Yesterday a mama and her little one were playing near the river. I could hear the mama trying to get her son to come near the river to which she was told, "It too loud mama, I stay here." As my daughter and I walked up the path I smiled and said hi to her little one. The mama said, "He may not say hi, he takes time to warm up." I smiled even bigger and said, we are the same and it also took time to be near the river, the noise is still a lot at times.
I watched as this mama's shoulders lowered and I felt her ease up a bit. She said, "Sounds like you may understand." We talked a bit more and even shared some tears. Mamas raising HSC need one another. We need to know that what we are going through isn't as abnormal as it feels at times.
As I walked away, my new friend said, "Thank you. Thank you for reminding me that I'm not missing the fourth of July and neither is my child. Thank you for helping me step out of feeling sorry for myself. Thank you for showing me what patience and connection leads to..."
I left that conversation overwhelmed with gratitude. Who knew that 15 minutes of sharing parts of my story would lead to so much comfort? At times I wonder if anything I share is helpful and then I have moments like above. Our motherhood stories matter. And if I'm honest, the conversation was just as comforting for me as it was for the other mama.
With that said, let me share our Fourth of July Journey.
One of the many moments I was reminded that the vision of life I had while my daughter was in the womb, was not the life that we were called to live, was our first 4th of July.
I began my motherhood journey with every intention of going against the grain, but I didn't realize that going against the grain would push me to see, that what I believed made a good childhood, was actually not what made a good childhood. In fact the way my mama raised us was a much better childhood.
My daughter was barely 5 months old her first Fourth of July. We were in the nearby mountain town, Silverton for the long weekend and I had zero expectations for a 5 month old to enjoy fireworks. Truth be told I was hoping to get to bed before the show began.
The weekend had already been restless as the energy of everyone in the town was being absorbed by myself and my little one. I did my best to stick with our rhythm- you know how some children go with the flow, pass out wherever and whenever, grow out of the phase of needing things just as is, can be held by anyone, and...Not the case for our HSC. I mean sure, you can definitely wing it and change things up, but everyone feels it.
So back to what I had planned. We got ready for bed, settled in and as my daughter was nursing I heard the first quiet boom. We were far enough away that it wasn't loud, but the best part- I could see the show. Unfortunately, that quiet boom, sent my daughter into hysterics. Nothing I tried helped, it felt a bit like trying to help a frightened dog.
The following 3 years would be the same. We could be far away, music playing, in the closet together... and the first subtle boom and everything went downhill. We tried sparklers, NOPE! It was all too much, even closed inside our home. The vibration that is sent into the world by a firework was too much for my empath. I came to terms with it and told myself 4th of July would just not be our thing. Oh and firework videos-big NO, also.
Then, my daughter turned 5 and she heard Lolli (grandmother) talking about fireworks and all of a sudden someone was interested. Yes, I had talked about them before, we looked at pictures, we got excited, but...
It was like day and night, but looking back, I know it was actually so much more. It was stepping into my daughter's heart, leaning into what she needed and giving her time. It was letting go of believing that we needed to continue family traditions that didn't serve our family anymore. It was telling myself over and over that a childhood isn't made up of commercialized holidays and she would be fine without.
We made new traditions and memories and eventually celebrated with silent fireworks on the computer.
Now at 6, someone has been counting down the days for the real deal and it reminds this mama that building a safe and secure home and nurturing our children where they are, pays off in a huge way.
So to anyone going through the same, take a breath. Give it time. Lean into your child. I promise it comes full circle.
Hugs to you,
And Happy Fourth