This week, Catherine at Her Bad Mother wrote a wonderful post about herself, her mother, and the unseen and unacknowledged beauty of young women.
A few weeks ago, I was looking at my daughter who is so beautiful it sometimes hurts to look at her.
She doesn't have a clue. She just does her thing...and does it as fully and completely as possible, which only makes her lovelier.
And as I sat gazing at my beautiful daughter, I felt my heart start to break with the knowledge that one day, probably when she hit Middle School, she was likely to come stomping into the house and tell me how ugly she was. And I would tell her, No, Baby, you're not. You're beautiful. And she would respond with an eye roll and the "You're my Mom; you have to say that" comment before dragging herself to her room, slamming the door, and having a sulk.
How do I know she'll do it? Because I did it to my Mom.
After I had this realization, I tried really hard to apologize to my Mother--like so many things she told me I'd someday understand, I get it now. But the words wouldn't come out--I was so horrified and upset with how I imagined I made her feel--how I would feel if C today decided to behave like my teenaged self--that all I could do was weep and say I'm so very sorry...I just didn't know...
And my mother, being my mother, gave me a hug and said "It's OK. We all do it. It's part of being a daughter and part of being a mother. And when C does it, you'll be sad and frustrated, but you'll both be OK. And one day, she'll get it, too."
I wish there was a way I could keep it from happening--a way I could help C always see what I see. So that she always knows she's beautiful and loved and smart, regardless of what she thinks the other kids are thinking. She's getting so big so fast...there are days now I can see the independence (I do it, Mama!) and I know that even if I found a way to help her bypass all that self-doubt and angst, she wouldn't let me.
It's hard, isn't it? Having to trust that they'll come out OK on the other side when they refuse all offers of help? When you see all the beauty and all the potential while they focus on the scars and the failings?
Maybe she'll bypass some of it. I suppose it could happen. After all, it takes a strong woman to pull off a panda suit.