Wednesday, July 20, 2011

She Won't Always Need Me

The other day at the playground I watched from a bench as Ada climbed and played and offered to share her snacks with the other kids. This glimpse at her fundamental nature is such a gift to see: she is compassionate and beautiful. I love her so enormously for the person she is. I felt so proud that she does these kind things with no prompting on my part. I felt proud of her independence. Then it hit me like a sucker punch: 


she will always be the center of my world but I won't always be the center of hers

Photobucket


Strange and unexpected, but at that moment motherhood was a little bit painful. Intellectually, I know that I can't protect her forever. Things happen to all of us that are central to learning and growing as a human being: the first heartbreak, the first disappointment, dealing with failure...these are real things in her future. One day she will be sad and I won't be able to help. Hugging and rocking and smoothing her hair won't always make it all better. Probably someday I'll annoy her and she'll look to someone else to comfort her. Yes, I knew it all in my mind but my heart hadn't received that message yet. Ouch.

My feelings tell me to clutch her tightly to me to protect her - even when there is nothing to protect her from - but my instincts and experience tell me that this is a fatal move. Having not seen many models of letting go gracefully, I'm not entirely sure how exactly I want this to go. What I do know is that regardless of how I feel I know exactly how I'd like to make her feel about our mother/daughter relationship as it blossoms toward adulthood. I hope that even when she is grown up that I can still make her feel safe. I hope that she will feel comfortable confiding in me - that I won't share her secrets or judge her or reflexively dismiss her opinion or impose my intense worry on her. I hope she can still see me as a resource and the strength in her foundation.

 Photobucket

Hooking up Shell. Please take a moment to let me know your thoughts on this. I'm just taking it all in as I carve my path.




9 Lovies:

finallyMom said...

ah yes. i've been having many of these moments lately...

Lisa said...

It's true. There will be points when it seems like they want nothing to do with us. But they will come around again, just like we did.

Heather H said...

This is beautiful and so true! I am struggling with this as my daughter pulls back from me, and I just want to make all right in her world and protect her from every ugly thing that might come into her life.

Being a mother is hard, but I guess them pulling back from us is a sign we've done our job. Right?

And thank you for the reminder that I need to let go more gracefully than I am. So glad I stopped by!

Visiting from PYHO

Annie @ astonesthrowfrominsanity said...

I have totally felt this same bittersweet feeling. Hugs! :) You are still the center of her world for a little while more.

Stopping by from PYHO . . .

Mama and the City said...

I feel the same way and she is only 8 months old.

It makes me cry the love I have for my daughter. And how moms love their kids so much and how they are enamored with us too. I fear when she reaches her teenager age, I am not ready to let her go. I am not ready to not be able to squeeze a hug out of her as often as I want.

I don't know how I will learn to let go.

melissa said...

Oh Monica, I have been worrying about this since he was about 1 week old...I think it took about that long for me to realize that he was permanently a part of my life and that I love him more than I have ever loved a human being. It is so cruel and unfair that I am going to be head-over-heels in love with him forever and he will move on and find his own person/people to be head-over-heels about. God, he may even treat me the way I treated my mom for so many years...life's lessons learned so late.
I am an emotional disaster everytime I try to think about this stuff. I hope I get my sh*t together before all of this truly becomes relevant.

Shell said...

It's so bittersweet when I see my boys doing things where they don't need me. I'm so proud... and yet sad. I don't know if that ever goes away.

Adrienne said...

She's precious! Don't you just wish you could freeze time? What in the world will it be like when they don't need us? Sniffles...

Hi! I'm Aitch said...

It always makes me sad thinking of my little love not needing me anymore.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately as I have a 20 year old cousin who's backpacking around Europe before doing his junior year abroad. I keep telling my uncle, who had to support my dad during my many, many years of backpacking around Europe, that there is absolutely no better way to be 20.

And I meant it! It just breaks my hear that someday I'll have to admit the same thing when The Boy is 20.