Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Introverted Child | Listening to HER Voice

She whispered softly, "I can't do it mommy." Standing there in the school gym-turned-auditorium, her friends and peers all a buzz with excitement. Three friends coming her way smiling, she instinctively moved to step behind me.

With an arm around her, I leaned in, "Are you sure you don't want to try? Just walk over with your friends and see how it feels. No one is watching yet."

"No," shaking her head and starting to tremble. Making herself as small as possible, she kept inching behind me.

"I can walk over with you," in my most even and soothing voice.

"No," almost fearful and withdrawing even further.

Her friends now standing in front of us smiling.

"C'mon, it will be fun. You can stand by me!" Her dear friend reached out her hand knowing this was a big challenge for Lore.

Almost completely behind me again, I turned and hugged her.

The music teacher came over. Someone that could be intimidating at 6'3" and male, he is kind and gentle and all of the students love him. "Lore, if you want to join us, we'd love to have you but you don't have to." To me, "She does a great job in class. It's her choice." And he walked away.

Looking into her terrified eyes behind her small glasses I said, "It's completely up to you. We can always try again next time."

Relief washed over her entire body. I turned to her three sweet friends and said thank you for the encouragement and that we couldn't wait to see them sing. Lore was going to sit this one out.

Earlier that day I asked how she felt about it. "Mommy, I'm just not that good at being out of my comfort zone." I laughed and hugged her for putting it so plainly and well at 9 years old.

I reminded her of all of the times I had pushed her or she had tried something new and how it was never a bad thing, some things she liked and some she didn't but nothing bad happened. She would have never learned to ride a bike, run a 5K or taken gymnastics (her passion) unless she was pushed out of her 'comfort zone'.

She has come a long way from the baby that would not stay with a stranger to the girl that followed her kindergarten teacher around for weeks upon starting elementary school, to now ordering for herself at restaurants and presenting to her class with a sense of humor and ease.

These are not big challenges. They are some that I am sure many parents know just as well. Having an introverted and anxious child who struggles with some of the basic aspects of childhood requires a lot of patience and understanding.

Having a child that is talented and intelligent but doesn't want to show it off is a shame to many people. We are taught to seek awards and recognition and to be celebrated for our performance. That's just not who many children are. I hope that we can also recognize the quiet ones that perform and are excellent in their quiet ways, yet don't want to be publicly celebrated.

We are Lore's inner circle. The privileged few that get to look inside and see the amazing. She doesn't need everyone to see it and that alone is remarkable in today's loud 'LOOK AT ME' world.

There are times to encourage and really push. This was not one of them.

We took our seats at the concert. She was the only child in choir that didn't perform. My little singer sang every word quietly and serenely from the audience. I watched her with admiration and love the entire time.

Much Love,

Your thoughts?

Guest Post by my wonderful introvert! The Odd Events of Saturday: The Car Wash

More posts:

My Five Mothers | It's Complicated

A Letter to My Daughters About Their Father


  1. Oh Chris, I love this. It made me cry. If only every introverted child could have a mama who is so intuitive about knowing when to push and when to allow her kiddo to just BE. Thank you so much for sharing this story.

    1. Thank you for the kind note, Tarissa. We are guides to our children but also advocates. My daughter and I are lucky to have each other. She guides me too. Thanks again Tarissa!

  2. Tell her we are proud of her no matter what

    1. You are so sweet Mindy. I will tell her. :-)

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you Carrie Anne. You've known her from the beginning! Thank you for always loving her for who she is.

  4. Lovely. My daughter has also grown so much, and even volunteered to sing a line in the school program! It's amazing to watch them become more confident!

    1. That's excellent Sarah! I am so happy to hear that. It is one thing to be asked to sing and do it but another to volunteer. I am excited for her!

  5. WOW!! thats just splendid. To stand for/ respect self feeling is the most awesome quality to have :) Way to go little girl and mama :)