This morning I sat with my girls on the couch while they waited for the elementary school bus to pick them up and take them away down the winding, mountain road. I couldn’t help but see each of them through the lens of my own childhood.
Mariah is in 5th grade now. She is my twin spirit, and everything about her reminds me of growing up in that A-frame home, built by the hands of my dad. As she was talking to me, I couldn’t help but absorb the animated facial expressions, the enthusiastic story-telling, and the way she wears her emotions on the outside, whatever they may be.
Her propensity to run and hide when she is being confronted, is possibly the greatest evidence of her bloodline to a broken man whom has always struggled to come out from behind the fig leaves.
The other day we found her dresser drawer full of candy bar wrappers, which she insisted had miraculously appeared. She went ballistic in denial, throwing a tantrum that could register on the richter scale. She looked in my face and lied to me. Repeatedly. And the more she lied and scrambled and denied and dressed in leaves of figs, the more I loved her.
Because I know this fear.
I just sat with her, quietly on the floor. Her arms were folded (yes, I know I should prepare myself for many more years of this, times three!) and she refused to look at me. Her punishment would be in place until she was willing to own up to her unbecoming. And I didn’t get mad, and I wasn’t even hurt by her… I was hurting f o r her.
Because I know this fear.
And once you’ve invested in a denial… once you’ve run for the border… once you’ve lit the match to the bridge, you feel you’re trapped. The fear of abandonment and loss and unbalanced punishment and whatwouldtheythink? begins to torment you to the point of researching the nearest mental hospital.
My heart broke for her. I just kept repeating to her, a piece of counsel given to me (when I was once hiding in toxic shame): “You don’t have to live like this.”
I love this girl. And at times she can light up a room with charisma and charm. And other times she can burn the castle to the ground in her rage and self-hatred. I love her when she shines, and I love her when she gives me the proverbial finger. I love her when she is on the top of a pyramid full of cheerleaders in front of a huge crowd. And I love her when she locks the door and won’t let me in.
I want her to live in freedom. I want her to live free from fear, free from the anxiety that she’ll be dismissed. I want her to live in complete confidence that her Father loves her, and he’ll always leave the Light on for her. And if she locks me out of her bedroom, I’ll stand at the door and knock. And if she chooses to hide under an electric blanket of shame, I’ll be wooing her out from her hiding.