I want to tell you a story about my daughter, Rose.
She just turned 12 years old.
I remember the day she was born.
I remember before she was born, the fierce tiger longing in me to be the best, most loyal, loving, dedicated mama I could be to this creature I had yet to meet.
And when she came out, her ROAR!! Her cry, her announcement of herSELF–so pure and strong and primal and sure and full.
It cracked me open and I saw so clearly something I had not anticipated realizing: this tiny, brand new, pink-faced person was utterly and completely her own woman.
Before she came, I thought I was having a baby.
When she came, I realized, she is her own fucking woman.
She came in as a whole, complete, full, fierce spirit in a very small human body.
But her smallness in physical size in no way indicated the size of her HERness–she was absolutely, fully, her own person.
I was madly in love with her and I was plowed over by her completeness of Self.
And my job, that my tiger-mother instinct rose up to meet, was not to change her, not to mold her, not to create her, not to tame her, not to manipulate her—it was to support her, to care for her, to trust her, to help her (in her incredible physical smallness and physical vulnerability) accomplish the tasks in life that her spirit had set out to complete.
It was an immense revelation, and that revelation at the time of her birth has been the steadfast base from which all my parenting since has stood upon.
It is the strong, golden rope that I grab again and again when I stumble in the darkness, as I grip my way through the expansive landscape of parenting, of our mother-daughter relationship.
The essence of who she is is bold and bright.
My job is to not pile on too much shit, to get out of the way when necessary, to appreciate and love WHO SHE IS without trying to change it, to allow her to change as she grows and expands, to support her in her visions/interests/passions/explorations of life without gooking it up too much with my own opinions, small-mindedness, and fears.
To not steer her with guilt, shame, rewards, punishment, expectations, and shoulds.
To let her spirit dance her dance.
And meanwhile, to dance my own! And to let our dances come together in partnership and union, taking turns guiding, leading, following, and free-flowing as appropriate, respecting and honoring each of our own dances, each of our own tiger-roaring spirits.
All children come into this world with their absolute connection to Self. Can we hold that, honor that, rise up to the challenge of that?
Can we allow ourselves to learn from that? To learn from our children? To be inspired by their Whole spirits to revisit the Wholeness in ourselves?
I have learned so much by being with my children. By witnessing how the essence of Who They Are shines so brightly out of their small and growing bodies.
And in this process, I have found immense healing for myself.
Because in order to meet my children in their Wholeness, I must meet the Wholeness in myself, which is an ongoing journey and exploration and healing and unfolding of Who I AM.
This is their gift. This is their shine. This is our Beingness. This is our dance.
With so much gratitude to Rose, on her 12th birthday and forever.