Friday, August 28, 2009

Slaying the dragons

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Lately, one of the dragons in my life has been my daughter. Most days, I swear she'd like to knock me clear across 2 zip codes with her fire. I know she's changing and part of it is her age. But I also know, she is complex with her thoughts and not quick to share a single one. She's developed this "hard ass" exterior with an extreme aversion to anything "girlie" or feminine and I wonder sometimes how long, if at all, I'll see that soft, loving side emerge again. I think she's been carrying around a whole stew of mixed emotions for some time now: processing her parent's divorce, dealing with her brother and generally trying to figure out where she fits in the world. We have a new family dynamic now plus I've been spending a lot of time lately helping my son get ready for school. Nobody said being 10 these days was a picnic.

Last night, we had a breakthrough. I was lying in bed when I heard a knock on the bedroom door. She had apparently heard some noises in the house and was scared. She wanted to bring her pillows and blankets and sleep on the floor next to me. For the first time in a long time, I saw the sweet little princess again. Breen and I opted not to have her sleep with us but I did offer to go to her room and stay with her for a little while. I ended up staying for 2 hours. We laughed and talked like old times. Looking back on this, I don't think it was noises at all. I think she was really trying to say, "I'd like to let my big wall down for a little while and be a little girl again." Even in myself, I see the hard ass behaviour sometimes. When I feel hurt or scared, I become the dragon. We all need to feel loved and cared about and sometimes we need that one-on-one attention. Even if I don't have another moment like last night for another 5 years, I'm going to treasure it for a long time to come.


  1. As the mother of grown children and a 16 year old I can tell you from experience that whenever it seems like they are pulling away from you, that they are going through moments of intense personal growth. Part of them wants to stand independent from us and to claim their own identity, but often, as you witnessed last night they need to know they can step back into a comfortable zone again. Just remember to always be the soft spot she can fall back on!

  2. That's awesome. And the former volcanic daughter to a sweet caring mom, I promise you that it will get better. My mom never gave up and never stopped praying for me. And at 43, I know that's still true.

  3. Daughter's tend to do this back and forth thing
    but just embrace it ! when my daughter started doing this in her teens I wondered if I had did this to my mother. even though my mom has been gone for many years when I feel that way she sends me great vibes to help me get through. you are an awesome mom and you will get through this!

    peace and Hugs