Thursday, April 2, 2009

Alma Nueva

You know how people sometimes say a person is an Old Soul? It’s usually meant as a compliment, or said with some reverence. They may be saying that this person is mature or understanding beyond their years.

My daughter is very much a New Soul. That is not to say that she is immature, which she can be, just that she is oddly pure and somehow fresh. Her bright blue eyes can be piercing and needy. Her emotions tend to be easily exposed. She is easily hurt and easily soothed. She can be generous to a fault. Her speech developed late and poorly, leaving her very lost at times. She was six the first time she told me “I don’t know how to say it.” Meaning she was aware of something she needed to communicate to me, but that she didn’t have the tools to put it together. That moment just about knocked me on my ass. The fact that she was aware of her weakness was both encouraging and heartbreaking.

Her tendency for poor verbal communication and emotional neediness makes me fear for her safety, mostly in terms of sex. When she was really young and couldn’t speak well at all, I was terrified that it made her a target for a certain kind of behavior. She couldn’t tattle. But now as she approaches her teen years, I worry that she might dive into sex without a good understanding of the consequences. She knows about babies. She knows girls who have had babies too young and without being married [including her mother]. But she doesn’t know the emotional fall out, not to mention the danger of STDs. And she’s not the kind of person who can be made to understand something easily without experiencing it herself.

I’m not necessarily asking for help here, just expressing something. She’s had a rough road so far. And it’s not over yet. The next few years will probably be the hardest of all.

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