Hours spent at breakfast with my oldest daughter… 90 (or so)
Dollars spent on donuts, coffee, hot choclate, pancakes, and muffins… $1170.00
Moments of significant depth and connection from one soul to another… 1
Totally Worth It!!
I have been taking my oldest daughter to breakfast once a month for at least 6 years now. I have only missed the Sunday morning breakfast dates with her when I have been away from home. I started these 1 on 1 breakfasts with each of my kids in hopes that we would develop an emotional connection early in their lives. If we can develop these early connections, then when they are in the midst of the teenage years, we will have a foundation in our relationship in order to have good conversations about some of those hard teenage conversations… you know…
I have written my ideas about connecting with my oldest daughter before. I call her my little sweetpea.
This last Sunday we went about our normal routine. We got up and walked to our local Dunkin Donuts, paid for breakfast and coffee, then walked to Church. All in all about a mile and a half.
When we got to the Church, we sat down on one of the rail ties that is used to delineate the parking areas. Makes for a pretty good little bench. She got to go to a friends house on Saturday for a few hours and she loved it. I was asking her questions and just “following the emotion” in what she was saying which lead us to talk about her and being shy. I learned several things that morning.
1) She told me she is shy because other people are so nice to her and she doesn’t know how to say Thank You. We talked about this one and what she is really saying is that she feels as though she cannot repay people for being so nice to her, and that if she cannot repay their kindness to her, they will stop being kind.
2) She thinks that she has nice stuff, but not as nice as other peoples stuff, and when these other people see the kind of stuff that she has, they will think that she is not a good girl and that is why she does not have nice stuff.
I expected to hear her tell me that she thinks people will think she is ugly, mean, stinky, boring, etc. I was ready to tell her what I think about her regarding those things. I was a bit blown away when I heard that she is afraid that she cannot repay the debt of kindness and grace that others have given her. Before rooting around in this though, I decided to just keep asking questions and helping her put into words what she was feeling.
I asked her if somebody she knew told her that her stuff was not as nice as theirs or that she was not as nice as them. (I think “nice” is a bad word but that is what she was saying… I’ll write about that later.) She immediately… as in with no pause or break to think about it… tells me that she was picking blackberries with a little girl from our neighborhood in Washington along with a couple other kids. This other girl announced to the rest of the kids that when she starts making a clicking sound with her mouth, they should hold her hands behind her back. This sound, she said, was a warning that she was about to go get a knife from her house and cut the head off of my little sweetpea.
I remembered this incident. I remembered having to intervene with these 2 little girls in the past. They both had little attitudes while playing together and I would get on to both of them from time time. I also remember seeing a very manipulative and mean spirit from this other girl. I figured it was just little girl attitude, just like mine has sometimes, and didn’t worry about it. It is good for my kids to face those kinds of people so that they can learn how to interact with folks who aren’t all sunshine and butterflies.
The rest of the conversation went swimmingly.
She ended up sitting on my lap, we talked for a while after that and then went into the gym to play a pool ball shuffleboard kind of game.
I felt great because I was able to intervene in my daughter’s life early on in order to root out some of the damage done to her little soul and to affirm that she really is a good and sweet girl.
I felt great because, after 6 years of breakfasts in which I sat thinking about the rest of my day, wiping syrup off of little hands and cinnamon and sugar off of little dresses, drinking coffee from fast food chain cups, wondering if there is a better way to lay these foundations, wondering if I should have started these breakfasts a little bit later… a bridge was built into her heart upon a solid foundation… of donuts and coffee, pancakes and chocolate milk.