My girl is shy.
I understand her because I see myself in her but I found myself apologizing for her for years.
I’m sorry she doesn’t want to hug you. I’m sorry she shrivels away when you speak to her. I’m sorry she doesn’t shout her “thank yous” when she opens your gift, I’m sorry she bursts into tears when you step in to gently redirect her.
It’s not you…she’s just shy. She’s sensitive. She’s thrilled to see you, she just doesn’t express it so much but I swear she’s excited right now!
I had an aha moment when Maile’s third grade teacher once listened to one of my apologies and instead of nodding in an “oh I understand your daughter is different” kind of way she rather looked at me and said, “You realize this is her gift don’t you? What a beautiful little girl to have that quiet space in her.”
And it kind of took my breath away.
I had known it, but there was something about hearing someone say it out loud that made me feel a mixture of shame for allowing myself to be influenced by what I felt like other people expected of my child…and also gratitude. That this woman understood it almost better than I did in that moment and that we were lucky enough to have her teaching my daughter for the year.
My little girl, with that quiet space in her, what a gift she is to me.
Happy tenth Birthday Maile!