Brazen Princess

Loud and Unashamed
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MAY 7, 2012 6:31AM

My Daughter, the Stronger Version of Myself

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                    momdad

The day Alicia was born I had pancakes at Lyon’s restaurant  on Clover Road in Tracy.

The doctors had sent me home because the pitossin drip had not worked (could have fooled me, it sure felt like labor!!).  Since I had been fasting for a whole 12 hours I insisted that we stop at a restaurant on the way home to the Corral Hollow Canyon.   The pancakes were delicious, but I had to stop every five minutes to allow labor pains to pass.

I should have known. 

When I delivered her, 40 hours later, she came out “sunny side up” , face toward the sky, like she wanted to see her own birth.  At the moment she made her full exit I looked up at Mario, who was nothing but tears, watching his first daughter be born.   Our midwife, Arlaine, asked me if I knew what I had delivered...and I guessed a boy.  Arlaine shook her head, indicating “no” (she later told me she was waiting for the doctor or Mario to tell me the news...our girl was born, but realized there was only one other option, and she was the bearer of the news) .  I instantly hoped for the best.   “Did I have a girl??  A girl??  Mario?....”  Mario was cying his eyes out, and nodded.  His hand was clutching at his mouth when I heard her first cry. 

 

                      1992

  Twenty one years later, I stood in a similar delivery room with Alicia, the girl I delivered sunny side up, delivering her own child.  I had watched her go through thirty hours of labor and two and a half hours of pushing .  I never thought any birth could be more painful than hers.  I was witnessing Harmony’s as she struggled to enter the world. 

The delivery room had Alicia, her boyfriend Brian (Bud), his mother, Suzanne;  his sister Ashley;  his step-father, Steve; and Alicia’s long-time friend Patrick...and me.  I tried to silently be there for my own baby while she labored to get her own out.  She begged the intern to give  her a C-section, but she sternly told Alicia to push and stop whining.  I could have assaulted the almost-doctor on the spot.  I glared heavily at her...something I had saved only for the very worst of enemies. 

Harmony eventually arrived, barely breathing and full of “terminal merconium”...and I began rebuking every dark force in the world that would try to steal the life out of this young one that came from my daughter. 

                  100_1678

My daughter had a daughter.  I saw my mom two days later and took pictures of the most amazing sort: Four generations.  The whole thing was surreal.  The last time I had done this was when Vince was born, and I stood next to my mother as my grandma held the baby son I had delivered just three months before.   

Now I was the grandma.  I have no desire to stay young...you can’t write worth a damn when you’re young...but I did have a desire not to lose my daughter.  I felt like day by day she was slipping away.... but when did I not feel that?

Alicia has always been an independent sort. 

At four she organized an outing with two girls across the street who were not allowed to go further than their front lawn.  I packed a picnic lunch and saw her march across the street with it purposefully, and knock at the door as if she were a Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes rep.  The girls came outside for a second, then asked her back inside.  She waved at the porch where I stood, and disappeared into the new neighbors’ house. 

I waited all of ten seconds before I went after her... and when I knocked on the same front door the neighbour answered.    Alicia waved me off from inside, saying   “I’m fine, mom.  Go home now.”    I stood on the porch, as the mom tried to make small talk with me.  I watched Alicia as she easily found her place with the new girls, and worried that I was being waved off for good.

I wasn't...and for a couple of seconds I relaxed. 

At eight she had several irons in the fire.  She was in a community choir, drama, a play group where she discovered an artistic talent... the other mothers called her “a handful” with smiles and fondness.  I still took offense and told them all she was a great daughter, the most stable girl of any one I had seen in any group her age. 

The same year she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes...and my heart and life sank.  I tried to adhere to the strict eating schedule and program that the doctors had given me.   Alicia's only compliant was that it came with diabetic ketchup.  “There’s no way I am eating that!” She’d say, in a soft but firm voice.  “It’s like eating red glue...”  I never bought it again.  Let her have Heinz, I thought.  What will they do to me?

 At twelve she was already turning heads of boys.  No matter the looks I brandished, some of the boys would not look away.  Alicia loved being admired, and didn’t listen when I warned her to “ignore the idiots”.  “Mom,” she’d say, “you’re so judgemental!” 

Was it true?  Just because I was telling her that boys were of the devil...and she didn't believe me.  I felt her slipping away.

The first boyfriend came soon after.  The first rebellious talk.  The first secrets kept from me.  The first friends I didn’t like.  Slipping, slipping, slipping .

At seventeen in Africa, a boy of 25 proposed to her.  She agreed, and later asked us what we thought.  Shouldn't that have come before acceptance? I felt unnecessary...and grieved and longed for  my baby back.  Where could I go to get her back?

The relationship didn't work out, and she left Africa, and found her true love back in California.  He loved her, accepted us -- but where was the complete dependence on our approval?  Where was the hint of desiring our blessing?  

First came Harmony, then Alannah followed.  I was there for each birth - alone and surrounded by "his" family.  She had become planted nearer to them than us.  

                        100_5113 

Alannah sparkled with joy and health, and seeing Harmony receive her baby sister broke my heart.  In many ways, I wanted to stay.  I got on the plane, bleeding from every part of me, tears being my only company. 

The love I feel for my daughter is unreal.  It kills me; stuns me;  knocks me down from far away. I had no idea that that same love would bleed into the love for my granddaughters...

I think of them and many times, I cry.  I want my baby back.

This week, I make the lonely climb toward Mother’s day and I’m not there for her.  I miss my mom.  I miss my daughter and granddaughters. They love me and misses me.  I see her daughters, the amazing Harmony and the effervescent Alannah and I weep for loss.  How am I ever going to get beyond this?? 

My Mother once told me that having a daughter was like seeing a reflection of yourself...but better.  It’s true.  To see Alicia I see great potential, a beautiful mind, a wonderful mother.   I  think of her and know she has three times the strength I do, maybe more.

I should have known that first night when they said that inducing labor did not work that Alicia would be waiting to prove them wrong.   She has been the antithesis of pattern and predictability.  No one can set their watch by her. 

She was born sunny side up.  “Came out the hard way,”  the doctor said, stitching me up. 

I should have known.

                    100_4851

 

 

 

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Comments

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Thanks for this really wonderful tribute. Bless you all. r.
This was beautiful. You put into words how many women feel. It was a tear jerker. You have a lovely daughter and family. Happy Mother's Day to you.
Wow, great story of love. I thought for a moment you were talking about real loss but I'm guessing that you are just separated by distance in this world and not the afterlife. I am separated by that distance too. However I didnt have mother love. My mother is cold and distant and that has affected me all my life. So enjoy the emotions of Mothers Day even if they are far away. Sounds like there is love there and that should make you really happy. My daughter and granddaughter are in Alaska talking about moving to Hawaii. Could they go any further away? My other daughter is coming to visit from Wisconsin on Mothers Day. You make me feel lucky for that. Great writing. I like how you said you didn't want to be young again because the older you get the better you write. That is so true!!
What a marvelous story and lovely photos. Wishing you happiness for this Mother's Day.
I found that part of the joy of my daughter having her first child was knowing that she now understood my love for her. Happy Mother's Day. Your love shines through in this piece.
Beautiful girls, all three of you!
What a lovely read Princess. I relate to your love for your daughter as I have a similar one of a kind of my own. We just celebrated her grandmother's birthday - three generations altogether, which is a blessing. I hope one day I may have a grandchild and taste the pleasures you have been introduced. Meanwhile the best to your lovely daughter, to hers, and to you.
R♥
Brazen Princess: This post stole my heart this morning. I have one of those independent young women for a daughter. Like I was but much, much better, as you say. She's 21. She has mended my heart many times and put a few cracks (not deliberately) in it a few times too. But unlike you I can't write about it. I am also making the ascent to Mother's Day this week. We will travel and go visit the town where my girl lives and works. I can relate to your missing your daughter and grand daughters. It's like there's a hole in our hearts.
Magnificent post, BP. Lovely homage to your daughter and granddaughters on Mother's Day. And, what a gorgeous family of women!
I so enjoy your family pictures and stories.
I miss my daughter and my mother on Mother's Day. But I welcome the chance to tell my 5 daughters-in-law what fine women they are and try to do it often. Thank you for sharing your life with us. (me)
Wow. Beautiful. Story and pictures.
Wonderful, heartwarming story of the love between you and your daughter, BP. What a beautiful family you have!
Lovely read and beautiful photos
My goodness I miss my mother right now
~R~
Wonderful! Happy Mother's Day.
"I think of her and know she has three times the strength I do, maybe more." Funny I think the same thing when I watch my step-son Kel play with his little boy.
Thank you, this was so sweet and touching. I'm sharing with my mom for Mother's Day!
I loved this and will give my daughter a huge hug before I leave tomorrow. She is thinking of moving closer to me and that does my heart good since I can help with my beautiful grandson : )
Hope you have a good visit with the daughter that comes for Mother's Day!
Well, I'm sitting here bawling my eyes out, not something I care for at all but you touched my heart. I have a daughter who is the stronger version of me too. Thank you for the beautifully written post.
A beautiful piece. My daughter isn't speaking to me for some unknown reason, so I really liked this!
This is the feeling! My mom has it for her girls and I have it for mine. Do you remember the song, "Where are you going, my little one?" And like your daughter, my daughter also now has a daughter. The beautiful pain is passed along to another generation. Happy Mother's Day.
Kate~ As usual, thank you! First on my last two posts, your time zone is more like the RSA than the USA!

Jonathan~ Thank you for coming by and reading!!

Brianna~ Thank you so much for coming by and commenting!! Nice to see you here!

Zanelle~ I read your comment last night and woke up thinking of you. If I were your mom I would have your art hung all over my home and brag about you every chance I'd get. You have grown into a beautiful expression of God's beauty...which comes out of the most tormented souls. Enjoy your daughter on your day!!
Mary~ Hey!! We're on the front cover together! Although the OS server ate my comment and I will have to repost it. Thank you for reading...

jlsathre~ What a beautiful comment. True, a daughter's love is awakened when she becomes a mother.

Chicken Maaaaaaaaaaaannnn~~ Smiles.... thank you!!

Fusun~ Maybe you can post on Mother's Day about the three generations?? I'd love to read that. Include a recipe you shared...?

Toritto~ Lovely to be surrounded by so many beautiful women, ay??
Miss Scarlett~ Thank you for coming by...and enjoy that time with your daughter...on her territory. I know it makes us feel unbalanced and vulnerable, but it will be a gift to her.

Deborah~ LOVELY last post... thank you for stopping by here. Always a pleasure to see you!

Ande~ I will look forward to the post you do this week. You have so much joy and wisdom in being a mother-in-law (AND being a daughter-in-law...the moonstone post still is one of my faves..)
divorcedpauline~ how wonderful to see you here!! Thank you for stopping by and commenting. It means so much!

Erica K~ Thank you...just woke up and saw you in my right hand column with one of the catchiest blog titles I've seen in awhile. Looking forward to reading about Manasseh!!

M.C.S.~ I thank you so much...and my heart tugs desperately for the face of my mother. I miss her so much too. Look forward to seeing more of you around here.

Miguela~ Thank you, dear one. I love my babies...

jmac~ what an incredible comment coming from the unsung hero of a step-father. It is LOVE that transforms a step-son into a son... and it sounds like you've done that!!

Jennifer~ Thank you so much. Please have a great day yourself. I am glad you get to spend some time with your own mom.

ladyfarmjed! What a gift you have been given! I am sure you will impact your grandson in his life...you have made a great impact on your daughter, as she is moving closer to you!!

l'Heure Bleue~ Awww...honey! I am sorry (and happy) that I made you cry, now we're even for a few of yours. Your relationship with your daughter shows how your spirit has steeped her in love and confidence...Have a great day together!!

Scanner!! Are you back?? I just downloaded your book (Thank God for Kindle...something I thought I'd never say!!) Our daughters not talking to us...(eyeroll) What's a parent to do?? The pain is how much we love them anyway, right?

madhuri~ Your comment whisked me away like the Ghost of Christmas Past. I do remember the song. How true it is!! So thankful for your comment.
Happy Mother's Day and congrats on the well-deserved EP. R
I loved reading this. My mother has three daughters, and following the death of my father (when I was really quite young), she raised us all by herself. Now my sister has a daughter too, and I can see my sister turn slowly but surely into our mother, and I can see myself in her six-year-old daughter. It's a beautiful relationship.
Be blessed all moms! Duke
Everybody is so beautiful! Harmony looks like a clone of her mother. I don't have a daughter, but I think my own mother would be nodding in agreement if she read this. Congrats on your EP!