Mothering the Girl...
When she was born, I fell in love with her right away. She was beautiful and feisty. She was sweet but opinionated. How could I have expected anything else from a child of mine. She stole my heart from the very moment I laid eyes on her.
My daughter was not a girly girl, but rather a rough and tumble type...climbing trees, running, wrestling, playing with reckless abandon. From the beginning, if there was someone to get hurt, it would be her, since she knew no limits, no boundaries.
I am grateful for that personality trait of hers, and yet, it was the trait that would give me the most trouble over time...challenge me in every way mentally, emotionally. There were time where I was not sure who would make it, her or me...her strong will was about the end of me and, sometimes, her.
Let's just say those teenage years were "extra special." She challenged me at every turn. There were times when her choices threatened her own life and times when I wasn't sure how we would survive. It felt as if my heart was being crushed. The thought of losing her would cause me grief beyond belief. She had withstood a great deal in her pre-teen years, two brothers coming to live with us only one year after her medically fragile brother was born. Her strength carried her through these times although I wasn't sure about mine.
Watching this young woman grow up has been both the most painful and amazing thing I have witnessed. She is incredible. As an adult, I love being with her...she makes me laugh (and cry), we have fun. Sometimes I feel like she is like a part of me that broke off. We are very much alike and very much connected. This has been both good and bad over the years, but I am grateful that we both made it to this point where we can appreciate one another.
This summer she is moving. She has an amazing opportunity to get her master's degree in another state. This will be the first time she has ever lived away from me (well, away meaning in another state!). I know it will be a challenge. We talk many times a day. I am excited for her...this new opportunity to bring her awesomeness somewhere new. I know that it will be a great experience...one I never had. She is an amazing woman who has taught me many things about being a mother. I was by no means perfect...as a matter of fact, I made some less than stellar choices mothering her. I grew up with her, learning and changing, but she is the reason I am the mother that I am.
This girl, part of me, was the first, best gift I gave to myself. I look at her and I swell with pride at her accomplishments, the person she has grown into and the woman she has become. This girl, my girl, will do great things. She is destined to be a powerful and incredible woman whose voice will be heard. Ironically, my mother would have expected no less from my child, and probably would have taken full credit for her awesomeness, but as I write this, I am glad that I had some small part in helping her become the woman she is and the woman she will be.
I am proud to say...that girl? She is my daughter and I am her mother. I couldn't be happier of that fact!