Their Deal


The girls were fighting.  

I don’t handle it well.  I don’t like the confrontation; I don’t like the noise; I don’t like the tension.  I’ve thought to myself several times, I should let them work this out, but I never get past, “I should…” before I’m dissecting who did what to whom and what kind of solution seems fair for all…which I’m not very good at either, not to mention it’s propensity to be mentally exhausting.  

This time was different, but not by my own will.

I hollered upstairs, “Girls, what’s going on?”.  Really, I knew.

The answer came in the voice of my 4 year old, “Mom, it’s not yow deal”. 

Okay. 

Um.  

This kind of certitude usually comes from my oldest, not the youngest. In fact, she learned it from me, as I say it to my oldest when she tries to intervene on important discussions I am having with someone else.  

But, I didn’t disagree.  

It was their deal.

So, this time, I stayed out of it. 

For the next 20 minutes I listened to them work it out while I folded laundry downstairs.  It was a dramatic, loud, tearful, heartwarming (to me), girlie, mess.  My husband walked inside and I motioned for him to listen.  We sat still for a while, listening to the discussion change from what the other was doing to make them mad, to admitting fault, to apologizing.

“I don’t want to be yow sisto anymow, I’not being a good sistow,” cried Hadz.  

“No, I’m sorry”, said Maycee in sobs, "I was being a nerd”.  

Huh? 

We covered our laughing mouths downstairs.

More crying took place, then Hadley asked “What even is a nuhd anyway?”.

“It’s when you, like”, sob, “it’s like when you are being bossy and rude.  I think”.

And then I was snapped out of audience mode when May yelled down the stairs, “Mom, what is a nerd?” from upstairs, so I put my serious face on and got in their deal for long enough to explain what a nerd was to their puffy-eyed silhouettes upstairs.  They were so seriously listening to me and so seriously confused about my definition, but perhaps it was just the drama-pause they needed.

They went on with their innocent-yet-theatrical dialogue for little longer.

Uncertain if anything was solved, I asked them later if they worked it out.  And in their way they seemed content with their individual resolution.  One admitted that she was being bossy and interrupting a lot; the other agreed.  

And as good as this should make me feel — the beginnings of my resignation as judge and jury to their squabbles — there is that feeling of disunion that comes with the reality of being needed less as they get older.  

Complete jubilation paired with utter fear.

Suddenly it feels like I haven’t had enough time to give them the tools they need to be able to navigate the relationships they have with others.  But here's that idea of TRUST again.  Trusting that I did well enough.  Trusting that they will figure out how — because it is, after all, ‘their deal’.

[And as if they knew I wasn’t quite ready, they easily involved me in their deal the next morning in the form of finger pointing and “she said/did/looked/breathed at me wrong”]

 © Houseman 2013