Friday, July 24, 2009

In My Daughter's Eyes

.....this post is dedicated to Ruth, whose daughter Lesley is getting married on August 1 at the farm. And to all mothers who are fortunate enough to have daughters....and sons.

(Please listen to the song first.)

The first time I heard this song by Martina McBride I was driving the car and had to pull to the side of the road because I was crying so hard I couldn't see. My daughter and I were going through a very rough patch in our relationship at that time, and I could not imagine her ever feeling that I was her "hero".

I didn't want to die someday knowing that I wasn't that person to her and I knew in my heart that I had to be the one to change. I had to change my attitude toward her and the way she wanted to live her life. I had to understand that though she came from me, she is not me. I had to stop wanting her to be "perfect", because she doesn't have to be perfect to be the perfect daughter. I had to stop trying to live my life through her. I had to learn to accept that we live separate and distinct lives even though our lives are so intertwined.

When I finally learned all those lessons, I became a better mother, and my daughter shows me every day how much she loves me. I now see in my daughter's eyes that she loves me in spite of all my faults and imperfections and I am her hero, as she is mine.

I don't think that Ruth had to learn as many difficult Mother lessons as I did. She and Lesley seem to have always had an excellent relationship. I'm so happy for her; and even though I've never met Lesley, I wish her all the joy and happiness in the world for her marriage and for her life. I know without knowing....that if you were to look in Lesley's eyes, a hero who looks a lot like Ruth will be shining there.
In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I want to be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me
Gives me strength when I am weak
I find reasons to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It's hanging on when your heart has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes.

~James Slater~

I love you, Aimee Susanne.

The photo of Lesley was taken by Ruth.


Char said...

what a beautiful blog and how very wise of you. if only people from both sides realized what you did, wouldn't the world be a wonderful place? - and, even with my flaws and my mother's - we did have a beautiful, wonderful and loving relationship. I count myself blessed and I admired her strength and bravery.

(love the photography too)

Alaine said...

Oh Susan, I'm choking on my toast and crying in my coffee here! That was extra special and I wish Lesley a beautiful day and life ahead.

My daughter is a beautiful lady and a wonderful Mum to three boys, I'm so proud of her. Her name is Nicole Monique.

Ruth said...

Susie, starting at the end, you and Aimee are so beautiful, and I don't know which baby that is, but she/he is beautiful too. When I saw that image, I felt the emtion really flood. When your daughter has babies, and the relationship comes full circle, I think that's when something becomes whole.

Believe me, Lesley and I have had some pretty tough times. All through her teenage years, I fought my own responses to her, she was so different from me. I know she felt it, and I'm sure she must have wondered if I really loved her, I always seemed to find fault with how she looked - so very punk and wacky (in my eyes; her classmates thought she was so "cool" - and I think I'm pretty hip!).

Thank God we got past it all and adore each other. We never stopped loving each other, but we didn't understand each other.

Thank you so much, sweet friend, for not only being a huge support to me through the planning of this wedding, but now sharing your rough patch with Aimee. I'll keep coming back to this post to let it sink in. At the moment it's as if there is a lake of emotion, I'm floating in it, and you have gotten into the boat with me. It's nice to be in the boat with you, Susie.

I've always felt one of my duties as a mother is to model how to fail, and how to forgive.

Susan said...

Char, thank you for your kind words. Mother/daughter relationships are the most difficult, aren't they? When I lost my own mother, I felt so lost without my hero. I'm so glad your mother was your hero, too.

Susan said...

Alaine, your Nicole is a very lucky woman to have such a proud and loving mother, and grandmother to her children.

It seems we both like French names. :)

Susan said...

Oh Ruthie, I don't know where to begin. Raising daughters is tough. We have such hopes and dreams for them, and guess what, they didn't read the plan. Or they did and decided to throw it out and draft one of their own. And that's the way it should be. Understanding doesn't come easily. I'm just so happy that I was enlightened before it was too late.

I'm glad I'm in your boat, Ruth, and so far it's still staying afloat. You know if I were there, I would help you bail.

Sandy Nawrot said...

You are making me an emotional mess! What a beautiful post, I can't even verbalize. I too have a daughter, on the brink of her teen years, and I'm already seeing a very tough road ahead of me. We are either having a spat, or cuddling. The picture of you and your daughter, and your sentiments, are precious. Your love and dedication to your friend Ruth is too! I'm going to go cry in my wine now!

Susan said...

Sandy, thank you, and you can't imagine how much I've been crying while I've been working on this all week. Every time I hear that song the tears flow. I had never tried to write down all those feelings I had inside and it was emotional, but very cathartic.

I think every mother has rough times when their daughters become teenagers. It's part of the process of them growing up and us letting go. Daughters almost always want to be what their mothers are not, until they have their own families and finally realize that maybe Mom wasn't as dumb as they thought. I see that happening with my own. I certainly made lots of mistakes, but I'm not sure what I would do differently. Life is a struggle, isn't it?

Cindy said...

From someone who's just at the tip of those rough teenage years with my own daughter, this was a difficult post to read... and it was especially hard with tears blurring my vision. You and your daughter are so beautiful! What a wonderful gift for your friend!

I'll have to come back later to listen to the song... I'm a wreck!!

CottageGirl said...

What a wonderful song! Tears here, too!

Being the mother of only sons, I do not know exactly what it is to raise a daughter. (I think each gender comes with their own unique challenges and rewards.)

But I know how I was as a daughter! God bless my mom for all she put up with!

Susan said...

Cindy, I'm so touched by your words and feelings. You will do fine as a mother of a teenager. Just remember to keep an open mind and a sense of humor, something I didn't always do and had to learn the hard way. I hope reading about my trials will help you even a tiny bit in the years to come.


Susan said...

CG, after raising two boys and one girl, you're right, both have unique challenges...and rewards. I managed to apply the same mistakes to my sons as well. It doesn't help that I'm stubborn and pig-headed, so it isn't easy for me to make changes.

I know what you mean about your own mother. I got paid back in spades for every little thing I did as a teenager which wasn't much, but they say you reap what you sow three times, and that's the truth!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I have an award for you Susan! I couldn't help myself.

Susan said...

Sandy, I am so honored by your thoughtfulness. Thank you very much.

ds said...

I cried all the way through this post. You are a very wise woman. So is Ruth. I don't know that I will ever be a hero to my college student; we have been through a lot over the past couple of years, and many things are yet to be resolved...

Still, I loved this. It is hopeful--and we can all use that.(And your family is beautiful!)Thank you.

Tipper said...

Beautiful beautiful!! I hope my girls and I are always as close as we are now.

Susan said...

ds, I have lived half of my life with my emotions extremely close to the surface, not taking much to set them off; a song, a few words of comfort, a picture, etc. Life is tough, and having teenagers or very young adults to guide through it can send the best of us over the edge sometimes. I feel for you, dear, because I've been there, more than once.

Susan said...

Thank you, Tipper. You are one lucky mom to have such a close relationship with your girls. Hold them close.

Oliag said...

What a beautiful post Susan...As the mother of two adult women I can really appreciate it... I do have to admit though that I have always said that my girls never challenged my parenting skills:)...they were both always easy...I think I have always been somewhat a friend as well as a mother to memory I cherish is when one high school daughter came home from school telling me of a conversation that came up in class about parents...and she was the only one who said she LIKES her parents...well that made my day... Believe it or not sometimes I think their biggest faults lie in not being rebellious enough!

I'm not complaining here!

Susan said...

Oliag, how blessed you have been and, obviously, you must have done a lot of things right. I only wish I had been as wise as you. :)

JackeeG4glamorous said...

I could hardly read these comments through the tears that I had pouring out. I've raised two daughters and a son. Right now my son and I are going through a rocky period. I can't even look at baby pictures of the three of them without crying and hurting so. My daughters and I are ok, but my son and I are not. All relationships take twists and turns, but it seems as though the mother/child ones are the ones that hurt down deep inside. My aging mother is driving us all crazy, she behaves in a very child like and selfish way. She's lonely, but she says mean and awful things to all of us who participate in her life. She's pretty much sheltered herself from nearly everyone her own age, by being mean, and self absorbed. Her own grandchildren can't bear to come around her. My own brothers participate very little, but yet get all the praise and glory. I on the otherhand get spitfire and critized. Sunday, while trying to tell her of all the day's plans I had for assisting her (laundry, grocery shopping etc.) she got angry and hung up on me. Needless to say, I felt bad, but didn't reward her bad behavior by coming over for more abuse. And yet, I cried all day, feeling like such a schmutz for not "sucking up" and taking it from a mean old women. Some days I just can't.
This was a lovely post. It makes me see that I'm not alone in all the bitter and all of the sweet that is motherhood. Oh Susan, I'm sooooo glad I found your blog!

Susan said...

Jackee, my dear, what a struggle you are going through. Mother/children relationships are so hard sometimes, especially when you feel like you have to always be the "strong one". I don't know which is worse...losing your parents at a young age, or having to watch them slide into oblivion before your eyes, while trying to stay cheerful. Sometimes it just can't be done. I knew that you've been having a hard time with your mother and her health, but I didn't realize you were having problems with your son. Believe me, I empathize with you. If you need a shoulder......

Natashya said...

What a beautiful post.
A mother-daughter relationship is so complex. I am lucky that my (now grown) daughter has made it fairly easy, (unlike my relationship with my own mother).
What beautiful sentiments.

Susan said...

Natashya, thank you. Yes, mother-daughter relationships are rarely easy, but it seems that you must have had a handle on it early on, maybe because of having a difficult one with your mother. Ah, the lessons we have to learn about life.

Natalie said...

I am glad you shared this!

California Girl said...

Susan: that is sweet and loving and all the things a mommy should be. Love it. Your daughter is a lucky girl.

The Martina song is a tear jerker for sure.

Susan said...

Thank you, Natalie! Welcome to my blog!

Susan said...

Thank you, Cali Girl. It took me a lot of years to get that smart and I still have a lot of learning to do yet.

Yes, Martina really puts a lot of emotion into her songs. She's one of the storytellers of country music.

PeacefulWmn9 said...

What a tender and beautiful awakening you have shared here...I have three grown daughters, and have learned much in this one post of yours.

So, thank you :)


Susan said...

Karen, that is very sweet of you. I'm usually the one learning from your writings.