Wednesday, September 5, 2012

She's Just a Little Girl...

Couple of stop-in-my-tracks moments have come to pass recently with Ada.  I am still processing them.

She continues to amaze me.  If I'm being honest, it makes me nervous.

One of the last times I was at Jeremy's apartment in Cedar City, Timothy, Ada, and his 6 year old daughter were present.

The kids had jammies on and were getting ready to settle down in front of a movie when I opened the fridge, grabbed a Blue Moon for myself and one for Jeremy.  I popped the lids off, handed Jer his, and took a nice big swig from my bottle.

Not 10 seconds later, Ada approached me, holding her blankie next to her face, and timidly asked, "Mommy, can I talk to you in private?"

"Okay, sweetie," I said, instantly worried.

We went back into a bedroom and shut the door.

I knelt down to be level with her eyes, and looking like she was about to cry said, "Um...mom? I don't like it when you drink."

"Oh!"

Her voice starts to shake and her eyes are watering, "I don't like it even more than I don't like that daddy drinks!"

"Oh, sweetie!"

Then she is full on crying, "Drugs are bad for you, mommy!" And the crying is now accompanied by sounds and noises.

"Oh, honey!" And then I hug her and let her cry.  We sit on the floor next to each other, and I tell her it's okay to cry.  When she has calmed down a bit, we talk.

I explain some things about drinking.

I explain what an alcoholic is.  I explain what drunk is.  I explain that I really hope that she grows up to be a social drinker someday.

But she's not having it.  I'm continuing to attempt to educate her on this and help her see that the way I drink is safe and she doesn't need to worry.

"But I still don't like it, mommy!" she said, starting to cry again.

Deep breath.  "Okay."

"Can you just not drink around me?"

"Sure, I can do that." Damnit, that Blue Moon is open and waiting for me and sooo delicious and I've been looking forward it all day! (Am I an alcoholic?)

Wow.

I still am not sure how to describe my feelings.

Then a few weeks later, we were in a cute market that sold cold drinks.  I told the kids they could pick one out.  Well, in the last 2 display cases were various types of beers.  Once Ada realized she was scanning the beers, she said, "Oh, no. Those are the drug drinks." It had a "thank you very much" kind of a ring to it.

I didn't want to blog about this at first because of all my still active Mormon readers that are thinking right this second, Mm hmm, from the mouth of babes, Ashley OR Atta girl, Ada OR See?.

Well, I think I'm over that now.  So judge away.

The next incident...oh, dear...

When we were registering for school here in Redlands about a month ago, Ada was with me.  I handed my finished paperwork to the sweet lady.  She was perusing it quietly and then asked, "Are you Mormon?"

With my eyes bulging, I asked, "How'd you know that?!"

"Oh, I saw here on the form that you were in Cedar City, Utah."

"Oh! Right. Of course."

She established that she was Mormon as well.  I didn't feel the need to explain my current place in the world of Mormondom.  But I did say, "Well, you're the first Mormon we've met here."

Then Ada piped up, "Nuh uh! Tara is!"

Tara (not real name) is one of Hana's best friends here in Redlands who Ada has already claimed as her new best friend.

"No, sweetie, Tara's not Mormon."

"Yes, she is!"

"No, darlin'.  She's not..." I am very confused why shy thinks this.

"But she goes to church!"

Ah. "Yes, Ada, but not a Mormon church."

I turn my attention back to the registrar.  A few seconds later, I discover Ada looking sad and down at the floor.

"What's wrong, honey??"

She beckons me to come closer with her curled pointer finger, and whispers, "I really thought Tara was Mormon..."

"Oh, okay...uh...and you're sad cause she's not?"

Still whispering, "Yeah."

"Why would that make you sad, sweetie?"

"Because she's my best friend!"

"Can't Tara be your best friend and not a Mormon?"

"I don't wanna talk about this anymore," replies Ada, so I don't press.

Later that evening, she and I are taking a walk before bed.  We are very talky.  When there is a lull in the conversation, I ask, "So Ada, can you tell me now why you're sad about Tara not being Mormon?"

Then she gets that look on her face that she gets when she is both unsure of what she's about to say and embarrassed.

"Okay," she says, and she takes a deep breath then continues, "If you're not Mormon, you're a bad person."

Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.  Don't tell me that really just came out of my daughter.

I clear my throat.  She's 'looking' at trees and touching leaves, etc., to avoid my gaze.

"Um, honey, there is something really important I need to tell you."

She's still quiet and not looking at me.

"Just because someone isn't Mormon doesn't mean they are a bad person."

"Okay..."

"And, you know, what?  Just because someone is Mormon, doesn't mean they're a really great person."

Her brow furrows.

I'd just rocked her world. Poor thing. Bless her sweet little heart.

"Here's the thing- Ada, I believe there is no such thing as a bad person.  I think everyone is good.  Sometimes people make dumb or not very smart choices. That can make them seem bad.  No one is really 'bad'. (FYI- I didn't make the quotes around bad with my fingers) So, what do you think about that?"

"I think it's good."

"Okay."

Quiet.

I go on, "I think that anyone can make a bad choice, even if they're Mormon. And Tara really is a good person. I promise."


"Okay."

3 comments:

  1. ada never fails to astonish me, from those first moments i met her as a wee baby through now. it's going to be a tough row to hoe with this one, but, the outcome is going to be one hell of a woman.

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  2. I understand and agree with you re social drinking, but I also think that Ada has a right to be able to ask you not to drink in front of her if she wishes. (I must add at this point, that I realise that you are going to respect her wishes and not drink or at least decant your drink into 'plain' glass) and it is in many ways quite mature of her, if a little misunderstood to be able to tell her mammy her feelings.
    I am from the U.K. my maternal cousins are Mormons and always have been, the hardest thing I ever had said to me as a child was by my cousin, when she informed me that I wouldn't go to proper heaven because I was a bad girl because I wasn't a Mormon. Very tough and very frightening to hear at 8!!
    It always amazes me that I am drawn to bloggers who have/had Mormonism (is that a word?) in their life at somepoint, because that 8 year old girl who is still inside me would like me to stay as far away as possible.
    Well done you for finding the right words for Ada, and well done Ada for being able to tell you her fears :)

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  3. This is exactly why I yanked my daughters out of a Wednesday night Church Youth Night that they attended with a Christian friend.

    The hateful things they began spewing were disgusting as well as racist and sexist. The night I found one of them crying because she had been taught everyone that she loved that did not attend church were going to Hell to burn forever. Nice.

    I'm sorry but to me organized religion is archaic and anyone with any sort of education must question it. When my kids are older I will have no problem with them making their own 'spiritual' choices but for right now I want them to learn, grow and have an open mind about the world and life.

    Stepping off soap box :) (Raised Catholic so yes, have experienced "The Church")

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