There was once upon a time a little golden-haired girl who loved nothing more than… doing nothing.
She grew up and moved through various days at occasional care – where she began to accept that personal space was something that could and would be intruded upon, often, by peers who wouldn’t take her determined little hands held at arms’ length (or a simple “No”) for an answer – then kindergarten, where she learnt that to be friends in a group, there was always going to be one… or two… or even three or more… of your friends who wouldn’t, could not possibly, compromise.
Growing up is tough. Watching them grow up is tough too. How can it be that I haven’t tainted her? When I stop and think back to her time in my belly – yes, even all the way back then – I knew I was in for a ride. This kid, this slow, steady, solid old soul, would be a salve. I knew it. Recently, I have forgotten it. If I am not careful, I run the risk of overlaying too much of my own “stuff” on her. It is time to get responsible again. I am going to detox my ‘tude!
As the years have drawn on, I have sat on my hands (by and large) and let the winds dance between her experiences and when (or if) she chooses to tell me about them. To this day, she has the space at home to pause, contemplate and gaze out a window of her safe house. I daren’t interrupt her during those times. I must remember not to see that as her being idle in those times. This is the recharge. This is how it is ordained to happen for her.
I muse from time to time that, even though there is angst and there are tears over the fact that there are no other siblings for her in this house, ultimately, the setup she has right now has untold advantages for her. How am I to know what is in store for this child (how are we to know that for any of our children)? There are times when, as she moves through her days and I try my best to gently guide from the sidelines without inputting or overriding too much of my own instilled insecurities or grievances or agendas on her, I wonder how any of us blossom into who we are truly meant to be. Untainted.
All I know is, as much as it is within my power, I will not burden her with views that are my own, sayings that were my mother’s (and hers, and hers before her), lessons from my father (and his before his), patterns of behaviour that are too weighty for her to take on. I feel sometimes as though I am straddling existences; one is me as a girl my daughter’s age and recalling how I used to react to things that my daughter now sometimes finds herself the recipient of; the other is the adult me, with the knowledge of all those years it took to unburden myself from the layers heaped upon me (not bad, not unworthy, not ever wrong…. but just simply now redundant for me in my new adult life).
How can I knowingly pile similar sayings and lessons upon her, when I can already see her responses to certain things are different to my own (at her age)? I can’t. I can’t go in with my sword held high and give her the script. It would be entirely inappropriate for her to deliver a line that I have fed her. This is her impromptu play. The one, the only version of that play called Life that she will act out.
I want to sit back and enjoy the show, not heckle from the audience. Not taint her with my love. For while it is only through deep love for her that I want her to be her best, and while I am always here, cheering her on and more than happy to guide when she comes to me, it is not my play. It is this knowledge that heals me further. She heals me. For one thing, she shows me daily that there is not an ounce of People Pleaser in her. I’m gobsmacked I have had a hand in creating someone who doesn’t do that, frankly. But it also shows me how far I have come. That you can heal (and change) yourself, that you can raise a child free from the shackles that held you back.
Anything is possible. And if you ever think it’s not… well, then, there is always the option to just sit. The way forward will reveal itself soon enough.