When we’re born, it’s with a clean slate. Perfectly clean, no old, chalk residue. As mothers, the minute we hear their first cry or first set sight on the loves of our lives, we learn about innocence and purity. Most of us can’t remember what we felt like before we had our first heartbreak or when we had faith without worry.
We’re too old to remember or it was so long ago that there are only flashes of unbridled glee, when we close our eyes. Running free in a field of dandelions, licking ice cream on the hottest day in summer or doing a cannonball into a cool pool without our thoughts running rampant. Our hearts are now polluted by the past. A past that was never documented.
Our babies are a constant reminder that life is precious. From the moment we feel that first kick or even see that first positive test, we long only to protect them. Protect them from any fears, harm or unexpected events. We are superheroes to them and their shields are our smiles or even our lives, if need be.
We don’t want them to get mixed up with the wrong crew. We don’t want them to forget that hard work pays off. We don’t want them to make the same mistakes. We want so badly for them to learn from our own experiences.
I have lived. I have lived large. I have traveled the world, held many different jobs and met a vast variety of souls along the way. But, I have also been weighted by the burden of the baggage I’ve collected along the way, like most. I still have my highs and happiness, but I’m wiser for the pain I have experienced. It has made me more resilient, than the easy events and emotions.
I wish I had kept a journal of all of my foibles and triumphs throughout the years, so that I could share those exact moments and emotions with my daughter. I wish I had written a journal, so she could say, “I can relate. Mom does understand what I’m feeling. Mom knows what it’s like to be left behind. Mom knows what it feels like to want more. Mom knows what it’s like to have these extreme emotions that I feel will never disappear.”
My daughter is only four now, so these words, thankfully, won’t mean a damn thing to her. She is still untainted and happy-go-lucky. She is still overjoyed by the small things in life. Santa still makes those presents magically appear. The tooth fairy still lifts her pillow at night and leaves her a special gift. She still believes…in everything.
But I wish I had kept a journal when I was a teen and in my twenties, so that someday she will know who I truly was. She will believe that we are not different. She will believe that it took me a long time to get here. It took me a long time to find self-awareness.
Without that journal, maybe she will tell me she hates me someday, when her age ends in “teen”. Maybe she will tell me that I just don’t get what she’s going through. I wish I had written it all down, the way I am now, so she will get that, ultimately, she is her mother’s daughter. She will have a strong idea that I understand what she’s experiencing at all turns. She will understand that I once had similar emotions.
If you are young. If you are in your teens or twenties. Carry a journal and document those moments. Someday, you may have a daughter who needs to read that her best friend understands her. After all, as mothers, we will always be our daughter’s best friends, even when they refuse to believe it. I wish I could hand her a book along the way, with our similarities highlighted.