(continued from previous post...)
SO! The whole thing, now, is TRULY finally over and I ask my oldest brother to please go retrieve Sweetie from the stage - Sweetie who is now, again, in full out tears because (presumably) she could not find us and, therefore, no one is actually here for her to have witnessed her show. Poor, poor Sweetie. Let me get by. I need to see my Sweetie. She needs me. Needs reassurance. She's so woefully sad. My baaaby!
My brother gets her off stage. Grabs her up in his arms. They're coming towards us. She is crying. Oh, the heartbreak!
She's put down and comes towards me. I open my arms to her for a comforting hug and to let her know what a great job she did.
She pushes me away. Pushes. Me. Away.
"I couldn't find you!"
"I know! Those lights are so bright! But we all saw you! You were great! Good job!"
"You TOLD me to find you!"
(Whoa. This is one angry, snippy girl. And there goes my sympathy. Bye bye)
"No. I didn't. I told you to NOT look for us."
"No!! You told me I SHOULD look for you!"
(and the sympathy goes completely out to sea. On a nice sea cruise. With cocktails.)
"Okay. So your letting this ruin the whole night for you and it's all my fault, then. I get it"
And, of course, 7 year old girls obviously don't quite get the concept of facetiousness and she proceeded to BLAME ME, repeatedly, loudly, angrily for her terrible situation to various members of our family as they tried, God love them, to praise Sweetie, present her with flowers, and/or otherwise comfort her from her, what?, overwhelming certainty that no one was there for her performance???
Finally, after the rest of the family more or less gave up and proceeded to the back of the auditorium, leaving Hubby and I to deal with calming Sweetie the heck down, we too made our (angry) way up to meet them. Sweetie saying once again that it was "all Mom's fault." And I, just as angrily as she could ever be, let her know that I was actually kidding when I said that, you know.
Blah, blah, blah... Sweetie was angry (or maybe it was sadness/scaredness - but presented in a very angry way) and unreasonable/unconsolable (so many family members trying to reassure her!) Which only made to heighten my anger/unreasonableness of the situation. Sweetie now moving on to other issues. Like how her "boots" (a.k.a. white plastic-y things up tightly to her shins) were "too tight and we'd never get them off. Never! Too tight!" From that point on I really can't tell you if Sweetie was truly That Bad, or my anger had reached such a level that I imagined her behavior much worse than it was in reality.
At any rate. I had truly Had It. The whole family was now involved in this awkward, uncomfortable situation with Sweetie still snapping about whatever she could and Hubby and I snapping back. In my anger I declared Sweetie to be Done. Obviously her not finding us had ruined the whole entire show for her. She obviously couldn't handle this At All. No more acting lessons for her. She killed it for herself. Good job, Sweetie. Good going.
Family left. Her oldest attending cousin stopped to give more reassuring words - more about how "those lights are so bright and you can't see anything, but we all saw you and you were great!". And our friend from church - a teenager who absolutely adores Sweetie - was so awesome and came excitedly up to her to express how awesome Sweetie was, how good she was, and how happy she was to have been able to come to the show. She picked Sweetie up her arms for a great big squeeze.
Both of these encounters, plus a bit of time, I suppose, had finally worked to at least stop Sweetie's tears and anger. We all left.
And as we closed our car doors, I started my own tearful rant.
45 minutes home. Almost 45 minutes of Sweetie being forced to listen to Hubby and I (okay, mostly me) speak at her about how disappointed we were in her behavior. How we should be so happy right now, so excited for her and congratulatory - not angry, sad and punishing her. How much we'd been looking forward to seeing her in her show and how her terrible behavior had completely ruined everything. How she would be writing apology letters to every family member who came. How we didn't think she deserved to finish out the month left of classes. How she'd not be able to take classes again in the fall. Who would want to take time out of their schedule to come to one of her shows, anyway, if this was how she was going to behave. How very, very disappointing this whole thing had turned out thanks to her awful, unacceptable behavior.
She sat there and took it all in. "Yes, Mom." "Yes, Dad." Not fighting anymore. Not disagreeing. Not crying! Just took it. As well she should have.
We got home, she got ready for bed, I poured myself a glass of wine and Hubby got a beer (beverages we simply NEVER have at such a late time of the day, unless we're having a party or some such entertainment. But they were sorely needed now.) We were all done saying our peace.
Hubby put Sweetie to bed, and I was able to do as I usually do and hug her goodnight, also starting to reassure her that we love her always, no matter what - it's just behaviors and actions that we are sometimes disappointed in.
"I know, Mom. I know you always love me no matter what."
Wow. THAT's impressive. Actually, her not sobbing all the way home as we laid into her, plus her ability - at 7 years old - to grasp the concept that she is loved always even when we are angry - I give her that as a very mature thing to have a handle on at her age.
The next day, before church, she wrote her letters to Nana and Papa plus the one for our church friend. After church, she was not to do anything until the other letters were written. They were all written, in short order, with no fuss. Put in Monday's mail. I presume all have been received by this point.
Hubby and I both admit to being quick to temper. We are both stubborn. Believe me, we are not at a complete loss for where Sweetie's similar behavior comes from. So maybe this really is a case of the pot calling the kettle black - and being really angry about it! But I, for one, am absolutely sick of disciplining her - of having to deal with her poor behavior - in front of family and friends. This incident marked the second time in a row, in recent days. Hubby and I are both sick of snapping back at her to "speak nicely!" when she snaps at others about one thing or the other. Great, huh? Us using snappy, angry tones when we're needing to get her to use nice tones. But on the other hand - I can't see our saying sweetly, "Now, Sweetie. Speak nicely please" as we demurely shake our finger at her and "tsk tsk" as a disciplinary action that would work either.
I don't know if I'm more embarrassed about the family witnessing her, and my, angry temper or if I still can't believe how utterly awful her behavior was. I can't decide if maybe her behavior, in the end, wasn't all THAT terrible and it was just my personal anger toward her and the situation that clouded my perception of the whole thing. Or if we've suitably disciplined her enough - or too much - for all that transpired that night. I just don't know...
Parenting is hard. Sweetie really is, generally speaking a good girl. She eats too slowly. She doesn't always listen. But she's a good, caring, smart girl. So when she veers away from her typical good behavior, it's just so shockingly difficult and troubling to deal with.
I'd like my Owner's Manual now, please. Thanks.