[ I wrote this a while ago and decided not to post it. “Too weird!” But it just keeps circling around in my head. I can’t be the only person like this, can I?? So here goes: ]
I listened to something today that broke my heart. It was on a podcast that I’ve been binge-listening to…
What I heard on the podcast was how this actor makes himself cry when he needs to conjure up tears for acting. He read something that works every time. And it goes something like this:
Kate Winslet always felt bad about her body growing up. She carried that into adulthood. She didn’t want her daughter to feel the same way, so she’s standing next to her daughter and they are both in their underwear in front of a full-length mirror and she says, “Aren’t we lucky to have curves?”
(So, Kate, if you are reading this and I got it wrong, don’t blame me, blame the podcast – just leave me a comment and I’ll fix it…)
I was listening to this as I was walking with the dog (in the rain) (again) and it sort of took my breath away. One of those moments where you go: “I totally fucked this motherhood thing up.” I tipped my face up to the rain and thought… I don’t remember. But it was meaningful. Which brings me to my point.
Would I want another chance? To go back and fix it?
No, no, no. Hell no.
But in theory, yes. Yes, please.
Because honestly – and I’ve had this discussion with some of my friends – it is highly likely that even knowing everything I know today, I’d still fail miserably. Still be the same, stupid, well-meaning-but-literally-clueless mom to my kids. I am still such a work-in-progress myself!
I just keep hearing this stuff that is so BEAUTIFUL. So RIGHT. So REGRET-INSPIRING. How do they know all this?
Lately my daughter – she’s 22 — has made a few comments along the lines of knowing that I meant well, but understanding that I had my own baggage; that I “couldn’t help it.” So, basically implying what I’ve already admitted: I failed motherhood and that Kate Winslet really IS all that. Of course my knee jerk reaction was to disagree with her. To twist it around to try to make her see that she was imagining everything and/or misunderstanding my intentions.
(Another one of my skillz: master verbal manipulator. Very damaging to children and husbands, alike. Very hard to control. Very regretful…)
Truth is, she’s right. I did bring my own baggage. So, with every “positive message” I was sending a negative message right along with it.
As in, “That’s not a healthy choice.” being heard as, “You will get fat.” Or, “You are fat.” Of course she WASN’T fat. She ISN’T fat. (And so what if she was??! Would I love her less? Is my love conditional??) (For the record, no. But I can see where a child would believe that.)
They say it’s never too late.
What I would like my adult daughter to know and believe:
I thought I was teaching you how to be healthy
I didn’t know I was saying you weren’t good enough.
I thought I was helping you to see the other side of the story when you were sad and having problems…
I didn’t know I was saying your feelings didn’t matter.
I thought I was giving you good advice
I didn’t know I was saying you weren’t capable.
I thought I was responsible for your soul
I didn’t know that God is bigger than that.
I thought I was helping you to find your style
I didn’t know… Nope, that one I’m gonna stick with. Shopping with your grandma at Target was always a bad idea.
I look back at my mistakes and my well-meant intentions and realize…
I really fucked this motherhood thing up.
I’m pretty sure your apartment needs a good cleaning and your hair probably stinks, but YOU are LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY. I hope you can forgive me for the mistakes I made and will continue to make as your mom.