In the car every morning, as I coffee treat the sleep out of my eyes and traverse the hour long journey toward the grade school and college, my sidekick and travel buddy greets me with the following statement, "Hey Mom! Can I sing you a song?" I turn off the NPR story that I've just settled in to and listen quietly as she sets up her act. "Ahem ahem" *throat clear* "You are listening to 'Rocky' (that's her stage name apparently) on 93.3 (our second favorite local station after NPR of course)" Then I hear a series of doo-doo-doos and she launches into a string of "baby I love you", "baby you make my heart feel like it's on fire", "baby you really hurt me but I still like you", and my personal favorite "baby we can do this, we can make it till the end of the world." Every once in a while, she'll change it up with a western ditty about riding on the range under the stars. After one especially thought provoking rendition of "baby we can do this, we can make it till the end of the world" she described a scene in a dark room with two people in love holding hands as the flame of a candle went out...
She then explained to me that when the candle went out the world ended. My mind went in many different directions after that one. Is she contemplating death? Does she worry about the end of the world? Is this an audible manifestation of a dark rooted fear? In other words, my mind went ridiculous. I projected some adult representation onto my seven year old's clearly descriptive and over dramatic image from some creative place in her head. She doesn't feel dark as dark yet. Depression in 2nd grade? I'm not saying it's unheard of or unrealistic, but it is highly unlikely for my child given the fact that the root of my fear for her feelings and darkness tendencies came on the tail end of about a hundred "baby I love you's". She is so deep. Funny with all the pop star imagery, but it's true. It sounds ludicrous, I know, but some of the things this kid says are so super serious and she thinks at a level that I no longer think even I am capable of tapping into. I'm not afraid of darkness, and I truly know she's prone to it. I just want her to harness it and use it for good.
It's humorous to me how I naturally assume she understands adult ideology with relation to the things she divulges and says without even knowing I'm listening. We were riding home one evening and she was pretending to have a conversation on her fake cell phone with a "partner" of hers who had just lost his job. She told her "partner" that he could go out and get another one- maybe one that was less expensive so he wouldn't have to give it up. As I stifled the hysterical laughter so as not to let her know I was listening it occurred to me that her impression of what "choosing" a profession was is how you would choose anything else. You carefully select one you like and can afford. I know we've let her know how it works, but she couldn't wrap her head around someone giving YOU money to do something you like. It was priceless.
It also made me realize how carefully she's listening and absorbing the things around her, in particular the very adult things.
With regard to occupation, I do want her to feel like she can choose, and should choose something she loves. I do not want her to strictly put financial emphasis on it, but I don't want her to devalue the idea of creating a comfortable life for yourself while doing something you love. It's possible, and though David and I have gone about it in a roundabout way, we continue to strive for that. We do what we love, but not to the detriment of the family unit, and instead to benefit it. Evelyn wants to be a pop star, which of course I'll support, but it's going to pain me to level the dream with some inevitable reality. She also laid out her plan for buying up every abandoned restaurant along our drive, rehabilitating it with immense amounts of sparkly things and renaming them all simply "Glow". (If I ever had a doubt she was still a 7 year old girl, right?) Regardless, I'll buy into that dream, too... once she shows me her business plan.
With regard to love, I know we're on the right path to leading that example. It's amazing to hear her depiction of the perfect relationship (which I have to hear every morning beginning at approximately 7:15 a.m.). I am pleased that we are the model she chooses to emulate. No matter which scenario she spins, she explains that love is hard work, but they can do anything. I only know it's her father and I because she told me. "You and Daddy love each other no matter what. Even when you're both sad you still smile at each other." It broke my heart... in a good I'm-doing-something-right type of way.
With regard to darkness, I fell in love with a dark man, and had more than one child with him... it's inevitable. I am drawn to it. I actually prefer that she's not all rainbows and butterflies. I want her to be open about her thoughts about things that are different from "the norm". When she draws me a picture of gloom with her words, I only ask her to balance the gloom with a bit of light. I don't know if it's the right thing, but I only know that with most things balance is key. I struggle with balance constantly, and I expect that my progeny will do the same. I have to remember that it's possible for her to feel things bigger than herself, and it will take the balance to keep her from being swallowed by it.
My relationship with my daughter has always been one of challenge, breakthroughs, intensity and the deepest love you can feel for another human being. I find moments of relief in our humorous times and moments of sorrow when we don't understand one another. Realizing that she is still a baby at times, who feels things with such depth is the key to finding balance with Evelyn. My introspection for the past few weeks has definitely wrapped itself around the enigma that is my eldest, as she has helped me create so many defining moments. It's amazing when you become a parent- there is an immense amount of pressure to create these thriving and productive creatures of society, but as cliche as it sounds, they create us. We are left to strike the balance.
Moment of Design Captured...