It more even than love is the foundation of every relationship in our lives. From professional ones to friendship to our partners. Without trust, even the greatest love can wither and die.
But like respect, parents and other adults seem to think this is something to which they are entitled by virtue of size and age.
It is not.
Like every other relationship we have in our lives…trust is a delicate flower…an orchid…which we must feed and water. We must make certain it gets enough sunlight…but not too much or too strong as well.
And our Pathological Demand Avoidant children in particular are primarily hot house plants like those orchids…not something that is easily grown in gardens and certainly not dandelion that can thrive just about anywhere that the wind blows its seeds.
That is why today’s strategy is…
Keep thy word!
This should be an obvious one. But I know just how easy to make promises…with the best of intentions…and then break them when something ‘more important’ comes up. I’ll be honest again…it is something I have done myself with the older children. Much too often!
I do not have that luxury with PanKwake! Her literal interpretation of things means that I must think very carefully before making any promise…and I dang well better keep my word once I give it.
It has been a hard lesson of parenting…because of the regrets…something I usually don’t believe in. But thinking back to the older kids’ childhoods and the number of times I broke promises…little and BIG ones…fills me with remorse.
‘Let’s go to the pool today.’ But then someone from the church called…and they needed me. ‘We can go tomorrow.’ But then it was rainy…and that trip just kept getting put off.
The truth is…your child (PDA or neurotypical) is the most important thing you will ever do!
Yes, even that multi-million dollar account cannot hold a candle to your child. Do you really think that on your death bed you are going to relive signing a contract? If you do, then you have had a very sad life. No, the moments that are important are the ones we share with those we love…recitals, the pool, laughter and tears.
We must learn it seems to be as dependable a parent as we are an employee…and that is a sad commentary on the society in which we live.
PanKwake taught me the importance of keeping my word and as a result I am much more thoughtful before giving it. But yes, there have been times when I have gone places and done things…when I did not want to.
Even if she has her days and nights mixed up and I have gotten very little sleep, I still keep my word. I have pushed her buggy half-asleep more times than I can count.
BUT I cannot always keep promises either. Especially when other people are involved…she has learned this too. The hard way…
When we were in London, her best friend’s mom was chaos personified. If she said ‘I’ll be there in fifteen minutes’, it meant two hours…or perhaps not at all. In the beginning of the friendship, this woman’s lack of trustworthiness caused loads of trouble of us…lots of meltdowns when things got delayed or rearranged or cancelled.
Overtime I came up with strategies to compensate…like not telling PanKwake about things until they actually happened. Or taking responsibility for making things happen myself. Of course, honestly this woman took advantage of that…dumping her child for hours on end without any communication sometimes. (She would not answer her phone.)
As PanKwake grew older she came to realize how things were herself. I remember her asking for percentages…how likely was it that L would make it this time? Or making excuses for them…that is just L’s mommy.
It was a difficult but important lesson. Knowing that Mommy will do all she can to keep her word…but other people do not always…and not even Mommy can make them.
As a result these days when things get cancelled or rearranged she is able to cope better. A couple of months ago we even had three cancellations back to back…and survived.
But not with Mommy…she must keep her word. Though on rare occasions even that is not possible…I get sick or Cookie Monster does and I need to care for him. But then I point out…
Mommy does ALL she can to keep her word.
And I make it up to her…no matter what. Even when it is not convenient for me. Because trust is as precious as a diamond and as delicate (or more so) than an egg.