Friday, November 7, 2008

Let the Sun Shine In

I’m not sure how it happened, but I became aware of something I’ve been denying to myself for some time now. I suddenly admitted to myself that I tend to shut my daughter out, emotionally speaking.

The relationship my daughter and I have is little to nothing like the relationship my mother and I have/had. My mother was a single, working mother most of my life and I was an only child (dad’s other kids don’t count). My mom is my confidant, my older sister, my partner in crime, my disciplinarian and my guiding light. She was a teacher at the elementary school I went to, so I hardly ever had a babysitter; we went home together in the afternoon and had vacations together in the summer. We spoke the same language and enjoyed the same things.

My daughter and I on the other hand share one another with a husband/father and son/brother. I don’t know how to navigate this more traditional mother-daughter relationship. It’s more than that though, I know it is. She has had developmental issues that affect her communication skills, so we have to be more creative in our attempts to relate to one another. Also, she and I are not as similar in temperament as my mother and I. I can see already that my son is more like me, as young as he is. He and I speak the same language.

I can’t be lackadaisical about this though. I can not, will not, let my daughter grow up without ever letting her in. Don’t get me wrong, I love her more than life itself, I just don’t let people in all that easily. How is it possible she didn’t get a free pass at birth? Am I that damaged? Was I just too young when she was born? I’d blame it on my father, but I figure blaming him for my inability to trust and love easily and the effect that has had in the past on my marriage is enough. I can’t blame everything on an absent father. Can I?

I’m hopeful that this awareness will be the most important step. That now I will have clearer vision and I will see and seize opportunities to let my daughter know me as a person.

Everyone who knows her speaks about how special she is. The light and warmth that radiate from her are nothing short of miraculous. She is merely burdened with a mother who is less gifted. I need to learn from her the way I have already begun to learn from her father.


Maggie May said...

what an honest, soul lit searching. it's wonderful to open yourself up toward growth like this. it is sooo worth it!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Beautifully written. Recognizing there is a missed connection is the first step to making your relationship so much stronger and better. I wish you so much luck on this!

A Cuban In London said...

I liked your article especially because like you I was an only child to my mum, my dad's other kids don't count.

Greetings from London.