“Sofia, do you want me to stay during your gymnastics class?”
“I don’t care,” said my 7-going-on-15 daughter. “I’ll be busy so do whatever you want.”
It was tempting to have an entire hour to myself. Perhaps I could even get a much needed manicure. Or enjoy a nice vanilla latte at the nearby Starbucks.
But something made me stay. That inner voice that moms call gut feeling, or instinct or BS radar. It was spot on, as our mami (mommy) instincts usually are.
My daughter concentrated fully on her teacher and the tasks at hand. I watched her move from parallel bars to the balance beam to the floor exercises. Drooling of course, because I am so proud of everything she does with so much grace. Her flexibility amazes me and I recall a very distant time in my life in which I was also capable of doing splits, cartwheels and handstands effortlessly. Now I am only capable of photographing her while she does that.
However, she stole glances at me after every exercise. Every single one. Not quite looking for approval but instead watching my reaction. Her body language was telling me the truth behind her words. She did care. She wanted me to watch her. She wanted me to see what she does in her gymnastics classes. She wanted me to show I cared without her asking.
So next time your child tells you “Whatever” “I don’t care” or “Do whatever you want”, take a minute to read between the lines. Look beyond their tween or teen phrases, and figure out what’s behind their apparent coolness. Chances are they are simply waiting for you to prove to them once more that you never stop caring. As if a parent ever feels differently, but I guess they need to find that out for themselves as they grow up.