My daughter goes to school and just like any other child, she plays.
Often I’ll ask her, “Who did you play with today?” and she’ll respond, “Oh no one, just myself”.
I start to feel sick in the pit of my stomach. I worry.
I know she is liked by other children, but the solid relationships are yet to form.
My daughter is happy to skip to the beat of her own drum.
Now, it’s not like she is being teased, pushed away, and treated badly, no, not at all.
More so than anything she is a child who doesn’t conform, a child who is happy to walk away if the activity doesn’t suit. Alas my worry for her lies with real connection.
So I intervene in a bid to help her along. I provide numerous opportunities for play dates, I encourage my daughter to be social on every occasion and alas her social behaviour is much the same. I start to wonder, should I be intervening? Should I let nature take its own course?
It’s taken me a good year of her being at school to stop and realise she is happy.
First and foremost, she is happy.
I have to ask myself, as a parent, isn’t this what we want for our children, happiness. Does it really matter who they choose to play with, or more to the point who they don’t? As long as they go to school each day, continue on their learning journey and enjoy themselves along the way. Isn’t this enough?
I take a moment to reflect on the situation. What is the real issue at hand? Why do I burden myself with this worry?
Eventually I am able to identify that I am a person who likes real connections, purposeful relationships, however, I am not my daughter.
We are different and this is something that is harder to swallow than I ever could have imagined. Surely my daughter and I would be alike, surely the apple wouldn’t fall far from the tree.
But we all know genetics are a complex game and that every person is unique.
A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving
This quote sums up my perception of motherhood ever so nicely. I read it over and over again reminding myself that she is happy, that we are different and that is OK.
I realise that as difficult as it can be I need to let her go and forge her own being, her own self. That yes her heart will from time to time get broke, she will form relationships and they will falter. I am her mother and I will be here to catch her when she falls.
Mandy Ferry is a Freelance Writer and Photographer situated in Melbourne Australia. She is also a Wife and Mother to three little people. With a passion for Writing and Photography, Mandy started working online in 2008 at Family Travel Made Easy, a website where she shares hints and tips for travelling with kids.
If you have children, do they prefer their own company or that of others? What were you like when you were a kid? Solitary or sociable?