Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Inner Child

Not long after my mother died, my father said words to me that were crushing. He casually said, as if to get something off his chest, "your mother never wanted a third child" and yes, I am the third child. It's one thing to hear you were not planned but not wanted is something much different. I felt numb and began to look back over my life to think of incidences that would confirm such a painful statement and there were things to confirm it. It felt something like the ultimate rejection to me.
I don't blame my mother for her feelings, she felt she knew her limits and her own childhood was not full of wonder and delight. My grandfather was a spoiled rich kid, who had no concept of work or responsibility which played hard on the family. I don't remember feeling unloved ever in my childhood, but always felt that perhaps there was never unconditional love. I suspect there was but that was not what we heard about in our teenage years. Parenting in the 60's and 70's was not "touchy-feely" like it is now. It was not open and expressive. It would have been a rare parent in those days that told a child they were sorry for the mistakes they made in some aspect of their parenting. Times have changed, and we are catching on that the parenting skills of the dark ages no longer work so well in a world so totally different. I do think though that many parents now just opt for the easy way out and give up and give in. Another story there.
Parenting is hard work. Its hard to be consistent and its hard work to study all there is on helping your children become compassionate adults. Its hard work to weed out the stuff that is fluff and worthless too. Its hard work to be an example at all times that is good. But worth the work.
My childhood, although rich in learning, rich in stretching the brain, was lacking in that energy that parenting requires. My mother, a good woman to be sure, lacked that emotional strength to deal with the hard times of parenting. She would just get mad and not speak, sometimes for a week. It left you feeling like you were hanging off the edge of Unresolved Mountain.
So where is this all going ? To a recently purchased cassette tape at Goodwill Thrift store. It was by Divine design that I picked up this tape, "Songs for the Inner Child", by Shaina Noll. Actually I picked it up after reading the song list on the back, not even noticing the title. There were lullabies on the tape and I have grand babies ! A few days after purchasing the tape, I sat down with a cup of Cherry Vanilla Tea, (thanks to a wonderful blog friend) and played the tape. I was "blown away" and I don't use that sort of phrase often, by the first song I heard, not only does Shaina Noll sing like an angel, but the words left me in tears.
"How Could Anyone"
by Libby Roderick
How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful?
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole?
How could anyone fail to notice
That your loving is a miracle?
How deeply you're connected to my soul?
I connected. Nurturing our inner child can be a powerful tool to becoming strong, to putting aside the very things that eat at us. Perhaps its our eating, maybe our spending, maybe our insecurities, maybe our need to please, maybe our need to over-achieve, or perhaps something deeper like having an obsessive compulsive disorder that rules your actions. The list could be very long. However, this journey to become whole in life, call it what you wish, nurturing the inner child, a spiritual quest, discovering the meaning of life, whatever, it is a journey of wonderment and yes, I will use the word enlightenment. Seeking something deep and true and in the end knowing who you are and what your true purpose is. there are song clips on Shaina's web site and ordering information.


Shellie said...

Patty, You're not alone in being an unwanted 3rd child. My little sister was exactly that and thought I don't know of any time my mother ever said it to her, I know she made it know in her actions and behavior. Mom wasn't good at the hard parts of parenting either-more aggressive than passive-aggressive. Unfortunately, my sister's life has been much different than your's with may bad decisions made along the way. She's improving but still has a ways to go.

Love lyrics to the song.
Have a great day!

Bren said...

This post was a Divine meeting! What a perfect thing for my little Charlotte. She heard for 3 1/2 years how unwanted she was. Zach could use this too. Womb rejection has strong tentacles of a cancer that hang on. You can never quiote put your finger on the feeling, but you know something is not quite right.
How beautifully written are your posts, Patty. Incase you do not hear it enough, you are such a gifted writer. I always feel like I am reading some sort of poetry when I read your blog.

mikesgirl said...

I too, know the feeling. When I asked my mom why I'm an only child she told me my father never wanted ANY children. He's passed now and my mom has Alzheimers, but even at the age of 55, the feeling that statement imbedded in me still lingers and invades my thoughts and self-esteem. Thanks Patty for your perspective on this. It helps.

nancyr said...

It is sad the message parents sometimes give children. My best friend heard from her mother that she never wanted a girl, she wanted four boys. Diane is the middle child, and the only girl. Her mother doted on her older brother, her dad on her younger brother. Diane has had a serious weight problem all of her life, has low self esteem and us generally an unhappy person. Words may be more harmful that most people realize.
Great post.

Mimi said...

that was very thought provoking... and should remind us that what we say to our children and grandchildren will have a lifelong lasting effect on their will effect the way they feel about themselves.
There are no accident children in God's eyes... and if he can love and care for us... then we should love and care for all of the children He sees fit to give us under our care.

thanks for this great post.

Heartathome said...

This post made me think.... When I was expecting our first child, I desperately wanted a boy but I had a daughter. In the last 5 years or so, I've mentioned to my daughter that I had wanted a son-but also explain that while I wanted a son, the Lord saw fit to bless me with a daughter and that before that I had never wanted any girls. After I had my oldest daughter, I was happy to have more girls, in fact, I went on to have 2 more girls whom I love and can't imagine life without. But after reading this post, I'm wondering if I have done the right thing. I told my oldest (she's the only one old enough to understand) about wanting a boy because I wanted her to see that sometimes God does not answer our prayers in the way that we hope, but instead, He gives us the precious gift that we need most. However, maybe she just hears that she was not the boy I wanted and thinks that she'll never measure up. My last child was unexpected. I had an 8 month old and my husband had decided to go back to school to make a drastic career change. It was not what I considered the best timing. However, that unexpected child has been the biggest blessing and she is definitely Momma's girl. I am thinking that maybe I need to sit all my girls down and tell them how much they are loved and wanted...
Thanks for the post.

MamaBugs said...

I rarely comment on your blog as most times it leaves me thinking and pondering and without words or I simply bask in the loveliness of your photos or thoughts. My sincere apologies for that; the not commenting part! *S*
The lyrics in this song are amazing and I would like to place them in a post to my "adopted" daughter. Would that be alright with you? I will gladly come back and tell you when the post is up so you can read it. This daughter came into our lives about 5 years ago. She is deaf and had a horrible childhood. Very different from the childhood our girls had. I couldn't love her more than if she had been born to us though. And while she is too old to legally adopt she knows she finally has a family. I will post the rest of the story on my blog....

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

My husband knows how you feel. He never knew his father and his own mother said to some other people in front of him that she never wanted him and he was a mistake. It still hurts him to this day and he has no contact with her. He tried to be a good son and keep in contact with her but it just caused more pain. Praying for you and loving you.

2 LMZ FARMS said...

I really enjoyed the lyrics to the song. Sometimes it doesn't matter if we had a loving childhool or not, everyone of us need to love the inner child. Hope you and yours have a blessed day.

Patty said...

Please Mamabugs feel free to post them, they are the wonderful writing of a very talented singer songwriter Libby Roderick.

Renie Burghardt said...

The lyrics are truly touching abd beautiful, Patty.

I was raised by my grandparents, who were very loving and gentle. But I made a mistake by marrying someone who wasn't. He brought my children and myself down, for years. But I always told my children how much they meant to me, in the 60s and 70s, and inspite of the terrible times, they all turned out well and are happy and loving, and very caring. But I often feel guilty for staying in a terrible marriage much too long, that hurt the children and myself. Nurturing the inner child is most important.

I agree with everyone here, your writing is beautiful!



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