Do You Remember? A Mom’s Graduation Reflections

Dr. Michelle Deering

 

mom remembering_with baby_figurine

Do you remember the first time you held your newborn daughter? I do. I remember being so tired. I also remember being so aware of her size when a nurse brought one of my twin daughters to me. My baby girl, Jasmine, was so long. And she was crying.

I must have had a perplexed look on my face as the nurse began to hand Jasmine to me. She simply looked at my baby then tipped her gaze towards me and said, “It’s time to feed her.” Despite any books I’d read or classes I’d taken, I felt like I didn’t know how to do anything. Yet, I still managed to rearrange my gown enough to expose one breast. Without much “thought,” I moved my nipple towards Jasmine’s mouth. Point. Insert. Wait.

Now, 18 years later, I stand at the precipice of releasing my twin daughters into the world of college life. Instead of looking forward, I find myself looking back to that first feeding time in my hospital maternity room after giving birth.

Point. Insert. Wait.

As I reflect on my motherhood journey so far, it’s felt like a series of pointing, inserting, and waiting.

Remember the Point.

For me, to point evokes many thoughts. Pointing involves indicating a direction for focusing one’s attention.

For the past 18 years I endeavored to point my daughters towards things that would be useful as they embark on “adulting” during collegiate life and beyond. A main point for me to focus on is character. There is something foundational about doing what you’re told to do. Be obedient. There is something valuable about a person who keeps her word. Be dependable. There’s something precious about telling the truth. Be honest.

Remember (not) to Insert.

Webster’s dictionary says the action form of the word “insert” means to “put…thrust…introduce into the body of something.”  As I think about my first feeding time with Jasmine, I remember how I saw my motherhood journey with my daughters as an opportunity

  • to not insert issues with my own mother into their reality.
  • to be open to my daughters inserting their personalities, temperament, and uniqueness into everyday situations.

I remember how they reacted to, interpreted, and put a spin on situations that they encountered and I sigh, shudder, and smile all at once. But isn’t that what makes motherhood a joyously, jarring-at-times, juggling endeavor?

Remember to Wait.

woman mom waiting_pregnantThe juggling aspects of motherhood can make me feel off-kilter at times, though. I guess that’s why early in my motherhood journey I’d see articles about how it’s important for moms to “find balance” in their lives. Balance implies that everything on a mom’s plate would be proportionately kept afloat…somehow.

However, if I could create a time machine and go back to advise my younger mom-self, I would tell myself that waiting is a key area to master.

What Am I Waiting For?

When I was pregnant with my twins, I waited nine months for them to be delivered (yup, I went full term!). The nine-month wait was plenty of time for me to eat, rest, and prepare for their arrival home.

However, since the birth of my twins, I’ve been waiting to

  • see what interests, talents, and skills they develop
  • hear what is on their minds and in their heart
  • understand what lessons they’ll be taking with them into their “adulting” life.

This 18-year process is long labor of love. And it is leading up to and culminating in their delivery (e.g. high school graduation). But waiting through the labor is hard.

What Makes The Waiting Hard?

What makes waiting so hard?

Feelings.

I have lots of them. Not just because I’m a woman, but also because I’m a mom.

As a mom, I can wait and be anxious, fearful, hopeful, angry, or wallow in feeling hurt about stuff. Feelings can affect my state of being as I wait.

Watch What You Wait For.

But in over the years and in my work with clients, I learned and seen that the state of my wait was (and is) impacted by what I planted into my daughters directly and indirectly. The old saying, “You reap what you sow” comes into play. For example,

  • If you sow apathy then you will reap antagonism, because your daughter will want your attention and do whatever she can to get it.
  • If you so resignation, then you will reap resentment because your daughter needs to know that you won’t give up on her. She needs you to believe in her. And that belief needs to be based in reality, not criticism.
  • If you sow a thoughtless tongue, then you will reap the terror of either explosions towards you for all the hurt you’ve inflicted or implosions for all the ways you have discounted her personhood.

If you need any help as you “point, insert, and wait,” here’s a resource that can get you on the road to restoring your relationship with your daughter.

©Dr. Michelle Deering & Curative Connections LLC | All Rights Reserved.

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