Did You Know She's Watching?

Something happens when you become a mama. Something that changes everything. Before that baby entered the world you were an individual person; you were a woman living her life, pursuing her dreams, choosing when to wake up, what to eat for breakfast and it never occurred to you to buy someone else clothes instead of you. You were just living. And living was enough.

You also didn't know what it would be like to teach a little girl to love herself. You didn't know, maybe because you hadn't quite mastered that one. So, as she grows, and as you grow, you start to notice those default phrases and behaviors. Your mama said the same things, not about you, but about herself. And here you are, carrying the same shame and body image you had only observed as a child.

You're not the only one. It's the same story in most homes. It's the same cycle, spinning towards us all like a tornado. And there is this moment when you stand in the middle of the street, your hands strong in front of you, and you scream, "Enough!". Because it has to be enough. This isn't just you, the woman, anymore. Your life is no longer your own. This is her. She is watching. She is waiting for the moment when she decides to love herself or despise herself. She sees it all. She hears the things you think you are muttering under your breath. She is learning what you are teaching.

So teach well, sister.

Because, after drawing from the kind of inner strength you didn't know existed and, teeth gritted, you've been living a new way for her, there will come a moment when her voice will come from the backseat. She will say, "I love my body" with such a matter of fact tone. Your heart will stop and then it will race, because THIS, sweet mama, is the fruit of a life well-loved and well lived. This little voice from this little girl is proof that things don't have to go the way they've always gone. Maybe you didn't know how to soar, but she will. Maybe you didn't know how to breathe deep in your own skin, but she will.

She does. Mercy. Doesn't it change everything for you too? Don't you feel the stirring of a childlike acceptance of all things? Don't you feel the pressure to be something else slipping away? Don't you love the feeling of sinking into freedom?

And maybe you're learning what she's teaching.

*February 2013