Jan and Molly
Basically, I should have done a zillion wonderful things with her, rather than a mere few thousand.
But the dumbest thing is still painful for me to recall.
Molly was an adorable little imp, about 6-years-old. We had two-story scaffolding on our home during a remodel. I warned my Molly not to climb on it. I was very clear and emphatic.
Several days later, I looked out the window and saw that she was on it. I said to myself, “ Well, I warned her, and if she doesn't listen to me, that’s just . . . too bad!" I let her climb.
She fell and required stitches in her scalp. So. Dumb. I should have simply demanded she get down and assign a time out in her room. I don't spank.
Molly is now in her thirties. I emailed this admission of parental regret to her and she replied, telling me that she not had climbed the scaffold to spite me. I was surprised because it had never really occurred to me that she was ‘”spiting” me by disobeying. To me, that seemed out of her character.
As I remember it, my anger (which now seemed spiteful on my part) came out of a feeling that my warnings were simply unimportant to her. When a daughter doesn’t respect her daddy’s words, then what? It was such a comedown from feeling I was important (and to be listened to).
I realize now I was important to her, but she just didn’t see me as infallible. Or, maybe, she just had forgotten my warnings and saw no problem in climbing that scaffold. Knowing her, that is most likely.
Kathleen Vallee Stein