Last year I wrote a post about my mother. This is where I might link to that post but I’m not going to. I’ve had a rocky (to say the least) relationship with my mom. I’ve been angry. I’ve felt betrayed. I’ve felt unloved and unlovable. I’ve felt that everything I have and everything I am is in spite of how and what she thought I’d turn out to be. But, over the years I’ve slowly come to have an identity, parenting style and self image that comes from me – and isn’t just a reflection of myself through her all powerful eyes. You see, I clung to my mother for dear life because she was/is charming, intelligent, strong, independent, successful and beautiful- and most importantly, she was all I had. Her brand of love was the only kind I knew so I believed that if she deemed me unworthy, difficult, lazy, selfish etc. then I would need to hold on to her tighter or lose everything.
I didn’t want to have a daughter. I didn’t want to yield that kind of superpower over someone else’s life. And yet, at the same time I desperately needed a daughter because deep down I felt like I got it. And, when I was pregnant with Elby I was scared to death. I knew the responsibility I had to not fuck her up. It just seems so easy to fuck them up.
So I fed her little spirit. And I’ve tried to let her be exactly who she is. I try to answer all her questions without frustration even if I’m watching something riveting on MSNBC, I try to give her room to be sad, frustrated, impulsive, goofy, impossible, loving, compassionate and even mean without judgement, without trying to control her but with boundaries. Because as much as I might want to be, I’m not a pot smoking free spirit who could live on an organic farm and let my children spend their days exploring the acres of land with only their imagination as their guide. Not when she could go to preschool and Target and play with Barbies.
Now I have two more daughters and the demons of my past are back to haunt me. Will I be able to do it again? Is there enough patience in me? Am I strong enough to be a mother to a daughter who may have a few years of issues ahead of her? Is my mother correct? Am I selfish? I get so overwhelmed. I know what a powerful influence I am and will be forever.
I don’t speak to my mother or stepfather as I’ve posted about before. I can’t do it because every time I let them in, the seeds of doubt are replanted. Yes, they are that powerful. So I go about this with only myself as a guide –I worry I’m not the parenting Sherpa I want to be. Sometimes I just want to check out. Sometimes I don’t like my babies. Sometimes I blame them for bringing up all this insecurity in me. But, at least this time I know better because of Elby. She taught me that I have it in me. When I see her smile which could light the Disneyland Electrical Parade, when I see her dance the robot with all the serious intensity of a Soul Train performer, when I hear her sing all the words to Neil Young’s Old Man, when I hear her tell me “I don’t need any more hugs right now, mommy” I know I’ve already done something pretty cool. And as BHJ recently told me to say to myself when I’m in despair “I’m a mountain. I’m a motherfucker!” He rules. I’m going to hold onto that.