Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mother and Daughter Reversal

My daughter was born a 50 year old guru.

Some people carry the knowledge of several lifetimes and walk through the world dropping petals of wisdom at our feet.  They are born an old soul.  My daughter, lovely Ginger, is a wise old woman.  I picture the landscape of her mind.  She sits atop a weather-beaten mountain.  It's a cross between the Alps of Julie Andrews' The Sound of Music with billowing breezes and picnic baskets, and a rocky precipice of Tibet with mountain goats bleating and sherpas carrying 7-foot high bundles on their backs. My little Ginger waits at the apex, a mesa with a view only of lesser mountains.  She sits with her legs crossed, her curly auburn hair tousled around her beautiful freckles and giant brown eyes -waiting for someone who needs her wisdom.

I thank the Universe for giving me this particular daughter to help me through my tough times.  Does that seem selfish and strange to think that my daughter was a gift to help me?  But that's what she has consistently done.  There are those among us who say that god only gives us what we can handle.  I do not believe in this god.  The Universe is too vast for me to settle on one explanation for my individual experience.  I don't need to know the reason I am here; I just know that I am.  In being present on this earth, I experience many things, the pain of loss not withstanding.  As I grieve the dissolution of my marriage, I have tried to shield my daughter from seeing me break down, from seeing my dark and horrible side lash out.  However, I dipped into the pool of pain the other night and exhibited my deepest grief. I did so in front of my daughter.  My brilliant daughter. Who sat with me on the floor in the hallway and answered for me the questions that arrest my heart.

I wanted to have a large family, many children, a happy marriage.  I didn't do any of that, and I spent a great deal of energy blaming Earl for this.  There was some deception on his part when it came to building that dream, but the bigger liar was me.  I lied to myself about what I wanted, why I wanted it and how I could get it.  I pegged all my hopes on Earl to make my dream happen.  Instead of seeking the love of a man who could share these dreams, I loved a man who was so much like my own father it would be impossible for him to meet my expectations. That was my lie, my mistake. Although my heart still harbors resentment towards Earl (I'm working on it), my mind knows that this isn't his fault.  My dreams of a large family were rooted in the notion that I would be a mom to lots of people.  Why would I want that?  Because you never stop loving your mom.  I wanted the guarantee of always being loved. (Damn those Daddy issues.)

My 15-year old Ginger sat on the floor with me as I keened.  She told me that I could still have all of that, that I did have all of that; it just looks different.  She's right.  My family isn't my sex-addicted husband who rejected me; my family is my daughter and my many friends.  I have a tribe of people who lift me up and comfort me, who love me and like me, and whom I love and like equally well.  Most importantly, though, I have Ginger.  She belongs to no one, but luckily that woman-child sees in me a person worth loving, and not just because I am her mother.  I lost my own mother 30 years ago.  I have a deep hole in me that was left when she died, but I no longer want to replace the love of my mother with children of my own.  Instead I have a woman-child to whom I gave birth who chooses to love me despite my weaknesses, and maybe even a little because of them.

Having Ginger as my daughter has taught me how to love like a mother, but Ginger, in so many ways, is more wise and loving than a mother can be. The wise old soul that dwells in the 15-year old woman bestows blessings I never expected from my child: the gifts of self-reflection and wisdom.  Through this period of pain and growth I am finding my true family and, more importantly, the woman who was placed on this earth as my daughter.  How very fortunate I am.

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