At one point in this lifetime after decades of an innately known fact; irrefutable know kind of like When you just know that you know that you know.
I accepted the fact that motherhood wasn’t for me.
From the act of conception to the turning over of all control of my body & bodily functions to this squatter of an embryo to the tune of 9 something months all the way to the process of labor to their graduation and hopefully my death before their own I came to learn that creating a life wasn’t going to be a good fit for me.
In reaching this decision I thought long hard at the responsibilities of parenting seeing all the blessings to the potential tragedies and disappointments that despite my skillful mothering ways I truly had no control over in the end.
This brutal truth devastated me at the time…
What? I can’t control the outcome?!
“Each creature is unique unto itself…”
I learned this irrefutable truth as the realization came clearly to me before I was 20.
This realization right here I struggled with the most because by nature I prefer to control my own environment as much as possible which I’ve also learned can also involve controlling others but not in an intentional way but control just the same.
Realizing this trait in myself from a very young age as the years passed I watched this particular trait of self-imposed-control grow in me deciding I wouldn’t willfully subject another involuntary creature to my ways.
I was smothered as a child by my mother and great-grandmother.
Father not so much even though he was a hard-ass old-school Portuguese man raised with and passing on the same method for rearing his own children that he was subjected to:
Spare the rod, spoil the child…
My mother on the other hand would verbally correct her daughters yet when the time came for more severe punishment as we grew up and became bigger,I being the middle daughter as well as the most stubborn, ram-headed and strong willed of the three girls would hear the dreaded words part from her lips rendering me immediately apologetic for whatever it was on any given day that I had done to cross the invisible line that separated an acceptable from unacceptable behavior:
“You wait until your father gets home…”
These 7 words had the ability to strike fear and all-consuming dread within me. So much so that from the moment she would utter them until the time he arrived home from work I would be consumed with the severity & method of the punishment that would follow.
By the time I’d apologize to my mother it was too late though and she knew it as I wasn’t typically sorry for my actions just sorry I’d gotten myself caught.
This went on my entire childhood until I reached around the age of 18 when it stopped because I’d had enough & was now of legal age.
One of the best presents my dad has ever gifted to me came much later in my life. One day as we sat as grown adults visiting and I’m not sure now what at the time brought this subject up but the subject of how his corrections frequently came in physical form came up.
I was on the end of the majority of them due to my strong nature actually and he told me as he cried that he hated having to be the one who enforced the discipline in our home.
He would go on to tell me that each time he’d learn from my mother of my actions which were not inline with how I should have been behaving he dreaded having to come and find me in my room verify what my mother had relayed to him and then deliver the punishment. He’d been working all day & just wanted to come home to his family not be known as the punisher when he’d not been there all day long but away at work…
As he spoke I recalled like a person with amnesia whose memories were just triggered by a scent causing the vivid recollections to come rushing back to me as if they had just happened yesterday.
So many impending whippings… So many times he’d say as I’d admit to or lie about the transgression of the day right before he’d deliver his fatherly duty
“Jana…. This hurts me more than it’s going to hurt you…”
As a child each time he’s say that it infuriated and confused me as how could the horrifically painful beating that would be coming possibly hurt him more than me?!
It took me into my 30’s to finally understand his words. He meant them. It hurt us both just in different ways…
He did have a bad temper though and often times the punishment didn’t fit the crime as he’d stuff shit down within himself verses dealing with his life’s frustrations as he would encounter them so he also admitted to me that by the time he’d gotten to me so much shit had been building up within him that it would all come out on me; erupting.
He also apologized for that. I get it now though as I tend to verbally not physically do the same to the ones closest to me. Stuffing until something sets it all off in a chain reaction as the words come spewing out of me…
I understand now he did what he thought and had known done unto him as it had worked out well for him and his generation in aiding to raise responsible respectful children who would one day grow into the same responsible, respectful and functioning members of society.
At that moment during our heartfelt cleansing purge of a conversation I finally got my own father and was able to release the pain, anger and confusion I had carried with me for decades…
Taking this forward, one concern I had when contemplating my own prospects of becoming a mother was that I clearly knew I was afraid of repeating the same mantra of my parents. I realized before I was ever married that I would more than likely end up being the enforcer within our future family unit & although discipline & a clear line of right vs wrong comes naturally to me as I’ve aged I still didn’t want to be the only one disciplining our children which didn’t even exist yet.
In doing so I came to the understanding that there were a few ways this could play out and that coupled with the understanding that I’d have to sacrifice so much of myself in order to not only give life to this futurist creature but to ensure its survival and final outcome as a healthy well-adjusted individual that I chose not to.
I uttered the word that I work so diligently not to anymore… Never…
I said I would never have children nor would I get involved with a partner who did already have them or expect me to help create them with them.
As I write this there is a precious 11 year-old child quickly outgrowing her cocoon as she transitions into the butterfly that she is destined to be, relaxingly soaking in a warm bubble bath filled with lavender and eucalyptus essential oils that she installed herself just a few rooms away from me.
This child isn’t my biological child but instead the second of two born to my husband and her biological mother.
Yet here she is and so am I sharing the same home under the same roof.
When she’s not here my family doesn’t feel complete anymore like it used to before I met her father and before I met her…
There’s a void in her absence…
How in the hell did this transition sneak up on me? How could I have allowed a child into my life after swearing against such a thing for so many years?
It appears that this was my destiny despite my desire to control my emotions & environment so skillfully over my lifetime I failed miserably in the vows I took unto myself.
So. It’s on this Valentines Day that I did yet another thing I swore off eons ago and that was celebrating this holiday.
No cards, no gifts given nor wanted I found myself intentionally wanting to buy them for my husband & our daughter. So I did.
I even wrapped them up and packaged them into their Dollar Tree Store felt-bags. I got all my gifts to them from one of my favorite $Dollar Stores and you know what?
They loved them! Decided to surprise both of my unsuspecting victims this morning and it worked.
They both know my ways which haven’t included cards and extra extravagant gifts as I show my affection in selfless-acts over tangible objects but I was reminded today how a balance of both ways feels so much more healthy and has made them genuinely happy.
Surprised he hell out of me to be honest.
I started writing this last evening and now it’s Saturday & Valentines Day…
Ajani & her Dad are now departing for some much needed Father Daughter time spent shopping but before they left I snapped some pics of her as today she’s blissfully happy and sporting her new gently used thrift-store girlie black, yellow & white skirt we picked up yesterday.
She’s also sporting one of the many new bling-bling headbands I got for her at the Dollar Store and included in her V-Day gift bags this morning.
It’s the little things in life I’m reminded of on this beautifully sunny spring-like day and it
feels amazingly freeing going against my grain…
It’s okay to change and evolve as time passes too as the energy expended fighting against the internal growth is more exhausting than releasing ourselves to it.
I am still a work in progress. 😉