Hollow Victories

We had an epic battle last night. Of course it occurred at bedtime.  On a night when Michael was away.  As epic battles usually do.

It all started over a doll.  Well, actually, two dolls and two girls, both believing that the same doll was actually theirs.  You see these dolls are identical except for the one doll has bows in the pattern on its skirt and the other has flowers.  Those bows became the subject of much debate as they were very unwanted.  As for me, I had no clue which one belonged to which.

It started with arguing which turned to crying which turned to screaming when I decided to try to use Solomon’s wisdom and threatened to throw them both out.  Obviously Solomon wasn’t the mother of the two parties in question because that was too heartbreaking to watch them crying like that.  They were both fully convinced that they were right.  Only, Arianna had the more logical argument.  She had facts and reasons through her tears while Emma just had surety.  I had not a clue in the world on what to do.  The only thing I knew was that I could not allow them to fight over a thing.  I’m constantly trying to teach them that others are more important and that siblings are the most important.  So I calmly (after I got myself in check, realizing we didn’t need three high strung women) explained to them that we were not going to allow something in our house that was the cause of so much fighting and hurt.  We would put them on a shelf and deal with it in the morning when we had cooler heads.

At this point Arianna threw herself onto her bed and sobbed, “Take it!  She can have it” in classic drama queen style.  I sent Emma to her room with the doll.  I leaned over, gave Arianna a kiss and told her I would try to talk to Emma.

I entered Emma’s room and heard heart-wrenching sobs.  The kind when you feel horrible about something you’ve done.  I climbed into bed beside her, rubbed her back and asked her what was wrong.  After some time to calm down, she said she felt horrible because Arianna gave her the doll.  She sobbed out, “Can I go give it back?”  I said I thought that was the right decision.  She picked up the doll that had been thrown on the floor and came back with the other one.  This one was brought into bed and promptly snuggled.  She held that doll to her chest, stroked its hair, kissed it and said that she felt much better.

A victory won at the expense of someone else is always hollow.  Emma learned that through experience last night.  And through a long chat afterwards:)  We talked about how that other doll meant much more than the first one did.  It was a long, hard lesson.

As I laid in her bed, with her arm thrown around me, it occurred to me that it was a reminder I needed too.  How many times do I get my own way at the expense of my husband or my children?  Oh these days I’ve learned to do it without an epic battle.  But quiet words can cut just as much.  Or manipulation.  Or guilt tripping.  Or just ignoring the needs of others for my own.  The more I thought about it, the more instances I could see in my own life.  So I preached to the girls, but ended up needing to change myself.  Isn’t that always the way?:)

Today the girls asked me to stitch a letter on the skirts of the dolls so that they always remember who’s is whose.  I hope the letter also reminds them of the lessons we all learned.