Thank you for your letter last week. These are truthful and hard. Here’s my reply.
I know that it’s difficult to sort through the rubble, expel the trash and keep only what is good.
That’s what coming through trauma looks like. That process really can’t change but it does get easier.
Being a parent, unless you stay in a form of rose-colored denial, is one of the highest commands a person is given in life.
Did I see my duty to that? Yes, I did and I took it very seriously. It has been one of the strongest desires that led me on in life; compelled me to the take the next step.
In The Body Keeps the Score, at page 121, Van Der Kolk explains, “Dissociation means simultaneously knowing and not knowing.” When you write, “I was there, and I was not there. Engaged yet remote.”
Dissociative behaviors are a form of denial, for sure, but they are more a gift to survive. And, survive I did. I taught those same skills. I didn’t have the luxury of exploring myself before you were born. I married your father at 18, I had a miscarriage at 19 and you and sis were born when I was 21 and 24, respectively.
I was still on autopilot when I married your father, but I had dreams. Children were really the only dream I ever had and I took that dream to a righteous level.
Did I think I could be a good parent? I knew this – I could do a hell of a better job at it then my parents did. And, you know what, I did. I did do a better job at it. Far from perfect, but I brought what I could and learned what I didn’t have.
Much of what I learned I had to glean through the kindness of watching strangers and what God began to teach me.
Children are a blessing from God’s hand. Unfortunately, I saw the heavy load of bringing you both into this world. As such, parenting for me has been tremendously laborious. A burden to undo the crimes of the past. A burden to forge a new road ahead of us. A burden to find the peaks and valleys that would lead us to freedom.
Mistakes had to be made. I had no idea what I was doing or what it would look like to walk alone against the wind.
But, we made it. I found the courage to seek counseling in spite of your father’s betrayal to our growth. I walked out that door and never looked back.
Parenting never feels right or fair. I’ve not had the luxury to be soft, tender and engaging. There were battles to wage and wage them I did.
I am learning a new territory now. It is my next exploration. I am finding ground that is soft and ready for new seed.
Can you both see that with me?
All love ~Momma