Once upon a time, I gave birth to a highly sensitive child. When she was born, she roared, red faced, and full of rage. An angry lion, I said. The cord was wrapped around her neck twice, and yet she came without showing signs of struggle.
By the next day, I was wondering if the crying would ever stop.
It hasn't yet.
That was 6 1/2 years ago. As she struggles through every day, as she needs, and needs, and needs, I begin to learn better ways of responding, providing, and comforting in ways that don't leave me brittle, which mostly requires me to restrain myself from "fixing" all the time.
I have lived through periods of bitterness so deep, especially in the early days, when her feeding routines left me with only half hours of sleep and my world seemed to be slipping through my fingers, and then when she was a toddler, still not sleeping, and I spent my days and nights in the fog of fatigue and unknowing, I thought I'd been consumed.
With her around, there was no room for me, until I learned, at long last, to take care of myself, because there is only so much a mother can do. The sorting of my responsibility from her responsibility was a drawn out, and difficult process.
Today, I'm looking at a 6 year old with bags under her eyes and a heaviness about her spirit. She's not yet learned to carry her sensitivity, to nurture her energy. I want to make her focus on the positive.
I want to cheer her up and coax her and give her whatever will make her happy for a change.
I want to tell her life is hard and you don't always get your way, but it goes on and she has to, too. I want to tell her to cheer up already, because her constant negative energy brings the rest of us down.
Instead, I let her be. I do energy work, and I say prayers, which are basically the same things. I ask for protection and release; for providence.
For her, and for all of us,
because in the deepest hollow of my mother heart, I know, she was born this way, and she's still working out how to be herself, and that my constant struggle to "make things better" just got in the way of her doing her own work of growing and accepting and being in a way that feels good to her.
I have to laugh at myself for thinking that I was given children so I could mold and shape them into some form of perfection, not that I ever thought of it that way. I just thought I was trying to be a good parent.
I even have to laugh at myself for thinking they need a perfect childhood.
I think we all can acknowledge that there is a lot of pressure out there to be a perfect parent who produces a certain kind of child, and while I released the mainstream idea of perfection a long time ago, I replaced that image with another, which was just as harmful.
My new focus revolves around being devoted to acceptance, trust, imperfection, joy.
Acceptance that there is only so much I can do, and there is only so much they can learn at a time.
Focusing on what I can do, and trusting that it is enough.
Knowing: I must make my mothering choices from my heart, regardless of how they or I or my children appear and compare to others, because we are us and
We are all complete just as we are.
I am beginning to believe that the only thing we are here to do is to be ourselves.
Believing that has transformed the way I live and parent in a huge way, especially for my little lion girl.
I don't doubt that she will figure herself out and live her purpose beautifully in good time. I never have.
It was learning to trust in the present that had me tripped up for a while,
but it's working its way through me.
.....me and my lion girl.
All is well
Anna Turner is the woman behind Little Hearth. She's an ordained interfaith minister, a writer, a believer in purposeful living and healing, a perpetual student, and a full time feminist mother.