Monday, October 25, 2010

what I gave her

My eyes -- she has them. My hair -- she has it, too. And my knees -- oh, my knees -- her legs bend from joints that grew straight out of my DNA for sure.

She has low tolerance for little annoyances -- just like me -- so that certain sounds or smells make her skin crawl. Oh, how I can relate to that. She takes things so literally -- me, too. She insists on being right and gives in only on rare occasions -- these things she inherited right from my heart.

We share a love of stories. A fear of the dark. The propensity to stay awake thinking when sleep is really best.

She feels deeply. Senses intuitively. Slips on someone else's shoes without realizing she stepped out of her own. I see myself in that, too.

But I expect too much from myself. Demand perfection and best effort and rarely let myself off the hook. I've excelled in many things because of this, but I've staggered under this weight, too. And I worry that I will pass that shadow on to her. That I already have. That she already carries baggage I handed to her. Baggage that is much, much too heavy for her small hands. For her small shoulders.

What does she already detect in my voice? What do my simple sighs mean to her? Does she know -- does she know -- that no matter what she does -- no matter what she does -- I will always -- always -- love her? That she should -- that she must -- act from her heart and never because she's afraid of how I will judge her? That I won't judge her? [I won't judge her.]

Dear God, I hope so.

Parenting is hard.

Parenting girls is hard.

Mom, how did you do it?

{thoughts inspired by Monica's post over at Holistic Mama}