I wrote this last May. A fairly lonely time in my life. My husband had been traveling for just over 2 years with no end in sight. We had yet to find a diagnosis for Will’s idiosyncracies and impulsiveness. All our efforts were not quite solving his problems and I was terrified of what his first year in school would bring. So – at a pretty wrenching moment, I wrote this.
May 22, 2012
I don’t why I thought I was strong enough to be a mother. All my life I have hidden from pain. Pain of being judged, criticized, ignored, laughed at and so on. I sometimes feel so sensitive (or paranoid) of other people’s reactions to me that I find it mostly exhausting to be around anyone but those that I trust the most. So as I grow into myself and enter by far the most healthy self-esteem period of my life, somewhat comfortable with who I am, I think it’s a brilliant idea to procreate. To take my very thin-skinned introverted self and make children that I love and would protect with my life, children who have to once again go through their own childhoods, adolescence, young adulthood and so on. To learn the hard lessons, to be a bit different or less than perfect, to struggle, to come to terms with who they are, and be near people who don’t understand just how wonderful they are.
After years and years of building a pretty thick shell around myself from negative unhealthy people, I push myself into it all over again with my kids. I feel their pain and their terror of entering this world. Not that they are aware of it, but I am acutely aware of how tough life is going to be for them.
I have a son, who’s brilliant, smart and hilarious already at 5, but so sensitive to everything around him, he finds it hard to function. It’s hard to sit and see all the other kids and know yours is different, albeit in a beautiful, wonderful way that you completely understand, but one that will cause him hardship, pain and struggle.
I have a daughter, who is strong-willed, beautiful and fearless. How long do I have that before society gets to her to tell her she’s not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough to be worth anything? How long before I hear the fat comments, how long before my opinionated loud daughter becomes quiet and doubting? Afraid that if she is too strong, she will be labeled a bitch? Or if she‘s too smart, she will be labeled a snob or a nerd? How long before she dumbs herself down for a guy or a group of girls to fit in?
I just don’t understand why I would do this to myself. To have something so precious to me live outside of me, where I can’t protect it completely and fully? How do I begin to regain control of my life, my emotions, my feelings and protect them once again? I can’t and it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever felt.
God I pray for strength and courage to be that opinionated, bitchy, smart woman I want my daughter to be. I pray she enters the grown up world confident, smart and funny – unafraid to be herself and to pursue what she loves and who she loves. I pray she never doubts herself or lets herself be judged by her appearance. I pray to raise my son to control his impulses and take his beautiful awesomeness and become the next rocket scientist or Nobel Prize winner and be able to look back at all those who will label him a bad kid, an uncontrollable kid, a wild one and laugh at how they doubted him. I pray that I see the path you are laying out for me, my children and my husband and I take the road that terrifies me, but ends up the best path I could have chosen. I just pray that your plan actually makes sense and is in the best interest of those that I love the most and have the least control over – my kids.