B may be the most romantic person I have ever met. She firmly believes in love and family. Sometimes I think she may burst from the love she feels. The people that she loves fill her whole world, and she becomes very upset when people get mad at her, no matter how slight the actual situation.
It totally brings home for me the fact that I am the least romantic person I know, and that she is not a copy of me at all. She is one hundred times more sensitive, and I constantly have to work to keep that in mind.
A big part of her romantic worldview revolves around her relationship with me. Even at twelve years old, B requires all my attention. She needs constant hugging and cuddling. I do think that any prolonged absence from me would be very hard on her, more than most children. I know the common belief is to start pushing children towards independence as soon as possible, but that has always felt counter-intuitive to me, as it has to many of my friends. I think that you should let them have their independence as they fight for it, but that until that happens you shouldn't push them to it.
I often see people blaming society and the media for the problems kids have today, but I despise the whole concept that the problems we have now are different and more severe than ever before, and that there is some good old time to look back on. When was this mystical time that children, or anyone else, didn't have poverty, sex, abuse, drugs or alcohol, or world conflict to deal with? Always the world has tried to wrest children from their parents as soon as possible, either through the busy lives of parents, or through the institutions that have been established to care for them. I think we're told to let go way sooner than we should, but that is not new to this society.
The reason I am writing this is that I am intensely aware that I have been the only parent at this school, or in her last one, that still drops off and picks up their child everyday, still goes in and and spends lunch time with her, still displays copious amounts of physical affection in public. At least in her grade for the last couple of years, I mean, and in front of her peers. This isn't the fault of the other parents, they have to work, and their kids have a more developed sense of what's cool for school. B still wants to take Pooh Bear to school. But I feel very much that we're the exception to the rule, and that the professionals that work with her might push for more separation if she wasn't B. Just that underlying idea of proper parental involvement, which is sort of unspoken, at least to me.
I think this is reinforced by experiences I've watched my friends have, wherein they've had conflict with their schools about having the right to bring their kids in late, or having the right to excuse them from school when they want to, even for very good reasons. I watch them struggle for the right to be the experts on their kid's needs, while some, not all but some, professionals challenge them. It's because of this that I feel happy that B has had so much investigation, and I have professional directives from doctors and psychologists not to push her. If not for that, this would be so much harder.
The upshot is that I get to indulge B's romantic ideas of love and family. She is really untouched by the outside world. Not because we don't give her plenty of exposure, we do, it's just that her romanticism overrides any negative input. As a result, she's often a very positive person to hang around. Even her anxiety and depression eventually give way to her romanticism.
B still fully believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy is my fault, every time she loses a tooth, I write a note from her Tooth Fairy to her. The fairy, Lilly TooSilly belongs to a local Tooth Fairy union. Sometimes I feel like I should tell her the truth, but when I've broached the subject, her romantic worldview refuses to contemplate that all these entities might not exist.