I didn’t identify it right off, but setting boundaries is one on the list of fearful reasons why I didn’t want a granddaughter.
I also didn’t identify right off that setting boundaries is one of the most significant lessons I’m learning from her.
I have allowed unacceptable behavior into most of my life, but I have to tell you, since the day we got the news that our grandbaby was a girl, I’ve prayed and pondered (my word for 2013) the consequences of accepting any more.
I’ve also prayed and pondered my part in breaking our family’s generational pattern of disrespect.
By example, I’ve taught our daughter passivity around everyone, especially men, so as to keep the peace.
By example, I’ve taught our daughter to be quiet rather than to speak up, then to react crazily when the disrespect continues.
By example, I’ve taught our daughter to cower and cry when people are unkind instead of stepping up and stopping it.
Lately, though, I’ve become increasingly impatient with unacceptable behavior. My husband knows when I say, “I’m done,” I’m getting pretty fed up. And when I say, “I’m done done,” I’m done taking it.
He’ll grin and say, “Oh boy, they don’t know what they’re in for.”
I don’t get nasty, but I do become firm with what I will and won’t accept. I set boundaries and I guard them.
Our daughter may not be walking the exact path I’ve walked, but she’s had little role modeling for living differently or for being done done. I’m wondering if what we experienced the night we had “naked baby time” (what our daughter calls it) with Claire, our four-week-old daughter/granddaughter, wasn’t a gift from God about just that – living differently and being double done with the disrespect.
Here’s what happened.
Claire is happiest when she’s not restricted by anything, including a diaper. The evening she and our daughter were at our mountain house, we laid Claire on the kitchen island so her mom could change her. While her diaper was off, Claire began squirming and trying to turn over. The more I talked to her, the more animated her actions.
I told her over and over, “You can do it, Claire. You can do it.”
Each time I encouraged her, she looked more determined. She made noises like she was about to cry, but instead, she hollered. She kicked her legs wildly. She balled her fist over and over, then punched it into the air. This went on for almost an hour.
I felt like I was coaching Rocky to run the stairs or go another round in the ring.
That night changed me even more than pondering being mother to a daughter who deserves respect, and more than being grandmother to a granddaughter who deserves the same. That night gave me a glimpse into my role as their forerunner and supporter and cheerleader who is going to teach both of them to demand that respect because “I’m done done” accepting any less.
Is there anything happening in your life that finally warrants you speaking up and saying, “I’m done done”?
WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Dear God, you knew Claire was the perfect antidote for breaking our family’s destructive habit of disrespect. Give me the strength to be done done as many times as necessary until respect is restored and recurrent.
On the side: Click here to read an enlightening article on boundaries from CBN.com (The Christian Broadcasting Network). The author offers ways to handle disrespect and abuse.
The photo is not of naked baby time, but Claire is feisty (and fisty) even in clothes.