Life Preservers

Sunday, June 05, 2011

One would think that I handle the tumultuous waters of my daughters impending puberty with great aplomb.

Let me be honest - I do not. Of course, for you - my beloved readers, I tell these stories ( which are true- I swear it) with no more fop sweat than Truman Capote holding a very, very dry martini. I am full of vim and vigor. I am stirred, but never shaken.  In my own image of myself as part of the Glittering, yet jaded, literati of the 1950's - I am also holding a cigarette holder while balancing on pencil thin stilettos and maintaining a full crinoline skirt.

Alas. This is untrue.

I lie awake at night sometimes, plotting my counter move to her move. I am in a battle with the terrorist organization of female hormones that have made camp in my daughters pituitary gland. I am a card carrying member, having been trained in the same camp, so I know how insidious these S.O.B's can be.

My veneer cracked a bit recently when I was hit up for a bra. Of her own. Cause her breasts "hurt and are itchy".

"NONONONONONO!", I wanted to howl. Don't do it. Once they strap you in, you can't go back. Then you are a slave to the bra. When you are in it, you long to be out of it. When you are out, you miss the support. Bras are the opiate of the big breasted women and our massive mammaries.

And so she asks - EVERY DAY. Can she have one? Can we shop for one? Can we? Can we?

You know - it isn't the breasts, really. It isn't the impending breaking away from me - hating her mom because she needs to define her own Self as female. It isn't the way her hips are rounding with that layer of fat, or even the constant eye rolling and noise making.

No. Its the stuff that I know about that she doesn't. The hurt feelings. The heart ache. The measuring herself next to girls that she thinks are prettier, or smarter or somehow better than her. It is knowing that no matter what I say, my voice will become dim for her. That even as I want to hold her hand and help her through this, she will pull her hand away and brush me aside.

It is the knowledge that my baby only lives in my mind now and the young woman standing before me is of me - but not me. It's the knowledge that any helplessness I felt as the parent of a newborn is tiny next to the tidal wave approaching. So I buckle us both into our life preservers. I hold her hand as the water touches our toes. I tell her that I will hold onto her for as long as it is safe to do so - and then we need to swim like hell.

Originally Posted June 1, 2007,  Gimlet Eye

3 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

you are a brilliant Mother Dawn. Quite amazing.

Dawn said...

Why thanks Kat. The follow up to this is that now she really Needs to wear a bra, and is resisting mightily.

That my voice IS dimming as I talk to her about the other girls in 6th grade, about how she doesn't want to go to the dance and I Can'T Change her MIND!!!

As I try to explain that I don't want to change her mind, I only what to know what she feels - and she comes out with Embarrassed. Self Conscious.

She doesn't want to dance in front of anyone, anymore. My little naked baby that I couldn't stop from ripping off her clothes and running around to music is now too self conscious to dance.

It makes me want to cry and protect her.

Instead, we took a long walk around the neighborhood and just talked.

I don't need to change you mind, I said. Just know how you feel.

Never That Easy said...

I liked the post a lot, but your comment even better. Just needing to now how they feel is so important. (And all I can remember at that age is wanting to say to my own mother, "but I don't know how I feel, so how can I tell you?") Also, bras suck. Forever.

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