Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fall stillnes after a reflective Summer

I was reminded by a good friend that I don't write enough about Rebecca. If I would have started this blog last year, most probably my entire blog would have been ABOUT Rebecca.
My first born put me through it last year with her school transition and the pain and suffering we went through together, made me feel like a fifth grader again...If I would have competed in that program, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?, I would have probably won! Just to put it in practical terms I am now on a first name basis with her teacher and we exchange friendly e-mails once in a while. At the time, I thought she was looking for attention since so much was going on with Frankie and our daily activities revolved around his evaluations, therapies, doctor appointments and so I think it might have just been a whole different story.

For the second time in her short life, Rebecca faced a life-changing event and my little girl grew up, along with all the pains that accompany the process. The last time she had to deal with a big change it was after losing her grandfather when she was seven and we had to go through just about six months of grief counseling for that.  This time, the symptoms were a little more subtle so I almost missed them. Fortunately, I could relate in so many ways to this change since I myself had to leave my country at seventeen and faced a different language, a different society and had to leave all my friends behind. I know a little bit about young dreams being broken and feeling your whole world is crumbling down on top of you head. Although I knew back then that moving was for the benefit of my entire family, I still had this bitterness inside for a while that made me want to be an only child.

After the drama of the horrible school year we endured with Rebecca, we decided she was not going to Miami for vacation as we had agreed when we first moved. We felt she needed to understand that her behavior during the year had not earned her such a privilege so we went ahead and grounded her. We were probably wrong to do this but at the end, a Summer with my daughter proved to be the best one for both of us. In the midst of lunches at the beach and at the park, along with afternoon walks, I learned to understand her better and to respect her feelings. Most importantly, I made the transition from treating her like a child to treating her like a teen; I was able to see through the soul of this precious being I call my daughter. On the other hand, Rebecca learned how to express herself in ways other than acting up and learned to trust me and speak her mind with respect. She learned that her needs are as important as those of her brothers and I learned to make sure she does not forget this. She is not here anymore as part of the "family move" but she has bought into the benefits of having a better education, of having mom at home and knowing that her brothers, specially Frankie, can look forward to a better future because of all of us pulling together as a family.

This school year has been wonderful so far and she has earned a few cooking classes on the side. To our surprise, instead of asking for a cooking class, she asked us to register her in a "babysitting" class sponsored by the red cross. She said she wanted to learn how to take care of her brothers and what to do in an emergency. I tell you, sometimes I think she is the adult and I am the kid - I don't think it has ever crossed my mind to learn CPR - I figured if I had an emergency I can always call 911!!!! Well, Rebecca did go to the course and is proud to display her certificate card on her wallet. Our little girl grew up.

These days I don't write so much about Rebecca because she is back to being a quiet soul, gentle and kind. She doesn't like the lime light and is contempt with being in the background, just tagging along to whatever the rest of us decides the course might be for our pack. Sometimes, more than I would like, I might just lose her in the shuffle of this crazy household but I do make an effort to remember to spend quality time with her like blow-drying her hair, doing each other's toe nails and just being girls. She can watch those dreadful Dr. Who episodes with her dad but that's entirely another blog entry!

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