Healing from the past is something I never really thought about. I've never actively sought it, never chased it, never pursued it. Not because it wasn't important, but because it seemed somewhat impossible. An insurrmountable task.
I don't believe you truly heal from childhood abuse. You just learn to deal with it in your own way. I feel tremendously lucky that my own way did not involve drugs or alcohol, because it easily could have. My way has been to feel the feelings the past brings up, deal with the flashbacks, pray to my Savior, and move on.
However, once I became a mom the game changed. Motherhood brings up a whole subset of feelings every single day. I return with vivid clarity to my own childhood in ways that are bitter and hard. For the most part I feel I shield my children from those feelings. But sometimes I can't. And I wonder alot of times if I am ruining them. Am I creating chaos in their minds and hearts? Am I too harsh, too overbearing, too loud, too strict? Or do I let them get away with too much for fear of being like my own mother?
It's alot like walking a tightrope. While holding an elephant. And juggling swords. Balance is difficult.
Enter my mama friends.
I have never, ever, been a girl's girl. I have never truly liked women. Then I became a mom, and got a small taste of what mama friends can give- sympathy, compassion, a kind word, an ear.
I was hooked from my very first mama friendship.
Mama friends can give me something nobody else in my life has- nurturing. Knowledge that the mistakes I make are normal, everyday mistakes. That the way I parent is honest and real. And that I can mess up horribly and still be a good mom.
I sat today in the bright sunshine holding a baby that was not my own as a friend chased Sammy through the grass. I kissed her little one as she corrected mine's bad behavior with love and kindness. I watched with my mama friends as our kids rode their scooters, ate their lunches, and played together.
And I realized just how deeply in love I am with this circle of wonderful women.
Falling in love with my husband was easy. It was beautiful and passionate.
Falling in love with my children was instant and overwhelming.
But falling in love with other women has been hard, difficult, and entirely worth it.
These women who I call friends love my children like I do. They are honest with me when I ask questions. They laugh with me until we cry. They cry with me until we laugh. They celebrate every single thing in my life- from new babies to potty training, to weight loss. They are truly happy for my sucesses and truly help me carry my burdens.
And I looked around today and realized just how deep I am. How in love I am with this circle of amazing women.
We build each other up. We support each others lives. And we do not backbite or gossip. I have confidence that they do not speak of me out of my presence as they do when I am listening.
I know how rare this is. And I want to make sure that I put this right here, right now. How rich I feel in friendships. How much I love my girls. How deeply I feel blessed and uplifted by them. And how they mean the world to me.
Because let's face it. Things happen. Misunderstandings. Hurt feelings. Careless words. Hurt is a part of love. And where there is deep love, the injury can be profound.
But nothing on this earth- no hurt or pain could take away what they have given me. They heal me of my past. They hold the mirror up to me, to see that I am a good mother. That I am not what my past taught me I was. That I can be vulnerable. I can put my hurt and fear and worry out there, and instead of using it as a weapon, they will help me carry it.
My friend told me today that she felt so strongly about her female friendships that it made her cry. I knew exactly what she meant. Sometimes the depth of my love for these women and their babies is scary. There's so much to lose. So much that can be broken. So much that can be lost.
But in these friendships I have found my footing not only as a woman but as a mother. They are an anchor on the sea that tosses me from thought to thought. They ground me and center me and help me to see my way. They pull away what I THINK I am, and show me what I TRULY am.
So for my girlies- the ones who I see everyday as we walk our babies into school, or the ones I see back home, or the ones I see never but hold in my heart, I love you. You have helped me, each in your own way, to understand myself better and to heal myself of all that the past had broken. I feel rich because of you- my life has a depth I would have never known had you not come to me. You teach me. You give me love. And you are special and treasured.
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”
― William Shakespeare
“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey