Sometimes I catch myself thinking about the things I miss out on by being a parent. The places I can’t go, the events I miss. Boyfriends have told me they love me, but not the fact that I’m a mother, as if one has nothing to do without the other.
But then I remember, I wouldn’t be interested in new restaurants or art shows if it weren’t for my daughter. I wouldn’t have the guts to meet new people if she didn’t force me to live a little more socially, a little less anxiously. I wouldn’t care enough about my health or my future if I weren’t responsible for this little girl. And the guys, the guys who love my independence and my drive, they would have nothing to love if not for her.
I gave up on life at a very young age. After growing up neglected and watching my family safety net get ripped apart. I learned the people out there meant to protect you have no obligation to do so. Things got dark and seemingly hopeless, fast.
And then she was born. I sobered up; I cut out the poisonous ties. My huge network of fair-weather friends was replaced by a few solid souls. Colours were more vibrant and I began to feel the crispness of fresh air in my lungs. I wanted to live a more full life; I wanted the same for my baby. I found a self-worth in myself I never had before, and with it I pushed myself to try new things. To believe I could accomplish something as “simple” as meeting a group of people for lunch, or something as big as graduating an advanced journalism program. I must be someone worthwhile if someone so precious looks up to me, I’m not going to fail her.
Quite simply, if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t care. I would have destroyed myself or let others do it, and it nearly happened. She’ll never know the mommy she looks up to is only strong because of her daughter’s unwitting guidance.