Monday, February 8, 2010

peace symbols


When I was in seventh grade, peace earring were all the rage. Much like jelly bracelets, glitter/water-filled bracelets, and plastic charm necklaces (a plastic toilet! on a necklace! must!have!), these stupid (to moms) fads were essential (to girls) for their livelihood. When I was 12, it was peace earrings.

I even remember thinking about how I was going to ask for them. See, I knew my mom wouldn't go for it. But here's where it gets interesting - my mom didn't say no outright. Well, actually I think she did. But my powers of persuasion caused her to reconsider a little. And so we struck a bargain: I would get the coveted peace earrings IF I got straight A's.

I'm not sure if my mom would have caved (I wasn't one to push and push after being given a "no" unlike SOME of my siblings. ahem.), and I'm not sure if she made that deal thinking I wouldn't do it. But I will tell you here and now that seventh grade was the only year of my life that I got straight A's. And when my mom came to pick me up from school and I flashed her a peace sign, she simultaneously beamed and rolled her eyes.

But I got my peace earrings. They were dangly gold beauties, about the size of a dime. I don't know what happened to them, but I think a couple years later they disappeared from my accessory lineup.

Lately, little peace symbols have been showing up on Ainsleigh's things: her homework folder, her pictures, notes from friends, her lunch tote. ARGH. It's just...I don't know. It's different from a heart or a flower (although I would really prefer she not draw on her lunch tote at ALL). I haven't given it much thought, other than the occasional nose wrinkle. But a couple days ago I asked her about it.

"What are you drawing about?" (a common question of mine)
"It's a peace symbol."
"Yeah, I know. But how do you KNOW about that."
"Kids at school make them. And I like them."
"Why do you like it?"
"Because it stands for peace."
"Yeah, that's good. Wait, what does peace mean to you?"
"It means...(quieting her voice)peeeeeeeeace. Calm. Quiet. (talking regular again) And I love that."

Of COURSE she loves peace and quiet. This is the girl who used to meltdown in groups. This is the girl who, when she's starting to get tense, responds favorably to me suggesting she spend some time in her room (it's the equivalent of me suggesting to Donovan that he go play Mario Kart. Or eat his weight in candy). This is the girl about whom I'm reading books to help her learn to function in an un-quiet un-calm environment.

I've discovered through reading self-help (is that what this is called) books, that a lot of the concepts aren't revolutionary. In fact, a lot of it has me saying, "I knew that." But it's that I'm reading someone else describe what I've observed, and it validates both her struggles and my natural response (though it's not always accompanied by the suggested patience). For instance, one concept was "she is not choosing to be distracted...if she was, she could help herself."

I've thought a lot about that. Choosing. I have felt myself choosing to respond to her with all the patience in my soul. And then I have felt myself choosing to let her see my frustration, hear my impatience, feel my despair. I'm not proud of those choices. But I've read that it's not about looking back, it's about helping forward.

So I'm reading these books, taking notes, and trying to implement these methods. Ainsleigh deserves an oasis of peace and I intend to provide it. It just might take me little while (there are a LOT of books/theories out there), but I can already feel my attitude changing. I'll get her what she needs. When I want something badly enough, I can do it. Who knew that the symbol I worked so hard for as a pre-teen is once again a driving force in my life. Kinda makes me wish I still had those earrings.

(the picture has nothing to do with any of this, other than they are my kids and I realized I hadn't posted a picture of the girls' Christmas dresses I made. Fabric by Amy Butler, pattern by...well, a little Sandi Henderson, a little me)


laura said...

I remember those earrings! I'm pretty sure I wore them a couple times in junior high as well.

Also, those dresses are ADORABLE.

Angie said...

Wow, peace earrings. The biggest deal I pulled off was getting a excellent on my violin solo in festival for a DOG. But don't tell Ainsleigh that, it might come back to poop on your carpet:)

Radmall said...

I think it's amazing to see how much you are learning about yourself and A the past few weeks. I really admire your take-charge-we-can-make-this-work energy. And I'm certain the Miss A must be able to see and feel that with you.

On a side note, which pattern please?

TinaMarie said...

I love reading your blog. Have you heard of this girl? She lives in Denver just like you, You two are on my blog list and I think you guys are awesome!

TinaMarie said...

It would be nice if I posted her site huh?

she writes children's books too I think.

Margo said...

Sarah, I adore those dresses. They are awesome. You should be so proud of yourself, not just for the precious dresses, but the super precious kids. I am still laughing about the charm necklace. I had one of those toilets with the lid that went up and down. I found a store a couple years ago that was still selling those plastic charms. I had to laugh so hard and loved the trip down memory lane. Love ya...

GWACK said...

Claire is into peace signs, too. Funny how they were around when our parents were kids/teens, then us, and now our kids.

Darling dresses by the way!

The Johnson Family of Colorado said...

That is a sweet story about Ainsleigh. She is amazing and so are you. I love your blog.