Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Communication, Daughters, Family, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters | Posted on 15-08-2012
The girl? My daughter when she was five, who was scared to perform at her tap dance recital.
She wore shiny, patent-leather tap shoes. Her hair was in “doughnuts” with ribbons. Her father, siblings, and grandparents were all in the audience waiting. And she wouldn’t budge. She had stage fright.
The handprint “tattoo?” Uh, that was from me. From gripping her wrist. Just before she was supposed to go on, I tried sweet-talking her. Encouraging her. Bribing her.
So, I transformed into Mommie Dearest. I gripped her wrist tightly and hissed under my breath:
YOU. GET. YOUR. LITTLE. BUTT. UP. ON. THAT. STAGE. AND. DO. YOUR. TAP. ROUTINE. NOW.
She did not argue. She did the routine with the others. There was no smile on her face. Were those tears in her eyes?
Ugh. Pit in my stomach. I felt horrible for the way I acted. I returned to my seat. And clapped when she was done. But I was pissed at myself. Why did I let a stupid little tap dance recital take priority over being supportive and reassuring? And kind?
Her “tattoo” quickly faded. But I’m not sure if my actions did.
We have talked about this. I apologized with tears in my eyes. My daughter forgave me.
Yet I wonder if she will remember the Mommie Dearest behavior long after the shuffle-hop-step fades. Because a mother’s words and actions are like a tattoo.