Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Finding My Center

Rosie is a force of nature...she is a free-spirit. She plays a mean harmonica for someone only here for three years now. In this portrait, she is hyped on her musical energy and curious about the camera pointing our way. I am just sitting...just watching...just breathing her enthusiasm in. Mother of three children, and I am just now learning to find my center in the chaos of our wild, magical life together.

Two weeks ago, a woman made a rude comment about Rosie's joyful squeal in a restaurant. I had just placed her lunch in front of her and she was thrilled in the way that only a three-year-old who very rarely gets to dine in a fast-food-joint could be. I exchanged some words with the woman...which is so incredibly unlike me, pointing out that it was "not a library, but a public place--and not a very special one either". She looked at my child like she hated her...pure vengeance on her face. She continued on in an angry tirade.
The boy-o whispered, "What's wrong with that lady?"
Petunia's face flushed and her eyes brimmed with tears,
"Mommy, can we just please go home now."
"No," I said loudly, "You all eat your lunch. It's okay...that woman isn't very kind."
Rosie ran a french-fry through ketchup and grinned crookedly at me. Another diner came up to us and boomed so that everyone could hear him,
"Miss, I have four children at home...your little girl didn't do anything inappropriate at all. Don't listen to that lady. You're right--this isn't a library or a five-star restaurant. Have a great day."
Petunia relaxed...boy-o stared at the woman curiously...Rosie laughed at my shaking fingers as I handed her some juice. I was quaking with rage, indignation, and fear because--for once--I'd actually stood up for myself.

Rosie is my personal storm front...all thunder and lightning. She is so different from me that I sometimes wonder about the strange amalgam of DNA and chance that made her the child she is. As I sit and learn to accept life in all of its odd and profound beauty...to accept myself in this same way--I am able to do the same for the child I love so dearly, but often do not understand. I do not have to change her, to make her small, to silence the cadence of her young female voice. Too many others will seek to do that for her over the course of life already. Sometimes, the greatest teachers come in pint-sized, electric bodies--wielding harmonicas and silly smiles. She instinctively understands what these words I'm currently carrying with me, mean:

"Two or three things I know for sure, and one is that I would rather go naked than wear the coat the world has made for me." --Dorothy Allison--

My baby is cut from this same independent cloth--shedding the neatly chosen roles already laid out for her--and baring everything...


Blogger brittany said...

horray! well done. (both spc and standing up to that rude woman-- there is no excuse for rudeness.)

12:49 PM  
Blogger Kamsin said...

A beautiful post! Some people really are so rude! That woman's probably just jealous and bitter as it's so long since she knew even a tiny fraction of your little girl's joy and enthusiasm for life!

1:19 PM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...

This is a great photo.

I have a feeling that woman is someone who refers to people with children as "Breeders".

Just a hunch.


3:05 PM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

What a great photo. Thank you for coming and commenting today ~ you seem like a fun mama too. Especially allowing your children's spirits to be free. I feel sorry for mean spirited people like the rude diner, it doesn't feel good to be mean like that.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

A great post and quote :) I'm glad you stood up for her. They change us for the better.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Kim G. said...

"Sometimes, the greatest teachers come in pint-sized, electric bodies--wielding harmonicas and silly smiles."

AMEN. Thank you for writing this post. I love your mama bear instincts over-road your peace keeping personality - as it should. Hooray for you and Rosie!

6:31 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

I soo understand the shaking fingers. It's hard to stand up when it's been an under-used skill. Good for you, for yourself, for teaching your children how to do this, for showing them that they are worth standing up for. You are a fierce mama.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Cee said...

I'm so glad that someone else supported you when you were reprimanding that rude woman. I find that very hard to do, and am then angry for hours afterwards, both at the rude person and myself for not having told them off. Good on you for speaking out :-)

7:08 PM  
Blogger melba said...

What a wonderful and powerful post!!! It is SO difficult to go with our instincts as parents (I have two toddlers) when so many well meaning and not so well meaning people are trying to tell us what to do; how to raise our children. My Mother in Law (who is a wonderful woman to us most of the time) constantly tells my children to stop yelling. But they are just playing and having fun with their Papa!
I believe children should be seen AND heard!

8:17 PM  
Blogger Bedazzzled1 said...

The photo, your description of her, and the recall of the encounter with the woman from hell are all so very well done.

Your daughter is someone who would definitely steal my own heart. Tucked inside this body of mine is a free spirit who sporadically makes her appearance known.

She is a bit o' magic.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Georgia said...

Hooray for free-spirited children and the super cool mama's that allow them to be:) I love that you stood up for her! You are my new hero for today:)

11:41 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

i cannot *believe* the attitude of that woman! it saddens me that some people are having such a bad time in the world that it makes them so bitter and rude. i'm so proud of you for standing your ground and roaring your mama's roar x

5:29 AM  
Anonymous girlfriday said...

I like the quote. Sorry your lunch was marred by rude commentary. Yay for the support of other diners!

6:20 AM  
Anonymous girlfriday said...

I like the quote. Sorry your lunch was marred by rude commentary. Yay for the support of other diners!

6:20 AM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Oh, great post! Good for you for standing up to that b____! Whenever I encounter sour, pinched-faced, nasty people in the world I just try to think of how miserable their lives must be, having to be with themselves all the time, and then I find I don't really care what they think or say or do -- as much, anyway. Your daughter sounds wonderful, and the way you wrote about your differences and the wonder she fills you with is truly beautiful!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Sacred Suzie said...

Good for you! Big pat on the back and remember, a lot of what makes people angry has nothing to do with the person they've chosen to lash out at. This woman obviously had issues and had no right to take them out on you or your children.

I adored this post! Thank you for visiting my blog.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

What a sad, sad bitch.

I love your words. I LOVE that your little girl-child heard you say them. I LOVE that you stood up and said what you did, and I love that others stood with you! Rosie will remember that moment, I bet. Somewhere in her memory cells, she will have that and know that she has a right to be who she is in the world. And she will know that her mom showed her love and power!

Good for you, friend.


12:50 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

as the mother of a 3 year old i so get you. they are brillant and fearless. and it is sad how even now at this young age their spirit is being silenced. my heart grieves for those times when i recognize that i was the one who did the silencing. it sounds like this lady was silenced and disconnected from her fun loving spirit a long time ago. it must be painful for her to see it so alive in your young one.

and yeah you for standing up for yourself and your child. i know that's not easy...

1:04 PM  
Blogger doc-t said...

I'm GLAD you "exchanged" words with that smurf. (smurf is my explicative).

Kids are KIDS!!!! They're not born knowing social protocol... They're born ready to experience everything. and Rosie is right, a good meal is something to squeal with delight about...

More power to you Rosie.

People who get upset over children in restaurants and other such places are, quite simply, ignorant... What a bunch of smurfheads...

If Rosie wants to squeal then I say "Squeal Rosie! Squeal! Squeal with every fiber of your being! Squeal with every thread of your spirit!!! Joy was never meant to be trapped inside... it's meant to be shared. Squeal Rosie, Squeal..."

and btw, I LOVE harmonica. I play a few instruments and just basic harmonica but man i love em. Stick to your guns Rosie.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an amazing post--I hope I can find the same strength in myself if someone gives me a hard time about Madam (and it WILL happen...she's also a free spirited little person).

I love the way that you can adore your child even as you marvel at her differences and strength.

Great, great, great post.

12:35 AM  
Blogger bb said...

I know your story Delia, it seems to me our youngest children are very similar in temprament.

In honesty it has split me open to adjust to being the mother of this beautiful willful free spirit, so different to my own, but now I have adjusted/am adjusting(!), and for all the pain and growth it has caused in me, I am now truly grateful. Me and him, we are gifts to each other.

And well done for standing your ground in the face of the mean spirited- you were so right, and perhaps you and your Rosie have opened that woman's eyes a little. (Helping her spirit to grow, perhaps?!!)

Beautiful portrait too x x x x x

7:23 AM  
Anonymous January said...

I haven't had a moment like that, but with two kids under 3, I know it's coming.

We can learn a lot from our children, their spirit.

Rosie and her sibblings are lucky to have you has a mom, but I know the feeling is mutual.

10:20 AM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Hooray for you for standing up for yourself and your daughter! Your daughter sounds like a wonderful, bright independent spirit - you're going to have so many fantastic adventures together!

As for that rude woman, she obviously has deep-seated problems that have nothing to do with your daughter or the moment.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

good for sticking up for yourself...hooray! (and boo to that woman who clearly was told to be quiet her entire life.)
i have had similar experiences with my children....let their laughter sing out, i say.
a proud moment for a proud mother.


7:40 PM  
Blogger Edie said...


11:24 AM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Thanks to all for the kind words about my bold, unconventional little girl. I only wish that the sentiments of this global "virtual village" were shared by everyone. I'm going to keep on nurturing her spirit anyway...thank you!

4:44 PM  

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