Friday, January 13, 2006

Sweet womanchild

My daughter adores attention. I'm pretty grateful that she wants my company when many girls her age just want to be left alone. It's not enough though that we spend time together. She wants me to write about her. For days now this has been our conversation.

She's been asking, "Have you written about me yet?"

"No, sweetie, not yet," I reply.

"Well, why not, you need to write about me. The world needs to know about me."

"Isn't it enough that you know?" I counter.

"No! You need to write about me. I'll be checking up on you, you know."

That consequence is more than I want to bear, and thus I oblige.

This really is an interesting time for me as a mother. It's no surprise that growth comes in leaps and spurts. We look one moment at a child with the delicate visage of a china doll, smile, and turn around to find petulance and rebellion. Another turn, we're asking how did this creature that I carried, nursed, reprimanded, grounded, greyed my hair with worry become a beautiful and wise young woman.

Right now, I'm in that delicious phase of motherhood. A parent cannot give their child a sense of self-worth. We can reinforce it or damage it, but that is something that has to come from inside the child. My womanchild had to fight so hard to find hers, beating down the demons of anorexia, bulimia, fighting the good fight against depression. Now just looking at her is a cause for celebration. She has found her voice and knows how to use it, sometimes to my chagrin.

I see her interested in so many things and pursuing those interests in so many different ways. She's asked the school librarian to include more Beat poets in the book selection. She'll argue politics with her teachers and manage to incorporate humor into the discussions. She's rallied against the inequities with which the crew members of the drama club are treated compared to cast members and demanded that they get to participate in the pizza as well as the painting. She's repeatedly asking for my permission to go on a mission trip to India this year. This is motivated in part by her desire to travel, in part by her desire to serve.

Observing her spiritual journey over the last year has been fascinating. She lost childlike faith when depression and eating disorders became serious issues. In her recovery, she moved slowly from agnosticism to an awareness of the greater spiritual connections that interlace this world. From there came a desire to be part of a community that intentionally nurtured the spirit.

C. is defining her beliefs. She knows that something is moving within her. After one evening's church service, we had a serious discussion on the road home, and nodding to her mingled frustration and desire, I asked her, "How does it feel to have God/dess working in your life?" Her simple response was, "Not good, but there's not much I can do about it, is there? I kinda just have to go along." I told the womanchild that Mother Teresa had once said that she wished that God didn't trust her so much, and C. replied that was her kind of woman.

I love both her humility and her confidence in her seeking. She openly admits that she just doesn't get the whole martyrdom of Jesus. Grasping the concept of the Trinity, mind boggling for anyone really, ties her up in knots. She refers to the Creator as the A and O, for the Alpha and the Omega. Putting a name, a gender and limits on what she knows is limitless feels wrong to her, but she wants a name that makes sense to her. I don't try to teach dogma. I just share my beliefs when she asks and point her to parts of the Bible that have had special significance to me. That frustrates her as much as anything else. Watching her try to sort this out with anger, frustration, peace and desire is absolutely fascinating.

My daughter is finding purpose in her life, realizing that there is a reason why she's here. I think she might even be enjoying the discovery.


Blogger Solitary Dancer said...

This is a wonderful time in your daughter's life. The discovery and self-definition is a wonderous process.

May she never loose her wonderous spirit.

January 13, 2006 10:31 AM  
Blogger Judith HeartSong said...

she is an amazing young woman and I feel very lucky to know the both of you.
Lots of love to you two..... judi

January 13, 2006 10:49 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

There's nothing like the teen years for growth and self-discovery. You are so blessed that she is turning to you to help guide her, rather than to one of the many million negative influences available to kids these days...

January 13, 2006 12:52 PM  
Blogger dreaminglily said...

It wonderful to finally find your voice...


January 13, 2006 3:22 PM  
Blogger Nelle said...

It sounds like your daughter is a lot like you: intelligent, sensitive and honest. She had an excellent example and you both have reason to be proud.

January 13, 2006 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lovelovelove "the A and O." Please tell the womanchild that I plan to use that now myself. I've had a lot of trouble myself in the last few years trying to come up with a word that feels right to me. What has come closest to me is "the universe" but that has a "new-age" connotation that makes it seem cliche. I like the A and O. It's completely perfect. Please tell C that she is already influencing people in real and important ways and just needs to keep on the's all about the journey, and there is no end.

January 13, 2006 7:40 PM  

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