Monday, May 16, 2011

Patience and Prudence

I have two teenaged daughters. It is all the angst and tear filled fun that you would imagine. I call my daughters Patience and Prudence online.

 I started calling them nicknames online after participating in some school related email groups. Some of the parents in the group had had problems with school administrations spying on them online; that information was then used to undermine the parent's efforts to get school services. i have been lucky enough never to have had that kind of relationship with my kids' schools, but it's a habit I have kept.

They both have had various nicknames through the years. This pair of names is one we've all always been especially fond of because of how the girls got them. One of our family's favorite places to go is Sanibel Island. One fall our family went to the island with my mother-in-law as she recovered from surgery. We had a cottage on the beach and the kids were little enough that they lived to collect the shells. 

One night we went out to eat. The restaurant had a musician. The girls were enchanted and sat perfectly attentive in their seats at out outdoor table. They had braids to tame their hair still wet from the beach. When they tipped the man to play some song for them he called them Patience and Prudence.

 As he got ready to play their song, he told the story of the original Patience and Prudence and picked my elder timid and cautious daughter to be Prudence. He named my younger carefree and easy-going daughter Patience. Our family thought the names so accurate that they have just stuck. Even know, nearly a decade later, my girls will still answer to those names.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Watching my Kid Cry

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I had a lovely day. Coffee in bed. Handmade cards from the girls. My husband made dinner and the kids cleaned up. I read a lot and even wrote enough to have felt productive. It seemed a perfect day.

Until my daughter came to me in tears. A friend of hers told her that she had attempted suicide. The girl doesn't even live in the same city as we do. The suicide attempt is long over and the girl is seeing a therapist. There really was no reason to fear it would be repeated.

It was hard for to imagine Patience. Her friend, who I'll call Sally, is just the sunniest and most fun FB friend that Patience has. Although they haven't seen each other in a couple of years, their internet friendship is strong and it is a rare week when they don't talk to each other. It was hard for Patience to realize how little we really know of what someone truly feels.

It is an awful thing to see my child so sad and know that there really is nothing that I can say to make it better. It's awful that kids feel that alone, even when they have friends who love them so. It's awful to know that you can't fix everything for your friends.

My heart hurts.