My eldest at a tea party with a neon arm cast…how fitting for a princess!
It struck me that I hadn’t posted about girls! It also struck me that this blog is about my adoption story and she is a girl…well a woman now. She will be 22 years old on Feb 27, 2013, to be exact. I envision her beauty! I imagine how she sounds, how she laughs, what her favorite perfume is, and what her dreams are? All the things girls are made of! Well some of the things we are made of.
I am learning about myself as I raise my girls. I’m continually amazed that though I am a girl there are many gaps in my understanding of girl hood. Recently, I realized the importance of feeling heard. I recalled a book entitled Captivating, by Stasi Eldridge. She shares the journey of little girls to women just as the book I referenced in the last post about raising boys to men.
Girls, among other things, want to be seen and heard. The author gives an example of how little girls dress up to be told by their mommy and daddy how beautiful they are. While this may not be the way every girl expresses there need to be seen, it still paints a real picture that either you relate to and smile or pricks at your heart because perhaps you don’t feel seen.
Every girl has a story made up of dreams. We want to be heard, we want to know our story means something, that we have a place in this world, that someone cares enough to hear us! Pain surfaces here for me. Not only from the step father that eventually left me but the one that left me all along, I just didn’t really know. I knew something was different as I shared in my story, but what! Shortly after I placed Mary for adoption, I sent a letter to my biological father – at such a vulnerable time, not to mention I was only 16. I don’t remember what it said but we ended up having lunch at Denny’s.
That time of my life alludes me except for different moments like that one. I can see us eating together, leaving and never seeing him again until 3 years ago, 19 years later. We all hear about the importance of the father’s role to a daughter. However living in a society that makes marriage a “do what works for you” kind of occasion, its hard to give it meaning until you feel what not having a father’s admiration and love does! Girls need their daddies. But how do you get through the pain of broken relationships. How do you reconcile the stupid decisions people make that affect you not to mention your own!
Girls want to be heard. It was January 1998, leaving for Okinawa, Japan, figuring it would be the “cure-all” when I realized how alone and unseen I felt. I wrote another letter to my Dad, 6 years after eating lunch with him. The feelings of rejection (not feeling heard) and abandonment (not feeling seen) resurfacing. I decided it was time to free him by declaring my forgiveness and that I had moved on. Not realizing that it was really about my freedom.
The baby…and don’t we all know it!
I am grateful for the relationship I have with my dad today. Our girls don’t do dress up much anymore but I still find ways to remind them of how beautiful they are. I make it a priority to be alone with each of them, to hear their hearts, especially my 10-year-old as she moves into a new stage. As for the baby, she is 8 and she demands my time as last-borns do well! As Mary celebrates her 22nd birthday, it will be another day that I will celebrate the little girls I do have in my care! My desire to feel heard and seen has not gone away albeit different; besides I was never the girl in the example above, to dress up like a princess, surely there were other ways I sought attention from my step father. As I rediscover these areas, I look forward to working it out with my daughters as they discover what makes them feel heard and seen.