Thank you for choosing to begin your journey through me. As the vessel to nurture you and bring you forth into this world, I accepted the responsibility. Not a light one either.
Each day from the moment I knew of you, my decisions have caused me anxiety. Am I teaching you the right things? Am I nurturing enough? Do you REALLY know how much I love you?
Even now, as the ‘original kids’, you have reached that milestone of adulthood and I am terrified. Did I show you enough love? Was I affectionate enough? Did my failures in love dissuade you from seeking it? Did I inadvertently pass down hurts that were passed on to me?
Motherhood is a strange emotional ride. The never ending roller coaster. More so for me as I am still trying to figure out my combination lock to life. It feels like the calculus class I took multiple times as a freshman in college and never passed. Some days I feel like I am drowning in the center of the ocean and other days I feel like I am sprinting down the coast with warm sand under my toes.
Amidst the tears, uncompromising expectations (of self) and unpredictability, I wouldn’t change being a mother. It took 20 years to appreciate my stretch marks, but I earned every one. Thank you to all of my children for choosing me to be their mother.
My youngest child started preschool today. My last born, my last first day of school and I didn’t cry. The reality that my son’s external educational journey has begun is stirring up mixed emotions in me. We’ve waited a long time for this day but now that it’s here I don’t want my baby boy growing up too fast.
And that’s what it is. Today marks the end of his baby days. The hugs, kisses and snuggles will soon be traded for friends, toys and school crushes. I’m not ready, but I’m preparing. My daughter, who’s going into kindergarten this year, is already writing love letters to some boy from her class last year. Surprisingly, I didn’t react. I listened as she read her letter. I observed my daughter and then reflected on my personality at her age. Damn. She is like me, but bolder. She’s a lot more gutsy than I was at five years old. I feel like time is getting away from me.
This is a very different mental space for me. My children are growing, my parents are aging and I’m in the middle of life’s upward escalator unable to backtrack. Transitions. These moments kind of sneak up on you unexpectedly. But they are necessary. I don’t always like them, but I understand they are catalysts for growth and change. And we all know that change is the only constant.
Many times when October rolls around many people are thinking about Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas plans. Many times the quiet woman nursing bruises is overlooked. The timid woman in the office is ignored. The mother who averts her gaze when picking her child up from school is mistaken for being stuck up. Many times this is not the case. Many times she is trying her hardest to avoid abuse at home should she not return fast enough, should she be caught or suspected to interact with others. Our job as a community is to learn what the warning signs of domestic violence looks like. Our job is to speak up and speak out to end the cycle of domestic violence in our communities.
The media always portrays domestic violence as always being physical violence, like when Rhianna’s image flew across the internet after Chris Brown abused her. Yes, that is domestic violence but that is not the only form it comes in. Because society believes that is the only face of domestic violence many women stay silent for fear of being ridiculed and judged for not resembling Rhianna. In all cases of domestic violence the beginning stages include emotional and psychological manipulation. Loving words and gestures while slowly, methodically, and quietly separating the prey from any and all forms of outside support, i.e. friends, family, loved ones. Once the separation is complete then the loving words turn into judgments, put-downs, insults, ridicule and cruelty. The longer this stage is allowed to continue unchecked and unchallenged the more dangerous the situation becomes. In the most dangerous cases sexual and physical abuse begins.
Recognize the mental and psychological abuse: “You’re fat. Nobody’s gonna want your fat ass!”; “You didn’t have anything when I met you!”; “Everything you have is because of me!”; “I saw you looking at that person, so I know you slept with them!”; “You ain’t shit! Everything you think is an idea that came from me!”; “If you try to leave me I will call the police and have you arrested!”; “But baby I said those things because I love you. I NEED you! I can’t be without you!” Other forms of domestic violence include financial abuse, and sexual abuse. Being in a relationship does not entitle anyone to sex. NO means NO! Another misconception is that only women get abused. It is rare but men can also be victims of domestic violence too. Recognize the signs, ask careful questions, lend a listening ear and offer genuine help. Especially when children are involved. Children learn what they live. If you or someone you care about is in an abusive situation call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (from a secure phone line) for help: 1-800-799-7233
Well, I have been fighting back tears all day today. Happy tears. Tears of joy and acceptance. My little girl is on the road to growing up and growing independent of me. She has started preschool today. Gone are the innocent days of her looking solely to me for her answers. Newly arrived are the days of testing the rules and challenging her limits (more than she already does).
I dropped my daughter off to school this morning half hoping for, but not really, some resemblance of her wanting to miss me. Not a screaming fit or anything like that but just some sign that she would miss me during the time that she would be at school. I received a good bye hug and kiss and off she ran to play with her new school mates. Not a glance back was had. Not a ‘mommy don’t go’ like some of the other kids. In a way I guess that means I have raised her to be independent so far and that’s good – right? Could it mean that she couldn’t wait to get away from me and school is a welcomed reprieve? A mother wonders sometimes.
I believe she is courageously independent and well adjusted for a three year old. More wise than her years and in her wisdom, did not cry when I arrived to pick her up this afternoon. She was excited to return home and when I asked about her day she told of some of her adventures with excitement in her eyes and laughter in her voice. She recalled that she had meatloaf for lunch and a banana with her breakfast! She told me that a little boy took a red ball from her and the teacher said to him, “Give Yehudi back that red ball!”
Yehudi is asleep now. She is eager to wake up and go back to her school so she can play with her friends some more. She is excited to sing the alphabet song with her peers and to recite the story time rules we have here at home:
rule #1 – sit down quietly
rule #2 – put your hands in your lap
rule #3 – listen and enjoy the story
How can you not enjoy story time with easy to remember rules like those? Then on twitter this afternoon I found this inspirational quote to cheer me up. Well, it’s time for me to pick out her school clothes for tomorrow and begin to plan toddler activities for Chava for this school year. He’s one now but he’ll be three and headed to preschool before I can blink!
I received a happy phone call this morning. School starts on September 8, 2015, according to the school’s director, Mr. Nick.
My daughter excitedly stated she wanted to go to school all by herself. *Tears* She is growing up so fast. She worked very hard to learn how to go to the bathroom. (I’ll post more on how I potty trained her in a future post. I’m going to need it as a reference for when I potty train my baby boy).
Excitement and my son steadily trying to tiptoe into the kitchen, is blocking my thought process.
So, last night I indulged in one of my favorite shows: Flip or Flop on HGTV. I sacrificed sleep because I love watching the transformation of the auction homes in California’s neighborhoods. Seeing the different construction and design elements fascinates me because I love watching construction. When I was a young girl I wanted to learn carpentry but was quickly told that was no profession for a girl. BOO!
Tarek and Christina look like they have so much fun, even when their budget is stretched to the max, while working on a flip property. Well, they may or may not realize this but each project they take on is an inspirational story to all of their viewers: Love what you do, and do what you love. That is a great lesson to share with others be it directly or indirectly.
My goal for my children is to be able to instill in them the passion to follow their dreams and the courage the defend those dreams. Even should that be against me! Thanks Tarek and Christina!