Our children give us the clearest reflections of ourselves.
This is something one of my therapists said to me. Never more true have these words been.
The truth is, especially now that my daughter is in the throws of her first year of middle school and I am seeing and feeling my tortured soul reflecting back at me. As I watch her struggle to make friends, I feel the loneliness I felt with none of my own. As I watch her battle her inner voice telling her, “I am worthless,” “I am a failure,” “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not smart enough,” I feel sadness as if it were happening to me all over again. I am watching this happen and I feel helpless. I feel frozen in the fear that she will live her life alone on an island the way I have.
I never wanted this for her. I have prayed prayers upon prayers that she would have a different, better, existence than I have had. Isn’t that what we all want for our children? I have tried so hard to tell her all the things I longed to hear, “You are smart,” “You are kind,” “You are beautiful,” “You are important,” “I’m glad you are here.”
And yet, here we are. Her internal voice has led her to a place of painful anxiety. Anxiety over issues from the past that sometimes are real and some times perceived. Anxiety over issues in the future both immediate and far far far away. She can not sleep. She struggles to nurture her body with food. She listens to every breath of judgement real or imagined that is hinted to her direction. She wants so badly to be something that she is not. Not that she can not become what she wants so badly, but it will take time, effort and perseverance.
This struggle between being a kid and being an independent young woman. Finding her way in this world. Finding her meaning, her soul, her beliefs, her emotions, her triumphs, her purpose.
Sitting back watching her grow, watching her struggle, watching her fall, pick herself back up, and to fall again. THIS, this right here, right now… is so far the HARDEST part of parenting I have ever faced.
Not knowing when to step in, when to sit back, why its time to sit up, and who do I listen to. Not knowing if what I am offering is helping or hurting. Wondering if there is more I could do or have I done some much that she can’t do for herself.
This, THIS RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, this….. is torture.