A letter to my daughter: thank you, I think

Dear Daughter,

As I child I was very sensitive and I found that quite painful. I was told I might need to develop a rhinoceros hide to survive in the world  I slowly developed my hide, but my suit of armour was more of a shell.

If I hadn’t had the shell, I would not have survived high school, university, and my internship. Even though I said F.U. and I transferred to a different program I really did survive internship, because I made my shell even harder and more impermeable. My shell got me through.

I remember my younger self as a slightly self-centered person who didn’t let people in. Sometimes that came across as anger. No one could see under my shell, my armour, except my very closest friends. I sometimes took it off when I was alone in my safe place where I could cry myself to sleep. I didn’t even take it off the first time I fell in love. I mean I was really in love but I couldn’t let him know that, could I? Obviously that relationship didn’t last. No one was allowed in.  I wanted to be a nice person and a good person, but not soft and emotional.

I’m not sure who I was kidding. I couldn’t read “Love you Forever” without getting all teary-eyed. Movies still made me cry. I just didn’t let people get too close. I let your dad in. I let him see who I really was, although it took years.

My darling daughter, you changed all that. The minute I learned I was pregnant, my shell grew to protect both of us. I had only really let your dad in before that, and some very close friends.  When you were born, I was totally vulnerable all over again. I didn’t even realize it was happening, but my shell was becoming porous.

You are such an open, loving and giving person. You live and love with passion. You demanded my love and complete devotion from the moment I laid eyes on you. Quickly, my shell began to dissolve. I tried and succeeded to keep it around us for a few years.

Your brother came along and finished the job. I couldn’t protect all of us from hurt. I could protect us in so many ways and take care of all of us, but our hearts were open and vulnerable.

I am no longer protected by armour. I am completely vulnerable to the world. I  think it’s from living in a hot place.(I jest.) My heart is easily won. I care about everyone around me. I worry about everyone, including people I’ve only recently met. I feel protective towards anyone who would dare to embrace the world with your passion. I meet people who have a shell like I had, and I want to pass along my strength. Their shells need to dissolve in their own time, but I understand.

I thank you for helping me to open up again and let people see my love and hope and vulnerability. I rarely feel anger. I feel despair and I feel hope.I feel caring and compassion. I feel what others feel and it is scary. I feel sadness and happiness. I feel love, and it sometimes hurts, but mostly it feels good. Most importantly, I feel okay about letting people see how I feel, and if it really is anger, it’s aimed at injustice, stupidity and insular thinking.

I miss you! Thank you for letting me in.

Love Mama

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *