I’m often struck by how much raising my daughter takes me back to my own childhood, to happy memories but also to some of my own insecurities. This week I was reminded more about my own insecurities and I’ve thought a lot about how I can shield Ava from hurt and from developing the same insecurities that I had as a child.
I’ve blogged about this before, but as a young child, I was deathly shy, a real wall flower! Add to that, I was always the tallest in my class and lanky, all uncoordinated limbs, freckles and the personality of a frightened mouse and it will come as no surprise to know that as a young child, I was anything but popular. I had one or two little friends and I hated everything about school, it made me scared and anxious and my mother still has flashbacks of dropping me at school and being able to hear me screaming, pleading and begging: “Mommy don’t leave me!”
My worst nightmare in the early years of my schooling were birthday parties and the handing out of party invites. The child who had party invites would be called to the front of the class with her pile of party invitations, she’d stand proudly next to the teacher, who would read out the names on the envelopes from the pile of invitations and one by one the honoured guests would be called to the front of the class to fetch their prized party invite. There were always a couple of girls not included in the party and I was almost always one of them. I hated how it made me feel. I hated how rejected it made me feel. I hated knowing that I wasn’t wanted at a classmates party, that I wasn’t pretty enough, fun enough, cool enough or smart enough to cop an invite.
I hated it. I hated how rejected, stupid and humiliated it made me feel. Now as an adult, I see the damage it it to me as a person, how that experience played a role in shaping who I am as an adult. The insecurities I have now as an adult. How I question myself now as an adult, how I feel rejected by friendships now as an adult. How I second guess myself as a valued friend, or how I worry about what others thing/say/feel about me.
I appreciate more and more each day, the more experienced I become as a mother, how everything we learn as children, everything we say to our children, every direct and indirect message we receive as children will shape who we are and how we operate as adults.
I am so determined, as a mother, to try and shield Ava from as many negative influences as I can. I am concious of and working constantly at helping to shape her into a confident adult.
This week there were party invites handed out in her class and she did not get one! She’s still young and will hopefully not be aware of this, but hearing about it, brought back so many of my own insecurities and unpleasant memories of my own childhood, sitting in class, watching everyone proudly going up, hugging and grabbing their party invites and knowing there probably wouldn’t be one for me.
God, parenting is hard, there are so many ways to fail and while I know it is inevitable, I don’t want to see Ava hurt. Knowing that she already has additional issues to deal with, being adopted and the questions that will raise, I don’t want her burdened with issues of self worth & rejection.
Sometimes I wish I could shield her from the world.