there is no (adequate) title

~circa 1968~ (I'm the smallest)

~circa 1968~
(I’m the smallest)

I vividly remember looking at my parents and thinking how screwed up adults were. At a young age I had some, not so pleasant, words to share with God. It was a soliloquy of sorts—God being the audience. I didn’t yet know how to hear Him. Nonetheless,  I continued to speak. More than once I felt convinced that if a God did, in fact, exist He was unaware of my presence and certainly unaware of my pain and confusion.

The point of this shared memory?

I saw (what I believe to be) the same expression in my daughter’s face this week. It was a knife driving through me. As it opened me up I was flooded with questions and answers and more questions on top of more inadequate answers. It was followed with a skipped breath and the firm closing of my eyes, as if to block out anymore stimuli. I had to force the silence. I walked away. I had to turn away and leave her with her pain. There was nothing more for me to do. I hated it. I wanted to fix this, fix her. I wanted to make it okay, explain it, explain me, explain life.

Silence.

Silence was the called upon protocol.

She is off to her room to cry and murmur her pain to her God. I was alone in the kitchen to wonder if I am fit to parent. I’ve felt, at far too many moments, my inadequacy as a mother.

My mind wants to race. I must allow the silence.

I am sweetly prompted by a God (I can now hear as the sweet voice of Love within) that I am worthy.  My ego remembers the drinking days. My ego reminds me of all the early getting sober days. My ego points out the flaws … every itsy, bitsy, minute detail. Love reminds me that I have made a choice: the choice to get sober, the choice to remain sober, and the choice to grow as a person here on earth—every day.

I am left to feel the pain and the joy … all in one mixed up moment.

My daughter arrives back in the kitchen. Teary eyed and quiet she tells me she is sorry. We hug. I still want to explain it. I’m the mom, why can’t I fix it?

God reminds me there is nothing to fix. These moments are not for me to fix, they are for me to (simply) be. She will find her way. My job is to teach through example. My job is to give her the opportunity to find the Love within her. It is for her to seek. It is for her to find. My job is to provide discipline. It is within the discipline that she will find her strength. She will not find her God if I do not allow her to be resilient.

As painful as it must have been for them to watch, could that be what my parents did for me? Note to self: Another gift of sobriety—seeing my parents in a new light. Maybe all those moments talking to God mattered.

I guess I was a little late on hearing Him.

I matter.

18 Responses to “there is no (adequate) title

  • I vowed that when I had kids they would never feel the confusion & suffering of growing up, that is until… I had them, grew up myself, observed & realized that even in families with the best of conditions eg. stability in finance, emotions or intellect, growing up is a very long, tedious & painful process which cannot be avoided.

    That realization helped me in times when I felt crappy about the education I had given my kids with the best of wills…running all day from one activity to the other… Have I done it right? no, I don’t think so… perfection belongs to angels but my conscious is clear because it came straight from my heart with the best of intentions and I felt it was important to let them know, which I always did.
    Thanks for this lovely post… deep as usual 🙂

    • You bring me much comfort in your words. I love how you write that your conscience is clear. This is what I am aiming for as I approach some challenging moments with the kids. Thank you for the love and support. Lisa

  • Yes, you matter, Lisa. You matter to me, to many others who take comfort and strength from your words and your work. You matter supremely to your daughter even when she’s frustrated and in pain and connects it with you. You matter to God, who’s woven you into an intricate design.

    You do, indeed, matter.

    Thank you for sharing this. When we have the difficult moments, one of the hardest things about them is the “feeling alone” that goes with them. When I log on, and read this, and just happen to be having one of those “feeling alone” moments myself, I am comforted. We are human together.

  • xnavygal9916
    5 years ago

    Lisa, I too often question my parenting ability with my only child she is eleven. I was never validated growing up and my parents never validated each other. I was never shown or taught how to love so I question my ability on a daily basis. All I know is the day after my daughter turned five, I went to my only rehab for 21 days. I knew I had to spare her the painful memories I endured of taking care of an alcoholic mother once my parents divorced at age seven. You and everyone on this planet is WORTHY. You want to know why? because God does NOT make mistakes, he has a purpose for everything, therefore we are all purposeful. big HUGZS and respect..and remember: LET lOVE BE THE GUIDE ON YOUR JOURNEY, FOR LOVE WILL KEEP YOU OIN THE RIGHT PATH. p.s. Children don’t want or need presents, they want our presence. _/l_ jen

    • Jen, So many words of wisdom in your reply. I, too, wanted to spare my children a drunk mom. IT WAS the initial reason to be sober. Thank you for your love and friendship. Thank you for reminding me to give of me today, not from me, but of me.
      Lots of love, me

  • Yes–you certainly do matter–beautiful post. Love the “old” (but of course not THAT old) picture.

    • I’m glad you liked it. Thank you for the kind words. You matter too. I am glad to see you taking in the beautiful person that lives within. xxo Me

  • I remember what my last therapist once said to me – when two people {a couple} get into bed, six people are getting into bed – meaning each of our folks have bearing in our make up. I spent time criticising my folks for the things they did or didn’t do. I blamed them for many things that were “wrong” with me, and weren’t there to “fix” them. It’s been through working through this stuff, and certainly in my recovery, that I too could see that they did the best they could with the tools they had at the time. I too have seen them in a new light, as you have. Having said that, I wonder what kind of impact I am having on my children. I don’t think there is a parent alive who thinks this. Even in the depth of my illness, there were times I wondered how much was I screwing up my son? And that shame and guilt fueled the illness further, amongst many many other things.

    I have recently had to look at particular things that my kids do and my intense reactions to them. It’s still ongoing. I have had the thoughts you had – ego driven bullet points of my flaws and my reasons why I shouldn’t be fathering. Flashes of my own childhood and the interaction with my own dad sometimes meld with the present and I wonder if I am consciously or unconsciously delivering the same messages, or continuing a pattern of some kind. I then do the mental gymnastics of judging my dad by putting a “bad” or “good” label on what he did, and then do the same with me. It’s tiring, and frankly, a waste of my energy. What I find has worked for me is just being in the present…and that’s it. Of course as a parent there are things like discipline, rushing around, making choices on the child’s best interest, etc. But in terms of my approach with the wee ones, I take a stance of what you said so well – I may be in a position where the moment is what it is, and there is no “fixing” it. There is no inherent “good” or “bad” about it. It is the place we both need to be in, and I have to remove my father’s glasses and look through mine, through my sons’ and listen to the Creator’s gentle nudgings to see where things are to be. It’s what has served me as of late. And while I do have my old thoughts try to chime in now and then, I find that they don’t carry as much sway as they used to.

    And of course you matter. You say it right at the end. You know it, we know it, the Creator knows it. It’s win-win-win for all 🙂

    Great post, Lisa. Love the pic too…. 🙂

    Love and light,
    Paul

    • Paul,
      It’s as if I watch you (and me) heal as we write these words on WP. Every time I post, reply, or read I feel a little of me learning (accepting) to be healed. Addict that I am, I want it all now. AND I want to KNOW it all now. You give me new thoughts whenever I read. It’s nice to have learned we ALL matter.

  • What a beautiful post. Why is it that so many of us missed that simple lesson? Even if our parents (like mine) weren’t teaching it, God was…why couldn’t we hear and if we heard, why didn’t we believe.

    Why didn’t we believe we mattered.

    Thanks for reminding me of that simple but powerful fact.

    Sherry

    • Sherry,
      I love when people comment on the post with more questions for me (for us). Believe me when I say this, “I sit and think about the questions you just asked.” Some say it is foolish, but I like having the answers. I like doing the inquiry into why I made the decisions I made. When I understand either intellectually or spiritually, I can release it and move forward. I heal. The planet heals. xox

  • Hi Lisa,

    I am almost afraid to comment on this post, because my thoughts on this subject run very, VERY deep. As everyone before me comments, I imagine there is not a parent alive who does question his or her ability on a regular basis.

    I have based a great deal of my parenting techniques on what I did not enjoy as the third daughter of four children (the fourth being the only son). So when I see one of my children react in a way with which I can identify… I know that knife-in-the-gut feeling.

    I could go into a whole sideline discussion of when I see my children react to my husband, and it brings back my childhood memories of fear, but that would take longer than anyone needs to read!

    Let go, Let God… in times like the one you described, that’s the only thing I can do. My every instinct is to talk/explain/argue until I am hoarse, but, especially with children, sometimes they’ve just got to go through it to get to the other side.

    I’m glad your situation had a happy ending, and I’m glad you reached the right conclusion, because you certainly matter to me 🙂

    • Miracle,
      Thank you for your love. I always feel grounded to read your words of support. Our kids are roughly the same ages, so the comfort these words bring is immeasurable. Say a little prayer for me today and I will for you too. A blessed and peace filled mind. That’s my goal for today. xoxoxoxox

  • Lisa, on your “Reviews & Testimonials” page the link for when you click on the book does not go to Amazon, it goes to the .jpg.

  • <3 You are the littlest one far left, you are lovely! And you are the best teacher through experience when it comes to self love, so your children will love themselves immensely, they will follow your amazing lead <3.

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