The way he says “mammm-ma” when he’s sleepy with his little feet pitter-pattering behind me. The way he energetically yells “DAH-DA” in his most roaring voice as he jumps into Chris’ arms. He’s quick to share, surprises me by putting my shoes away for me after I take them off, or puts his dirty PJs in the laundry bin. The twinkle in his eye when I kneel down to get on “his level” during our conversations. He is simultaneously independent but frequently by my side, his curiosity gets him into anything and everything, he’s too busy to find distraction in TV (Lord help me), and always wakes up with a smile, twice a day if you count nap time 😊.
My son, you are so loved. You giggle when you see your dad give me kisses, you audibly sigh when we both wrap you up in a family hug, and you stop to carefully listen when your dad’s voice prays over our family, he even prays for the dog! That must seem silly, but we love that stinky dog.
Social media does a good job of taking childhood and turning it into “parenthood.” A lot of woes wrapped up in sarcasm, sadness, group mentality and whimsical writings. Honestly, there are times the repetitive narrative makes me sick. I get it, obviously. I live it. I read the articles of how under appreciated stay-at-home moms are, I see the statistics of postpartum depression and I’ve even gotten to my wit’s end to admit I have experienced it myself. Maybe I wouldn’t go as far as to say depressed, but surely at the end of my rope.
So then I told my husband. I cried while Lewis cried. I cancelled plans last minute. I did exactly what I felt I needed to do, not to feel better, but to get better. To be better.
I spend most of my mornings resting on the couch, reheating my coffee over and over, and giving my spirit adamant time to recharge before I say “no” 150 times in 20 different tones for 75 different reasons. I’ve said it at least 15 times while writing this. I don’t always hold my patience but I do always hold myself accountable for the childhood my son is experiencing. I believe childhood is from birth until age 18, and even then, an 18-year-old is still a kid.
My parents have been married for over 40-years. I have four older siblings that love me and I love them. We all have great relationships with one another; they’re truly my best friends. There was no alcoholism or drug use, abuse, or even cussing growing up in my parent’s home. I’ve heard my parents collectively cuss less than 20 times in my lifetime (yes, even the “harmless” ones like damn). There wasn’t manipulative behavior, arguments, or any huge family crisis that occurred. Quite the opposite, we joined hands and said the Lord’s Prayer as a family every morning and prayed over our dinner every night. And we weren’t in a religious cult, either. Lol.
All that being said, at 23-years-old is when I recalled molestation I experienced as a 6-year-old girl. I remembered one instance, then two, three, until I lost count. It had nothing to do with my parents or the way I was raised, but it had everything to do with what would become of my childhood and the years following. I would go on to mentally black-out and forget years of memories and experiences. It’s why I had an extremely distorted sense of self growing up, it’s why I became carelessly promiscuous as a teenager and it’s why I recognized abusive behavior from men as “love.” To this day, I cannot think back on my years of ages 7-12 and remember anything of significance, unless you were to remind me. Old photos can jog that particular day’s memory, but not much else.
Two people, both girls my age, robbed me of my childhood. I’m sure they too were unfairly caught up in a vicious trauma-cycle. I don’t blame them. I had no idea then that it was wrong or life damaging, it was 1999 – what a different world we lived in!
The year 2020 is mere months away and now children as young as elementary school aren’t learning that when your friend touches you it’s inappropriate, but it’s a lifestyle choice that they are able to make for themselves. Let me urge you that I wouldn’t wish on anyone what happened to me, nonetheless teach it as normal behavior. Not for a 6-year-old and not for a 16-year-old. As I was so naive, the gravity sincerely did not register until I was a conscious, intentional adult seeking answers as to why I felt the way that I did.
I was a child caught up in sin that was far beyond me. Children aren’t typically intentional and they aren’t as conscious as we’d like to believe. Children live in the moment, are trusting by nature, and not only NEED, but THRIVE under loving guidance.
I don’t believe this is the case for every one, but I can speak from my own life’s experience that had I not properly dealt with my childhood pain and ALL of the baggage perpetuated because of it, there is NO way I’d be able to show up day after day for my son.
Some times, sitting on the couch is showing up. Some times, canceling plans is showing up. Some times, going on a walk, cleaning the house, making all three meals from scratch, and a homemade craft is showing up. If they knew, I think all our children might ask of us is to intentionally and consciously show up.
When I think back on my childhood, I remember when my dad would brush and blowdry mine and my sister’s hair after we showered. I remember my mom’s morning robes, her sleepy eyes and messy hair as she showed up, day after day, to homeschool me and my siblings. I remember her creating a hub for friends all throughout my life to be welcomed to the table – even still today. I remember my dad’s humor and outlandish stories. I remember our house overflowing with an always familiar sense of joy.
I think of how sad it is that my parents didn’t know I was being hurt. It sucks. I wish I’d known to tell them. I am thankful that as an adult, I had the foundation they helped build to pull myself out of the depths of hell I found myself in. I am so glad that as my parents showed up throughout my life, they lead me to do the same for myself. Today I can honestly say I’ve done it better and I pray my kid’s kids can perfect it.
That’s really what we’re doing here in parenthood: we’re passing down our traits, behaviors, skills, beliefs, language and all of the uglier stuff too. The emotional baggage, the generational curses, the addictions and negativity, hate even.
You must believe if you have unhealed trauma your children are going to learn it however you’re teaching it and if they don’t perfect it – your grandchildren will, or even the next generation.
Sex trafficking and child abuse is more alive than ever and so is the chorus of complaining parents, especially my generation. The more we focus on ourselves and embrace “struggle” as a befitting lifestyle, the more blind we become to the vultures preying on the innocent souls beneath us. And yes, children are beneath us with their eyes wide open.
We are living in a political circus with foolish opinions flaring and egos being vocalized on every platform possible. All the while young mothers are upset at one another for not “reaching out” more frequently. We’re internally angry at our husbands for getting paid to uphold work relationships that we now categorize as a social life. We pipe up at pity parties and we define celebrating life’s simple happiness as “humble bragging.” Post a selfie without a caption about how you don’t ACTUALLY like your face or how this selfie is JUST a “highlight” of your usual wrecked life? You’re SO full of yourself and must NEED attention to survive!
We are all suffering, greatly and validly. We all have trauma and there’s no contest needed as to who has it worse, we ALL do. We are living in a severely broken world and this is America! Can you even imagine navigating life elsewhere? We are each individually born into a broken family with broken parents. We can’t fix it, but we can start working to uncover and heal the cycles inside of ourselves.
My healing started with me and God. Then me and my husband. And so on and so forth. Intentionally. Consciously. I worked through the tears, anger, sadness, blame, discomfort, guilt, shame and wrong-doing so that I could show up to receive healing, forgiveness, wholeness, love, and my sense of self back. You know, the first thing I did when I recalled these horrid memories was look in the mirror. We have to face ourselves and stop projecting onto others.
I have never been more spiritually aware in my life! It feels INCREDIBLE. I don’t have anyone to blame because I don’t need to. I don’t question why I’m feeling a certain way because I can see how I’m choosing to feel! Now, I can have very “VALID” reasoning to be upset with someone and end up laughing because I know how self-glorifying and ridiculous anger really is. The high road isn’t always as emotionally gratifying in the moment, but it is always worth it at the end of the day.
What I’m writing is meant to challenge you. If I can do it, so can you. I’m here for you. If you have children, they need you to heal more than you know. Even if their childhood is long gone. They need you to show up. They deserve to have a childhood worth remembering or a healing worth writing about. If you don’t think so, you are underestimating the importance, responsibility and vitality in being a parent. It isn’t a deserved role. If the number of abortions tell you anything, it should be that we as a people do not deserve the gift of life. How horribly we’ve mishandled the whole thing.
It’s never too late to break the cycle, it’s never too early to step outside of what you’ve known your entire life. Do not seek fault, seek an end to the lies hidden beneath the blame.
I come to you today as a young mother asking for healing. I ask you to heal the women around me; my tribe, my friends and family. I ask that you would touch all of the hurting mothers and meet them exactly where they need you. I pray that as the work begins in them, they are strengthened, encouraged, and empowered. I pray that a deep cleaning would occur in the hearts of mommas and remove what is inhibiting us from experiencing our relationships as you designed and intended them.
I lift up the fathers around the world. The fathers that are absent, abusive, just as hurt and just as lost as a 6-year-old girl once was. I pray that they would begin to see strength in vulnerability, that they would see power in admitting pain, and that they would begin to lead their families into revival and rebirth.
Lastly, Jesus, I lift up the children. How my heart shatters for the children in this world. God, you know my heart’s prayer. I pray that every single instance where a child’s heart, soul, mind and body is mishandled and abused, Lord you would intervene in only the way that you can. Dear God have mercy!
Have mercy on us. Be with the parents in today’s world and please God equip us with the sensibility to know exactly how we are responsible and how to begin healing within our families. I love you, thank you for another day, and thank you for my baby boy!
I love you guys and I really am here for you. Write me a note if you need some one to walk this with you! ❤️ BE BLESSED!