asked for help with her homework before we went in there. She waited a bit and then started knocking politely. We should have answered. She finally pounded on the door and yelled, “Hey! I need help out here already!!” I would have been killed for such a thing. Same for my husband. I’m glad our kids are not afraid of us and know it is safe to speak up if they feel treated unjustly. Apparently, your kids feel the same. Congratulations. Your babies are free.

    I have something for you at my place.


  5. My daughter is also deathly afraid of bees; drives me nuts. Fall is just around the corner, and you are NOT a bad mother!


  6. Just the fact that you own up to RFP moments makes certain that you are NOT an RFP. Brava, my sweet book-end twin.


  7. You are SUCH a great mom!


  8. Shari said exactly what I was thinking. Well done!


  9. You all are AMAZING


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