Sunday, February 22, 2015

Motherless Mothering: Getting Back on the Horse

Sometimes I stumble. Actually, I stumble often.  Sometimes the past whispers in my ear, tells me I am not good enough, tells me my attainable goals are out of reach. It whispers I am not beautiful enough, smart enough, rich enough, strong enough, or worthy enough. My inner voice is polluted at times.

I heard somewhere, that as mothers, our words and actions to our children become their inner voice as adults. Nothing about parenting is more true. Being a former foster child, who was taken from  an abusive mother, my own inner voice sometimes has a deep, harrowing echo--it sneaks up on me at vulnerable times. It is especially loud during intimate moments and in small daily perceived failures.

It makes me hold my breath, it keeps me expecting hurt. Sometimes it invites hurt. Failures, personal or professional, seem par for the course. In fact, there is a comfort in being cast aside, or losing a professional goal. That nagging whisper can tell former foster children that our negative inner voice is correct. It is the lifelong impact of early abuse.

At age 5, I was found locked in a basement, abused and left to starve. I was put in foster care, and had supervised visits with my abusive mother until I was abut 10. I was later adopted, but both of my adoptive parents died within 2 years. Drowning that inner negative voice took time. But it happened, and it can happen for any adoptee or former foster child. 

Becoming a mother myself saved me in many ways. Former foster children can create a new generation of givers in our own children. We can create strong women and men. Our own inner voices can be quieted for yet another day.

I recently watched my beautiful 11 year old girl get up on a big horse and proudly trot around an incredible horse farm. Her bravery and confidence astounds me. Her inner voice is strong. She is loved, she has the security every child deserves.
This is what foster children, discarded children, and abused children need. They need what secure and loved children like my daughter have; one consistent voice and presence urging them to be their best selves.
My proud rider.
My baby girl gets back on.
When my girl is scared, she hears me telling her she is the most beautiful girl in the world. She hears her family telling her she can do it, telling her to try one more time.  She is whole and not fractured. She is strong, where I am not. I felt so emotional watching her climb that horse. My daughter is everything I was not as a child. She is fearless.

My little girl stumbles (not often), and she gets herself back up. She is confident and bold; she is the result of being adored, protected, and nurtured. She is an aspiring artist, a little chef who studies french baking, and a girl who climbs trees.  My girl nurtures every living creature, even the scary ones. Most importantly she always wants to help someone else.She is selfless beyond any child I have met.

On the way home, I told her I am so proud of her willingness to try so many things. Her response, "I am so proud to have you as my mom, in all the universe there is not a better mom. You are why I get back up when I fall off!"

Yes, becoming a mother saved my soul and heart.