All Grown up at eleven.
All grown up at 11.
What can I say?
She has seen the highs and very very lows of my life. Having been around for all of my adulthood she has grown with me.
I like to say that she is the reason why I am the woman I am today as far as responsibility goes. I always make it home to my kids, and that is because they are mine and I am theirs.
During the early years of my daughter’s life she was exposed to domestic violence when I was assaulted and embarrassed when she was 3. She seen me be abandoned and used on multiple occasions. She seen me sick. She seen me broke. She seen me struggle to make it work and she seen me get what I didn’t deserve. That was by her own father.
One year she seen me turn over a new leaf. She seen me get up every day and get her to school. She seen me work my ass off at a job that didn’t deserve me as a worker, however I paid those bills, and she got everything she needed. She seen me get back into school. She seen me feed the things that I love and do what made me happy. She seen me fight for my rights and my just due. She has even seen me be strong and stand up for myself (and it was me fighting by myself). The kid has seen it all, literally.
If you’re a mother and you’re reading this, I’m sure you will see the mistake I made. But if not, I’ll tell you. I didn’t realize that she had emotions during these transitions in my life. She had been sad, confused, and angry. You know why? Because it was happening to her too! At one point I was feeling a strong disconnect. I just knew she hated me. I was an emotional wreck, because I had no idea why she was so distant. The emotional roller coaster was so confusing to me. Trying to talk to her was not working. She was afraid to speak. I yelled because I was frustrated, and it just got worse and worse.
I read a post on Instagram that said something along the lines of “Kids are people too. They have feelings!” and a freaking light bulb went off. She was emotionally drained. She had seen things that ruined her innocence, so I couldn’t address things like she was oblivious to the drama.
This year at the age of 11, I had a serious conversation with her (not like the other “serious” convos) and asked her to just talk to me about whatever. Our topics ranged from current Black Lives Matter events all the way to how she wanted to spend her weekends with her father.
I found out things about my child that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I had given her the disclaimer of “I am in a good place and can receive whatever it is you have to tell me. I will not be upset. I stand behind you as your mother, and I need us to be close”. She’s so smart and kind. And my favorite thing about her is she is living her life in an age appropriate manor!
I was very afraid of her growing up because I knew what it was like when I was growing up. I didn’t talk about much with my parents. I felt things that I assumed no one would receive well, and my parents had their own shit; so they really couldn’t deal with the emotions of the kids. I acted out because I felt like I was falling through the cracks, and I didn’t want that for my baby. I stayed in a child's place until it was time for me to move. I expressed to my kid how I had never been a parent prior to her, and needed her to teach me how to love her how she needed. That was the most vulnerable and uncomfortable I had ever been in my life. But, because of this we are now the closest we have ever been. I am so thankful for that.
To all the moms that are experiencing the pre-teen phase in you children’s lives remember this, they are humans too. They are important and how they feel matters. It is ok to apologize when you are wrong, as well as admitting when you have no idea what you’re doing at times. Another thing to remember is they see a LOT. So, stop treating them like they are clueless… talk to them It works!