Daughters: Strong Women Don't Share Their Struggle
Daughters: The Struggle will not be televised.
Growing up, we didn't have a lot of money. Now, I was more fortunate than others in this area, as I was able to go to pretty decent school and had a lot of love in my home. This was especially evident during the holidays; whether it was Christmas tree decorations or driving through the neighborhood looking at lights, my Mom created traditions that I would remember to this day and didn't cost us a dime. I never really felt like we were strapped for cash. I never really went without. All I knew was that Mommy went to work so we could have nice things and food to eat. I never really asked about anything else...I didn't need to.
I wrestled with this quote. Sat on it a few days before I decided to write about it. I feel like it's walking a fine line; we want our children to be strong, so naturally teaching them the ways of the world could help that, but we also want to shield our children from as many hardships as we can, giving them the chance to be kids. We reason with ourselves that waiting until they grow up to share our struggles and triumphs is the right move. Maybe it is the right move, or...maybe that's too late.
I didn't really understand how strong my mother was until she died.
Harsh Facts. I mean, I always knew she was not to be tried, but that was a different type of strength. I'm talking about the depths of her. She did share her story...I didn't understand the complexities of womanhood. As a child, I didn't get her perseverance and determination to shield me from the struggles of life...she was just keeping me from doing what I wanted, right? Ah, to be a kid again.
Not hearing her voice everyday has left an important silence in my life that leads me down a path of investigation into our relationship. When I realized I really didn't know Cassandra, I became curious. I had come into her life well after she has established herself as the residing Queen of our family. I never had the chance to kick it with the young, adventurous woman I was finding in dozens of photos I discovered going through her belongings after she left us. How did I not know this woman climbed mountains?!? She was a socialite?!?! She had BROWN hair?!?! Who was this woman? I figure these are all conversations we would have had as two adult women later in my life, but we never really got there. It was complicated.
We had the typical mother/daughter struggles, however lately I've seen the encounters through a different lens. Being a Mom myself, I'll be standing in her place one day soon, with a teenage girl thinking I'm not cool, and I'll have to make decisions that could impact the depth of my relationship with my daughter too. Will sharing about my past strengthen our relationship, or will it fall on deaf ears? As a teenager, I was self-absorbed...it wasn't the right time, but I wished my Mom would have tried anyway.
Show her your strength through vulnerability.
I always wanted a daughter. I wanted someone who could be my mini-me...and I got her. I have a love for my daughter that is indescribable. She is the epitome of beauty and innocence. I am amazed daily by her imagination and drive. She is strong...but she is my baby. I want her to go through life with minimal hardships, and I feel the need to protect her. I've created that safe bubble around her, so we go through our lives and she knows Mommy's got her back. But I want her to know Me. Every day isn't perfect, and that's OK. She needs to know that. I need to prepare her for that.
I don't really share much about my LBM (Life before Mommy) with her just yet...she's only 4, but it's not lost on me the importance of doing so as she grows. She could learn a lot a lot from my past struggles and triumphs. There's so much strength in sharing the struggle...in the right way, I wander back to that quote and I'm torn on the steps I need to take to protect her innocence and let her into my life. To compromise and make sure I stay connected with her as she blossoms into this amazing human being, I'm focusing on showing her more of me every day, even in subtle ways, keeping this in mind:
- Try to Be Transparent
Life is hard. It really is OK to talk to your kids about real life. There's a lot happening in this world, and on some scale-they need to know.
- Show her Strength through Vulnerability
My absolute favorite focus. Sometimes you have to let go to grow. This can be super uncomfortable for some of us. Embrace the fears and unknown.
- Love her Fiercely and Unapologetically
As if there is any other way. I won't dim her light or my love for her. I vow to lift her up and have her back even when it's uncomfortable. bring it on teenage years!
I didn't really understand how strong my mother was until she died, and I really wish I had gotten to know her better. I'm discovering her more and more now through my relationship with my daughter, and it's a very special bond to share with them both.