Thursday, November 08, 2012

Tell Me What is on Your Mind, Baby Girl!

A year or so ago, I found myself struggling as a Mother. I felt that I must have been doing something wrong because Allison wasn't the Allison she once was. She wasn't happy all the time like she used to be. She was cranky. She complained about everything. She was not not nice to be around. Quite frankly, I didn't like the person I thought she was becoming. I felt the strong connection we once had with each other was slowly slipping away.

Of course as I usually do with most things, I blamed myself. I told myself that it was because I was working full time. It was because I couldn't give her the attention that she needed. I felt that if I didn't have such a stressful job, then I would have more energy in the evening to be the Mom I wanted to be . . . instead it took everything I had just to get through homework, dinner, bath and bedtime.

I shared this with her teacher last year. Thankfully, she said she didn't see all of this in class. However, she did tell me that she was about to tell me something that I probably didn't want to hear. Oh. My. Word! I gasped! What could it be????? Those few seconds ripped through my soul just anticipating what I was about to hear about my once sweet baby girl!  I braced myself and her teacher said "puberty." Oh geez! I had not even thought about that! Allison is physically such a tiny little thing that I sometimes forget that she is maturing! The teacher was wrong! I am so glad she brought that to my attention. It was the answer to my frustration and self-persecution!  Amen!

The teacher also shared with me that I shouldn't be too concerned with how she is at home. Was she serious??? Did she not know that I sometimes referred to her as the spawn of the devil??? Anyway, once she explained, I understood. She said that Allison was a perfectly sweet, well-mannered little girl with a great sense of humor who was always kind and sweet to everyone in her class. WHAT??? Were we talking about the same kid????  She continued . . . she said that I should be thankful that we've created an environment at home where Allison can feel comfortable and safe. That she can let her hair down and just relax in the comfort of our home when she isn't at her best. I'll take that! It was a great compliment!

So. Now that I knew puberty was to blame for what we had been going through, I needed to find a way to bridge the gap in our relationship that was slowly getting larger. I knew the most difficult time for a Mother and a daughter was just a few years away and if I didn't handle this right away, things could really get ugly.

One of the things I saw on a blog several years ago was a Mother/Daughter journal. Sadly, they had lost their youngest child in a horrific, backyard, freak accident. Their therapist had suggested this journal idea to the Mother for a way to communicate with her older daughters. I thought it was a such a great idea! I put it back in my arsenal of Mom ideas that I may need some day.

I think the day had come that I needed to pull this idea out and put it to use. I found this hardback journal and thought it was perfect for keeping the "peace" between Allison and I.

One the inside front cover, I wrote a little letter to Allison explaining what the journal was and how it was to be used.

This book is between just you and me. It's for no one else to see. If you have a question, thought, or some love to share, use this journal and put it under my pillow. I will write back with my thoughts, questions, and love and return it to under your pillow.

I share it, here on my blog, not just because it's a great idea but to share a few my observations of the benefits of this journal.

  • Some of the questions Allison has asked in this journal, she has never spoken of or mentioned before. This makes me realize there is a lot going on in that brain of hers. By having this tool of communication, she can ask questions or bring up subjects that she may not feel comfortable approaching in person.
  • Since some of the questions are "heavy", this allows me time to think it through and answer her with my perspective on the subject in detail and completely. If I need to ask her Daddy about his opinion on the subject, again, I have time before replying.
  • Another benefit of this journal is that it is used as a reference book. Allison can look back on it to review my perspective or advice on the subjects we address in this book.
These are just a few benefits but there are so many more.

If you have a daughter, I highly suggest you start one. She will get to know you a little better and you will get an inside look into the person she is becoming. It doesn't take much time at all. It is not an every day thing for us. We use it when we need it.

Have Fun!

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