Yesterday, I pushed my girl and spent much of the rest of the day wondering if I had gone too far. I believe a mother’s job is to see the potential in their children, then urge them on to things they weren’t aware they could achieve. Was it too much?
We went to get some labwork, something my girl has to do every 3 months, and she has hated since her very early days. Of late, she has gotten a bit better, age and self awareness having a positive affect.
She stresses if she knows about an impending test too far in advance, and she stresses if I wait to tell her at the last minute, so some timing finesse is in order every time. When I let her know at the most perfect moment I could create, she focused all of her negative emotions on having her brand new service dog, Atti, with us. Rather than seeing that as a positive, she simply imploded.
Something inside of me knew I had to press on. Off we went to the hospital lab to see the best and kindest techs, for our first ever medical event with her dog.
This is the funny thing: while Atti is supposed to bring peace and a happy heart to my girl, all Mary did was freak out. Tears and temper tantrums in the car on the way down there, then more tears in the parking deck…this did not feel right.
What was I doing? How was this helping Mary Katherine or Atti? Was I undoing some of the positive bonding that had already taken place? Had I taken this pushing thing too far?
I kept hearing, “It’s important for her to go today.” So I kept on, doubting myself but committed to listening to my divine guidance. It certainly wasn’t what I wanted, and that’s one of the ways I know I’m receiving clear information.
I tried shifting the moment, explaining to Mary that if we focus on Atti, she could lift the spirits of some frightened children who may be there. When she balked, I lost it. “There’s a whole building full of kids who would love to have a dog like Atti, and you don’t even want to use her!” Not my finest moment for sure.
I was so frustrated about her acceptance of Atti and my own confusion about whether I was doing the right thing, I felt myself losing control. In that moment, I stopped myself.
Breathe. This is not about me, I told myself. I am clear that my daughter is learning, and sometimes learning can be uncomfortable. Stay the course. Her anxiety is not yours. Breathe.
So with a clearer head, we set off. Was it easy? Parts of it were not. In fact, when the little boy opened the bathroom door on her, I thought we might have been goners. But she pulled it back together, and she even got another little boy to smile – a lot.
The testing was bumpy, and Atti wasn’t at her best, feeling the stress and confusion of her teammates. But she did it – we all did. Mary went to the hospital with her dog. The first time is the hardest, and getting labwork/at the hospital/with a dog is no easy feat.
She showed herself something: that she could do more than she knew was possible. And I learned something too: sometimes holding space for my child to expand is as uncomfortable for the momma as it is for the girl. But it’s worth it.
And Atti? She’s taking it all in, open heart, willing spirit, unconditional love.
In the end, it wasn’t too much. Exhausting, yes. Challenging, definitely. But she conquered a huge fear, building confidence and trust in team Mary and Atti.