I guess the problem started when I planted the potted plant in honor of our eldest daughter, Karla’s, achievements.
Two days before it went up, Karla pushed her little sister, Ella, down to the ground. Ella was scraped up so bad we had to take her to get stitches.
Ella is still pretty upset with the potted plant we planted for Karla. She feels by placing that potted plant for Karla we are encouraging Karla to act badly. I explained to Ella that Karla made a mistake (or several, as she tends to get emotional with her fists) and in this family we forgive! Karla also earned good grades in math. Why focus on the bad thing? Just because the timing and placement might be confused as appreciation and support?
Ella pointed out that whenever she had to walk by the potted plant it made her stitches hurt because it reminded her of the place she was pushed down. I called her a dirty liar about her stitches hurting. I’ll admit to you that it might have been in poor taste to put the potted plant in the exact spot that Karla caused Ella to get hurt, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Ella know that. She needs to accept that the world doesn’t revolve around her. Does that mean it revolves around Karla? I’m not going to answer that. First thought is best thought and the potted plant was put up.
I make the decisions around here, and frankly, Ella can look at that potted plant and be reminded of that fact. I don’t care if it hurts her feelings. It is a reminder of our history. History matters. Karla did really good at math this year. How will we remember that if we don’t have a potted plant that shows us? Are we going to look at a report of some sort from a teacher, or speak to each other about it to provide deeper context to the year. Are we going to maybe look at correspondence from that time? No! We are going to look at the GD potted plant like normal people do for history.
Ella still doesn’t understand. It’s not a sign of inequality just because Karla has something in a place of honor reminding us that even on her worst day of actions, she matters more than Ella. It’s not a sign of support for Karla’s bad behavior just because it was put up on a day that Ella was being particularly annoying to me and I wanted to remind her.
The potted plant has become a nice place for Karla and her group of friends to meet. It’s fantastic how they appreciate the history of Karla’s math record. Amazing who you see drawn to history of math tests and such.
So you see, statues and monuments aren’t much different. We create them to show what we value. In our house we value Karla. Choose your side.
About the Author
Mandy Waysman has a passion for napping. She enjoys long walks on the beach, screaming at the top of her lungs for her daughters to wait up and politely yet firmly requesting that they stop hitting each other. She likes eating food other people cook. She is a freelance writer featured on popular parenting sites (such as this one), her own blog http://www.ohmandelynn.com, and she contributed to the book Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids). Go follow her on Facebook and Twitter.