Forgive Me Flowers
I learn so much from our children about how to be a great human. Knowing them changes my life on a daily basis. Here is one instance that happened with our daughter.
This past June my daughter and I had some conflict. She had taken a nail file and decided to do some home renovations in our bathroom. When I attempted to redirect her she didn’t respond positively to me. Every part of her being rebelled against me as we found ourselves dancing in a power of wills.
Feeling overwhelmed by the situation I knelt down on the bathroom floor and relived the situation in my mind. My inner critic jumped to the thoughts of how I didn’t respond to her reaction as well as I should have, and I validated those thoughts. After all, I spoke in harsher tones when I could have been more jovial, or distracting in some way. I missed the opportunity of turning the moment into a playful lesson. I hid my tears of hurt and failure as our daughter sought the familiar safety of isolation in her bedroom.
I called my help line in frustration. Hearing my husbands voice calmed my heart.
“Let me talk to her” he said empathetically.
I didn’t call my husband to shame our daughter. I called him to reach her. I hoped that he was the way to crossing the bridge to her heart that I alone was unable to find.
My husband has a special way with our daughter to help her process conflict. It is as though he has a general format. With a calm voice he starts by asking her to tell him what happened. Then, while actually listening, he creates for her a safe space to clearly describe the situation. He encourages her to look at the facts and then allows her to process her feelings about those facts. In conclusion he leads her into finding ways in which she has the power to make things better, or to let things go.
With her brown bedroom door standing between us I strained to hear the rest of the conversation. When he asked what she wanted to do to make things better she said she wanted to buy me flowers. Since that wasn’t an option for her at the time her Dad creatively suggested she could draw some flowers instead. Smiling at her response, I returned to the kitchen.
It physically hurts my heart to be in conflict with our daughter. So when she turned the corner and walked into the kitchen the relief I felt was tangible. I was just standing there waiting for her.
As she quietly approached me she looked at me, stretched her arm towards me, and handed me a Kleenex. I gently took the thin white piece of tissue from her hand, and held it up to inspect it. What I found in the flowing white space was beautiful. She had drawn me a picture of four flowers in blue ink.
I knelt down on my knees in front of her, and we hugged. The bridge that the conflict created had shortened until we found ourselves on the same side.
She reached out into the space around her and found a solution in the midst of her very own resources. Utilizing what she had control over she found a way to change the world with her simple act of love. She had given me forgive me flowers.