Attachment is an amazing thing. It affirms to another’s soul that they belong, that they exist, that they matter. It allows security and stability to form, allows for exploration of self to learn who you are and who you aren’t. If attachment bonds are created then love forms and souls flourish. It’s the nutrient rich soil in which roots take and grow deep and continue to find life giving water and nourishment for a lifetime.
Somehow I have been able to create this type of healthy attachment experience with my child. I don’t know how or by what miracle this was allowed, but my son is a happy, healthy, balanced, connected, thriving young man. He just hugged me and sang off key in my ear for over 20 minutes after spending a weekend with his dad and through all of it all I could think is how much I love him, how much I accept him, how grateful I am that he likes me even though I don’t like myself so often, how much he must love me to hold onto me like that and sing to me. And then I realized I didn’t know what parental attachment felt like until that moment. I didn’t know what it could look like or how it was to feel that.
As a little child, those attachment bonds are easy to create and see from a parent perspective. You tend to their every need, you create meals for them, tend to wounds, usher them to appointments and school, you do all of their everything. So attachment is easier to see. As they become more independent, it morphs into something else, something different that needs to be created just the same. You have different needs to tend to as they age into young adulthood. They have different requirements to find their place in the world. They need support and love in a new way so that they can still feel those attachment bonds deep in their soul. They need to know where home is. They need to know where they can find safety, security and love when the world gets too big, too bad, too ugly.
The attachment bonds are thick tonight. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve my son or to be blessed with his presence but I thank God for him every day. I learn more about myself and life with every passing breath. I am better because of him. I am more because he exists. He is my purpose and my most precious contribution to the world. He is every jewel in my crown.
Growing up was difficult for me as you’ve maybe read in my previous posts, but what made it harder is feeling alone, unwanted, and uncared for during the most difficult times. Feelings of being unsafe and unattached didn’t heal because the circumstances ended, they’ve lingered for decades. Tonight I feel the pain of that wound left so deep in my soul; pain I thank God I have been able to shield my son from and create a different life for him. Here I am 42 and still wounded from the tragedies experienced in my childhood because I didn’t feel attached to anyone who could protect me and love me.
Moms and dads— I implore you… protect your children. Save them from monsters, real and imagined. Create a safe home for them to grow and live a happy, healthy childhood. Make sure they know they’re loved regardless of how much or how little they talk, how long their stories take, how off key their singing is or not, how beautiful they are as human beings, how much you cherish their essence. Make sure they know they belong and they are the most incredible person you know. Help guide them to refine their character. Guide them to develop strong values and principles upon which to live. Love them through their missteps and mistakes. Stand beside them in the wake of their heartache created by disappointment and grief. Love them even when it’s hard and you’d rather do anything else besides…
I promise that you’ll all be better off. In the end you will create lovely, lifelong memories and attachment bonds that will carry you to the end of your days. I can’t imagine anyone else beside me except my son when my end draws near. I pray he will never be too busy or too far away to love his momma and that he will always know he has a home to come back to no matter how far away he roams. I pray the bond we created when he was just a tiny little jellybean growing in my tummy and have continued to nurture into his 16 years of age, will continue through the rest of my natural life and beyond. I pray he can do the same with his children and that we have broken the cycle of dysfunction within our family.
Just as roots of a tree grow deep where there’s nutrition and water, your attachment bonds grow deep where love abounds. 🌳
The Repressed Peach