on being a mom

all that compounded smartness

I felt anxious Monday.
Literal low-level thrumming in my body.
This list is enormous!
Three weeks sounds like a long time, but it’s not.
How will I get this done?
How will I be ready for the movers?

My logical brain knew all that was straight up bullshit.
My logical brain knew I’d planned everything out to the nth degree.
My logical brain knew I was prepared.

But my feels were actively attempting to run the show.
That physical vibration was convincing as hell.

To thwart the feels, I over-functioned my ass off.
So much so that I crossed off everything for the week of July 11-17 on my moving list that very day.
But that wasn’t good enough.
I had to do stuff scheduled for the following week too.
I had to get more done.
On Monday.
Of the second week.

This is where I was when I went to bed Monday night.
Monday July 12.

What you don’t see crossed off are two things I actually started working on.
pack bathroom and linen closet
pack clothes

I was chatting with Thing 1 about how I was feeling. She was loving and encouraging. But I simply couldn’t shake the feels.
She was quite clear that I shouldn’t overwhelm myself right before the finish line.
(it’s like she knows me)
I assured her I knew it wasn’t real. That logically I was even more on target than my prep work suggested I be. But I sure as hell felt a way about it.

We talked later in the day when I finally stopped and sat down.
In this conversation I was finally able to verbalize what I was feeling anxious about. I wasn’t sure how to pack all the random things so the movers would take them. I didn’t want to waste boxes I might need for dishes on laundry room things, etc.
It was then I began to realize my panic wasn’t only about being ready on time, it was also about being properly packed so the movers could be successful.
Thing 1 was like, “Uh…Momma. You can put stuff in your car and take it over there.”
(but actually kinder than that sounds)

Her words created an instantaneous shift in me.
My body was still even though my brain was thrumming – with realization!
I didn’t have to pack up anything awkward. I could simply put it in the car.
Y’all! My girl saved the day!
I often tease her that she’s smarter than me. She doesn’t see it that way. She calls it ‘compounded smartness’. That she’s as smart as she is because I’m as smart as I am and she simply built upon it.
(something like that, I think she explains it better)
Either way, she saved the day.

The container we packed in March is being delivered Wednesday of that last week and being unloaded first thing Thursday morning.
Thing 1 offered to meet me at this house after they’re finished at the new house. We’ll each load up a vehicle and take it to the new house.
Then anything that doesn’t really go into a proper box, or anything we’ll need straight away will be there ready for us.
YBW is staying at the new house because the smart home guys will be there working their magic. So he’ll pack up his car the night before instead of coming back home with me.
Those three loads will carry all the awkward things, and the movers can do the rest.

I’m still properly planned.
I’m ahead of schedule.
I’m perfectly still inside.
Like some sort of organizational ninja, this move won’t even see me coming.

This is an excellent example of why we must talk about feeling a way. Just because our logical and emotional selves are at odds, doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution.
In my case, the solution was someone looking at it from a different perspective.
Someone who knows and loves me, and had the patience to listen even though she knew I wasn’t making any kind of sense.
Grown children know what’s up.
It’s all that compounded smartness.

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the worst truth

Thing 1 and I were in the car Wednesday morning. I’m not exactly sure how it started, but we were talking about how to manage anxiety and it turned into how Mommas always prioritize your best interests even if (or especially when) it’s hard to understand.
Thing 1 said something to the effect of: Even years fourteen through eighteen when I thought I hated you, I always knew you’d do whatever it took to help me, to take care of me and keep me safe.
Then she said, “That’s why I came to you when I was cutting myself and wanted to die.”

I had an immediate rush of relief. I always worried that when she came to me for help and ended up in the hospital for two weeks she felt like I betrayed her instead of helped her.
She told me while being in the psyc hospital was in itself traumatizing, she never equated the two. Her asking for my help was one thing. Being in the hospital was another thing entirely. They’re separate in her thinking.

I didn’t know this at the time, but three or four months prior to her coming to me, she talked with her dad. When she shared with him how she was feeling and that she was hurting herself, he “looked away from me, stood up, walked out of my room and shut the door behind him.”
He left her sitting there after she told him she wanted to die. (Everything I think and feel about this is a different topic for a different day, but let me assure you, ain’t none of it good.)

In the car that morning, she talked about how it only made it worse for her. She felt like if her own dad didn’t love her enough to help her it only reinforced all her negative feelings about herself. She began cutting herself more and actively planning how to end her own life.
Then she said something that literally took my breath away.
She wondered aloud if her father would have let her die in order to hold it over my head for the rest of our lives. She imagined him saying to me, “She killed herself because she hated you and it’s all your fault.”

I opened my mouth to deny her wondering.
I opened and closed my mouth five times before I finally said, “I want to believe he loves you more than that, that he’d rather you be alive than hold it over me forever.”
But I knew in my heart of hearts that she was right. And sadly, she knew it too.

Then she said, “Would he really want me dead to punish you? Don’t you think he loves me more than that?”
To which I replied that I do think your father loves you in the way he can love. However, his grief would fade. The pain of losing you would ease. But he could get pleasure from blaming me that you were so unhappy and hated me so much that you took your own life. All the pleasure, absolutely none of the effort.

Here’s the worst truth.
I didn’t know she talked to him before she came to me.
He never told me she came to him. Not when I told him I was taking her to the ER. Not the two weeks she was in hospital. Not when we had family sessions with the therapist when they released her from the hospital.
I only found that out because she told me in the last couple of years.

Had she taken her life I would never know that he could have done something to prevent that. I would have lived the rest of my life thinking that when we struggled the most I couldn’t keep my baby safe.

In Conscious Discipline there is a ‘safe keeper’ ritual in which the adult in the home or classroom (or wherever) tells the kids, “My job is to keep you safe.” to which the kids reply, “Our job is to help you keep us safe.”
My daughters knew I was their safe keeper.
They still know this.
But this ritual is different now.
They are their own safe keepers and I am the one helping them.

I want so desperately to reassure her that her life is worth more than her father’s desire to “win” against me. I all honestly can’t do that. As soon as she spoke I knew she was right.
She called this ‘a startling revelation’ then told me, “As soon as I said the words I wanted to suck them back in because I knew they were true.”

I’m not really sure why I’m writing this for y’all to read.
Partly because it was simply too big for me to keep inside. Partly because I thought writing it would help me understand it better.
I feel confident in saying I don’t understand it any better.

I hate that my girl experienced this time in her life.
I hate that I experienced it.
But I am awed and humbled by the healing we’ve experienced in the years since.
I am awed and humbled by the words we share.
By the love we share.

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Eeyore

The beanie crisis is over.
Here it is ready to be wrapped and sent to Thing 2.

I’m still pretty fucking salty with Love Your Melon.
I was able to get a kids beanie, but it feels more like a draw than a win.
I’m joyful my daughter will get what she asked for.
This silver paper and snowy ribbon are helping tip the joy scales.

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customer (not)-service

Thing 2 asked for only one thing for Christmas.
She wants an Eeyore beanie from Love Your Melon.
They went on sale 11.24 at 11 am.
I bought one immediately.

The LYM package arrived Monday.
I was so excited!
Huzzah! Christmas for my baby girl!

And then…

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!?!
You’ll notice this is a pink Piglet beanie. Not only that, it’s a baby size beanie. Too small even for the toddler head of Baby K.
You’ll also notice the invoice and item don’t match.
Somewhere there is someone who ordered their baby an adorable beanie but ended up with Thing 2’s Eeyore beanie. They must be just as disappointed and frustrated as I am!

Much to my dismay there is no phone number for me to call. That means I’ve been emailing LYM customer service for several days.
It’s all: here’s how to return the beanie by clicking this link.
Um…K…so when I click the link it wants me to enter my order number. You know, the order number that matches what I ordered, not what I received.
Still no straight answer about where my beanies are and how to send back the one I received. Not to mention that the customer service reps who email me are more concerned with me returning the misshipped (is that even a word?) beanie than assisting me in getting the beanies I ordered.

The fucking Eeyore beanie is now out of stock so I can’t even order another one while I wait for this mess to get sorted.
I know my daughter is a twenty three year old adult and understands when things go awry. But sweet baby Jesus, she only asked for one specific thing!
And because someone made a mistake in packing an envelope, she may not be able to get it.

You know, I’m not “a Karen” by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m nearly ready to rip off somebody’s head.
I’m fired up about this and won’t let it die until I have Thing 2’s beanie in my hand.

Customer service exists to assist the customer.
I did everything required of me but because of their mistake, I don’t have what I paid for. And I’m not receiving any real help in solving the problem.
These mfs need to get it together!
I just want my baby to have her fucking beanie!

Late last night I finally got an email. It seems a customer service person called Savanna actually listened to my problem and responded accordingly.
Of course this is what she said:

Thanks for letting us know! I sincerely apologize you received the incorrect beanie. Feel free to keep the beanie that was sent to you and place another order with the code I’ve provided. Your store credit is detailed below. Please use this code at checkout on a future order with us. This code can only be used once but does not expire.

I don’t want the fucking baby beanie! I want the one I ordered for Thing 2!
The Eeyore beanie is still sold out…I clicked the ’email when available’ button and have my fingers crossed I may be able to purchase another between now and Christmas.

None of this even touches on the second beanie that went missing. Still no credit for that one.
And based on this email, someone has Thing 2’s Eeyore beanie AND Thing 1’s double pom beanie and they’ve been told “feel free to keep” them.
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

I’ve sussed out the kids beanie is one and one half inches smaller in height and width than the adult beanie. I’m waiting for a text back from Thing 2 to find out how her other LYM beanies fit to see if this will do in the meantime…

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

grateful for joy and sadness

Thing 2 and Boyfriend M were here last weekend.

Thing 1 was thrilled to see her sister!
Baby K was excited to spend time with her Auntie!
Loads of peek-a-boo, story reading, block building, and media table play. (dried beans are excellent for sensory play)

Friday saw us at 2 Silos.
Even though it was chilly, the sun came out and we enjoyed our beers.

Saturday Thing C and Thing G came over.
We played Bye Felica, Uno, and Phase 10, and had burgers and dogs for dinner.
YBW and I had all the joy at all of our kids in the same place at once.

Thing 2 went through my shoes and took home four pair. (less things for me to move)

Thing 1 drove her sister and Boyfriend M to the airport Sunday afternoon.
Baby K cried when they drove out of the driveway.
So did her Birdie.
A LOT!

I was making leftovers for my lunch Monday and asked Thing 1 when we made that particular meal.
She told me it was Wednesday, because “they came on Thursday. As short as they were here, it felt like an eternity.”
She’s right. They weren’t here all that long, but it felt good and long.

I’m sad they’re gone, but chock a block full of joy and gratitude they were here.
My cup runneth over!

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

my Momma heart

The housemate (codename: Housemate A) of the young man Thing 2 is seeing (codename: Boyfriend M) tested positive.
Not only has Thing 2 been around him, they actually shared a beer the week before.
She’ll get her results in ‘five to seven days’.
She decided to quarantine with the guys, partly because they’ve already been exposed to each other and partly to keep her father safe.

My Momma self is freaking out!
My logic believes she’s going to be fine.
But she has always had sick lungs and that triggers fear in me.
I don’t like feeling helpless. I want to swoop in and take good care of her.
Of course that’s not practical.

These are some of the random thoughts flitting around in my head:
I can’t do anything to help her.
She’ll spend her twenty-third birthday under quarantine. At least she’s with people she likes.
She might die.
Stupid janky lungs.
I sent her birthday gifts to her dad’s and she won’t be there to get them.
I want to take care of her.
She’s going to be fine.

I had panicky tears.
YBW hugged me tight.
He said, “I’m worried about Thing 2. But me panicking not going to help you right now, so I’m going to remain calm.”
Friday morning he asked if I’d talked to her, actually heard her voice. I told him I wasn’t ready because I couldn’t talk about it without tearing up and I didn’t want to do that to her. I needed to get my feels under control before I talked with her.

Husband N remarked that he wasn’t sure quarantining with the new guy was the smartest choice, he might not take good care of her. I replied, you know her dad and know damn well he won’t take care of her at all, so anything’s better than that!
I actually believe Thing 2 and these young men will take good care of each other.

I’m sending them a little care package of treats. Uno and Phase 10, a jenga-like block game with colorful blocks. Books for Thing 2, and sweet treats each one of them likes.
Thing 2 told me Housemate A was like, ‘honestly I’m just touched that your mom wants to send us something’.
To which I replied, These guys are going to have to learn that to be a part of your life is to become part of my brood.
He told her now he feels like he has another mom.
With a twinkle in his eye and smile on lips, YBW suggested Housemate A be reminded of that with mother’s day comes around.

I talked with her via chat this morning for quite a while. I still haven’t heard her voice, but I’m much less anxious about her well being. That may change if her test comes back positive…or if I start to worry…or if…or if…
But, I know she’s making plans and smart choices on how to take care of herself and she’s not doing it alone.

She and Housemate A organized the pantry, fridge, and freezer. She created a list and they ordered grocery delivery from Publix. They assigned Boyfriend M the yard work that needs to be done because he slept through their kitchen work.
They’ve got a plan to get around-the-house things done, as well as books, games, computer, guitars, etc. to keep them occupied during their quarantine.

There’s a part of me that always sort of knew she would get sick. Part of me that accepted it in a logical way. Part of me that knows even though she’s (probably) got it, she’s going to be fine.
But she’s my baby and I worry.
I can’t actively take care of her, but I can send fun things to occupy her time. Sweet treats for when she craves them.

I know she’s going to be OK. But I’m still going to worry.
She almost died two different times before she was two months old.
She’s survived bronchitis nearly every winter of her life.
She’s survived pneumonia.
She’s survived mono.
She’s survived H1N1 swine flu.
Even though her immune system is questionable, she’s made of seriously tough stuff.

After talking with her this morning, my Momma heart is less anxious, chock full of love, and waiting (impatiently) for test results.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

and the momma lioness roars

No sooner than my post about cookies published, did I received a text from Thing 1 apologizing for causing drama.

I hate that because I expressed my frustration, my daughter apologized for starting drama.
The truth is that’s drama I started by writing about it.
She shouldn’t feel responsible for it.
I reassured her she did nothing wrong. That her comment was innocent and she was not at all responsible for any of it.
She said she shouldn’t have said anything about Christmas, and she was OK with me staying here with YBW for Christmas if that’s what I decided.

I told her I was angry at the mother being manipulative, and at Thing C for not being honest.
She agreed. She wondered how YBW was feeling about it, how he would choose to deal with it.
She said: It just sucks because nobody is fair to him.
She said: I can’t help feeling bad. I should have kept my mouth shut.
I replied: Your comment was innocent. The information was abused.

She said something that surprised me, the truth of it I mean.
She said: She’s almost as bad as dad

And that’s why she pushes my buttons.
She is so manipulative. She does it with such skill those she’s manipulating don’t even realize it.
Because I’ve lived with this type of behavior the majority of my life, I’m acutely aware of it.

She asked if Thing G would be alone on Christmas.
She designed her message specifically to push YBW’s buttons. She saw an opportunity to have her sons with her on Christmas day and used her words to manipulate the situation.
Neither YBW or I would leave the kid alone for Christmas. I mean, come on.

She invited YBW to come to her parents house for Christmas.
Now, to the casual observer, that seems kind and welcoming.
But with all passive aggressive, manipulative behavior each word is chosen with purpose.
She used those words to appear inclusive.
If questioned, the manipulative person can say, See! I said ‘this’, to be interpreted as appropriate. Knowing full well they were manipulating the situation to get what they want.
She wants what she wants and is capitalizing on an opportunity made clear to her by one simple sentence written by my daughter.

Is there drama because she creates it?
Is there drama because I’m overreacting to it?
In all honesty, it could be both.

I don’t want to feel the urge to protect my husband and my daughter from this woman.
I know they’re capable. I know they don’t need to be protected.
But I feel protective of them.
When my husband is being manipulated, and when my girl apologizes for starting drama, it triggers something deeply protective in me.

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we are not our feelings

Thing 2 was feeling her feels this morning.
Anxious and fearful.
Her sister and I (and Baby K) showed up ready to rock.
Y’all, I’m talking loving, supportive girl power to the nth degree. But that’s what we do for each other.

Thing 2 works in a cool Asian fusion restaurant. She is currently the senior-most server.

She wrote in our group chat: There’s a 35 top coming in as soon as we open
Me: May the Force be with you!

Thing 1: You are amazing, just be your charming self and you’ll get good tips and you’re going to be OK

I stopped for a moment. I realized we both jumped in to ‘rescue’ her. I considered that she might simply be expressing herself. Perhaps she didn’t need to be bucked up, perhaps she needed to be heard.

Me: It sounds like a complicated situation. Your anxiety makes sense. It’s overwhelming af! You’re feeling your feels

Thing 1: You got this!
Me: So wig out for a couple more moments. Like, seriously, set a timer. Then steel yourself. You are so capable. And(!!!) you can guide them along instead of waiting to see what they want.

Thing 1: (FTW) Don’t do that. Be pleasant and gregarious, and you’ll be great!

Thing 1: You’re the Thing 2est Thing 2 that ever Thing 2ed!

Me: Your anxiety makes sense in this situation. However, you actually possess the skills and abilities to make this situation successful for yourself and your customers!

Thing 1: And once it’s all over, you’ll be done! My therapist always says there’s a finish line, you just have to get to it and you can move on to the next thing. It will end and it will be behind you and you can move on.
Me: YESSSSSSSS!
Thing 2: Wow. I like her.

Thing 1:

Me: Breathe. You’ve got this! Look, if chubby, somewhat drunk looking Baby K believes in you…you can’t possibly fail!
Thing 2: I WAS JUST GONNA SAY SHE LOOKS DRUNK! What a beautiful tiny encourager
Me: You have the most powerful women on your side! We’ve got you, and you’ve got this! I love you more than the moon and the stars!

We did that.
We were her cheerleaders.
We encouraged her.
We reminded her of what she’s capable of doing.

We also honored her feelings.
We acknowledged her fear and anxiety.
We reassured her that her feelings are valid, and in this situation, made sense.
We reminded her she is not her feelings.

I think we all need to be reminded of that.
We are not our feelings.
We experience them but we are not them.
I read somewhere, I can’t for the life of me remember where, but it went something like this.
Feelings are like the rain, we might walk in the rain, but we are not the rain.

We don’t become our feelings.
We feel our feelings.

Thing 2 was feeling the hell out of her feelings today.
But, with a little bit of love and support from her momma, big sister, and baby niece, she didn’t let herself become them.

Later this afternoon we got this:

Me: Brava, Thing 2! You DID it!
Thing 1: Way to go! We knew you could do it!!!!

Taking a break to sit in the grass.
(I’m purposely ignoring the smoking.)
She needed to feel connected to the earth. She needed to feel grounded.

35 people came into the restaurant and Thing 2 served them.
The world didn’t explode, and neither did she.

Though she be but little, she is fierce.
Even the fiercest among us need a bit of encouragement now and again.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

becoming a brand ambassador

Thing 1 sent a message in our girls group chat

“So there are 2 pages on Instagram that want Baby K to be a brand ambassador. Is that a legit thing or a scam?”

We talked about it a bit, landing on legit as opposed to scam.
She checked with a friend who does a great deal of baby and children’s brand repping. She’s become quite the social media influencer, and told Thing 1 pretty much what we’d discussed. They’d want Baby K and Thing 1 to use/play with/wear products and share. Some will give her things, some will sell her things at a discount, in return they’d want pics of Baby K wearing or playing with their items. They’d want her to engage their posts, share sales and new releases, things like that.
We talked about how it would be fun to meet new people and experience new items and companies.

Husband N is supportive, excited even.
Thing 1 is “weirdly nervous”.
That makes sense to me, even though it sounds fun, it’ll be more social media work than she’s used to doing.

But what an opportunity!
She’ll have access to new and interesting baby and kid things.
She’s smart and savvy enough to provide honest and positive reviews.
Baby K is just cute enough to be a great rep for clothes and toys.

I mean, look at her ready for the day in this cute Burt’s Bees outfit!

It’s very exciting!
As a stay at home mom, Thing 1 has the time, and if she’s willing to work hard, this could be a wonderful opportunity for her, and Baby K!

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covert narcissism and emotional incest syndrome

I learned the term emotional incest syndrome last week. It is sometimes referred to as covert incest.
I know the word incest is a trigger. Reading it makes me anxious and shaky. That word is icky.
What’s even more icky is that parents actually do this to their children.
What’s even more icky is that the other parent of my children did, and continues to do this.

The Things father is a classic covert narcissist, and there’s no two ways about it. He is masterful at manipulating situations to shift the blame, embracing the rage, and twisting words in such as way as to seemingly impact reality.
Nothing is ever his fault, and he buys his own delusions to the point of borderline insanity. It’s only gotten worse as he’s aged, so much so that he is trapped in this fantasy of his own design without any real ability to see the world as it actually is.

When Thing 1 was about twelve years old, I would ‘tuck her in’ at night with a quick, loving conversation and a hug or kiss. Her dad started following me in the night time ritual so he could ‘talk with her’.

To be abundantly clear: I was truly never concerned with him being physically inappropriate with her, he is the least sexual human with whom I’ve ever come in contact.

Their bed time talks became longer and she became more sullen and withdrawn. I mean, she was a tweenager and all, but this seemed different to me. When I encouraged her to talk with me about how she was feeling, she shared that her daddy was telling her things that made her uncomfortable.
He talked with her about his grief after the death of his mother. About his dissatisfaction in his personal and professional life. Even about his marriage to me.
I reassured her that her discomfort was appropriate, that his behavior was not. I promised her I would handle the situation. I encouraged her to tell him that she didn’t like when he talked with her about these things, gave her some tools and encouraged her to build healthy boundaries.
I had many conversations with him about the inappropriateness of him oversharing to a child.
I remember saying these exact words, “She’s a little girl and you cannot talk to her that way. Get a therapist. Get some friends. Please stop using her as your confidant.”
Like any good narcissist, he twisted the truth and manipulated us all, but never acknowledged or changed the behavior. I began to find excuses not to leave them alone at bedtime.
Nothing I did made a difference and the only way it slowed and then stopped was when she left home for college.
His current relationship with her is strained because she’s married another man and he can’t control her anymore.
Neither does he like that she and I are close, he actually told Thing 2 that Thing 1 is ‘drinking the Robyn koolaid’ and that’s why she didn’t love him anymore.

Thing 2 is his current child-wife. He sucked her into his emotional incest hook line and sinker. And she bought into it for quite some time.
She’s said, Poor daddy, nobody should have to die alone.
Um…your daddy actively chooses to be alone.

But of late, Thing 2 is empowering herself. She is actively in a healthy pattern of growth for her emotional and physical life. She’s begun dealing with her childhood trauma. Her emotional baggage. Unraveling her own augmented reality.

I don’t feel like what she is doing, or how she’s going about this is my story to tell, but when she shares her efforts and progress with me, I am truly awed by the difficult and serious work she is doing.

She shared with me that someone recommended a book about this phenomenon and she told me “I’m very curious about it, I want to research on it but I think it’s going to be really helpful with dealing with (her father’s given name) using me as his therapist.”
I shared with her a quick version of how it played with her sister, how I tried and failed to protect either of of them.
She said to me, “You have to remember that I chose this, you didn’t put me here. I did.”
Talk about owning your stuff.
But I’m her momma, I will always have a desire to protect her. Especially from her father.

I once overheard my girls sharing that their father told them (independently) that if he had been more willing to have sex, I would never have left him.
I literally stopped in my tracks.
I went back to where they sat, and told them I couldn’t help but overhear them and asked them to verify if what I thought I heard was correct. They confirmed.
I sighed and said, “First of all, I’m so sorry that happened to you. You didn’t need to hear that. And secondly, that’s not why I left your dad.”
What the actual fuck, yo?

When Baby K was born, Thing 2 and I left the hospital in Savannah and went home to Thing 1’s house. We cleaned the house top to bottom. Did all the laundry. Grocery shopped. We wanted everything to be ready to rock when Thing 1 and Husband N brought Baby K home.
Their dad actually told Thing 2 that he was jealous that she was spending time with me alone, he was worried she would drink the same koolaid as her sister and love me and not him.
He even told her before she left, “Now, I know you’re taking care of your sister, but make sure you take care of yourself too. I need you to come back to me. You’re my rock.”

So. Fucking. Icky.

I get so frustrated!
You’re her parent, you emotional fucking cripple! You’re supposed to be her rock!

I know I am guilty of sometimes saying, “I wish you could be my mommy”, and perhaps that means I’m just as guilty as him.
Is there a difference?
I mean, I hope so. I don’t actually expect my twenty-two year old daughter to be my mommy.

I love that we have an open and nurturing relationship based upon love and respect and genetics. And it feels nice sometimes to be loved by a female who doesn’t want anything from me, who isn’t going to shame me for wanting to be loved. But I am her momma and she is my daughter and that means it’s my job to nurture and provide help and do a bit of protecting even though she’s a grown ass person.

My daughters and I have had our own share of chaos in our relationships.
Good. Bad. Ugly. And indifference.
I have worked to create and maintain healthy boundaries, and if ever I overstepped, I corrected and made every attempt to discuss and apologize where appropriate.
We have been to hell and back, my daughters and I. And from my point of view, this strengthens our love, our bonds, and our boundaries.
And though we talk about any and every thing, and they’re as engaged and (for the most part) supportive of me, and my decisions, and my life as I am of theirs, I can’t fathom using them as ‘sounding board’ (one of their father’s favorite words) for inappropriate things.
I can think of one specific time I did that to Thing 2. She claims to find it humorous, especially because I was inebriated, but I am wracked with guilt and have apologized with every fiber of my being.

This covert incest thing has eaten at the very heart of me since that quick conversation with Thing 2 on Monday last.
Knowing it exists.
Knowing the only other person in this world who is meant to protect them is the perpetrator of this abuse.
It makes me sick. Truly and deeply sick.

I can’t protect them from him.
I never have, I never will.
That cuts my momma heart to a depth that may never heal.
Only I’m not worried about healing my heart. I worry about them healing theirs.
I can’t protect them.
I can’t take away their pain.
All I can do is listen. Offer guidance and support. But above all, love.
And sweet baby Jesus, do I love them.
I love them as they learn more about themselves, the world, and their place in it.
I love them as they struggle and fight the good fight.
I love them as they call me out on my failings.
I love them as they accept and forgive.

I am awed by their resilience as they do the hard self work to discover, and heal, and become whole.
I know I made them and raised them, but this is not selfish pride of ownership, this is the awe of faith, and pride for them, and their ability to continue to learn and grow and love.
I am overwhelmed by their capacity to love.
I cherish being a part of their lives.

These women.
These absolute marvels.
They are truly awe inspiring.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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