My Daughter is Much More Than Just a Handful, I’m Sorry You Can’t See It.

She twirls around the front yard with her face to the sky, hands out as far as they will stretch, wearing a smile as a bright as the sun.  Her laughter bellows out of her like smoke from a burning building, finding its release before it boils over. Her joy, contagious to those spinning with her, seems to mix perfectly with the blues and greens of the grass and sky behind her, somehow tying them all together in this moment.  Pure, unadulerated joy.

I’m sorry you can’t see it.

Gathering her things quickly as the car comes to a stop, she slings open the door and trips over her energy as she spills out of the car, anxious to get inside and begin a new day of school with the people she lives to see each day.  Shoes untied, jacket falling off, she runs toward the double doors until she sees a little girl with a frown on her face hesitating to walk in.  She runs over to her, grabs her hand and bends down to meet her sad eyes with a smile.  Together they make their way into the school.  If my daughter has a mantra, it’s definitely that together is better. Her kindness overwhelms the mom in front of me and she rolls down her window, leans out and turns to me with a hand on her chest – acknowledging the sweetness of the moment.

I’m sorry you can’t see it.

So sick that I’m bound to bed, I roll over in agony and let out a small groan.  That’s when I notice the little hand delivering a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade, no sugar, extra pulp, to my nightstand.  “Here mommy, I made this for you.  Lemons are good for you. This will help.”  Even in my pain, I smile at her compassion.  It is strong enough to move mountains and I wonder if someday it will.

I’m sorry you can’t see it.

Snuggled under her covers well after bedtime, she uses a flashlight to illuminate the pieces of paper she is busy bringing to life with markers and crayons.  Little notes to her friends, letters and pictures of love, letting them know how much she cares about them and how great they are.  Encouragement in it’s most endearing form, a piece of her heart simply placed and gently tucked into a simple piece of paper.

I’m sorry you can’t see it.

Eyes wide and mouth moving miles per minute, she hops in the car at pickup and exclaims that today was THE BEST DAY OF HER LIFE!  She talks about how great all of her friends were and how she helped the Kindergartner across the hall who tripped in line on the way to lunch.  She explains the ins and outs of the new playground games and proudly holds up the Jolly Rancher she earned for 3 days of “focus” in a row.  She asks if I knew that her teacher’s mom had to go to the doctor and wonders if she should bake something for both of them.  She overflows with wonder and awe at every little thing.  She embraces life with a contagious enthusiasm and wishes only the best for everyone.

I’m sorry you can’t see it.

Searching everywhere for her, I find her under her lofted bed, behind a blanket hanging down, head curled up to her knees and tears streaming down her face.  Sorrow seeps out of her over yet another instance in which her sibling has been invited to something she hasn’t.  Yet another time that her friends have been invited somewhere she is not welcome.  Crying over a comment said by friends at school that they most likely overheard from their parents.  She wonders what is wrong with her.  Her constant joy is momentarily squelched with a pain so deep, that it lasts long after her big, salty tears are wiped away.

I’m sorry you can’t see it.

While you do see a child wildly spinning in the grass instead of sitting quietly with her other friends playing duck, duck goose, and wonder why she can’t just sit still and fall in line with the others, you miss the joy that fuels her.

When you see the child that never seems to have a tied shoe and is always rushing to get places, I wish you could see the same child that always stops for the person that may need help, or just a little bit of kindness.

While you focus on the mess – the lemon peels and juice spilled on the floor, the dirtied dishes not cleaned, I’m sorry you can’t look a little further to see the love and compassion that placed them there.

When you comment on how your child isn’t allowed to have markers in their room and how there’s no way you’d put up with marker on the sheets or walls, I wish you’d know how amazing it feels to wake up to, and go to bed each night, with little love notes strewn all over the house because there is a child in your care who feels happy, loved, and safe. The marker will come out of the sheets and off the walls, but the notes written with her little hands and huge heart will be tucked into mine forever.

I’m sorry you can’t see it.

When you think to yourself that you are so glad your child isn’t loud or obnoxious, and heaven forbid say those words in front of mine, what you’re missing is the joy and love of life, the hopes and dreams that fuel the desire to embrace every aspect of every day as if it were the greatest thing in the world.

I’m sorry her enthusiasm annoys you.

You see a child who seemingly has no fear, and little concern for what you may think of her.  A child that always wears a smile in front of you.  What you don’t see is that same child who hears the things you say, sometimes echoed down through your own child, who sees the way you treat her – differently from her quieter more subdued friends.  You don’t see how she holds it all together until it becomes too much for her eight year old little heart to handle and so she hides away in the only little corner of the world where she can let her emotions bubble to the top – you know, the emotions that you would rather not see.

But I’m sorry you can’t see it.  And I’m sorry you don’t want to.

Because while you’re busy seeing the negatives and the not so nices, you’re just as busy missing the amazing and the beautiful.

She may be a “handful” and yes I know she’s “a lot”, she may be too “big” for your taste or too “much” for you to handle, but she is mine.  She is a beautiful little piece of mortality mixed with a powerful spirit making her way through this life the same as you and I.  Hop, skip, jumping through and juggling life the best way she knows how.

With joy, empathy, hope, compassion, and a love so strong that sometimes it squeezes a little bit too tight.

I’m sorry you can’t see it.


“She is delightfully chaotic; a beautiful mess. Loving her is a splendid adventure.”

– Steve Maraboli

One thought on “My Daughter is Much More Than Just a Handful, I’m Sorry You Can’t See It.

  1. Don’t apologize for other people’s ignorance. She is definitely a free spirit & sounds just perfect the way she is. It is their loss for choosing to see her in a negative light instead of the little ray of sunshine that she is. I hope her light never dims, for she is something special. Much love💕

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