I have made my way to understanding the reason that I don’t write as much as I used to, even though I have an unending supply of things to say.
My daughter, Abby.
When I started writing about life here on my tiny blog in 2009, Abby was small and innocent and … well, quite frankly, in love with me. One of my favorite memories is in this post, written after a beautiful moment was shared between me and my cotton-topped 5-year-old.
She’s 13 now.
She’s not small anymore, as she’s nearly as tall as I am. In fact, she now wears some of the clothes I was wearing when I wrote about the 5 yr old. She’s not as innocent, either. The world, and everything in it, has been revealed to my daughter. She knows it’s out there because she is smart, curious, and eager, like most 13-year-old kids. They are explorers.
As a mother, I still want to protect the 5-year-old. I want to lie about the scary things and pretend the bad things don’t happen. I want to be the mother that has no imperfections, no faults, no dark places.
I always want to be The Perfect, The One She Loves.
And that’s how it happens. Or at least that’s how I see it happening to me, and I don’t want it to be that way anymore. I don’t want to be the mom that starts closing off because she thinks she is protecting her children from the reality of the world. My children already know the world. Or, they will, whether or not I am there to try to hide it from them.
And when you realize you can’t hide the world from your children, you start hiding yourself instead.
You hide you weakness.
You hide your pain.
You hide your sins, you faults, your cracks.
You close off, close the door, walk away, and pretend that the world doesn’t happen to you, because you want to cling to the hope that you are still The Perfect, The One She Loves.
But here is the reality–
The daughter has weakness, pain, sins, faults and cracks. And now she has no place to go with them. She has no sisterhood with you, The Pretender. She wants to love you AND relate to you.
So, I have a story to tell. It’s my story, my version of the world. The world that my beautiful, smart, eager and curious daughter can find, literally, in the palm of her hand with today’s technology. I want to be as transparent to those that I love the most as much as I am to the stranger that might happen upon these words.
I have been wanting to write this for a few weeks, but I haven’t had the push I needed till last night, as I was watching Season 2 Episode 9 of This is Us, when the young character Kate is talking about her fear of disappointed her mother, Rebecca.
“You know, If I don’t get in, I think it’ll crush me. But, I just could not deal with disappointing you on top of that.” – Kate
“Bug, for the record, I would be disappointed for you, not for me” – Rebecca
“Sometimes it’s hard to feel the difference.” -Kate
Wow. I know this hit home for a lot of people. Especially the following lines about Rebecca’s closed-off mother and her early goals to have “open arms” for her daughter. Generational patterns of shutting out the world. Expectations of the younger to not following the paths of the elder. Hardness on both sides when those expectations are not met.
This episode is also centered around the adult Kate’s miscarriage. Something that I have also experienced and written about here on this blog. When I wrote that post, I opened myself up to intimate conversations with other women that had gone through the same thing, and never had anyone to tell. Why I am I afraid of opening up myself to my own growing, strong, young female daughters?
Because I have been afraid of losing The Perfect.
But here’s the deal. After the curtain drops and the world is revealed to a young heart and a young mind, you don’t get to have it all anymore.
So I’m going to do my best to keep The One She Loves.
“Fold up your flag
Your tattered battle sheet
Lay down your arms
You don’t have to fight with me
Show me your wounds
And I’ll wrap your bandages
If you still bleed
I’ll curb the damages
Let go of fear, trust in me dear
‘Cause I’ll keep you safe while you’re still here
Through all the days of all my years
This I can promise you: I’ll still love you dear”