This is the fourth blog post in a series about family. This post is about my relationship with my daughter.
As a new mom, I quickly learned to let go of any preconceived notion I had of the “right” way to parent. I ultimately learned that to parent Hannah well, I have to get to know her, understand her needs, and be willing to flexibly adapt. Parenting comes with endless sacrifice and compromise. But also indescribable joy. In many ways, Hannah and I know each other better than anyone else. And yet, not at all.
Hannah is nine now. Over the years we have developed our own sense of family with our own family traditions. We have movie nights on Fridays and pancake breakfasts on Saturdays. We eat dinner together every night and have snuggles before bed. In some ways these traditions support our sense of family and provide us with dedicated time together. While the details will be forgotten, these are the memories we will take with us for the rest of our lives.
To be able to parent Hannah and develop these traditions with her, I had to let go of my broken childhood as part of my identity and embrace the possibility that I could have and be something more. In doing so I have learned that I am capable of providing Hannah with a loving, supportive, respectful family environment.
More importantly (and also perfectly correlated with the above), I have learned about love. When you are part of a family, people that live together day-in and day-out, you will always be part of that family. You are known and know others in unique ways and are present to participate in the day-to-day. While many of the details of most days will be forgotten, it’s in the routine that you really get to know and be known by someone. It is that kind of knowing, that kind of acceptance, that sense of belonging, that comprises familial love.
One day I hope that I will get married. I would like someone to share life with. A husband with whom we can do all the day-to-day routine aspects of life and in that doing, come to intimately know and be known by each other. I dream of adding children to our family and developing family traditions and rituals and creating our own memories. I am starting to believe that maybe, just maybe, my dream could one day become a reality. Until then, I am so grateful to be Hannah’s mom and to have the opportunity to guide her along life’s path as she grows and develops.