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In that moment ....

posted Mar 20, 2016, 4:22 AM by Kanika G   [ updated Mar 20, 2016, 4:31 AM ]

... when a daughter surprises a mother by surpassing her expectations, there is no stopping the tears.

My daughter has always been very shy. She did not like large gatherings or crowds. She would get quite upset with them and her expression would become sombre. She would not cry or fuss but she would become very quiet and it was difficult to get her to say a single word to anyone there.

Actually my husband and I, are introverts too. We don't particularly like socialising, partying, or attending large gatherings, but we deal with them when we have to. We do however genuinely enjoy the company of close friends and family. Our daughter is quite similar.

However papa and I value politeness and consideration in our personal and professional lives. For example we always return phone calls and answer messages within a day or two. If we don't have the answer to an email or message right away we send an acknowledgement and an estimate of when we shall have a proper answer. We are punctual, so as not to inconvenience others. When we do invite people over we try to make sure no one feels sidelined or left out of conversation. When any one approaches us with a question, however casually, we do our best to answer them. When we know we have been inconsiderate, we make it a point to apologise.

It is important to us that our girls grow up to be polite people. I don't mean cosmetic politeness and pandering but treating everyone with genuine consideration. So it did bother me when my daughter would look away when our 70 year old neighbour would say hello to her joyfully and enthusiastically. It did bother me when a little boy came hopefully to play with her on the playground and she hid behind me. There were a number of other similar circumstances.

I don't want to push my daughter in to being social, and I do want her to feel comfortable setting boundaries. So, I talked to her about it. I asked her how she would feel if she went to play with another kid and they ran away. She said “I'd feel bad mama.”

But any efforts to get her to say hello back, at least to people she had met a few times before failed. Then I tried “Will you at least wave, if you feel too shy to talk?”

“I can try to do that.”

So the next time we met our neighbour our daughter reluctantly waived. But she realized it was easier than she had expected. So the next few times she would wave at people when they said hello to her.

A few days later she would shake hands with our neighbour and some other people. And some time after that she would speak a few sentences. Our old neighbour was so happy, he called out to his wife and said “Come here. See. The little girl is talking to me.”

My daughter had to attend a school interview for Jr. Kg and I was really worried she would not talk at all, but she spoke surprisingly well.

Over the last 9 months she has been attending Nursery school and her fear of people is steadily diminishing. She visits her grand parents one a week and a few months ago she started talking to their neighbour. A month ago she made friends with a group of little girls playing near my parent's house. Initially she would play with them but no talk much. A couple of weeks back she made friends with a pair of twins a year older than her staying in her dada-dadi's building.

So we have been making great progress. But today was an overwhelming moment for me. It was her annual day performance. She has been practising diligently for it. In spite of seeing her work hard on the dance routine for the last couple of weeks, I did not expect her to do much on stage. I wanted her to get the exposure and be as brave as possible but I did not expect much.

This morning I dropped her off with the teacher and found a good seat. When it was her group's turn I spotted her dressed in a fancy green gown with a large circumference. What followed completely amazed me. My shy little girl was dancing confidently and enthusiastically and what's more, she seemed to be enjoying herself, especially while twirling. In that moment, I was overwhelmed.

I could not stop the tears that made their way down my cheek. I felt so proud. Just like in the interview,I had underestimated her strength and found myself pleasantly surprised.