Writing Out the Truth, Damaging or Empowering?Casey Mullins
“i feel badly for addie. someday soon she’ll be computer savvy and be able to read these posts. you often come across as if you do not like your eldest and as therapeutic as it may be for you to write things out, it could be extremely damaging to her. Imagine being a young girl and reading on a very public forum that your mother struggles with liking you right after a post about how her new baby has changed her life. think before you write.”
This was a comment I got on a recent post about how hard her birthday was last year and how stressed I was the night before this year.
I’ve learned over the last several years that how I initially react to a comment like this one from a complete stranger is the best indication to how true it really is.
What I write on my blog is not even half of my day to day life. It would be easy to surmise that I do not like my eldest daughter much from one or two posts over the last month when the truth is I love her with such a furious passion it breaks my heart that I can’t figure her out right now. Being a mom, especially a mom to a girl is (to quote another reader) stupid hard. One of the biggest apologies I ever made to my mom was that I never acknowledged that she was just as new to this mothering gig as I was to being a kid. Parenting doesn’t come with a one size fits all handbook, it only comes with unconditional love and a desire to do the absolute best for your kids you possibly can.
Unfortunately for me, sometimes my absolute best isn’t what my oldest deserves. Thankfully my husband steps in and fills in the cracks where I am broken on occasion. The truth is I deal with mental illness. I fight everyday to be my absolute best but sometimes I lose. On her birthday last year was the biggest loss I had ever experienced. In talking to my grown friends with parents who deal with mental illness or addiction they wish with their whole hearts that they had a better understanding of their parents. While my mom has never been diagnosed with any sort of mental illness, I would have loved to know what it was like for her to raise my sister and me. Through our early years, through a divorce, through dating, through a second marriage, through my teenage years to her first grandchild and beyond.
I have to believe Addie will someday appreciate knowing the back story behind some of her memories, both the occasional bad and the really, really good.
The observance of this one stranger caused me to scrunch my nose, shrug my shoulders and compose this reply:
“Thank you for your brilliant insight into what is *probably* one tenth of my life.
I’m absolutely sure Addie won’t remember me stringing dozens of balloons for her to walk through this morning on her way to her most favorite breakfast that started and ended with “Happy Birthdays” and “I love yous”
This parenting gig is hard, and if I were to lie about it and say that everything is sunshine and rainbows it wouldn’t do me or the thousands of other moms who are struggling out there any good.
Yes, one day she will read this and I will be ready to talk with her about it. What I wouldn’t GIVE to have an insight into what life was like for my mom as she raised me.
I give a voice to the ugly stuff, and I give all the love in the world to my big kid with mopsy curls.“
I went back and read some of the posts I wrote about my love for Addie.
She is my whole heart.
Sometimes I have a hard time, it’s true.
But my love has never and will never quit.
Did your parents journal, if so are you glad they did? If not, do you wish they had?