Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Finding Her Voice

When I start to write anything about motherhood my guard goes up. Actually it is my whine meter. Or maybe my guilt meter. Whatever it is I instantly want to make it all about me. I recognize that as normal and unhealthy. A wretched paradox. I can get defensive and teary. This is one area where connecting every friggin dot and making sense of the whole picture is something I want to demand is my right.

Only because I want absolution.
From my kids.

I am really hoping that I learn to live without it. Or to find peace of mind whether I get it or not. I know, I know, I'm supposed to get it from God and that will make everything better and I will have peace. And I know that 'if I know God forgives me and I don't forgive myself then who the hell do I think I am' spiel too. It's just that the memories sometimes reverberate in my head like a needle skipping on an old LP.

While I wrote a few days ago about learning to accept that life is a journey some days I think I will never cut myself enough slack to accept that parenting is one as well. That gritting-my-teeth feeling of 'oh no - payback, here it comes' can be pretty strong.

My oldest is on her own - pursuing an acting career. In a very safe and nurturing enviroment she is coming face to face with her own story. Her puzzlement over the lack of dots between cause and effect in her life is creating some introspection. I like to think I can connect them in a straight line for her. Knowledge can be terrifying.

She learned today that she can't yell. Is incapable of raising her voice. She is blocked. She writes and asks me if I know any reason for this? There is that smarmy side of me that wants to say it is because she was brought up in a household where we didn't ever raise our voice. Good Christians don't you know. Considering I threw a chair across the room at her dad I don't think she'd buy that line no matter how blocked she is. She remembers the chair. It's the stuff she can't remember that could connect the dots for her.

There are rational moments where I can stand back, look at my screw ups in parenting, and know that God has to be bigger than it all otherwise we're all fucked. Like a monkey in a jungle I want to swing from one rational moment to another without any distractions.

It's very hard not to project my story onto my daughter. To accept that her story is hers and mine is mine. And that while it took me a very long time to become unblocked, I need to remember that our stories are truly two different paths. When I found my voice the screams of pain were so deep I thought that if I opened my mouth they would never end. But I had to go through experiencing the pain before any healing began.

I wrote her and told her I would pray for her to become unblocked but there is a part of me (the part that makes this all about me) that doesn't want her ever to remember. But then a scenario (that in faith I believe God gave me one day when the LP was skipping in its tracks) came to mind.

I am inside a small fort - the walls are about 2 feet high and surround me like a castle turret. My kids are coming towards me. I am building that fort as fast as I can put bricks and mortar together. My kids are bearing beautifully wrapped gifts, held in front of them as if they are ring bearers in a wedding party. They march toward me single file, solem but determined. There is a certain amount of grace to their gait. My goal is to be barricaded before they reach me, with no window in my castle. Into this scene I feel like God tells me that the gifts they bear are the scars and wounds of their childhood and that if I would embrace them and the gifts it would bring healing to us all.

God give me the courage to pray that my daughter truly finds her voice.

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