Saturday, February 7, 2015

Your Story, My Story

"But behind all your stories 
is always your mother's story,
 because hers is where yours began.” 
- Mitch Albom

It's an interesting thing having your kids grow up. It's been mostly a good thing for me. I don't really pine for the days when my kids were little. Oh, they were so squishy adorable and I loved it. But it was also very very hard. I am mostly just very happy that my children are all potty trained and sleep through the night and can talk to me in complete sentences (most of the time). And they can take their baths and showers by themselves and most of them do it without prodding! They can get their own food when they need to, and can get their homework done mostly unassisted. Honestly, I can't imagine dealing with the constant pain I have now with my kids any younger than they were when this started. Although it threw me for a major loop and put some major kinks in the plans I had for this stage of my life (and continues to do so), I am nothing short of grateful that Elisabeth was starting kindergarten when my pain started and that I wasn't responsible for anyone's care full time.

But this is an interesting thing, letting your kids gain their independence and not only that, but suddenly they have their own online lives and presence. They are beginning to own their own story and all of our roles in the story shift ever so slightly, sometimes not so slightly. No longer is it my prerogative to share (and overshare) all the cute and adorable things they do, nor the embarrassing, frustrating, and hair pulling things that they do. This is hard for me. I've had this blog for many years - 7? 8? I'm not sure. And while I've become quite the blog slacker, I still find myself being pulled back in to make sense of things in my life. Or then there's facebook too. And instagram. Yes. Some people seem to be a little bit better with allowing their children more privacy and power in deciding what of their lives should be shared, and what shouldn't. This is an ever evolving process for me.

I was driving home with Abigail one day and we were talking about this. We had just spent a couple long hours waiting through the long lines at the DMV only to get to the counter and discover that I had needed to bring documentation of our new address to complete the application and I didn't have it. Ugh!! My fault that all of this time had been wasted. And, here's the tricky part, this was the 3rd time we had been at the DMV waiting in lines to take the test for her to get her driver's learning permit. 
So, she says, don't tell anyone I didn't get my permit - again. 
But you see, I tell her, this is also my story. It's my frustration that I didn't bring the necessary forms. It's also my time wasted in waiting for no good reason. Compounded by the fact that this wasn't the first time we had been there to try to do this.
So, what is her story to tell and what is mine? Can I tell mine without also telling hers? 
And it doesn't stop there, of course. Like this quote says, our stories always come back to our mothers'.  Because when did our story ever begin and hers end? 
Her pregnancy was my prenatal life. Her story of my birth is my birth story. Everything I do, affects her too. Everything she does, is part of the story of my life. Because she is my mother.

And I am her mother, my daughter's (and my other children, of course).  Her story is my story. Her successes are part of my success. Her tears become mine. We are forever entwined, our stories overlapping. Even when she is truly her own and I am just a background figure, it will remain thus.
This is an interesting time of stepping back and letting her determine her own story to tell or not to tell. Sometimes I am amazed that I am here, at this point in my own story. Where we are shifting our roles, and figuring out this intricate relationship between what is mine and what is hers. And what our story will become.

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