on becoming an ancestor.

I feel like I can’t write about my grandmothers, or the feminine behind me without the 100% investment of what is within me, that which birthed from me. 

This bloodline thing, it goes as far back and as far forward as we can imagine.

The purpose of this book I am trying to write-  which I still know so little about- but trusting my entire being around it, isn’t just about the ancestors that have paved my way.

It’s about the grandmother + ancestor I am training/practicing to become.

It’s about the mothers + grandmothers + ancestors I am raising in my three daughters. 

Let me be straight.  I don’t know what I am doing. This whole thing, raising these girls into the next level of age and evolution isn’t far off from raising a newborn baby… except without the primal attraction I seemed to have to the newborn cuteness. We are built with that internal love and protection for little helpless creatures that can’t do a thing for themselves so we bare with the night feedings and the constant clinging and the mysterious crying for hours.  The baby cuteness and this intense desire to protect often softens the challanges that are brought to the table.   At least for me it did.  That same feelings just isn’t as obvious for me while raising a cusping teen daughter. Mostly I just want to run away. I know as much {or as little} about this phase as I did about the newborn baby phase.  And yet when I held that little one in my arms for the first 6 months, it immiediately felt like “I got this”.   Well now, as this baby has grown up to a 12 year old beauty of all beauties and sass of all sasses… I can honestly say I don’t think I got this yet. I am lost and feel alone beyond belief.

And it seems like all the other phases from baby to now, although exhausting, seemed to fit under “child” and having a child for me felt like pure luck and joy for the most part- and primal, it felt primal.  We just went outside and played in dirt and in rivers and we got messy and we read and cuddled and slept as much as they would allow. I was the leader of the band and they played the songs.  This isn’t working any more. Things are very different. She is slowly leaving the band. And I know it’s normal, but that doesn’t negate the hard and confusing and the 'what's next?'

This phase does not feel primal. This feels like I was never equipted with any of the tools to be here and now parenting this blooming human.  Like, it’s impossible. How can we get into slamming door conflicts over how much I love her singing or asking her to just please help me put laundry away or just do the homework. {jesus fucking christ can we just fuck homework to hell?} or because I ask a simple question that triggers all the hormomes {ALL THE HORMONES!}.

All this is bringing up so much about my own coming of age- which really I see now- didn’t actually exist.  I don’t remember coming of age.  

There was no marking or conversation or rite of passage.  What it feels like when I look back is that a huge transition - the death of my childhood and the birth of my womanhood- was avoided. Or ignored. Or went unnoticed. Or was just not dealt with because maybe it was just too achey and grief-filled time for all.  Or maybe because the exact age she is now, I went through such trauma and grief and I am now being reminded of how maybe I need healing.  I needed to be mothered in a specific way as well... I don’t think my mother had any idea how that was, and she did her best, she did more than her best, but still- I floated, I was lost, I never let go of my child and I never fully grasped what it meant to flourish as a young woman. I clung to my mother and I clung to being a grown up and in all that clinging, I got lost.  {maybe this is just how it is? but does it have to continue to be like this?}

Becoming a mother myself was the first time ever in my life that I felt I owned a transition.  Because actual transition in birth will crack it all open and bring it all front and center and the fire that you feel literally on your skin, will burn a lot of shit away.  It is a rite. I finally felt like I had crossed a threshhold. I owned myself. And I was given the gift of a child.

And there is a big lesson here for me, a big crack with seeping light pouring through, a vision I have for myself and for my daughter right now- and I know there isn’t a right or wrong way but there is an energy we must walk together, the intentions we make, what we choose- and all of it- I am still a student of it.  I am still learning it.  I am so open to learning it.  I just wish I could know the words, or the actions, or the energy. I am searching. I am loving. I am feeling into it all. I want her to know I know she is changing, and I want her to know that I am holding the space. But I also know if I step too close she will push.  And if I back all the way, she will feel like I left. This dance is utter temperance, and I am no good at balance or patience- but I can walk between worlds. So maybe there is hope.  

I am becoming the new ancestor. And I am showing her how to become that, as well. 

And. There is always intuition.

The mom of the delicious and milk-filled baby at my breast, that mom had no idea what she was doing either, but she was so intuitive.  She just showed up.  And did it. And I am looking, asking, to uncover this next layer of mothering intuition, the knowing, the mother-voice, the one that holds space for her now. Her own breasts growing. Her own body shifting. Her own mind exploding into a million gardens of her own fruition. Her person, whole and true and strong and wild, emerging. The look in her eye when they meet mine.  We want to know each other all over again. And I am not sure we know how. But maybe in that not knowing how, all the love will be uncovered, something new will be born.  I must trust this new intuition that is rising up, and it’s harder, because there are so many more voices these days, and she has so many more influences. And there are so many opposing forces to my style of life and mothering and living. And there is still that little 12 year old girl in me, who feels alone.

My voice quivers as I write this. 

I am crying in grief. Of what I am losing, that wild and dirty little girl. Of what I didn’t have back then, no memory of becoming.   About how the two are intermingling.  And knocking together. And I am walking that line of projecting and validation and knowing and unknowing.  

I am crying in grace.  Because god damn it. I am so grateful for this, for what is next.  And to know even this much, right now.  

I wish I had a list or something: 12 ways to parent a 12 year old girl. or. How to survive these teen years. Or. Uncovering the next phase of mother intuition.

But I don’t. I just have this. My words. I don’t have answers. Maybe you can just live in the question with me. I could use some good company.

* * *

{a letter to my daughter. a letter to myself. a letter to the blood behind me and in front of me. in words, i will figure things out.}

Dear Mia, 

It’s me. Your mother.

I just wanted to let you know, wanted to tell you, that I can’t stop listening to this one recording I took of you when you were singing in the studio the other day with your dad.

I wanted to tell you that, without you thinking I was some weirdo sitting around listening to a shitty recording of you singing a reggae version of Katy Perry. And I wanted to tell you this without you immediately thinking I am saying this to you because I am your mom and you are my daughter and because of that I naturally just think you are an amazing rock star.  It’s not that.

I am listening to it over and over because your voice has a quality to it that is both sweet and soulful, healing and powerful. It’s one of those voices that feels infectious, that makes you feel really good when you listen to it.  I mean, I’ll be honest. Maybe it’s just because you are my daughter and I am a totally creepy fan mom.  But mostly it’s not. Mostly because when I listen to it, I feel beautiful, I feel healed, I feel nourished.  Which is an odd feeling because you are my daughter. But I am saying this because I want you to know you are such a gift.  There is a light in you.  And I can feel it when you sing.

I want you to know that I never want to pressure you to sing or do anything that your entire being doesn’t want to do.  Sometimes it feels like my enthusiasim around your singing voice or anything you do translates as being controlling or pressuring you or trying to make decisions for youAnd I never want to do that. I don’t want to be that person to anyone, ever, especially you.  You are the kid that wouldn’t let me hold your hand or tie your shoe or teach you a thing.  You always said to me when you were so little “I DONT NEED A TEACHER I AM MY OWN TEACHER MAAAAMMMAAAAA!”  You have been wise in your own body for a very long time. I trust you. I do.  This doesn’t mean I have any idea what I am doing sometimes.  And also, it means I must know something, because here we are, doing this beautiful life together, still.

I never want to sound like I am dictating or pushing you. Because I know you and you can’t be pushed. All I want is for you to be happy, to find joy in your expression and to play. To really play.  And live creative.

So really girl, your voice just sounds damn good.  And I like it.  Please don’t get all mad at me for saying it.  It’s not any differnt then me loving any other singers I listen to all the time. It wouldn’t be weird if Gwen Stefani was around and I was all “omg please sing for me more!”  You just own something beautiful and unique. You bring a quality that just feels good in my heart, hits me in my heart.  It’s emotional. Expressive.  And really, it heals a part of me.

So if It ever feels like I am pressuring you to sing more, or go out there and share your voice, its not because I am trying to tell you what to do - it really is because I think your voice is important.  To you. To me. To those around you. And that said… never do a thing with it that you don’t want to do. Don’t listen to me. Listen to you. {isn’t that hysterical because I am always complaining how I really would love it if people listened to me more?}

Just sing for the love of singing.  Keep loving it. Ignore your creepy fan mom.  Just keep using your voice because it makes you feel good.

Because truly, I believe it is one of your super powers. 

Love you more than ever, 

Mama.