Friday, September 14, 2012
What is Left The Daughter
Last night I saw this picture of my daughter, Ayla, almost eight years old, and I thought, for all the worrying our society does about raising strong girls, the truth is that girls are born strong and all we have to do is not mess it up. Then this morning Ayla woke with black charged thunderclouds around her shoulders, probably because I put her to bed last night with them, having reached some sort of a breaking point, my nerves all red and raw and glowing and after she lingered far too long in the bath, in the brushing of the teeth and the homework and the picking up her toys, I finally snapped "forget it, forget it, just go to bed". I told her I loved her and tucked her in, but today she rose from her bed stomping and shouting and near tears. So last night I'd planned to write a post full of optimism, soothed by the knowledge that this is my daughter: coltish and charismatic and born with an intrinsic understanding of how to balance her beauty with her strength, her supermodel pose in soccer cleats, a tiny Tavi who bosses around the boys. She knows how to balance them because they are both hers, she was born with them, she has claim to them each and she knows how to wield both and all I have to do is not mess it up. Then this morning happened, these storm clouds that might be my daughter's dominant trait and I worry about where they came from. Were they bestowed to her by fairies, did she inherit them through my blood, did I give them to her in her early years, a bushel of rotten apples, milk laced through with arsenic? Was it something I did? Is their any horror like realizing you have somehow passed the worst of yourself to your own tiny child? I don't know what to do about them, I only know they are the single most troubling element in my life and I would give anything to take them away from her, except it seems like the one thing that might ease my daughter's troubled spirit is the one thing I can't give. I am not a fairy godmother, I cannot give, nor be, perfection. But having inherited genetic tendencies toward depression myself, I know that if you let it, your pain will teach you to follow the sun. May she never forget how to wield, may she never lose her sovereignty over herself, may she learn, like the wanderers, the orphans turned heros, may she remember the myths, when her spirits feel gnarled and broken like tree limbs, may she turn them back skyward and follow the sun.
Posted by Vesuvius At Home at 11:15 AM
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Oh, V. I am in tears. This post sits right where my fears live. May these strong and stormy girls find their sun and find it and find it again.ReplyDelete
She has a strong Mama in you. She will learn the things you teach her without words. All of it. The storms and the sun. Hugs and prayers as all of us find our ways.
Do you know how much I love you?ReplyDelete
Let me count the ways --
To this, I say "Yes!". I get irritated and short-tempered with my kids and hear myself and hate how it sounds but the words keep coming out and when they hand the same thing back to me I realize with dread where it came from in the first place. However, the difference between you and me is that you explain it ever so much better. Thanks for writing!ReplyDelete
You are amazing. Ayla is incredible.ReplyDelete
The pain will absolutely teach her to follow the sun, and she will follow you in the midst of it all. She is blessed to have a mother wise enough to see it all and strong enough to help her through anything. Don't fret. xoxo She is beautiful, by the way. Such a sweet, tough, funny slip of a young woman. Delightful!ReplyDelete
This reminds me of my worries for my son in many ways. He is so like me and I see the traits that might leave him an open wound and I want to heal them. My husband tells me to celebrate them. Not always easy, right?ReplyDelete
What a moving (pain-jolting) commentary on extreme parental "gene fear". Although I was unable to bear children, I always assured myself (to allay the regret)that I would most assuredly have passed on that "he who shall not be named" sliver of me that was an ingredient of my father's being that was part of his mother's back to the days when human number one appeared (was born/created/hatched?). The part no amount of seratonin reuptake inhibitor, therapy, yoga can permanently vanquish forever. I can sometimes calm the dragon when I am aware he has awakened and, as unendingly aware as you appear to be (judging solely from your writing)(yes, I'm drunk with parenthetical asides)you will teach her how to leash the dragon before he breathes fire.ReplyDelete