letter to my daughter | january

hugsto my daughter,

so much of what i’ve learned in my adult life, i have learned from being your mother.  you are continually teaching me what i need to know at a time when i need to know it.  this past month, i was still somewhat reeling from the emotions that i described in my last letter to you.  working through some challenging days, and still desperately missing my Dad.  and you continue to be the bright, happy aspect of my daily life.  in many ways, you are a teacher to me, guiding me on this crazy hard, profoundly sweet journey as a parent.

you are halfway through second grade, an age that i can easily recall my own experiences as a child.  my life then looked very different than what yours looks like now:  i had two (unhappily) married parents, one who worked insane hours and the other was disengaged at best.  i had two little siblings.  i went to a catholic school in southern florida.  i felt uncomfortable expressing my feelings to my own mother.  it seems to me that you are the opposite:  you have divorced parents that have a great co-parenting relationship.  both of your parents strive to be incredibly engaged.  you are an only child.  you go to a public school in a quintessential little new england town.  and you, my little love, have no trouble expressing your feelings to me.  despite these stark differences, i tend to still draw parallels from my childhood to yours.  some of these comparisons are my own baggage – i wish you had siblings, i wish you had both parents living under the same roof, i wish i could financially provide you with more.  the other aspect of this comparison mind game, though, is more about me trying to see things from a seven year old’s point of view.  and exploring patterns in my childhood that were limiting or even detrimental.

when i was your age, my own mother was struggling with significant emotional turmoil, none of which i knew then and only learned years later.  as a result, i have very vivid memories of asking questions and her snapping back at me.  i would be so confused by her harsh responses.  now i realize she had little ability to cope with her struggles while expressing compassion to me in a way that i needed or wanted.  lately, i have been dipping into this part of my memory bank, as i work through challenges of my own and still be the compassionate mother that you need or want.  certain situations lately have triggered reactions in me, as i recall the way things were then for me as a child versus how i choose to respond now as your parent.  the good news is that i think that this has been a worthwhile learning experience for me.  i recognize by honoring your needs, i am not only providing you with the kindness you are worthy of, but i am also honoring any of my own unfulfilled needs of my relationship with my mother.  and the most mind blowing aspect of it all is that YOU are the one who is teaching this to me.

we are so similar in that we are incredibly sensitive and sometimes incredibly emotional.  when an argument between us occurs, and elevates, often times i try to be the calm voice of reason.  i try really hard not snap, as was often the reaction i remember receiving from my mother when i was a child.  but sometimes, particularly when i’m not in a good head space, my patience is paper thin.  and it is almost always you that brings us back to a harmonious place.  one of your greatest characteristics, in my opinion, is your unrelenting desire to demonstrate love, no matter how much anger is in the air.  your go-to response to us arguing is to ask for a hug.  you could be crying and furious and frustrated and you ask for a hug.  how fabulous is that?  i will not resist that request.  it is such an amazing gesture to break the negativity.  our bodies connect, and the magic of unconditional love touches us together in an embrace.  together, we take a step towards wholeness.

thank you, little one, for mending the broken pieces from so long ago.  for demonstrating how a simple hug can be so profound.  for recognizing how quickly you and i can change course by reconnecting to each other.  thank you, little one, for being a healer and a teacher to us both.

IMG_6608IMG_6606IMG_6635IMG_6634“we’re taught to expect unconditional love from our parents, but i think it is more the gift our children give us. it’s they who love us helplessly, no matter what or who we are.” ~ kathryn harrison

2 Comments on “letter to my daughter | january

  1. How I wish I could express myself the way you do!!! Everything you just wrote, I too am experiencing but with my little man Luke! They are such gifts and what teachers….stay the course you are doing amazing..

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