I Hold the Mermaid’s Hand


No one believes that this girl can be any trouble. (Pictured here in a photo composed by her sister — I can’t remember the legend being enacted.) She goes off into the world and skips and sings and says wise-sounding things to adults. She is rarely found in the center of a knot of kids in trouble, but kids seem to like her all the same.

Then she comes home. Sometimes with wise-sounding words, but often with furious yells or tears, she tells me she doesn’t belong. No place quite fits right, sometimes even home. Some days something sets her off, some days she rolls out of bed already off kilter.

We went through something a bit similar with Violet at a similar age — “I’m tired of being the only one” she said about why she deliberately faked errors in her schoolwork, before homeschooling.

But with Victoria it runs deeper somehow, and the feelings are so much bigger and more intense. It’s not a school thing, it’s just a being thing, and in some ways it’s always been a part of who she is. There is only so much I can do. I can try to match the right phrase to the right time: “Different is wonderful,” “Different is no big deal,” “Everyone feels different,” “I feel different sometimes, too,” and “Different is hard.” Most of the time I have no idea what to do: she is different, and that is hard for her and for me.

Mostly all I can do is be there. Being there with a dreamer is complicated: you don’t know where she is, and half the time neither does she.

Which is why, God help me, this video clip just hit me right where I am living. It is cheesy, schmaltzy, hokey and — Lords of Irony forgive me — so true right now. So although I am slightly embarrassed, I have to share it for anyone else who has one of these dreamy little girls.



Filed under Oh Mother

6 responses to “I Hold the Mermaid’s Hand

  1. Kevin

    Stupid video made me cry, lovely post.

  2. Christine

    I love that. I guess I’m cheesy. 🙂 Your beautiful daughter is unique. But I’ve had similar conversations with a friend about our interesting daughters who are the youngest of two interesting children. I was a little sister of a very smart older brother, and I recognize some of the frustration and think sometimes that’s a factor with our girls — being smart and unusual in the world, and being the youngest daughter in an interesting family… that all brings dynamics to the table, some of which are frustrating. The line “sometimes even at home” made me think of it.

  3. Lenora

    Says the man (with some concern) to me, “Why are you crying?”
    All I can do is wave my hand in the direction of the laptop.

  4. Linda

    A book I ordered from Amazon arrived on Friday and I’ve spent the weekend savoring it. Its title is The Beauty of Different and its author, Karen Walrond. The subtitle of the book is Observations of a Confident Misfit. I found the book via a link to Karen Walrond’s blog called: chookooloonks.com.

  5. :::tear:::

    Beautiful, thanks for sharing. I don’t know if you have any idea what an amazing gift you are giving your daughters, but it is transformative. I have been in their shoes, but I had a single working mother and she had all she could do just to keep us fed and clothed and mostly out of trouble. The gift of homeschooling – wow… you are making all the difference for those girls, they are infinitely lucky. I’m a little jealous 🙂

  6. Beautiful, Shaun. Thank you from the mom of a mer-man.

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