Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Lately, one of the dragons in my life has been my daughter. Most days, I swear she'd like to knock me clear across 2 zip codes with her fire. I know she's changing and part of it is her age. But I also know, she is complex with her thoughts and not quick to share a single one. She's developed this "hard ass" exterior with an extreme aversion to anything "girlie" or feminine and I wonder sometimes how long, if at all, I'll see that soft, loving side emerge again. I think she's been carrying around a whole stew of mixed emotions for some time now: processing her parent's divorce, dealing with her brother and generally trying to figure out where she fits in the world. We have a new family dynamic now plus I've been spending a lot of time lately helping my son get ready for school. Nobody said being 10 these days was a picnic.
Last night, we had a breakthrough. I was lying in bed when I heard a knock on the bedroom door. She had apparently heard some noises in the house and was scared. She wanted to bring her pillows and blankets and sleep on the floor next to me. For the first time in a long time, I saw the sweet little princess again. Breen and I opted not to have her sleep with us but I did offer to go to her room and stay with her for a little while. I ended up staying for 2 hours. We laughed and talked like old times. Looking back on this, I don't think it was noises at all. I think she was really trying to say, "I'd like to let my big wall down for a little while and be a little girl again." Even in myself, I see the hard ass behaviour sometimes. When I feel hurt or scared, I become the dragon. We all need to feel loved and cared about and sometimes we need that one-on-one attention. Even if I don't have another moment like last night for another 5 years, I'm going to treasure it for a long time to come.