Letting Go Of My Inner Child To Raise My Daughter
I’ve been very open when it comes to discussing my daughter, but I’ve been a little mum about the other child in my life. The reason being that I didn’t realize she was still there. I couldn’t see her, but lo and behold, every time I got dressed, she was there. Every time I hung out with my daughter, she was there. Every time I went for a walk, she was there. Every time I looked in the mirror, yep, you guessed it, she was there.
Sometimes she was happy, other times she was anxious, and more times than not she was unhappy and afraid, and like every form of energy, it was contagious. I thought that maybe if I ignored her she would eventually go away, but she wouldn’t. She held my hand whenever I slept and reminded me of all of the fears I had growing up.
She was me.
In certain forums, I’ve been open about some of the trauma I faced as a child, and there are some things that I choose to keep between myself and a trusted counselor. Though my parents did the best they could to ensure we had a good life, there were things that were out of their control. Because I was so secretive, they weren’t able to help me when I was suffering the most. I suffered in silence. As I grew older, the part of me that was in pain stayed in pain, looking up at me as I grew in maturity and stature, wondering when she could go off on her own.
However, like my daughter, I kept her close to me because I felt like I needed her. I was afraid of what would happen if she were out of my sight. What if she got hurt again? There needed to be someone to keep an eye on her, and I was the only person strong enough to do it. So, I held her hand and told us that “It’ll be okay. Let’s just take it one day at a time.” We continued our journey.
But taking care of a child is hard. As my daughter is growing each day, I see her happiness, and I look down at my little self and try to figure out ways to ensure that she never faces the same trauma I did.
As I watched my daughter get older, I realized that I had to let a few things go for my own growth. I could no longer baby her, and my parenting style needed to morph to meet each new milestone. But, most importantly, I had to let my old self go. I knew that holding on to her was stopping me from being the best mother that I could be. I also realized that her presence was more detrimental to me than helpful. I knew she didn’t mean any harm, and in a way, I knew that she wanted to leave as well. She’d seen herself grow up and turn every tear that she cried into strength, intelligence, and tenacity. She could finally rest because she knew that it wasn’t all in vain.
So, I let her go.
I thought I would miss her, but I’m so much happier now that I’ve released her. But, I’ll be honest with you. There are times where she’ll peek her head in at me. Times when I’m questioning “What now?” or “How did this happen?” She’ll sometimes come around as old problems present themselves again, or I happen to see an old scar. But when I realize that both she and my daughter are watching me, it encourages me to remember that I’ve grown into a better person than my past self thought I could. I hug my daughter and give my old self a nod to let her know: “I’m okay. You can go now.” And like the obedient (sometimes to my own detriment) child I’ve always been, she’ll leave and tell me: “Okay.”