Sunday, January 17, 2010

Failing to Sweet

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When she was younger and things were still so difficult, Maya never used to fail to sweet. Her default setting when things went wrong - illness, overtiredness, change in routine, weird phase of the moon, wrong pair of pants, whatever - was to begin screaming like a wild animal. To erupt into hysterical rages completely divorced of any connection to an actual transgression. Didn't get to close the car door? Hysterics. Not able to wear a sleeveless sundress in January? Hysterics. Anything at all, or nothing at all? Hysterics.

It was a rough couple of years. (Note the use of dramatic understatement.)

Eventually, through a huge amount of hard work on Maya's part and with the help of a number of truly wonderful professionals, we began to sense, and eventually even to see, changes begin happening.

I can't pinpoint exactly when it started. When we realized that the good days were outnumbering the bad ones. When those heartbreakingly awful rages stopped happening, when she began really communicating in meaningful sentences, when she finally became comfortable in her own skin, but today, at age six, halfway through kindergarten and avidly awaiting the beginning of first grade, Maya is a different child. A completely different child. While a few things will probably always come a bit harder to her than they might to another child she is gaining the tools she needs to face those challenges head on and then blow right through them, leaving all our worries and fears and preconceptions far behind her. Her kindergarten teacher is convinced she's going to grow up to be a lawyer and doesn't understand why we made such a big deal about the challenges she was going to face adjusting to a large, chaotic, mainstream classrom. Maya, if you ask her, says she wants to be a doctor. As for me, I'm not sure what she'll become but I have every confidence that she will accomplish whatever it is she sets her eye on. All that stubborness channeled into one direction will slice through her hurdles like a laser.

I've gotten used to this new Maya. Grown to know her, to know the girl that was hidden inside, looking for a way out. The one who cracks jokes and skips down the path to school and plans out her next birthday party ten months in advance. The one who's teaching herself to read in two languages and loves workbooks more than anything, except possibly fairies. Especially the blue one on the shelf at the toy store, the one she keeps wishing for every time she sees a star or finds an eyelash. In time the memories of the bad old days fade, replaced by newer, happier ones. Ones that promise that the good old days are yet to come.

Once in a while though, something happens to remind us of how hard-fought these gains were, and how very far she's traveled.

I had one of those moments this week. Maya has been home sick since last Wednesday. Feverish and congested and generally miserable physically. Despite it all though, despite how badly she's obviously feeling, she has consistently failed to sweet. She hugs, she cuddles, she asks for "love", and she returns that love a million-fold. Even when she's had to swallow awful-tasting medicine, or been told that she can't have a piece of chocolate because she needs to fill her body with good, healthy food that will help her get better, even when she's felt utterly miserable, she's remained sweet and kind and good and incredibly understanding of it all. She's failing to sweet. When things don't go her way, she's becoming sweeter, not angry. No rage. No temper. Just sweet.

My god...
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It's been a very long time since I participated in Sunday Scribblings. I'm not sure why the words were finally flowing tonight, maybe it's the fact that I haven't been able to get out with the camera this week, but whatever the reason I'm glad they are. It's good to be back.
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24 comments:

quilly said...

Do you know that when I first read of your struggles with Maya I put you on my prayer list. Even during the time we lost contact with one another's blogs, I would think of Maya and pray.

This post just brought tears to my eyes. Praise God.

anthonynorth said...

A heartfelt post. It seems to me you're getting it right.

Lilibeth said...

The good old days were the hardest ones for you. I'm so glad Maya is doing so well. I know she is precious.

kaye said...

It's nice to listen to your thoughts about your sweet little Maya

Melissa said...

Maya sounds like a blessing in it's truest form.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'm smiling with you, my friend. I feel like I've been on part of this journey with you, and it's so nice to see a happy ending.

May it continue -- and improve!

Leora said...

Good you can express yourself with words.

May Maya have a refuah shlayma and continue to grace you and your family with her love and sweetness.

bellasis said...

This is beautiful, Robin! The love shines through your gentle words, and the courage and determination you both share are inspiring.
I know I'll come back to read this again.

I've done a SS too, from my new blog: http://bellasis.wordpress.com.
Bella Mocha tied me down so I moved on and made a new home. I hope you'll visit!

Bella :)

Dina said...

If this is the writing that comes out, maybe we should hide the camera from you for a while.
Thanks for expressing your kvelling.

Yaelian said...

Beautiful posting Robin.And I hope Maya already feels much better.

deedeeinfrance said...

This is such wonderful news about Maya :)

Maribeth said...

I am so thrilled that Maya has come so far. Bravo to you, to Jay and the teachers for unlocking the door to the real Maya!
You mean, chocolate isn't health food?

Tammy said...

I loved reading that Robin! I'm so glad Maya is doing well. My son had many issues when he was young and thankfully has conquered most of them and this year he will be graduating.

Daryl said...

What a wonderful post, Robin, like Dina I think maybe leave the camera sit for another week . xox

Mojo said...

I never heard the word "sweet" used as a verb before, but I think if anyone could turn it into one it would be Miss Mouse. And probably her mom too.

Titanium said...

Robin, that is beautiful- it is the sound of hope. Of infinite faith and its reward... thank you for sharing this today.

This Eclectic Life said...

I love it, Robin. And, I love to hear it. Maya has been in my heart, as have you, for as long as I've been visiting you. I am so glad that the beautiful child inside of her is finally manifesting itself. I'm so glad that life is "sweet."

Robin said...

Thinking about it Daryl and Dina, you two didn't know me in the pre-photography days, did you? I used to be much more of a writer. If you look back in the archives there's actually quite a lot of creative non-fiction and fiction in there, and some of it isn't half bad. The problem was never the writing, it was the muse. Mine seems to focus either on words, or on images, not both at the same time. When I'm shooting I don't write, and when I'm writing I don't shoot. It's not a conscious choice, just the way it seems to work for me. She's capricious that way (the muse).

Americanising Desi said...

a heart post and i heart it!

God Ol' Days'

Janet said...

I loved reading this! Go Maya!!!

Ilana Sobel said...

I'm sure Maya worked very hard to get to where she is. I missed the part about how you worked very hard to get her to where she is. After all, I'm sure you did!

Ilana

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I haven't been the best commenter lately - but I wanted to come back to this one. I makes me hope soooo much. Every child is different - but I need stories like this. I can find myself filled with fear about the future - but then I think about something like this, and I can push that aside for hope. And this is one of the most important things that I've gained through all of the blogging hoopla. While I enjoy a good potty training story now and again, THIS is what keeps me coming back.

Thanks so much Robin - I'm so glad that I've had the chance to "meet" you.

Sandy said...

Good for you! Good for Maya! May she continues this way.

Dee Martin said...

I am so glad that Maya is doing well. There is nothing that can tear us asunder like worry for our children.