Attachment

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. 🌳

Expressly yours,

The Repressed Peach

The last baby tooth. 

Parenting is such an interesting journey. It’s full of ups and downs, twists and turns and a little bit of duck, dive and dodge. It’s beautifully analogous to life. And oh what a life it is!

Being a mom is my pride and joy. It’s one of the things I feel I am best at. And by best, I mean in a simple, thoughtful, realistic kind of way. I’m not an over the top, hovercraft, expert-level Pinterest mom, and I’m not a bedazzled, superstar. I’m just thoughtful, caring, disciplined, routine, ordinary, yet exceptional mom to a spectacular young man who makes me love life, enjoy philosophical convos, explore new things, encourage laughter and make beautiful life-long memories together. He is my pride and my joy. He’s my happiness. And I’ve told him so since he was a wee small babe laying in bed ready to go night-night.

He’s a big guy now. Nearly 13 and full of personality, wonder, and silliness. I love every bit of it! Just as I loved watching him find his toes to watching him learn to sit up, I find joy in his development into young adulthood. Milestone and after milestone he’s just blossomed into the person he is today. Like many parents, one of the biggest milestones is cutting teeth. Oh watching, waiting and feeling for those baby teeth to come in is something so treasured and longed for. Our babies can dine with us! They can explore foods and try new things and menu options soon become endless! It’s a glorious thing to be shared by all. Photos are taken, tricks are played to encourage that new toothy grin, Grandma’s fingers, Grandpa’s fingers and everyone else in the family explore the newly developed toofers that have erupted! So much happens at this major milestone and so many adorable memories are made. From the first tooth to the last, we celebrate and create rituals and ceremonies to commemorate the adventure.

But what about the last baby tooth? That last little bugger that holds on and waits until nearly 13 to let go and give way for the final adult tooth to break through? No celebration? No victory dance? No letters from the tooth fairy? Well, tonight my son found a splendid way to celebrate. After pulling his own last baby tooth from his mouth, he washed and dried it then wrapped it in the customary tissues. But when he couldn’t find any tape to secure the wrappings, he took to the craft closet to tie a beautiful red ribbon around it. 

He sent me a text of his final product with the sweet words “my final present to the tooth fairy”. My heart nearly split in two from the pure joy and happiness I felt at his ceremonial wrappings and sincere words.

Tonight, when I play my last role as the Tooth Fairy, I’m going to relish the opportunity to get up in the middle of the night and cautiously leave a nice sum of money under his warm pillow. I’m going to remember the times we shared watching him cut his first tooth up to tonight when he so bravely pulled his own tooth and found a unique way of celebrating the commencement of this ritual and milestone. He’s a joy to raise. A joy to love. A joy to be a mom to. He’s my greatest gift and my most treasured person. ❤️

Lovingly,

The Repressed Peach

Scars

Few people know the details of my upbringing and all that I had to watch, suffer through, and recover from. The horrors of life were ever present in my life from the time I was a small infant to my older teenage years. This included trauma and chaos at school too. Few people realize how badly I was tormented as a child in school. I had several factors stacked against me. First, I have a unique first name that rhymes with colorful, nasty words (think: “Nicky likes _____.”); I have red hair, and my maiden name was Crisp. To add to the fun, I was also miserably poor. My mom was a single mom of three kids and we had a horrible life full of drugs, neglect, abuse (every kind you can define), and homelessness. We moved from house to house, often lived with my grandparents, worked in their restaurant, and struggled to find any sense of stability. It was awful to say the least. Nobody should have to live like that. In the midst of it all, I found a love for school. I loved school and the teachers. I thrived in school at every opportunity. I loved my teachers and clung to them for safety and security. They were my beacons of hope for a different life.  A life that I deserved. A life that I could make for myself if I just tried hard enough and made good decisions toward. The sad part about this is that school was not safe for me either. I was tormented for all the things that made me unique. I was called names, teased mercilessly, rumors spread about me, and ridiculed at every turn. I remember it was in 4th grade that things started to get really ugly. I was manipulated into thinking I was doing things wrong, that I wasn’t a good friend, and that I was not worthy of friendship, love, or life. I remember walking home from the bus stop crying my eyes out every single day of 4th, 5th, and most of 6th grade. Nobody helped me. Nobody stood up for me. My mom did nothing. The school did nothing. The teachers did nothing. The bus drivers did nothing. My friends cowered behind the bullies thankful they weren’t the targets of such pain. I cried in humiliation, fear, sadness and thought that maybe I didn’t deserve to live. I never attempted to take my life, but if it weren’t for the grace of God, and His divine intervention, I could have lost all hope for better days. Some of the people I am connected to today on social media were my bullies. They’ve never apologized. We’ve never been close. But they are part of why I am who I am today. I don’t see myself as a victim of anything in life, I see myself as a survivor and I am thriving. However, I do not aim to minimize my experiences. In fact, I aim to highlight that life is hard and kids can be cruel, but with time, healing, and good guidance even the worst of the worst can be made good.

I have to remember this in the season I am in right now.

See, my son has become the target of bullying. He has been hit in the face on several occasions, his books and band instrument taken away from him and thrown on the ground, he’s been called names and ridiculed in front of his peers. All while at school, with teachers, cameras, and a wonderful thing called “David’s Law” are in place. And despite all of these things, here we are, 30 years later, and I am replaying the trauma I experienced as a young girl. My trauma does not equal his trauma, but it has prepared me to face this issue head on and with a fierceness that only a parent can muster when their child is being mistreated. The scars of my past have been opened a bit and my unspent tears are being shed in love for my son, the sweetest, most gentle, kind-hearted person the world has known. He is a smart, kind, talented, warm, friendly, inquisitive, joyful, God-loving, encouraging, funny 12 year old. He is all of this and so much more. Thankfully, he doesn’t have any “flaws” stacked against him that makes him an easy target, but here he is being tormented and assaulted at school. I can’t figure out what has caused this other child to lash out against my son. To add fuel to the already volatile situation, the perpetrator in this case is the principal’s son. Lovely.

Ironically, before the first days of 7th grade, my son’s school held what was called “Prep Days” where you get your school ID, class schedule, and find the classrooms on your schedule. While we were there, I spoke with the principal and the assistant principals about a series of inappropriate activities that occurred on the school bus that ran through my neighborhood the year before. Several students had shared that inappropriate sexual activities were taking place between kids on the bus and several fights broke out, too. Well, when I addressed these concerns all of the principals were baffled at the information as though they had never heard of anything like that. They claimed nobody had reported any of this misbehavior and had no knowledge of any parental concerns about what was happening on the bus. The principal even had a dismissive tone as I spoke with him. Red flags went up all over my brain. Not a good impression. And definitely not a good sign of things to come in the given situation.

Nobody deserves to go through this experience. Yet we know that so many kids are victims of bullying and so many suffer in silence. So many kids don’t have anyone to tell. They don’t have anyone to fight for them. They have no voice to be heard and nobody advocates for the mistreatment to stop. Thankfully there are societal changes taking shape, but the abuse happens faster than laws can be passed or lives saved. I will ensure that I use every single resource at my disposal to ensure my son’s safety and that of others. I will not stand idle by and watch my son or any other child abused like this. I know the depth at which these experiences affect you and the pain that stays with you most of your life. I know the helplessness one feels when faced with bullying and mistreatment. Know this: I will advocate for the safety of all children at this school. I will go to any length necessary to achieve the desired results. I will spare no expense in my endeavors.

I may have scars from my childhood, but I am going to use them as badges of honor in my fight. My bullies had their day, but I will have mine in the demand for this to cease for my child.

Expressly,

The Repressed Peach