That’s NOT the number of years passed since we were listening to Nirvana, wearing a grungy sweater and wearing Ramones shirts before people thought it’s a clothing brand.
I know I still look that young, but no, not what I’m talking about.
It’s 7 years ago since I first felt the biggest love anyone could possibly ever feel. I’m talking about motherhood.
My girl just turned 7. I mean, I know every parent says it all goes by way too fast and stuff, but I really CAN’ T believe it. I was nursing her just yesterday, right? I’m still in love, a big big love, but some things have changed. For one thing, she doesn’ t need me anymore that much. And I’m practicing the ‘letting go’.
In these 7 years there were a lot of things she taught me about myself. I hope she knows, but just in case I forget to tell her, here’s a few;
First thing she taught me was having a kid doesn’t make you a perfect parent all of a sudden, no matter how much you want it or decide to be. It’s an impossible job. Or at least it is when you’re like me. I thought I was going to suddenly turn into an organized mom who would giving her kids a clean house, lots of rest and well defined rules. Then she turned out to cry when everything was organized. She didn’t follow any of the ‘by the book’ advices or guidlines. She walked at 9 months, all of a sudden being the happy child, after making me think I had birthed a very angry kid. She taught me some kids do better when they’re in the middle of chaos. She needs company, laughter and activity around her. It was the only way she would relax. And I learned I can’t stand crying. She taught me to follow my heart and not try to change who I am. I hope she will remember this for herself later.
I also learned there are a lot of things you can’t make your kids like or do. Or not do, for that matter. They are not blank sheets. We can not make them into someone they are not. She wore ugly pink princess dresses. she loved it. I hated it, I was never that type myself, I didn’t like dolls either. But she is a strong little one, the more I made clear I did not like pink, the more she would wear it.
A friend studying psychology made me realize later that by denying what she likes to pretend to be or wear, I might be denying her, having her own idea about who she is, rejecting a part of her personality. Thank god for dad. who supported her by telling her stories about “pink unicorns with glittery purple manes and bad witches called mom.”
So I finally gave up on trying to make her see the world doesn’t need princesses. What happened next? Her favorite colour now is blue. She thinks she wants to be a scientist. or a world traveller to discover and proof the existence of elves. And she likes skateboarding, she’s a lot tougher than I will ever be, and still likes a good princess dress. Thank you Karma for not screwing me over on this one.
Right now I’m learning on how to deal with the way she sees her own body. I have always tried to not just say that she is beautiful, but rather show her how cool it is that she is open minded, how it’s appreciated when she works hard, and so on. But I feel the world is teaching her a girls’ body is something awkward. A girl in nothing but a bikini bottom is considered offending by a whole group of sIlky people, even when there is no sign of developing breasts yet. At 7, she feels she needs to wear a bikini top. Changing clothes with other people around feels weird to her. It makes me sad. I tell her to be proud, not feel shame, her body is hers, and no one can tell her what to do with it. But once again saying or wanting something is not enough.
It all comes down to the way we show her how we feel and act ourselves.
I know all the things we can blame, like media, the bad examples out there, but I can’t change any of that. She’s taught me that what she sees us doing, affects her more than what she hears us say. That’s why I need to work on how I treat and talk about my own body. I don't like all the bits about my body, pregnancy and age have changes it like every body else's. And there's the thing. Every body changes. Her body still has a lot of changes to go through. And I should help her being able to deal with it.
Now, I’m not going to start walking around the block naked and give the neighborhood kids a glimpse of the old neighborhood weirdo, butt naked. It would probably be forever burned on their mental hardrive. I’m a teacher, I try not to traumatize kids. But I am going to try to not be so conscious and act more proud of my own body. And hopefully teach her it’s good to laugh about your body, but that the way we look doesn’t define who we are, because although we change, the only thing constant is us. It’s a hard one, I tell you!
This parenting thing is really just a mirror smiling back at you. [I have a Justin Timberlake song in my head now. ]
I wil stop sobbing now. Let's live it up. See what happens. I’ll just go back to trying to figure out how 7 years with this amazing creature flew by.