Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Calling Me Out When I'm Wounded: Responding to My Daughter's Take on Life

     Another crazy afternoon, a day in the life of me. Except this time, we had just picked up my oldest from school and she is still struggling to keep herself together. I juggle her assignments, Elijah's off the wall energy and Tori's victorious antics. We settle in for the evening, supper, showers, stories, and bedtime. After I get the little ones to bed, I hustle Chy into the shower. 
     She takes longer than usual, forty five minutes later, she is out, dripping wet and her eyes hold a brokenness in them. She asks me quietly if I would straighten her mound of golden brown hair.
"Sure," I say as I begin the tedious process of de-tangling and blow-drying her Shirley Temple curls. She's looking at herself in the mirror but something is different, I don't like the way she is looking at herself. She doesn't say it, so I say it for her,
     "You don't think you're good enough, do you?" Her big brown eyes begin to mist, the pressure of being in sixth grade and trying to compute the world the way everyone else does, is just too much. For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that Cheyenne has struggled in school since the beginning.
   In first grade, she floundered because she couldn't see the words like everyone else. She had to learn a completely new way to read by memorizing the look of a word. 
  In second grade, we found out, she was nearly blind on one eye. It required sporting an eye patch all day, everyday. In third, she was the little girl that the girls left out in their games, making themselves superior in her eyes. In fourth, we realized she couldn't focus and required different learning strategies with the diagnosis of Inattentive A.D.D. and recently the missing piece of the puzzle of Cheyenne was Aspergers. 
     Middle school holds all new challenges which Cheyenne has to fight through to make sense of the world. She wants to fit in, to look like everyone else, to be able to laugh at jokes, and be silly like the rest of her peers. But Cheyenne doesn't get jokes, she has curly hair, glasses, and is taller than her teacher. 
     In sixth grade, she is realizing her world is not like everyone else's, she has to fight the way her mind interprets all of its sensory mis-communications (Imagine trying to have a conversation while standing in the middle of a casino with every machine hitting jackpot at once and confetti blowing everywhere). Everything from smells wafting in the air,  to the the way her clothing feels on her body, she has to learn to tune out in order to process what is happening within the bounds of the socialization happening around her. 
     As I straighten her hair, I begin to tell her how perfect she is. 
    "God created you for something special, I don't know what it is yet, Chy, but you have gifts, abilities, and talent for the purpose God planned for you. Everything from your hair, to your heart has been made absolutely perfect. You're stunning, you're powerful because you're a child of God."
   As we stand there in the silence, the song Mean by Taylor Swift plays over the radio and we get silly. Grabbing our hairbrushes, singing along together, "You, with your words like knives, swords and weapons that you use against me. You--You've knocked me off my feet again, got me feeling like a nothing..." As we dance around our bathroom, somewhere in the middle of it, I get what she's going through, someday and soon I hope, she will be strengthened enough in who she is and not what everyone makes her out to be. 
  After hugging her skinny, five foot seven inch frame, I send her off to bed, feeling like I have no clue what I'm doing in this stage of motherhood but being real with her has somehow helped. 
    How do I encourage her when I don't understand how she sees her world? How can I cheer her on if she cannot believe in herself? All I can do is love her the best I can and continue praying that God reveals to Cheyenne the beauty and a strength that she holds all on her own. 


  1. What a wonderful mother you are to encourage your daughter to know that God made her Special and that she does not need the world to tell her she special! I enjoy reading your post, as it is well written and I felt the Love that you have for your daughter as I read your blog! God bless and know that God is not finish with your family yet, there is more wonderful blessing to come:)

  2. Oh my goodness i am in tears after reading your post. Your words to your daughter are beauitful. I hope i can find the right words to say to my boys when they get older. i also cried because of the pain your little girl is going through right now. Kids can be so mean. I wish I could take some of the pain away from her.

  3. Hello again Rashida, I love hearing your comments and perspective, thanks for visiting again. It's great to hear from you!
    Jaye, Its a blessing to hear that my words touched your heart. I know my baby girl was created for a purpose and yes the world can be so mean. Thanks for stopping by!


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