–She took 9 months, 5 days and 36 hours to come into this world. I tell her now that before she came into my belly, she was sitting next to God, looking down from heaven, choosing her mami and papi. And she took a long time to make her decision. We went through 3 years of fertility drugs until we finally had Y in our arms.
To this day, she takes her time doing most things. Putting on clothes, brushing her teeth, eating her food, going to the bathroom. And it drives me crazy. I am a non-stop-fast-paced -multi-tasker. There is no doubt that God knew what he was doing when he paired us up. The extra-extroverted mom and the observant-introverted daughter. We are both learning our lessons. Maybe me more than her at this point.
Every job I’ve ever had has been one revolving around people and conversation: hostess at Bennigan’s, sales at The Limited, Spanish tutor and translator, video-jockey, reporter, and meteorologist. Now in my greatest job of all, I am learning the most valuable lessons from my 5.5 year-old daughter. She invites me to slow down, enjoy the silence, just hold hands and walk without talking, do one thing at a time.
I’m reading the fantastic book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. It’s making me look at everything through a different lens. I think I’m getting to understand my daughter better than ever. Since she was a baby, she’s preferred my arms rather than a strangers. She observes before interacting. She likes to listen and not talk. Laugh and not tell the joke. Get candy without running to the piñata. Have her birthday cake without a song. And I’m sure she loves gymnastics because she doesn’t have to talk.
We were at the grocery store just the other day and an older man approached us.
This is an ideal example of what Cain writes about in her book. Why do we think that extroverts are more charismatic, smarter, better leaders? Why does something have to be wrong with my daughter because she doesn’t want to answer a stranger? “Introversion is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Yet some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.”
I have taught my daughter to say hello and thank you, and be polite to those around her. To do to others what she’d like to have done onto her. But she is such an introvert, that she innately has a very tough time communicating. Even saying her name. This is not something she will “outgrow”. She will likely just learn to adapt to her environment better as she gets older. But she will always be an introvert. Just as I always will be an extrovert. I might tone down my “diarrhea of the mouth” as I see necessary, but I will always like to talk and be involved in group activities.
I’ve been thinking of a list of things that I hope Y will like to do in the future, more than speak in public or communicate with large groups:
- Listen to God’s voice
- Learn another language
- Sew a button
- Write a poem
- Find her passion
- Feel acceptance and gratitude
- Be self confident
- Express her emotions
- Love and be loved to the fullest
- Find the thing she was born to do
Susan Cain, in her TED conference (http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html) reminds us that “introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated”.
She made three requests: