You and I are going through a bit of a tough time lately. It’s a confusing time for both of us, but I know more for you. You have always been a Momma’s girl. You and I have been attached at the hip since day uno and I wouldn’t have it any other way… well, until now. The thing is it has become more apparent recently, that this attachment is causing some pretty severe anxiety for you. Lately you are having a harder time if I am not with you. And actually being in the same house with you isn’t even enough. You need to know exactly where I am at all times… like if I’m in the laundry room, the bathroom, running out the car, throwing out the garbage, etc. I can count down… five, four, three, two… “Mom?! Where are you?!” And often you’ll make up excuses for coming to find me… “Oh, I was just looking for… my… uh, my shirt.” And now it is starting to affect you socially. You won’t go to day camp, you won’t join Girl Scouts (What will you be doing while I’m there?), and you are starting to have anxiety about school starting in a week. So, we went to talk to someone this week who we are going to visit regularly for a while. She said several things that really stuck with me. First, she said we need to teach you that it is okay to feel bad. That learning how to deal with the emotions of feeling bad is a life lesson. When you face adversity when you are older, this will make you stronger. That was a huge breakthrough for me. I don’t think I coddle you all the time and your Dad and I are always encouraging… insisting… that any fights with Pilar and Ben be worked out by the three of you… But when I leave and you get upset, I worry and I feel guilty, so I’ll call you and take photos of where I am and send them to the babysitter and come home early or not go out at all. I let you skip camp and I still lay in bed with you every night until you start drifting off to sleep. I know that soon enough this is all going to end. And then my anxiety and guilt sets in. Am I doing this because somewhere deep down I like that you are attached to me? I have my own anxieties and I see similar reactions in you and I feel like somehow I have passed these on to you. When we went to the therapists office, her floor moved from the first to the second. I got a bit nervous when I realized I couldn’t find the stairs, so I played it off like it was no big deal (even if I was a freaking out inside at how old and tiny the elevator was), “Hey! We get to take the elevator!” I said trying to sound enthusiastic. You didn’t buy it and started to panic, “I don’t like elevators!” Ouch. I knew immediately you got this from me.
But this is the thing… you are not me baby girl. You are in so many ways so much stronger and braver and tougher than I have ever been. When you are in your comfort zone, you are independent, assertive… confident. And this makes me so incredibly proud of you. I know you will come out on the other side of this stronger. And that is what my job as your Mother is all about. It is my responsibility to give you a rock-solid foundation so that someday when you do leave (gulp) you will go out into this world as strong as you can be.
So, baby girl, I’m sorry for what is about to come these next few months. I know I am doing the right thing for you though. No matter how hard it is right now. And, I know you will know this someday too.
P.S. This doesn’t mean that our night time cuddles are stopping anytime soon; I’m not quite ready to give those up!
I’m so lucky to be included in the blog project “Letters to our Daughters” with a group of inspiring women who are not only talented photographers but amazing writers. Up next is the insanely talented Val Spring of the The red balloon photography | Seattle photographer.