Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

There's this fine line we walk as mothers. How much truth do we really want our children to know? This may seem like an absurd question. You're thinking-- I want to be completely honest with my kids.
But, really, do you?
Do you want to be the mom who dispells a child's belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy? On one hand, you're practically a criminal if you do tell your kids that Santa's not real. Because of course your kid is going to tell all the other kids at recess and then poof!-- all the magic of Christmas is gone. On the other hand, if you choose to lie to your kids about the existence of Mr. C, you know they'll find out eventually. They may conclude that you are a liar. If you'd lie about Santa, what else would you lie to them about? How are they to know what, if any, things you tell them are true.
Do you want to be the mom who glosses over serious issues like abuse, abduction, drugs, etc. because you don't want to frighten your little ones? What if this lie results in the most frightening consequence of all: that your child is put in one of those situations and doesn't know how to handle it? Doesn't know to scream and run, to tell a trusted adult, to just say no? Or is it better to lay the truth of the entire scary world, which is truly full of bad guys that no super hero can stop,  in front of your child so they are prepared for what they will face?
Do you want to be the mom who tells your kids the truth about your imperfections? That in spite of your status as a grown up, you're still afraid of spiders, thunderstorms, earthquakes, airplanes, even the dark? That there are some situations over which you have absolutely no control, that there are some times when nothing you can do will make it all better? Or do you hide that cowardly side of yourself, pretend to be large and in charge-- in order to give your kids a sense of security and peace?
Tonight I am faced with a dilemma. Do I lie to my daughter and tell her everything is going to be okay? Her little best friend is moving 14 hours away and her heart is breaking. Do I tell her it's okay, that we'll see Addie again soon? Do I tell her that soon she's got loads of other friends so she shouldn't be so concerned? Or do I hold her, cry with her, and let her know that sometimes life just sucks? Sometimes bad things happen and there's not a thing you can do about it.
I'm not sure I'm ready for her to know that yet. Not sure that I want another sliver of her innocence to drift away.She's only six after all. And so, once again, I have looked into her trusting blue eyes and told an outright lie.
Sort of. In the long run, things really will be okay. It will be a rough couple weeks, and we'll always miss our friend, but eventually things will be okay. I guess that's the truth I really want her to know anyway-- that when life gets hard she can get through it. I hope she'll trust me on this.


  1. I don't know what to do in alot of these instances but with the issue of a child moving away I feel I have a good point of view on this. My all time best friend moved away when I was 5 or 6 and to this day I still think of her as my best friend (besides John!). Growing up I saw her maybe once a year, 2 times if I was really lucky but it taught me a good lesson. Even if my friends or family aren't close by me it doesn't mean they aren't my friend anymore. This has taught me it is okay to move on and have change and not be afraid of change that is coming. Me and my friend became penpals to each other and to this day I still have EVERY letter she ever sent to me, which is quite a lot, I have them in a binder and I LOVE looking at those letters. Our entire friendship is held up in tangible words that I can read. So for me, I think just crying with your daughter and telling her that it is a hard thing to deal with in this instance is an okay thing. Life will move on and change will happen but it isn't necessarily bad change. I think instances like this can also be a great bonding experience for you and your daughter because you can show her that if she is troubled by things and sad over something that she can come to you and talk to you and cry about it. Me and my mom were never that close to where I could talk to her about emotional things and I think one reason was because she had the "buck up and deal with it" attitude. Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing but it maybe shouldn't have been used for everything. Good luck! I know exactly how Anna feels. I Cried and hid under my bed for days because I missed my friend. But I still remember how fun and how special it was everytime I wrote or got a letter in the mail from my friend.

  2. I take comfort in the fact that even though Gwen and Anna were only 2.5 when we moved to Texas they were able to stay close and snapped right back in to friend mode when we moved back.

    When we moved from Texas I knew we probably wouldn't see Erin, Gwen's BFF, for a long time. And because things kind of got weird with me and Erin's mom it has been even harder, but last Sunday we called Erin and the two girls talked for an hour! So cute! Especially when Erin was like "Gwen, so how much do you weigh?" ha ha. Anyways the girls are old enough now that they will remember their friends and love to talk to them and send them mail.

    Poor Anna though, friends moving is so hard! And moving from friends is hard too.

    Gwen is total on to the Santa thing. That little rascal.