Thirty years of self-discovery later…
This journey through parenthood that begins hopefully and innocently (despite the naughtiness one indulges in to become a parent!) enough and ends… well, I suspect it never ends, is one that undoubtedly is one of the most fulfilling, toughest, innards-revealing journeys I believe we will ever take. Whew!
I had a conversation with my daughter last week. Now, we have conversations often; but this was one of those conversations, the type that requires you not only “put on your big-girl panties” but that you make sure it’s clean, comfortable and ironed too! Here we go… let’s address this.
I went home last month to watch as my daughter crossed the stage to receive her BSC diploma for some fancy-thing. And while she was crossing said stage, she decided that as long as she was already up there, she may as well pick up the plaque for Magna Cum Laude and a ribbon for top of her class as well. I mean… as long as she was there J So that bit of fabulousness happened with me (and her father and grandmother) watching with infinite pride.
Not to be outdone (ha-ha), I decided that I would go for her graduation, but stay for my birthday; it was a blast! But what also happened however, was an occurrence that sparked a thought that led to a feeling that prompted a conversation. The big-panties-clean-ironed conversation. The conversation I am sure is not yet finished; but one that I now believe has been the most important to date.
I do not have a good relationship with my mother. She does not “get” me; nor do I believe she wants to. In large part I am too much of a reminder of a man she no longer loves (my father) and for as long as I can remember, that reality has fueled her rejection of me. At age fifty-one, I can finally say the reality of this non-relationship no longer stings. I accept that a parent-child relationship is just that, a relationship and oftentimes… relationships just don’t work. And, we move on.
But what growing up under this lack had solidified in me was the certainty I would strive to be a different kind of mother. Somewhere inside of me, in a very quiet way, I pledged to “give away what I wished I had” and be to Aneesa the mother I thought I deserved. One of the very interesting aspects of pain is that it teaches us what not to have another person feel. So, I steered clear of anything that remotely resembled my mother’s actions, expressions (or lack thereof) and behavior. I showed up for my child, physically and emotionally and I let her and the world know how very very much I love her. How proud I am. How much I dig her.
I forgot to tell her how much I liked her.
I thought I was showing her. I thought that tucked into all my showing up, declarations, support, conversations and noise she knew that none of those would have, could have happened if I did not like the hell out of her! I am flabbergasted that this beautiful young lady does not believe when I say, “You are the reason I wake up and go everyday” that that is because I dig the crap out of her! I am saddened to know I missed empowering her for this long with that feeling.
This journey… My God! How ironic that the things we seek to run from at times catch up to us, attach to our DNA and alter our footprints. That incredible conversation with that awe-inspiring young woman has opened my eyes. My panties are on, full-coverage and functional. The past is the past – my mother’s, my daughter’s, mine. I will learn from it, but leave it there. Nothing more to prove. No more running.
I am my mother’s daughter. But I am my daughter’s mother.
Happy 30th birthday my darling daughter. You are an incredible young woman. I continue to be proud of you. I respect and value your decisions, actions and dreams. On this day and always I give you the gift of my mistakes. My commitment to correct them. My support. My admiration. My infinite love.
I like you BIG, Aneesa Adele Hinds.