While you are waiting, I will give you a little Connery.
|Good evening, bitches!|
Honestly, I have no idea what is wrong with me. I am sober, actually. I am just in a weird Connery codpiece kind of mood. Alright, onto the post.
My daughter talks about her vagina now. She makes jokes about it like a frat boy jokes about his johnson.
"Don't be sassy, Beatrice."
"I'm not sassy. I am funny."
"Well, actually, that was kind of funny, but it is also sassy to joke about your vagina."
She draws it too. There is her head, then her body, then her vagina and then her legs. I actually thought she was drawing a thorax, but no, she assures me it is her vagina. It is a lot like performance art with her these days.
She sat today with namaste hands, eyes closed, cross-legged under her princess canopy.
"Excuse me, Mommy."
Sam and I look up from our heated conversation about how we envision the children's room, bunk bed and loft reading spaces. Thomas joining in conversation by screaming here and there.
"Yes, my love."
"I am trying to meditate, so you need to be quiet, or leave my room."
You are three, daughter.
"Oh, I'm sorry, honey. We are going." But I wonder what happens in meditation for a toddler. And then I realize that I taught her that. I taught her about the meditation and the vagina.
I had all kinds of ideas about the kind of mother I would be when I was a single woman. I'd get lost in the 100 yard stare, imagining a thousand "what if" scenarios. I have never really encountered a scenario for which I have been prepared. I mean, sort of, but not really. Not conversations about death, or birth, or vaginas or meditation. She comes at it with her own perspective, interest and questions. It is disarming and comforting to know that she will always be unpredictably herself. And I will never be a lecturer. She will always be someone I am getting to know.
I watch my daughter with equal parts amazement and wonder. She is so much like me as a child. Her little way of being, her diligence, her generous spirit and curiosity. Her desire to talk and connect and be part of the adult world. All of it is straight me, and when I see an adult get impatient with her, I pull her on my lap, and kiss her eyes. "My angel," I whisper. "Don't change."
It is the ultimate healing to love this girl. I find myself being more forgiving, compassionate and loving towards myself as a child. I always thought I was a bad kid. My mother assures me now that I was nothing close to bad, but in my head, I hear her admonishments and annoyance at my imperfections. I've always been notoriously hard on myself. It is no different now, I guess.
My parents' main parenting style, from what I can parse out by questions over wine, is primarily shame, not in a wholly unkind way either. Maybe that is a Catholic thing, or the way parenting used to be. I was ashamed when I misbehaved in public, and so I didn't. Shame is still a very close companion for me. Shame motivates me in a way that nothing else can, and in the same way, abandoning shame feels like finding that child again, pulling her on my lap, kissing her eyelids.
We drove upon the aftermath of an accident a month or so ago. Ambulance. Police cars. Lights. She watched a man strapped to a board being taken aboard the ambulance, and she said, "Who is that, Mama?" as though I know everyone in the world. I could only see that it was a man in his thirties, perhaps.
"I don't know, my love."
She paused, and said, "Maybe it is one of my friends." I turned around quickly. It caught me up--my breath and my parenting both. It was a moment where I needed to say something profound, something important. "This is the time when I teach a lesson about compassion," I thought. This is the moment I imagined before I ever had children, when I would imagine a scenario and how I would deal with it. I said something about how it wasn't her friend, but that it was good to see everyone as someone's friend. And then I kept going until I made no sense anymore. I am just winging it. I am just making this parenting stuff up as I go along. Maybe I am even making this life stuff up as I am going along too.
This year, I have made one resolution--to forgive myself and forgive my body. To learn to love this shell of me, because it is just a shell that I need to keep strong and healthy, even though the shell is not me. And I am not my shell. Forgiving my body, and learning to live in this skin is exceedingly hard, especially when you realize that you have been lying to yourself for so long you suspect you may be built of fibs and prayers.
But still, I am working hard these days on healing, on forgiving myself, on being a whole person honest with my faults, my shortcomings and my defects of character. It feels like a little like being skinned alive. I want to crawl under something which provides warmth and darkness, like the stove, until my skin grows back. And yet, some days, when I hold my girl on my lap, I realize that I am still exactly like her on some level. I am still little somewhere in me, even if I have found destructively adult ways to cope with the littleness.