Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Discussions with my daughter - I see me!

Oh my beautiful daughter, your entire life you’ve been told you are the mini-me of your Aunt Heather. You look, honestly, identical to how she did at your age. The older you get, the more of her I see in you. Facebook automatically tries to tag her each time I post a picture of you. So many of us even call you by her name, we just can’t help it – it’s not just that you look like her, you are in so many ways her.

You share Aunt Heather’s love for riding, horses and all animals. You have a special way about you that animals trust. You share her love for reading (although this is new for you!), for sleeping in and for spending time with grandma. You both are incredibly smart which is reflected in your academics, you don’t like conflict, drama and both love to sing.

Really, of all of the people in the world, being Aunt Heather’s mini-me is pretty awesome – I know I am incredibly proud of you both and love that I see so many of her outstanding qualities in you. I’ve always thought it was pretty cool that I could see so much of my little sister in you. You are both beautiful young women, inside and out.

As much as I love this – I’ve also sometimes struggled that I couldn’t see any of me in you. I see your Aunt Heather. I see your Aunt Dawn. I see so many people I love and cherish but a tiny part of my heart was sad that I couldn’t see any pieces of me in you. I watched and watched looking for a reflection of me. The more I would watch the more I’d see other people (all good things – you are surrounded by some really awesome people!) and wonder how there could not be anything about myself I saw in this incredible young lady I was raising.

And then, one day it happened in what probably should have been the most expected way yet it took me by surprise while I beamed with pride.

You’ve always stood up for others, including your brother. Your voice is significantly stronger than mine was at 13. You’ve done so firmly but gracefully – yes, just like your mother – but I had not seen it, only heard about it from others until that night. As hard as it is to use your voice with your peers, it’s even harder with an adult – especially one you care a lot about. But that is what it took for me to see it – for me to see a piece of me inside of you.

You were told that “Your brother is not normal” and like a bolt of lightning, with my laser eyes, you put your foot down and defended your brother as if your life depended on it.  And, in some ways it did. While not everyone will understand that and I cannot explain it – I always will get it.

I am not going to lie, while I did the right thing as your mom and stepped in to “save” (seriously save even though that will never be appreciated or acknowledged) the other person, I also did the right thing by telling you how incredibly proud I was of you – and I still am. You used your voice. You defended someone who could not defend themselves. You dug in your heels and held your ground. I stood back and smiled with pride in the amazing person you have become.

I also, for the first time in a very long time, cried although not in front of you. I cried because I finally could see it. I could see me in you. I saw my determination. I saw my voice. I saw my ability to appear to stand strong when I was shaking so much inside all I wanted to do was walk away and cry. I saw that there is a part of me in there and it’s a part I love. It’s a part of me that took years to recognized and let out but just like you – it was your brother who brought it out in me.

You are an amazing sister to your very special little, big brother. You are his voice, his translator, his defender and his go to person. You’ve grown up faster than your peers because our life has been different than theirs. You’ve missed out on many things. You’ve had to walk away from things that you wanted to stay for, you’ve been embarrassed, angry and on the verge of disowning him more than once. You’ve also been given a life where you experience more – although different than I ever would have dreamed – more. Your life has blessed you with a gift of seeing the world differently because of the challenges we face. Our “normal” is something the outside world cannot see as “normal” even when some of them really, really should. This has and will continue to make you an amazing person and true gift to our world. Your kindness, your understanding, your patience, your acceptance and – that part of me that I am so proud to see in you – your voice will make this world a better place.

I still love that you look like your Aunt Heather and that I can giggle when I see your Aunt Dawn’s temper come out. I love that you are a beautiful representation of all of the incredible characteristics of so many amazing people in your life who I love and respect. I love that you see your brother as “normal” because, really – what is “normal” anyway…it’s not even a setting on our dryer!

I love that I see so many, including me, in you. You are an amazing, strong, intelligent, beautiful young lady who will have the strength, determination and voice to change our world making it a better place. I could not be more proud but I’m sure you’ll prove me wrong there (again, a place where I see me in you! ;-) )

No comments:

Post a Comment