Who am I letting raise my daughter?

This morning the mirror reminded me that my reflection is changing. My face is fuller. My brow now traced with lines growing deep. And with it, the face of a little girl falling further and further away.

My mirror has forced my introduction to time. The awareness that there is a clock ticking somewhere, and that aging will not pass me over.

Such a raw truth to be reminded of, that this collection of moments we live in are so fragile and flutter so quickly into vapor. That nothing that truly matters is tangible and everything that matters is temporary in this life we live.

Yet the legacy of time is our memories. Experiences frozen, refusing to age with us. They leave lasting joys and hurts, emotional scars and lessons.

What memories have I chosen to hold on to? I wonder. And why? How have they shaped me and molded the lens of which I see the world today? What thoughts, words, behaviors do I hold on to now that form the memories yet to come?

And then it hit me, the memories that my daughter will hold in her heart, her mind, her soul, have yet to be written. And one thing time has given me is the opportunity to discipline myself, so when those frozen moments latch on to her that involve her mama, they will be of a woman prepared to leave lasting lessons in her soul.

Who will I let parent my child? What parts of myself will I choose to nourish and give strength to that will, in result, work as a guide for my little girl?

So I take a breath. I have to breathe before lifting that weight on my shoulders. What a big task that will be. I have so many parts to myself, not all of them pretty. And parenting, much less, living life from my center, most inner peaceful self, all the time quite frankly sounds exhausting.

How will I be centered when she’s running late for school after I’ve told her ten times that we are leaving in five minutes? How do I remain calm when she screams “I hate you!” and slams the door for the first time after a punishment? How do I stay at peace when I watch her heading towards heartbreak and am helpless to stop it?

How do I model peace when really I have anger? How do I model wisdom when really I feel lost? Where do I turn to for strength to be her rock, when all I feel is weak?

Though I feel so far, too far, from the answers to those questions, perhaps there is truth in the the act towards obtaining them. All I can do, is practice.

And man, how lucky are we that the world is currently giving us so many opportunities to practice. Modeling peace, when terrorism evokes fear. Striving for wisdom during times of grief as more children, fathers and mothers die from senseless acts of hate. Acting out kindness in the face of meaness.

This is not a small task I ask of myself. But, I am now a parent, I must set the bar higher.

So I remind myself, who will I let raise my child? And because I am human, I must recommit myself every day to nourishing my inner, greatest good. Because the truth is the hurts we see today, the injustices that riddle the news and our generation, are on the backs of fleeting moments. They too will pass. Yet how we respond to them before the eyes of our children, will last forever.

Raising A Galaxy

Though she’s been here for 6 months, I am still dizzy from the storm she brought into my life. The centrifugal force of becoming a mother was so great, it was as if the hand of God ripped me from my old life and dropped me in my new one. This, I swear, is not me being melodramatic. The irony is, I felt prepared for the full on life collision approaching. I dreamt of it. I saw it getting close. I watched my belly grow and felt her getting stronger inside of me. I became so excited I began to wish away time. And then came the hit.

Now I want to take a moment to breathe here because this is not meant to sound like a doomsday message. I’ve learned the earth must break before the flower can bloom. Really, what I am writing is the story of my awakening. You see, I was happy with my life before, but I wanted more. I lived sort of in a box, and I wanted to get going with the living part of life. What I thought I wanted was a baby, and I was right, but not in the way I originally thought.

You see, everything…I repeat…EVERYTHING changed when I became a mom. I surrendered everything to this child; my body, my sleep, (I heard a rumor once that newborns sleep alot. I believe these to be mythical creatures), my ability to poop and pee on my own, my marriage (it was hard to find my husband throughout the blur of the storm though he was there, my patient rock) my “freedom”, my sleep (did I mention that already?), my sanity and also my career. My career that I had worked so many years on was now something I was actively choosing to put on hold. It was my conscious decision. I wanted to be home, which is why the grief of professional self caught me so off guard. I mourned my inner liberated, equal rights, burn the bra diva and was now very well acquainted with my hot mess, emotional wreck mom self that seemed so eager to strip away whatever shred of dignity I had left.

I was left breathless and painfully aware that my previous life was shattered. And in the center of my brokenness, this beautiful child. My beautiful child. Our beautiful child.

I had given birth to her, yet here was my rebirth. She was my new compass, my guide for the next chapter of my life.  My connection to her is rooted in such a deep love that she has now penetrated my core identity. My love was bigger than my heart would allow, and so under pressure it grew.

And as I sat there reflecting on in the pile of pieces that was my former life, I took inventory of what was left standing.

My faith. It stood so firm while I felt so weak. My relationship with God was raw and exposed because becoming a mother stripped away my illusion that I was in control. She (God felt feminine to me during this time) was with me at 3 am in the morning as my hand was covered with poo, my breasts squirting milk all over my crying child while my face curled up in an ugly cry cursing the sleepless night. She was with me during the lonely hours.

The desire to do something greater than myself through service of others still stood without waiver. I’m not sure what, how or who, but becoming a mother has shown me that I must.

My family and a close friends. They have taught me time and time again that you can go higher than you ever expected when you just let someone else lift you up.

And finally writing. Auh yes (sigh)…writing. It suprised me that inside words still ached to be written. Writing helps me sort out the layers in my life. It is like a first responder to my soul after a major life changing strom. Writing gives me the words to describe what changes occur inside of me so that I may then follow with action.

And so you may be thinking, “Got it, you had an awakening. So what?” And if so, excellent point and thank you for bringing me to my next thought.

So I’ve had this awakening. Now, my eyes are open. And here is the harsh reality I see. Now that I’m a parent, I have to prepare for the fact that my daughter is going to live in a world moving so fast that it’s stuck.  A world that has become so hard of hearing that it has lost the value of one’s voice. A broken message stating that worth comes from the superficial and that fear seperates us from them. These are the messages that will fall upon my little girls ears, and if I’m not careful, they’ll stick.

I no longer have the luxary of waiting for politicians or leaders with a microphone to get it right, because my little girl is here now. In order to prepare herself for a world where mass shootings, terrorism, cyber bullying, political tantrums and other forms of fear based hate are becoming the norm, I believe I have to emmerse my child in compassionate acts during her developmental years. I must help her find where she can truly fill her cup.

While her brain is absorbing her surroundings, I need to introduce her to families, religions, beliefs, and thoughts that are different then ours so that she learns how to look for true commonality. I need to love myself and express it outwardly so that she learns that true beauty is more than the curves that fill our clothes. I need to let her fail, so that she can learn how to get up from the fall without blaming others for the push. I need to show her how to listen, so that she may find her voice. I need to teach her the line between serving others and being taken advantage of so that she learns not to give what she cannot afford to lose.

God has given her a light strong enough to cast out the shadows in her life. While she is learning who she is, I must teach her that her light grows brighter when she recognizes the shine in others as well. I need to teach her that she is a star. And that some stars guide others like the North Star. Some are meant to be on stage such as the Sun. Some work together and form beautiful constellations. Some must move and shoot across the night. Yet as she prepares to take her place in the sky, she needs to know that though her role may be different than the stars around her, we are all connected. Because our true magnificence comes from the realization that we all make up a gallaxy.

My eyes are open, and this my is journey of finding a way to not just raise my child, but to connect with others so that we may raise a gallaxy.