I’ve told this story so many times, perplexed, always with no emotion until The Loving Parent Guidebook and the questions on page 26 and 27: What would you tell a child … ?
I was in first grade sitting at the kitchen table after dinner struggling with single digit arithmetic and my mom, a bank teller, was at the sink doing dishes. I said, “I can’t do arithmetic,” to which she responded, without even looking up, “That’s okay, I can’t do it either.” I looked at 9 take away 3 and covered up the 3 with my finger, still saw the 9, and that’s what I put for the answer. I did the whole worksheet that way. Mom never checked, and the teacher didn’t ask why. No one came alongside.
No one came alongside when later I heard things like: You’re making a fool of yourself! You need a bra! Your ears are dirty.
No one came alongside.
My Critical Parent stepped in. You will not leave the house until you are perfectly groomed. You must blend in. Never make a spectacle of yourself.
Then, after answering the questions in the LP Workbook, I realized the key was for someone to simply come alongside: to protect, to nurture, to support, to guide. In my prayer time that morning, for the first time, I saw my Little Self. For the first time she shared her tears with me. I told her “I’ll come alongside, I’ll pick you up off the curb, I’ll tell you that you matter, I’ll tell you that I love you.”
Later that day, I had to sit in the dentist chair. As the drilling started, I closed my eyes. I was sitting next to my Little Self on a curb. She turned to me and burrowed tight into my chest. I held her back as close as I could. I felt a tear leak out the corner of my eye. I held her until the drilling stopped. She was calm then. I know because I felt my neck and shoulders unclench.
I’m ready to forever come alongside and be my own Loving Parent.