Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Resisting the Cave

So, there I was, laying down my parental wisdom (again) on my girl, Maya; giving a fab speech about high school drama. She's been in the thick of it lately with crushes & breakups -- her own and in the middle of her friends'. I was telling her not to get caught up in what other kids say and not to tell them too much of her own business because this only becomes fodder for them to exploit, and then Maya stopped my speech and said, "Mami, you don't like ANY drama at all. But I like a little bit of drama." This stopped me in my tracks for a minute because I've spent 14 years teaching her to have her own mind, and I admire her for taking me up on that piece of sound advice, but for a second I was bummed that her own mind was separate from mine -- just for a second I felt that. I'm allowed, right? I did not express that to her, of course. Then I was proud of her for being so honest and self aware.

And then I felt lonely.

I can't express enough how parenting is an all day, every day, every minute venture. It takes a type of dedication that wins medals and cash money and nobel prizes outside of the parental arena. And I'm getting to that stage of parenting where we are supposed to know how to gracefully pull back the intensity. Where we give them space to be themselves, ease up on our gas and so delicately not dump any of our own shit full-load onto their heads. We are told to be prepared for all of this and it's just supposed to be so seamless to shift gears and watch them drift away. I mean, I know we want this. I know it will happen. But ain't that a bitch?

It's that I like them so much. The three of us are joined together and do so much together. And it's time that I peel away from Maya a little, unnoticed, and let her text out her dramafied scenarios by herself and hang out in her room with her ipod, while I take up something else that will fill that intense parental-focus hole. Cage Boxing, maybe.

In the scheme of all things teenage, Maya really is a breeze. I'm fully aware and thankful. We've just had a series of independent baby steps lately. I shouldn't be surprised by how lonely it makes me feel. I'm just very attuned to how loneliness feels, I think, and it doesn't necessarily panic me, but makes me shrink back a bit. Like, loneliness or aloneness is supposed to be my natural state. Like, I come out of a cave to connect with people just a little bit and then burrow back down into my mind. Husband is out of town too and his work, in general, is beating him down big time, so with that, I feel exposed to how much emphasis I put on the girls especially when Maya and I go through these natural and smooth baby steps towards independence. It makes me question the time I've put in. Like, was/is it too much. Obviously not, but I guess it's natural to question every step we've made as parents. I second guess, sometimes, making their emotional state at all times the golden number one. It wouldn't have happened any other way though.

Objectively, I gladly sling shot these kids into the stratosphere and without a trace of my bullshit smeared on them. And I know, too, that it's ok to feel how I'm feeling even if it’s quietly (other than the blog!) and even if I want to fight the loneliness for once.


Melinda said...

They wouldn't be your girls if they didn't eventually bust out like revolutionaries.

I'm making you my own homemade nobel prize and sending it your way, on the basis of your accomplishment in raising that kid to say something as awesome as "I like a little bit of drama."

But still, the lonelies. Oy.

jagosaurus said...

This is beautiful, as always.

Cage boxing. Heh.

k-brow said...

Woe begone!

SUEB0B said...

You know, I'm not a parent. But I feel it sometimes. I take my dear Goldie dog to the beach and let her off leash. This is her best, her happiest time. And because she is half greyhound, she loves to run far and fast, loves it more than anything. She runs so far there is no way I could catch her. She disappears off into a tiny speck and I just have to trust that she will be ok and that she will come back when she wants to. Part of me is hurt that she won't come when I call. But she is in her full glory, doing what she was born to do. I can feel the tear down the middle of my heart.

nola said...

For about the thousandth time I think, "Man, she's an AMAZING mother." Your daughters are so incredibly fortunate to have you.

Marigoldie said...

I hear this. Nothing is more terrifying to me than feeling like, wow, I'm still that thing I've been trying to move past for years -- maybe it's a lonely or damaged or annoying child. I don't like feeling that strong force sneaking up on me either.

Also, the hardest part of loving people right is knowing precisely when to push hard and when to pull back. It requires constant readjustment, doesn't it? Sigh.

Because of how you've always raised them, your girls are kinda in a bubble of security, strength and wisdom, no matter what's going on.

Michelle said...

Oh dear lord, do I ever feel you on this one. Parenting tweens and teens almost makes me yearn for the labor-intensive but relatively hassle-free toddler stage. Sigh, all we can do is do our honest best. xoxoxo

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