I've been listening to a little voice for the past couple of days - you know the one you hear when you least expect it. But this one isn't in my head, it's in my heart.
I've been struggling with trying to give my girls what they need with a sprinkling of what they what and trying to find the balance. Of course, it ended up being some of what they need and most of what they want. My first epiphany was this blog: I've actually started and restarted it a couple of times, not really sure what I wanted it to be or what I could actually do on a regular basis. So all of a sudden while I was taking a shower the other day, my heart-voice said to me "remember the labels and how they made you feel and how they may have ultimately shaped you" and I thought about the references to my girls I made here - The Diva and The Kid - more as silliness, but I know firsthand that labels go deeper than that. Maybe I'm unconsciously giving them an image or set of behaviors to fit into, so I'm going to stop that now!
The Diva will hereafter be known as Samantha (or Sami) and The Kid is Britni. Whew, that feels better already!
Back to what the girls need balanced with what they want. When I was initially diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer the prognosis was very grim. The cancer was advanced and was already spreading and the treatment options were, and still are, relatively limited compared to other types of breast cancer. I have never felt angry or really been depressed, but I do have a fair amount of guilt about the prospect of leaving my kids before I've done what I feel like I need to do - teaching them and helping them become loving, stable, responsible adults. Five years ago I prayed for 10 years of life so I could hopefully accomplish this. I figured at least in 10 years they'd be "legal" adults and they wouldn't have the added trauma of being shuffled off to a relative for a few years. I'm getting off-track....my guilt over getting sick when they were so young caused me to overlook some of their behaviors and let a lot of things slide - I wanted them to have good, happy memories. My heart-voice is telling me that just because I say no doesn't mean the girls will have horrible memories of their mom! I know in my mind kids need and actually want boundaries and guidelines, but my guilt pushed that aside and replaced it with just let them ____________ (fill in the blank with any number of questionable behaviors).
So this is where we are now, the last day of 2008. Sami has pushed her limits way beyond a reasonable amount and I know she's acting out in fear, uncertainty, and a growing independence that comes with being almost 15 - time to start untying the apron strings. Britni has internalized her feelings and is suffering physically with weight and self-esteem issues. I don't make resolutions and I'm not going to start now. What I am going to do is take a fresh new look at the beautiful souls God entrusted to my care and understand that He knows what I am capable of even if I don't and He never makes a mistake. I AM the right mom for these girls and I CAN give them what they need and only SOME of what they want and still be a good mom.
My life truly is blessed and I see it every single day when I get to open my eyes and take a breath, when I hear laughter and excitement in Britni's voice, when I watch Sami roll her eyes at the latest "lame" thing she's seen/heard/read, and every single time they spontaneously share something with me because they don't know how special that is, they just do it to do it and it is wonderful! These are the things I'm taking into 2009 with me and all the rest gets to stay back here in 2008.
Happy New Year and may God bless you every single day!