Holding back tears I asked, “DOES she have SOCKS?!” This was my BIG worry tonight as we walked through Walmart at 9:00pm on a rainy, random Wednesday night. College. My daughter is leaving for college…tomorrow and I’m worried about socks!? She is 18, dreams of being a psychologist, and the world is at her feet. Me, I’m the mom worried about if she will have socks as she goes out to show this world what striving for success and strength looks like!
I looked to the man who is my calm in the storm, casually walking a few steps ahead, he nonchalantly answers “yes.” I questioned him again. After all, I knew nearly every day, no matter how many pairs I buy, my girls are going to come steal my socks. In that moment he looked at me and calmly said “yes, your baby has socks.” I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.
Why was I crying in Walmart over socks? I’m sure I looked and sounded ridiculous. I was irritated. I was emotional. I was thinking about 18 years of time that came and went far too fast. I was happy and I was scared. So I was worried about socks. Silly, I was a wreck…but why socks?
It’s ironic, that a little over 18 years ago I was in labor. In fact, I vividly recall getting “new mom” anxiety at the hospital about socks for my new baby girl. I was asking the same question then as I was this very night. Of all things I was worried my baby wouldn’t have socks!
My mom rushed out to buy socks for my sweet baby and her tiny feet. In addition, she bought clothes to fit her tiny frame. My first was so little. My beautiful red haired, blue eyed, baby girl was full term, but weighed 6’8 and measured 17 1/2” long. So small. My first baby girl of my threefold, and my first true love.
Looking on as moms do, I saw my oldest daughter, with her two little sisters bickering. I laughed and tried to let them do their typical back and forth banter. I played the pull mom every direction and make sure she pays attention to each child. I tried to remain patient and calm as I listened to each tell me their “needs” or “wants”. My anxiety was growing, but not due to worry about her or even the other two of my threefold. I was forgetting something. Had to be.
As the night passed on I noticed my emotional state was becoming so high that I was becoming overly anxious. All the needs, wants and reminders flying around for all three girls. Then the little fights. As my anxiety increased so did my oldest daughter’s. I could see her feeling like she was getting “more” than her younger siblings. In addition, I could see her insecurity surrounding money start to make her flustered. As a result, I saw firsthand, that she was feeling all the anxiety I was trying to push down. Instead of her knowing why, I saw her viewing herself as the cause of every bit of my increasing anxiety.
I got her nearly everything she has needed over these past couple of months. We only have a few last minute needs to tie up. Yet, she still felt like she was causing my anxiety. That wasn’t it. Not at all. I was proud and wanted nothing more than for her to feel confident as she began college. Yet, I felt like I was failing her as our anxiety climbed together.
What I didn’t tell my oldest is that I wasn’t anxious over buying what she needed, her sisters bickering, or even the growing list. I was missing something, but I couldn’t place what.
This feeling was unshakeable. Maybe I was just being a mom and scared. However, I’m not scared of her making the wrong choices, failing, or getting into trouble. I know her on a level that goes beyond a typical mother/daughter relationship. We talk about everything. Above all, even if I don’t want to hear the truth, she doesn’t lie to me in the way most teenagers do lie to their parents.
Finally it hit me, right in that Walmart aisle and with those socks sitting on sale. I didn’t forget to make sure her feet were covered in clean socks. She had her toothbrush and pj’s. This went beyond the superficial level of material needs. I was forgetting the person who once inhabited that tiny frame.
She was moving beyond her past. I no longer saw a scared girl with anxiety standing in the aisles going through the mental checklist she made a year ago of everything she needed. I saw the person who had worked hard to find her own voice again. I saw a woman who was funny, kind, and a genuinely good person standing worried about her abilities.
My daughter deserves all things good. I want this for her and every good thing in life. She has sacrificed more than many. Furthermore, my oldest daughter has been my coparent even if she didn’t ask for that responsibility. She endured the hardest circumstances in submissive silence to avoid making life harder for herself, her sisters and I when the abuse we all endured was aimed in her direction. She suffered and sacrificed her childhood, her teenage years, and her own blood, sweat and tears to help her younger sisters and I survive .
Her strength isn’t only in the survival it’s in the story she is writing in spite of the circumstances she was raised in. That strength is in her smile that is contagious. The confidence in her own abilities and the goals she has chased, regardless of the people along the way who tried to tell her every reason she would never reach them.
Her complete transparency, self awareness, genuine kindness, and inclusive nature all are part of the backbone of her identity.
It’s takes bravery to walk through the fire, but it takes perseverance to walk through that fire and not allow your entire life to be consumed by the pain.
It’s takes courage to love with your entire heart and give of yourself to others, even though that love and gift has been taken advantage of since you were young. It takes commitment to make a plan and to speak it to others, but it’s the determination that carries you across the finish line. It takes fight to face your worst fears, but it takes ferocity to overcome those fears.
My daughter is just another girl to the world, but she is going to change the world of the people who have the honor to know her. My daughter is beautiful, smart, and talented. However, she is more than any pretty pictures or my bias words could convey. My oldest daughter is the smallest of my threefold. Nonetheless, at 4’11, the truth that she has learned is “dynamite comes in small packages…BOOM!” Get ready, because this girl of mine is about to blow up on your scene.
She is my daughter, my first love, and I’m so incredibly lucky she calls me mom. She definitely has more than just socks these days, she has a whole suit of armor that she forged in the fire of her past. That armor is her success story. The one she has written each day along the way and will continue to write until it reaches completion. I am just happy to be on the sidelines cheering her on and supporting her through this crazy train ride called life. To my threefold, to my first little love. You’ve got this! Together we’ve got each other, always. ☮️❤️😊~M