Claire is home from school again today. But I don’t think she is sick, at least not in the true sense of the word. I’m not sure she was really sick yesterday ~ again, in the true sense of the word. After last night and again this morning, I believe she is worrying herself sick.
She is so stressed and worried about growing up ~ too worried. She’s too worried to focus on the present now. She used to be so good at that…knowing the present is where she needed to stay focused. Now, she’s anxious about the future.
It all started becoming clear last night…and now, this morning, it’s crystal clear to me that she is truly worrying herself sick.
Last night, shortly after she went to bed, Claire came back down stairs, with tears in her eyes. Stan does what he always does when presented with tears ~ tried to deflect with humor. “Claire, sit down and watch some Pawn Stars with us. That’ll help cheer you up,” he said. I knew something more was brewing in that brain of hers so I did what any mama would do. I took her upstairs for a little girl to girl chat. We snuggled down in her bed, with the lights off and had a little heart to heart, as the tears spilled from her eyes.
I asked her some questions about her tummy ache and why she thought it hurt. Our conversation then turned to issues of growing up. And with a trembly voice she said “I don’t want to grow up.” My heart ached for her. “Honey, you’re not Peter Pan,” I said. “Unfortunately, you have to grow up ~ you are growing up. And that’s OK. That’s what you’re supposed to do,” I went on to say. She told me she wished she were Peter Pan. Peter Pan’s tummy never ached because he was stressed about growing up.
She has always wanted to be Peter Pan. But in a good way. It seems to me, she used to just want to live in the moment ~ savoring her childhood. She knows she’s got a good life here at home and I want to always know and remember how much she is loved and cherished here. But now, she has taken hold of the image of Peter Pan and is trying so hard to put the brakes on…she truly doesn’t want to grow up.
“Ah, Claire. I’m sorry you have to grow up…but growing up is not all bad,” I said. I went on to tell her she could grow up to be like me…goofy and just a little wacky. I don’t think I’ve really grown up…there are times I think I act more like I’m 12 than 43. And Claire knows it, she sees it everyday ~ she lives it.
Last night I tried to give her a few life lessons that I hope she can take with her, always…
Live your life to take on the world…
Take on the world by always counting your blessings. Take on the world by learning from your mistakes. And take on the world by trying not to take life so seriously. I want her to live her life to laugh. I want her to live her life to take on the world.
I don’t think she is ready to take on the world…
Claire is back home this morning. She got up, got dressed, ate breakfast and was her sunshiny self. It was “Dad’s and Donuts” at school this morning. But minutes before she was due to walk out the door with Stan, the tears welled in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks, “this is my last ‘Dad’s and Donuts,” she said. Ah, Claire. “Growing up is hard to do but if you live every day being stressed about growing up, you’re gonna miss all the fun of being a kid,” I said. She and Stan left for school. She and Stan came home from school…her stomach hurts again.
Stress, worries and anxieties…three words I don’t want my 11 year old to have to know about but it seems she does. She is worrying herself sick and I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t have a band aid big enough to cover this one.
Oh, for the love of my sweet, darling girlie who wants to be Peter Pan.