When I was pregnant with Leslie –before tests to determine the baby’s sex were routine—I just KNEW that I was having a girl and I would dream about the fun adventures that we would have:
Shopping for clothes, going to the Nutcracker Suite, dance recitals, talks on the edge of the bed, in the dark, giggling and snuggling with the flashlight on illuminating the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling. By my 5th month of pregnancy, it was apparent that Leslie was an independent, follow-your-own-path person, guided by the bumps and kicks through the night and quiet during the day—her terms. I wanted to raise an independent, free thinking moral, kind, generous child, but when push came to shove and “NO” started to come from her mouth, hmmm, my intentions were challenged.
One day, after observing her toy strewn room -- did I really buy that many toys? -- I strongly advised her to put her possessions back in their crates - and I went outside to talk with the neighbors. Suddenly, from my bedroom window, I hear in her loudest voice “Do this, do that-who do you think I am? Cinderella?” Leslie was 4 years old at the time. Point made. She insisted on choosing her own outfits—pick your battles, I learned. …she paired her favorite turquoise pleather skirt with a red shirt and a multicolored belt it and it looked good ..yes, she was on to her own sense of independent style at 5.
Life continued blissfully happy until a gremlin inhabited her during her teenage years, but whatever happened-- if hurtful words came from her mouth, frustrated actions towards us occurred, I truly did realize that she was experiencing something that she could not control. I was frightened and concerned, but I was the adult and I needed to help her through this time in her life. I was determined to help her work on her self esteem, encourage her talents and abilities, while letting her know it was ok to get a ‘B’, not always the ‘A’ on a test.
Our family truly came together during her ED years—continuing to support, help, love, and encourage Leslie and allowing her (and us) to find her own strength in conquering her challenges. –and she did… on her terms… just like always.
As this Mother’s day approaches, I am so grateful for the continuing circle of life that I am privileged to enjoy. My mom is 84, still teaches religious school and I continue to learn daily from her. My precious granddaughter Maia, is just beginning to react to other individual’s personalities—please keep it positive and safe and encouraging. My hopes of raising an independent, loving and moral daughter have come to fruition. Leslie, still is-and will always be my ray of sunshine-we have all survived our challenges, embraced our own experiences and continued to support, love and appreciate one another. I am so lucky and thrilled to say not only is Leslie my daughter, I am proud to say she is my friend.