For a while now I’ve been struggling with how I see Fiona. She has been defiant, difficult, clingy and generally a little annoying. I love her. Lately, though, I haven’t really been enjoying parenting her. It just wasn’t much fun.
For almost the last two weeks we’ve had friends in town. It’s strange, seeing the way her drama and joys and defiance and pretend games worked with them. She was still almost three, with all the difficulties that are inherent to that. (Can we say defiance?) But she was also her!
I needed new eyes. I had stopped seeing my daughter as so amazingly, unbelievably her and had started seeing her as a defiant child. She wasn’t my giggly, lovely little girl, she was a pestering, nagging, demanding screamer.
She’s still almost three, but more than that I can see her as her. She’s dramatic and loving and talkative and creative and bright and charming and funny and ticklish and sneaky and stubborn and mercurial and cuddly and just purely, wonderfully Fiona.
The same behavior that felt clingy and demanding when directed only at me was charming and warm and loving when directed at our guests.
She charmed and loved.
She explored and explained.
She was her usual self.
I couldn’t see it though, before I saw it through their eyes. Maybe, more precisely, I saw it in their eyes. The way they lit up with affection. The way that she brings out the best and warmest in people. The way that just being her surprises laughter out of people. The way that she is joy and love given human form.
And, yes, they also got to see her scream at the top of her lungs and sit in time out and fight things she didn’t want and rules she didn’t like, but it didn’t seem to detract from the love and joy.
So, thank you, Chris and Sheena. Thank you both for letting me see my daughter through your eyes and in your eyes. She is amazing and so are both of you. Thank you.