I hesitate to share because I’m not sure of my motives. But when I really look at them, I realize they are to shed light on my continual growth as a woman. And I hope it would afford other women an opportunity to continue in their growth towards authenticity, too; an opportunity that presents itself nowhere better than in the throes of motherhood.
My daughter turns 11 today. In 1 hour and 20 minutes to be exact. Right on schedule – on her due date. Always punctual and organized is she – to this day. I can’t even believe she’s 11, and I have less time with her left than I have had with her since she’s been born… My, oh my. And with each age, and each new experience she has, my ‘inner girl’ is triggered on some level. Could be because she is my first and only daughter that I am hit hard with my past as I raise her. Or it could be my incredible desire to have a truthful and deeply happy relationship with her, within the boundaries of being her mother, of course.
I was 11 when my mom started ‘talking’ to me, and my whole world came crumbling down. I was deeply perceptive, and I knew she was sad. Although it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that she was sad when she spent her days crying in her bed. But when I found out what she was sad about, it rocked my world. She was sad because her ‘best friend’ who happened to be a man was treating her really badly. And this best friend wasn’t my dad, who was my absolute hero. I became her therapist and that inverted relationship lasted for years. Until I was 23 and put the kabash on it.
During that time, I went from being a happy, innocent child to a therapist, protector, liar, wife and cook and general co-dependent little girl, then adolescent, and then young adult.
When we have gone through trauma in our lives, and then we have children, it is an amazing time to reflect and remember about our histories. And such a gigantic opportunity for healing.
I have dealt with my ‘stuff’ in the appropriate way. And it’s all out in the open now. But to watch a little life unfold before your very eyes, and remember back on your own little life – it’s really impossible to prepare for. So here are some things I have been doing to allow myself to heal that little girl while still being the mama bear to my own:
- Looking at pictures of myself as a little girl, and remembering who I was and what my dreams were.
- Crying more than I have in a loonngg time – which feels really good.
- Looking at pictures of my daughter and remembering what she was like as a toddler and very young girl.
- Working towards keeping her dreams alive – and mine.
- Taking knitting with my daughter, baking with her, doing homey things that moms do with daughters.
- Not letting her ‘mother’ my younger son. Reminding her that she is the child, and I am the mother. Firmly reminding her.
- Journaling and praying a LOT.
- Talking to my sisters.
- Talking to my father.
- Talking to my husband.
- NOT talking to my daughter about any of this stuff.