The Wonder Woman of My Week: Noelle Meredith
Yesterday we had a crisis of Meredith proportions.
Noelle had written yet another illustrated story. This time, it was painstakingly drawn and shaded in pencil. She wrote of two sisters: Rachel & Noelley. Yes, the ‘y’ was intentional; its pronounced, Noell-ey.
Rachel is sensible, responsible, takes care of Noell-ey. Rachel has curly hair and pretty dresses. Noell-ey is silly, always getting in trouble, and the baby of the family. She puts her hair in ponytails and jumps around the house.
No symbolism there, right?
Little Elliana found the title page of this book and decided she’d add her own whimsical drawings. Those drawings included scratching out much of Noelle’s original work.
And then Elliana decided to reorder the story.
Noelle found it. And the screaming began.
I had enough sense to realize this was Jo and Amy March, in less dramatic fashion of course. For those of you who haven’t read ‘Little Women,’ youngest sister Amy burns oldest sister Jo’s masterpiece when Jo refuses to take her to a ‘grown up’ ball. When Jo gets home and finds out, she growls and takes off after Amy. The others have to restrain her.
Just as I remembered this, I heard Noelle growl.
I was able to intercept the first punch.
The girls spent time in different rooms for a few moments. As I always tell Noelle, anger is natural. It’s okay to be angry. It’s not okay to hurt others when we’re angry, no matter what they’ve done.
A few minutes later, Noelle told me she was ready to apologize.
I was a bit stunned. Usually she needs more time to calm down. I asked her what happened.
“It was really my fault, Mom.” she said.
“Tell me about that,” I said.
“Well,” she says, very calmly, I might add. “It was my fault. I couldn’t remember the order my story went. I couldn’t remember which picture, which part came first. And I was frustrated with myself. Because I’m a writer. I wrote the story. I should remember which order it goes in.”
My jaw dropped.
“What about the page Elliana scratched out?”
“Well, if you turn over this page, I could redo that. It was just the title, anyways.”
My jaw dropped a little further.
That’s my girl. More emotionally mature than I am. At five years old.
She opened her bedroom door, welcomed Elliana in, and explained very carefully why she was angry and that she still loved her. And it was all okay. And Elliana, like Amy in Little Women, helped Noelle fix her title page.
In case you’re wondering, Noelle tends to write two or three books a week. Sometimes they’re hand drawings. Sometimes they have words. Sometimes they’re painted.
Her first, titled, “Sit on a Rainbow,” included this line: You can’t sit on a rainbow, but you can imagine.
Again, not too bad, for five years old.
Do any of you moms and dads look at your kids and think, thank God, they’re going to be way better than I am?
I think that all the time when I look at Noelle.
Noelle is creative. She thinks differently from the rest of the world. But she doesn’t let that intimidate her. In fact, it seems to make her more accepting of others. Those kids on the fringes, she brings them in. I think she maybe understand them a bit better. And the popular kids? The ones who make fun of her? She doesn’t really seem to care about them.
And when her feelings do get hurt, as I blogged about a few months ago, she doesn’t spend tons of time in the teary-my-feelings-are-hurt stage. She stands up to it.
Much braver than I am.
Last week we had one of the hardest mother-daughter experiences to date. Noelle had her two front teeth pulled at the pediatric dentist. In order to make her comfortable, she needed sedation – a concoction of Demerol and Hydroxizine – Nitrous oxide, and – soft – restraints.
I stayed in the room with her as long as I could, but there were moments they didn’t let me stay. Those were agony.
I think most parents probably have a hard time watching the whole procedure. Being a nurse, of course, it’s not too shocking.
Except when it’s your kid, of course.
Later that night, when it was all over, Noelle cuddled up to me and said, “It’s hard to be the big sister, Mom.”
“It is. Why do you say that?”
“Because big sisters have to have their teeth pulled. And big sisters have to be brave. I tried so hard to be brave, Mom. I did really good. Except today, today I was really nervous. I’m so sorry.”
I pulled her into my lap and told her that often-quoted maxim: Courage isn’t the absence of fear.
“Being brave doesn’t mean being unafraid. It means doing the thing you’re afraid of anyways.”
She smiled. “I guess I’m brave, then,” she said.
I guess you are, girl.
Got any “my kids are my heroes” stories to share? I think all of us could use a reminder of why we do this thing called raising children. It’s hard, it’s intense, but my goodness, it’s got to be one of the best things ever.
Hugs to all you moms and dads today.