Thursday, February 5, 2009

Learning to Value One Another

It is a dark and dreary day here in Southern California.  The rain is coming down at a slow and steady pace and the clouds have meshed together to create a band of grey over the horizon.  Tonight, Angel Daughter Number One will be performing as the lead in a play about a woman who is trying to conceive a baby.  A far reach for a twenty-one year old college student who has no experience from which to draw in this area of life.  She hasn't gotten there yet.  And although her inner, biological clock has most likely begun its quiet, steady tick towards the desire to become a Mother someday, the drive, the absolute hunger that many women feel when their body and spirit tell them that it is time to procreate, has not yet gone into overdrive.  She is still figuring things out.  She is still maneuvering her way through the maze of very young adulthood that will lead her into the first stages of becoming a woman.  From where I stand in my experience of a little more than four decades, and a little less than five, AD1 is exactly where she should be on the continuum of life.  Actually, all four of my Angel Daughters are.  And although I am coming from a place of having been where they are now, there are many, many women who have walked this road before me.  Somehow, I hear their voices telling me that I am exactly where I should be now, as well.  Yet the confidence that they might have in me, is not always a confidence that I feel in myself.  And so I question and I explore and I question some more.  Much in the same way that my daughters question their own journeys.  With an ear towards those who have gone before, but with some doubt, some trepidation, and yes, some fear.  Who will I be next?

Angel Daughter Number Two, my nineteen year old, has experienced a lot of changes throughout the past year, and after a lot of thought and deliberation, she decided that she needed to come back home for a bit.  The path which she had chosen straight out of high school turned out to be one that she did not find accommodating and so, she is in the process of redirecting.  I am not worried.  She has a huge amount of familial support and we are all working together to readjust her flight pattern.  No decision should ever make you feel as if your wings have been clipped forever and that there is no way out.  That is not what life is meant to be about.  And while I know that AD2 will eventually settle into a plan that feels right to her, she is still searching and exploring and testing her wings.  There will be plenty of time for the more serious stuff.

All of the photos on this page were taken by AD2.  When I looked at them,  they made me think not only about how I see my daughters, but also how they view one another, and more importantly, how they see themselves.  It made me think about what complex creatures women inherently are.
As women, we need each other in order to gather perspective about what being female truly means.  We need one another not only to celebrate our differences, but to mirror back our wonderful similarities, as well.  We must be able to look towards one another for the difficult answers that sometimes plague our hearts.  We must be able to provide one another with support when the road looks more like a question mark than a straight line.
We must give each other confidence to move past the sometimes naked feeling of being totally exposed to the world even in times of inner darkness.
And provide each other with nurturing and hope.  Hope that will always guide us back into the light.  Hope that will remind us that so many have paved the road ahead of us, but that there are still so many bricks to lay, so many gifts to share.  Hope that will lead us to the answer when the question is Who will I be next?

As I watch Angel Daughter Number One perform tonight, I will not only sit closely next to the man who holds my heart, but with our three other daughters who I continue to learn so much from.  As I witness them each growing boldly into their own futures, I gain the confidence to also grow more boldly into mine.  And that is something about mothering that I never even realized was possible.  Until my own children began to become women.



That was absolutely beautiful.

delighted heart said...

ARe you SURE you are not a professional writer? That was amazing! You have such a beautiful way with words. Congratulations to AD#1. I'm sure she did a great job tonight. And be careful out there in the daughter called from LA tonight to say the monsoon season had started. I think Feb is the only month out of the year she doesn't love California because of the rain! Have a great weekend!

Catherine Holman said...

Sweet and lovely! AD2 is great at photography. You have some very talented daughters.

Maria-Thérèse said...

Beauutiful photos!

This strikes a chord with me since I'm in such a transition time of my life, changing everything & not knowing anything about what will happen except that I'm the one who is in control...

Debbie said...

Women are complex creatures and you daughter captured those images perfectly. You, as usual, accompanied them with the perfect words.

kim-d said...

Hi Deb, remember me? Lately I haven't been doing quite as much commenting; but I still read, and have been quite wordy myself. This post also struck a chord with me, also because of going through a transitional time of great change right now. And I most certainly don't feel in control. Even at my advanced age :), I feel like I am probably more about AD2's age!

I've always depended heavily upon my female friends at times like these. No matter how much I love my husband and how much I could and did talk to him about everything under the sun, there are some things that only other women can truly understand. And it is during these same times that I miss my mother the very most. When I was in my 20s and struggling to become who I was supposed to be, she always knew what to say and how to help me. I didn't realize how much I would still need her, even now that I'm in my 50s.

As is always the case, your words comfort me, your ADs amaze me, and I feel better for having been here.

jenx67 said...

you do have a way with words, debra. that commenter is right. and, wow - the thought of our children becoming women. and i loved that last line - boldly into your own future. loved it!

Kathleen Botsford said...

As always, your words are filled with love and grace. Your daughters are so lucky they have chosen you as their mother!

rivergardenstudio said...

I love how you are so connected to your daughters, and the way you photograph them is beautiful. This post is so thoughtful and moody for the rainy season... roxanne

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