Parenting

A Mother's Nightmare

Although the holidays were filled with lots of love and laughter. My Thanksgiving night ended in me giving more thanks then I could ever imagine. To me this was my worst nightmare as a parent, and a reminder of my constant strength and vulnerability.

Thanksgiving evening my youngest daughter Karter, 2, was attacked by a dog. Not the average she runs and is chased, or nearly bitten. She was mulled and attacked. Here I am helping my oldest daughter fold laundry, Karter who is behind me playing like her usual self, suddenly screams. My reaction time was immediate, I looked over my shoulder and witnessed my brother's pit bull mix tightening his jaws around her scalp.

In those quick seconds, I didn't scream, I didn't shout. My body went into full attack mode, and all I could think of was "I have to save by baby". Thank God my mother was by my side, she begin to tighten the collar around the dogs neck, as I kicked and pulled my daughter away from his mouth. Here I am a mother, whose mother was protecting me, and still to my rescue. Look at God! My husband rushed as he heard my oldest daughter screaming for help, but because it happen so fast she was already loose. His reaction was to kill the dog, my reaction was just to hold Karter who was screaming with blood dripping from her body as well as my older daughter who was also traumatized from what she had just witnessed. 

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed

I don't know if there was a thought or light bulb that cut on. But my demeanor was calm and collective because my need was driven to soothe her wailing body. I kept reminding her that she was safe, and that I was sorry. I felt a huge sense of guilt, thoughts going in my head such as I could have watched over her more, or why did I allow her to be by a dog. Once everyone was calm we rushed to the hospital. Karter stayed in my arms. She had suffered through multiple abrasions to her skin, bruising, received stitches in her scalp, and was clearly traumatized and in pain. I was close to losing my shit (excuse me). But I felt so hopeless and so powerless in those moments of witnessing her pain.

But when I say God has a plan....Dr. said she would be okay, and that these things happen to children. My husband praised me for my strength and power of composure and security. He even asked me "how did you remain so determined". I didn't know how to answer. It was this innate ability that came out of me,  the same ability that helped me push her out of my belly. 

"No one knows what you have been through or what your pretty little eyes have seen, but I can reassure you--whatever you have conquered, it shines through your mind"

Life is precious. There are days I take motherhood for granted. Days that in my head I ask myself what was I thinking, or I just need a break from this commitment. This motherhood ship is not easy sailing. When I thought I was on top of my game, God reminded me there is always room for growth. My baby girl was attacked not because I don't love her but because as parents we don't always get it 100% right. 

Every mistake, every wrong turn, every experience is a lesson. A lesson for me to be kinder, stay stronger, try harder, and keep hoping. I had blood all over my shirt because Karter stayed in my arms through the entire experience. It was like she knew that in my arms she would be safe. I pray that feeling never goes away.....

I will always be here to save you baby girls.

Thank you to my online and offline village who have kept me encouraged through this entire process by sending text, calling, visiting, and most importantly praying for Karter and my family. I absolutely love each and every person who held us in your heart.  

Raising Girls

Raising girls and being a female has been like watching my own reflection. Therefore I am very aware of the experiences I expose them too. Not only because they are my children, but because I once remember being just like them. Raising girls comes with its own challenges. I don't like to pick apart children based on gender, but realistically there are just biological components that make both species very different. I know in my family there are sayings that boys are more easy when raising, but harder to carry prenatal. And that girls are very challenging as they age, but seem to excel more academically. Blah, blah, blah. Although I believe those stories have derived from personal experiences, it is hard to pin point. All I can do is speak about my personal experience raising my children and why I don't place labels.

The gender roles that society likes to prescribe to certain sexes are the natural way we begin to shape and raise our children. We tell boys not to play with dolls, and tell girls not to play too rough. It's natural to adapt to those same gender roles because it makes us feel safe, but what does that teach our children? Are they only allowed to be or feel a certain way, and if not they should feel isolated? I have decided to go against the grain when raising my girls with the understanding that they are capable of doing whatever they choose to do, not because they are females but because they can actually do it.

Kennedy is my flower child. A girl of many wanders. I remember when she began to walk, how she gravitated towards art. Her security was not in a blanket, it was holding a book. She would always need to use her hands, if it was trying to write letters and words, coloring on our walls, or just having a crayon, that girl had things that she needed to come across expressively. So what did I do? I placed her in art classes. I believe as a parent we should allow our children to gravitate towards the things they are interested in. Not saying that we shouldn't give them choices. But there are particular "talents and gifts", as a parent you begin to notice early on and we should take those as signs. She blossomed so well in art it transpired into her excelling in literature because she was so expressive. Now she is a gymnast, a genius in math, and enjoys everything crafty. I never try to corner her into activities, instead I make them available for her to explore. Now that she is older, I allow her to choose all while I still challenge her to expand her interest. I never want my girls to be boxed in, or written out...if you know what I mean.

 

She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. “Time” for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.
— Roman Payne

Now Karter is my fire cracker. Her spirit is not so calm. Half of that is attributed to her being 2, the other half is her will power she has displayed since birth. I say this because even when birthing her she came super-fast. I went into the hospital and the Doctor told me she was coming now. She pushed herself in this world, and continues to keep pushing. She is a ball of energy, jumps off couches, and brave enough to take a leap off the diving board while daddy holds his hands out. Every experience is new to her and she holds no fear. This week she started swim classes, and not only did she show up, she showed out! I blame her drive on her sister being 7 years older. Since being born she has always seen herself in light of her sister. If Kennedy jumps high, she wants to jump higher. As I was holding her in the water, she looked up at her sister and said "see mom, I do it too". Reminded me that although we attend a million gymnastic meets, she also can do well in class. It was amazing to witness her sense of accomplishment.

Don't allow the world to box your children in. Let them be free and allow them to be little. Provide your children with the opportunities to explore. Don't believe stereotypes that keep our children hidden . Yes they will have differences, yes they may be opposites. But that's the joy of our seeds multiplying. My children are not just me reflected. They are pieces of me with a whole lot of them. And although I believe my girls drive me crazy because they are girls, I begin to dispel those myths and allow them to just be them. But always aware I'm raising queens (prayer hands).