My daughter became my catalyst. t woman that I could be for her. My daughter became my catalyst.My eldest daughter is now 24 years old, most parents would say “it feels like just yesterday when she was born” well I am not that parent; I felt the pain and the happiness of each and every one of those years with her. I was a very young mother, a teenage mother to be exact. I didn’t know what I was doing; but I knew I loved her and wanted to be the very best woman that I could be for her. My daughter became my catalyst.
My struggle of letting her go
In a certain tense you never let your daughter go, but in another you do. For so many years she has been my “why”. Eric Thomas a motivational speaker refers to your “why” as something that makes you work hard, something that propels you, your reason to move forward. Well my eldest daughter was my “why”. I remember waking up three in the morning to study until eight am because I was so determined to study and get my college degree. If you look in the background of her baby pictures you will see my books, highlighters and notepads. My daughter was my impetus for change. She gave me the energy I needed to be successful. I wanted to create a legacy for her and I did, and she made me proud.
One legacy I created was pledging in a sorority, you see in the black community being a member of a sorority provides you with status and a certain level of network opportunities; but most importantly it places you with a sisterhood committed to community service. I remember when I attended the information session I knew desperately I wanted to be a member. I could see myself wearing the letters, however the process was extremely challenging, it was so difficult that I was hospitalized for dehydration. But I kept thinking of how our lives would change if I became a Delta and if one day my daughter Alleea would be a Delta. I remember my mother calling me when I was away at college and in the hospital saying. “Donna come home, you are sick” I remember immediately thinking “I cannot let myself down and I cannot let Alleea down.” Alleea has always been my “why”. That was almost twenty years ago! And it is with pride that I say that I am a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority incorporated! And what trumps that feeling is that three years ago I pinned my daughter Alleea into the same sorority that I pledged in and she is now a legacy!
For so many years she has been the impetus of my life. My daughter has made me want to be a better woman and she has. However, now she needs to create her own life and become a woman. I never saw her outside of me. I never saw her as her own person, she has always been an extension of me. She instituted my standards and my values, but in the last couple of years I have seen her moving into her own. I have seen her make decisions that I do not agree with. I wanted her to work for a corporation; she wanted to work for a non-profit. Although I like her boyfriend I wanted her to date, and she wanted a steady relationship. I saw that she was creating her path and I struggled with that. I wanted her to continue to follow my lead, but she was telling me through her actions, that she was creating her own path.
Her struggle to show me she was letting go
If you ever meet my eldest daughter you would believe we are sisters. People describe our visual appearance as “uncanning”. Well in the last two years I have seen my daughter secretly making decisions that she knew I wouldn’t agree with. These decisions would cause a great deal of tension between us. Our communication was struggling and so was our relationship. There were times of silence, times of anger and times of great grief. But eventually we would land on her ground. This process of discontent was necessary for me to let her go and understand that she was creating her own life and her own world.
This struggle continued in different ways, and now I have conceded that she is my daughter but she is now transitioning into her very own path as a young woman. Although I am her mother and she will always be my daughter our relationship has now changed. My daughter is no longer an extension of me; she has created her own life. In my mind I think of a picture of a circle and a heart. The circle and the heart connect although they are two distinct objects, for years that is how we have been. Now I am picturing us as two separate and unique objects and that is a new concept for me.
Alleea is now her own woman and my role in parenting her has changed. Although I am her mother I am no longer someone that will freely offer her advice. My advice will come by suggestion, our relationship has now transitioned.
The natural order of things
As a young woman there is an independence that occurs and I honor my daughter as she transitions into this new phase. Motherhood is not stagnant so we must be ready for change and our daughters must be prepared to experience the highs and lows of their true independence.