"The soul is healing by being with children." Fyodor Dostoyevsky
My kids are the absolute best. In some weird way, they have helped me heal from the pain of the past.
When I had my oldest, I was terrified I would hurt her and do to her what was done to me. While she slept, I locked myself in the bathroom, turned off the light and in the dark, knelt down on the floor. I begged God to help me not to hurt her. I was terrified. I heard those who were abused, abuse their children. I spent hours in that bathroom, on the floor, begging God to help me never to harm my child. I pleaded with Him to teach me how to be a good mother. I didn't know how. I didn't know what I was supposed to do. All I knew was this innocent little creature depended on me to give her what she needed. I felt so overwhelmed, so afraid.
On days I felt exhausted and impatient, when the building tension inside me needed a release, I cut myself, or threw up, - the only ways I knew to be strong and not fall apart.
I became aware of the power I had over this child. She was so small, so vulnerable, so trusting - I watched her grow, each year of her life more awesome than the previous. It amazed me to see how freely she moved in her body, how easily she laughed and chatted, how safe she felt in her world. I prayed over and over, "God, don't let me ever take that away from her."
Watching her, I saw me as a child; - terrified - hiding, afraid, hating everything about who and what I was. Hating my body, - believing it was my enemy; Unable to speak, - my words caught in my throat; anxious, on guard, - always petrified of getting hurt.
With each stage of her life, I saw myself,- at eight hiding under the balcony, in dark corners biting my arms, slicing deep gashes on my skin, shooting dope into my arms, refusing to eat, living on edge, trying desperately to avoid getting caught, getting hurt.
Then something strange and wonderful happened. I learned to play. I don't know exactly when or how, I just did. All this energy inside me wanted to come out in positive ways. I took my kids into the woods and together we felt the power of nature. The deer came out and the blueherons and my kids went nuts. I went nuts with them. We climbed to the top of the mountains and then we chased each other all the way down to the bottom. I took them to hideouts, and neat secret places that became our places to dream, to talk, to laugh, to bond.
I have never called my kids names, or hurt them. When I'm having a bad day and become irritable and impatient, I apologize to them, letting them know it's me and not them. Since they were little, I have told them I am the luckiest mom in the world to have been blessed with the greatest kids ever.
Teachers, friends and neighbours tell me all the time how amazing they are, how good, and kind and wonderful. God had heard me. He helped me learn how to be a good mom. Yesterday my teenage daughter told me I rock, that I'm her best friend, that she loves me to the moon and back a gazillion times.
My kids have no idea what I lived. I used to think if they did know, they would hate me. I don't think that anymore. I think maybe they would be proud of their mom for having survived and overcome what I have. One day, I'll tell them. For today, I just want to build courage and strength in them and to make sure they know they are completely accepted and respected for who they are.
An Overseas Tale...
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