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Be Prepared

I read a beautiful essay in Huff Post Parents on The Blog entitled “A New Season” by Lindsey Mead (on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her blog–A Design So Vast).  And it struck a nerve.  A big nerve.  And I’m now going to confront exactly what I’ve been avoiding for a while now–my Emma is growing up.

You know what my trouble with parenting is?  I’m always so prepared TO BE prepared, I plan for the worst and hope like hell for the best–the idiotic thing about this is no one can control everything.  ESPECIALLY with children.  Emma surprises me daily from her new-found 10-year-old ways and seemingly closer to her teens by the minute, to coming home with a drawing she made of flowers that says “To Mom Love Emma I love you” on the back.  And man alive the looks she gives me-!  And that’s just it–welcome to……dut dut daaaahhhhh–your child growing up.

Em and I, it’s always always been Em and I.  And gradually her life is ballooning out in front of her in such healthy ways (compared to a lot of my moments growing up).  Now there’s a boy she has liked forever and she found out yesterday he likes her too.  And the greatest part?–she couldn’t wait to tell ME all about it.  But I’m becoming more of that back-pocket person now: i’m here if she needs or wants me, but she’s more than ready to take on many things by herself.  Terrifying.  Fucking terrifying.  And it’s okay, too.  Fear doesn’t bother me, it’s the lack of control and the speed in which this is moving that bothers me.  All of the sudden, she’s not my partner in crime.  No one can teach you this shit–that those years of pure joy and discovery and companionship only lasts so long, and you have to let go.  And the harder you love, the harder it is to let go.  In the essay mentioned above (read it!) Lindsey writes:

“The predominant emotion of this time, as Grace embarks upon the vital transition from child to young adult and to an autonomous and independent sense of self, is wonder.  Wonder upon wonder, so many layers I have lost count: there is awe, fear, and astonishment, and also an endless list of questions.  I gaze at my daughter, coltishly tall, lean, all angles and long planes, and wonder where the last ten years went.  It is not hard to close my eyes and imagine that she is still the rotund baby or chubby toddler that she was just moments ago.  At the same time I can see the young woman she is rapidly becoming in her mahogany eyes…..”

and lastly, and ever so eloquently, Lindsey writes:

“And all I know to do as we move into this new season is to pay attention, to look and listen and write it down.  Everything I write, and everything I live, is an elegy to what was and a love letter to what is.”

So, I think she sums it up best.  Pay attention, because this moments are so precious and yet slipping from our grasp, soon we’ll just be watching from afar.  Are we prepared in our hearts for this?  My guess is–never.

Hey

When I used to watch her sleep, I’d tear up, so overwhelmingly grateful for her presence in my life.  Her freckles, her dimples, her tiny voice, her hushed lips and sleeping eyes, sweeping red lashes.  The furnace would kick in as the snow would fall and the wood floor would creak beneath me, watching the moon shine onto her blankets.  My how things have changed.  Now I fear I’m going to miss out on so much of her life.  I fear I’m going to die young.  I guess that’s a part of PTSD–sure you’re not going to make it.  I surrender who I’ve been and I bloom into a new woman because of her.  I’m not just a mama now, I’m alive and yet so sensitive.  The complications…I hear a little girl crying all the time.  I used to run for Emma when this happened, sure she was hurt, sure she needed me.  After awhile I learned these were hallucinations.  I was hallucinating now.  Does it end?  The girl crying is me somewhere inside, or at least a little girl I was.  I’ve split up.  And the guilt I feel for trying to be a good mom when I’m so ill, I think she deserves so much better.  What can I offer her when I am such a mess?  I want to give her the world.  Before i was sick I was giving her the world.  She is my everything, but I’ve come to depend to much on her life than mine, because I want to abandon mine.  I’m afraid of mine.

I think everything that happened happened because she was coming, she was my purpose, I had to work hard and feel the pain and ache and loss in order to truly appreciate that little heart and mind inside this child.  I waited for so long for her and I didn’t even know it.  I’d wait forever for her.  I’m surprised that she’s mine.  And I’m so terrified I’ll lose her.  She calls me “Mama” in her tiny voice.  Just Mama.  Unless she’s sarcastic.  Then it’s Amy.  She likes to get a rise outa me.

Now when I watch her sleep my thoughts are troubled.  I’m hyper-vigilent.  My mind doesn’t stop.  I worry about our future.  I worry about things all mothers worry about I suppose.  But I’m swirling in the fact that I can’t see a new psychotherapist because in this small town they’re not taking on any new patients and the next closest is an hour and a half away.  I’m also in the process of applying for disability.  And my ex-fiance is already engage after dating a girl long-distance for six months.  It took him seven years to propose to me.  And I worry, if her soon to be new stepmom is mentally healthy, will my girl like her more than me?  It sounds so stupid but I think it all the time.  And then I’m so angry when I feel this way.  And I’m angry at my real dad for drinking himself into the grave, doubting I was his.  I was never worth it to anyone, yet I know I’m worthy.  I do know that.  I have always felt I was and was smartly pissed at those that left me, worthless.  Yet maybe deep down I do feel worthless.  I assume my girl will like and need someone other than me because I’m …not enough.  I’ve always had trouble feeling that I’m enough.