2 a : no longer possessed
Me: "A, where's your library card?"
A: "Ummmm. I'm not sure."
Me, thinking: "Again?! We just bought a replacement for the first one you lost!"
Instead I say: "Can you find it please? I need it."
Thirty minutes of searching ensues. The upside: she finds the soprano recorder purchased for last year's music class that her sister needs this year. The downsides: no library card yet, a room that is a mess because of the way she has searched, a day off to a late start (it's after 9 AM and our first subject has not yet begun). The ingredient I require most as a mother? Patience.
A has never been good at keeping up with her things. I would say that generally this doesn't bother me. I do not hold "things" in high regard. If she loses a toy, she can't play with it anymore. If she loses a book, she can't read it anymore. Natural enough consequences, it seems to me. And I believe she deserves a certain amount of say in how her room looks - if a messy bed is OK with her, I'll simply shut the door (at least it's no longer visible from the kitchen, thanks to the renovation). This weekend, when we allocated chores to the girls to help lighten my load a bit, we agreed that their beds do not have to be made everyday - weekly will do. But we also discussed how difficult it can be to locate things in a room that is in disarray. I guess that lesson is sinking in today.
It's difficult to be the one who watches the lesson being learned. I want her to just get it. I want her to see for herself the value of keeping track of her most valuable possessions (surely her library card is one of her most valued possessions - this is my daughter we're talking about!). I don't want her to face a consequence - natural or parent-imposed.
Yet this is how we all learn, isn't it? Without a touch of pain, the reminders to make better choices fade into the background of our consciousness. So we stumble along, learning the same lesson again and again. Having our eyes opened not just once, but over and over. The hardest part is that sometimes we learn the lesson and sometimes we just never get it. This is hard because I must accept as A's parent that there are lessons I will do my best to teach her that she will simply never learn.
We've temporarily given up on the search for the library card. A set the timer and spent fifteen minutes cleaning her room. Now she's settling down to study the Beatitudes before we move on to math. The first verse she's studying today? Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. I had to smile as she read that aloud to me. Maybe I can keep track of my library card, but I lose things too - my patience, my focus on the things that matter, the ability to forgive myself when I fail. So I'll start this day (albeit late) with a heavy splash of mercy for both myself and my daughter. And I'm sure we'll eventually find the lost library card.