Monday, July 19, 2021

My Daughter Has Secrets and That's a Good Thing

When my daughter was little she didn’t keep secrets. She told me everything. Once when she was four, she told me that she and her friend snuck candy. She told me even though she knew she’d get in trouble for it. As she got older she began to sensor what she told me. She didn’t want to get in trouble and she didn’t want to hear my perspective on what she or a friend did, even if it wasn’t bad. 

Over the years my daughter has shared past-kept secrets with me. When she was fourteen she shared with me the true extent of the bullying she experienced a few years earlier. Sometimes she’ll share a memory from when she was really little — like how she thought her imaginary friends were actually real, just microscopic and only she could see them. She told me she kept this secret because she didn’t want anyone else to know they were actually real and try to see them.

My daughter is sixteen now and she has lots of secrets — big ones and little ones. She has a vibrant, active social life. She has a car and a driver’s license. She is independent and on her own most of the time. When she comes home I want her to tell me everything. But she rarely does. If the mood is right she might share a few details about a party or some other activity she did, but I know the big stuff, the important stuff she mostly keeps inside.

I’ve noticed that eventually, my daughter will share things about her life with me. She shares her secrets once enough time has passed that I will no longer have a strong reaction — negative or positive. I get it. She wants to preserve her secrets, to keep them precious, like sterling silver pieces wrapped in thin felt, in the dark, away from the ozone and hydrogen that will tarnish them. She is still processing the experience herself, figuring out what it means to her, how it feels in her own body. 

It’s smart. She knows that if she tells me I will have a feeling about it. It might just be the subtle reaction on my face. Or I might have a lecture to give or a personal experience of my own to share. Her secrets stay inside until she is ready to make them public, to hear the outside critique, the oohs and ahhs, the possible judgment and disappointment.

Recently my daughter shared a secret with me that surprised and shocked me. When she told me, I saw her from an angle I had not yet seen. In hearing her secret I felt like I knew her a little bit more but simultaneously realized that there is so much more that I do not know. There must be so many more secrets. 

In the moment after my daughter shared her secret, I felt closer to her. I felt happy and grateful that she had shared it with me. But I also felt the sense that I knew her a little bit less. With every secret my daughter holds onto, mulls over, churns around inside, with her friends, in her own mind, she is coming to know herself a little bit more. 

As my daughter’s sense of knowing herself grows, so too does my sense of unknowing her. I think this is the point. In the old days when my daughter told me everything, I was in charge of her life. I made all the decisions. I planned all the activities. I was always there to moderate playdates and meltdowns. 

But that’s not my role anymore. My daughter has to figure out most of that stuff on her own. She has to build her own interiority of wisdom that she can draw from to navigate her life. This begins with her secrets, the life experiences she holds, processes, deciphers on her own before she lets them out for review from me or anyone else.

When my daughter shares a secret it is like she is making a little crack in the armor — I can see inside just a tiny bit, a glimmer of light shining from inside out. I want to get a knife and wedge my way in, to make the crack bigger so I can see more, know more. 

This longing is familiar. It comes with being a parent of a teenager. Standing outside trying to look in, there is so much more I want to know. But I know that this is part of the process — my unknowing of my daughter becomes her knowing of herself. I know she will share her secrets when she is ready, but for now, they are all hers.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Evolution vs. Devolution

Yesterday my partner and I had a fight. We’d just come off of eleven days of family houseguests and we were both live wires — frayed and ready to spark. We had a fight, a small explosion, recovered, and went on to have a lovely night taking our teenage daughter and her cousin out to dinner. 

As we drove to the restaurant I reflected on how much my relationship with my partner has evolved. We’ve grown into a more functional, resilient team. We are more complex. We are better than we once were. I’ve been in relationships where this hasn’t been the case, where we’ve devolved. The combination of energies and personalities created a reverse system of movement into something worse, something destructive and unsustainable. And the relationship died; it had to end. 

At dinner, the four of us sat outside and enjoyed a long, lazy dinner together. We talked about college, relationships, dreams, fears, possibilities, and obstacles. We laughed, tasted each other’s meals, and asked each other questions. I was keenly aware of how special this experience was. It’s not easy to tie two wildly social sixteen-year-olds down in the heat of the summer, much less engage in two hours of engaged, focused conversation. 

Later in the evening when the girls had gone off to do their own thing, my partner and I reflected on how much these two sixteen-year-olds have evolved in the last few years. They live on opposite sides of the country so only see each other once or twice a year but they hold each other up, they support each other and each makes the other better.

The root of evolution is “volv” which means “roll” or “turn around.” Being involved in a relationship — whether it is romantic, professional, friendship, or other — means you are rolling somewhere. You are moving in some direction.

In relationships that are evolving, you are rolling out or forth — expanding, growing, moving into a better state of being. In relationships that are devolving, you are unrolling or coming undone, falling apart, ready to break up. 

I’ve been in devolving relationships — both friendship and romantic — and they’ve had to end. In those relationships, I was involved — rolling into — a connection with someone with whom I was not able to grow or expand; I was unable to roll out or towards something more expansive and enriching. 

As I’ve aged more of my relationships feel like they are evolving. I have more life experience, a better sense of discernment. I am more in touch with the micro emotions that signify a need for change, a shift in the direction I am rolling. 

Relationships are the hardest thing in the world. We all know, we can feel, when our relationships are rolling in the wrong direction. We feel less buoyant, less resilient. We feel decreased energy, a weaker constitution. And we can feel when our relationships are rolling in the right direction. The air feels lighter. The sun shines brighter. There are possibilities in the present moment and a sense of excitement for what will come next. 

The beauty of relationships is that they are always in motion, always changing, going in one direction or another. What’s important is that we check in from time to time and make sure we’re rolling in the right direction. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

I'm Sorry: Parenting in the Time of Global Despair

“The lake feels like lotion!” the little boy shouted to his friends, treading water at the base of the ladder, “so smooth and refreshing.” I lay on the other side of the dock, my head propped up with a life jacket, reading my book, Love Becomes Us by Amy Bloom. It was hot, hotter than it had ever been in the Pacific Northwest where I live. 

My family had been lucky. We escaped to this mountain lake on a planned trip with my brother-in-law and his kids. Instead of 108 degrees, it was only 99 and we could hang out in this cold glacial lake all day long. 

The little boy shouting was eight or nine years old, skinny and tan, happy and energized. He jumped off the dock over and over, laughing with pleasure every time. I remember the days when my daughter had that kind of ease, that kind of access to simple pleasures. 

These days are complicated. The world feels like it is ending. There was the pandemic, over a year of lockdown seeped with fear and longing. And now this heat, record-breaking, devastating —to  people, animals and nature. This heat is preparing our region for fires that will destroy more land, more humans and wildlife, more homes, more trees. Like last summer, we will be stuffed into our homes, windows sealed, hiding from the smoke outside. 

When I was eight or nine I didn’t think about the earth. We never talked about it. I remember waiting in line for gas at the Shell station on 54th street with my mom. I remember her explaining that Jimmy Carter was rationing gas because there was an oil crisis. I lived a life, essentially into my twenties with the ignorant luxury of not worrying about our dying planet. Back then we didn’t talk about climate change or global warming. I wish we had. Maybe if we had things would be different now. The planet I am leaving my daughter wouldn’t be so hot and angry and scary.

My daughter is sixteen now. When she was eight she knew things about the earth. In third grade, she raised money to support people who lost everything in the Japanese Tsunami. She’s always known how to recycle and compost. She grew up with Hybrid cars and conversations about red meat at dinner. She is keenly aware of the crisis our Earth is experiencing.

And, she is becoming an adult during this crisis. Like Elizabeth, the protagonist in Bloom’s, Love Becomes Us, my daughter is traversing the complicated emotional landscape that comes with adolescence. Elizabeth is wise beyond her years. She can see the hypocrisy of her parents and the other adults around her. Like most teens, Elizabeth is struggling in her own way to just get through the painful, confusing adolescent years. 

As I read my book, I can remember what that felt like, how my emotions moved through me when I was that age. I have glimpses, flashes of memory. I remember when I was seventeen and all I did was cry. I cried on the road trip I took with my family. I cried in my room at night. I cried over gifts I got at Christmas. I cried and cried and I didn’t really understand why.

Yesterday I told my daughter that I was tired of her speaking to me like she was mad at me all the time. “I’m sorry,” replied, “I do feel angry all the time.” She said it so matter-of-factly, with such certainty that my vision blurred for a split-second. I scanned my brain for something to say but there was nothing. “Noooooo,” I cried to myself, “I don’t want this for her.”

I’ve been here before. It’s the heartbreak of motherhood, the moment when I know clearly that there is nothing I can do, no balm I can smooth over a scraped knee, no lullaby I can sing, no goodnight story I can tell to make everything feel better. 

I think about the earth all the time. I am terrified about where we’ve been in the last year, afraid of what is coming. When I talk about my worries, sometimes my daughter will say, “Please Mom. Please stop. I can’t hear this right now.” And I know she is frightened too. Unlike me at sixteen, she is aware. She knows things. 

While my daughter is living the emotional thunderstorm of hormonal adolescence, there is a blanket of disaster overlaying everything. How will she manage this? How will she find her way? 

The path we are on, the too-late feeling I have about our planet, is often too much for me so how do teenagers who are just waiting to get to the next phase manage it? What do they think when the next phase is filled with 108 degree days, fires in the rain forest, and global droughts? 

There are good times too, like yesterday when my daughter and her cousin sunbathed together for hours, took the kayak out, and loudly sang songs on the deck that echoed across the lake. I know that along with being angry, my daughter is happy too. Like all teenagers, her landscape is complicated and unpredictable. 

Adolescence is a global disaster in itself. It is an earthquake, tornado, tsunami, and hurricane wrapped into an eight to ten-year period. I know my daughter will get through this period. And as she ages, she will figure out how to move through all of the disasters in front of her. She will find moments of joy and celebration and excitement along the way. But I feel for her. I feel for all of the teenagers right now. Their burden is profound, beyond any that I could have imagined at that young age. 

There’s no balm, no simple fix for this. When the conversation about the environment comes up, as it so often does these days, all I can do is look at my daughter, and say, “I’m sorry” because I am. 

I really, really am.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Taking "Old" as a Compliment

Right now I am reading Justine Bateman’s book Face: One Square Foot of Skin. It’s about beauty expectations for older women with a particular emphasis on the pressure to get plastic surgery to stay young-looking. Young is the standard for beauty. Old is the standard for ugly, washed up, hard to look at. In her introduction, Bateman talks about how, as a young actress, she longed for the smile and worry lines she saw in older European actresses. Somehow, despite growing up in Hollywood, she saw beauty in these signs of aging. Throughout the book, she shares a series of vignettes she’s collected about other women’s experiences getting older.

I have great empathy for women in Hollywood. The pressure to stay young-looking is profoundly dysfunctional and incredibly destructive to the natural process of becoming older. Bateman is pushing back against this. In one chapter she sets a scene of “old” being beautiful. She depicts a handful of women hanging out on the golf course eschewing sunscreen, hats, or anything else that might hinder the natural process of developing wrinkles. In this vignette, wrinkles are beautiful. They are a roadmap of one’s life. As an aging woman myself, I recognized the absurdity of this scenario but still, I loved this chapter.

I recently started working at my friend’s consignment shop. We sell women’s clothing and accessories. The store is a friendly neighborhood destination — lots of regulars and occasionally some out-of-area stragglers.

Yesterday while I was working, an old man came in with an old woman. I am fifty-two so old to me means at least seventy-five, probably eighty. Very old means the high eighties or nineties.

As I approached the couple to tell them about our sale, the man came by and, standing way too close, said, “You remind me so much of my ex-wife.” I politely nodded and pointed to the area where everything was 30 percent off. He came up to me again and said, “I really can’t believe how much you remind me of my ex-wife.”

In my mind I was thinking his ex-wife looked must have looked like him — a white-haired, old-looking version of him. And I’m not proud of this feeling, but I was offended. I didn’t want to look like that.

A few hours later a very old woman came up to the counter to pay for a pinky-peach linen blouse. “I love this color,” I said to her as I rang in her item. Then, realizing that my blouse and pants were also that color, I laughed and said, “Ha Ha. I’m wearing that exact color from head to toe. I guess I really do like that color.”

“Peach is good for us as we get older, the very old woman responded, “it softens and flatters us.”

“I’m her,” I thought to myself as I folded her blouse into tissue paper and tucked her receipt into the package. My mind went into a slow panic — like the dishwasher being emptied into an anti-gravity chamber, forks and plates and coffee cups randomly floating around looking for a place to settle.

I felt confused. I wasn’t ready for this. “I’m only fifty-two,” I thought to myself. And then gravity returned. All the dishes and silverware clattered on the floor and I was back to reality. I saw the absurdity of my thinking. I am getting older. We all get older. I will be lucky and grateful if I get to be as old as this woman. Very old shopping at a cool consignment shop to boot!

I believe in the old adage, “beauty is skin deep.” I have tried to drill that belief into my daughter’s head for sixteen years. I tell her grandparents not to comment on her looks. If someone says what a beautiful young woman she’s growing into I quickly snap back, “and SMART!”

But I see my daughter focusing on her looks, garnering great self-esteem from the attention she gets. And I’m no different. These two moments in the store, where separate individuals commented on my age, went right to my ego. These two comments were telling me, “you’re old,” which I translated to mean, “you’re not beautiful.”

I am getting old. My hair is getting gray. I have smile and laugh and worry lines. The skin on my hands, arms, and legs is getting crepey. My kneecaps hurt when I garden. There are lots of signs that I am getting older.

Society has done a number on women. Instead of feeling accomplished for the forehead grooves that come from years of hard thinking, problem-solving, and accomplishing things in my life, like millions of other aging women, I’ve fallen prey to the dogma that I should try to hide or erase those markings.

I have friends who do Botox. And I have friends who’ve had other lifts and tucks. It makes them feel better. I get it. We’re all part of this bigger messed-up system that hates wrinkles and all things old. My reaction to those two comments in the store yesterday shone a light on my internalized disdain for aging, and thus for myself.

The woman with the pink blouse might have been beautiful had I looked at her long and hard enough to even really see her. But I hadn’t. Because she was very old I simply dismissed her and then, because we were alike, both older than younger, I dismissed myself.

That utopian scene in Bateman’s book where wrinkles and other signs of aging were revered seemed so farfetched when I read that chapter. It was like reading science fiction. But why? I’m grateful for the life experiences that have given me wrinkles — all of the summers playing in the lake, the years of walking I’ve done, playing soccer, riding my bike. My forehead creases come from years of reading and writing and parenting. I wouldn’t change any of that stuff so why would I change my face?

I’m on the young side of old and if I’m lucky, I’m going to keep getting older. The patriarchy is not going to suddenly change and proclaim, “older women are beautiful.” Victoria’s Secret will likely not start using menopausal women in their ad campaigns. Now that I’m older, I see clearly how these societal norms have influenced me adversely. When I first started reading Bateman’s book I thought to myself, “I’m not like these Hollywood women.” But I am. I may not be getting plastic surgery, but I believe the same things they do.

I don’t want to believe those things anymore. Those messages don’t serve me or any women, young or old. The next time someone comments to me about being an older woman I am going to smile broadly, feel the wrinkles around my eyes and mouth fire up, and say, “Thank you.”

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tiny Moments: Gratitude for the Small Things

I remember when I was a new mother. I was consumed with my baby. Nursing, changing, soothing, adoring. Every moment was taken up with her presence. I went back to work when my daughter was six weeks old. I was lucky. I had my own business and was able to go to work in small doses — three or four hours at a time — so that I could come back home and be with my baby. I loved going to work. It gave me a place to connect to myself, to be social for a few hours, to remember who I was before I was a mother. But still, I hated leaving my daughter even for those short periods of time.

Having a baby is a lot of work. There is very little freedom. It’s like lock-down only you’re totally hormonal and in love so you don’t feel it as harshly. I remember moments of utter frustration when my daughter nursed for eighteen hours of the day. It was her only means of soothing whatever was troubling her tiny soul. In those days I wished for more freedom, for a break. I felt trapped by parental responsibility. I had a life — work to do, emails to respond to, friends to see — and I was tethered to this little being, unable to take care of the other aspects of my life.

Now my daughter is sixteen. She just left on her first road trip. It’s a small one, to a city just a few hours away, but it feels like she's traveled a thousand miles. At sixteen my daughter is wildly independent. She wants to be up, up, and away, gone from the clutches of her parents and her teachers, her coaches, and all that is familiar. She wants new and different and exciting. She’s got a list a mile long of things she wants to do in her life and most of them don’t include me.

These days I see my daughter in tiny moments — a short morning check-in over oatmeal and coffee before she hits the ground running. Maybe an afternoon shopping at Goodwill together. Often she comes home past my bedtime and I try to make myself stay up to welcome her home. Occasionally on these nights, we’ll have a spontaneous TikTok browsing session and I’m grateful for the chance to laugh together, to see what her life is about these days.

On the last day of my daughter’s sophomore year, I planned to have a family dinner but when she got home she’d already gone out to eat Bahn Mi with her friends. She wasn’t hungry so we sat on the back patio for a half hour and toasted the end of the year with a lemonade mocktail. It was short and sweet. It was all she had to give at that moment and I was grateful.

I got to watch her play soccer yesterday for the first time in over a year. I don’t go to games anymore because now my daughter is old enough to drive herself. And, she doesn’t really want me there. On the way home, she ranted about the heat and the lack of subs. It was familiar and strangely comforting to be in the car with her that way. The whole experience was only a few hours but I soaked it up like a long vacation after a hard year’s work. I’ve been driving carpool and watching her play soccer for over ten years and it’s always a delight.

We’ve switched, my daughter and I. Our roles have inverted. I understand how she feels. Now she is the independent one, the one with a bigger, more exciting life. She has business to attend to, parts of herself that cannot be nourished by me. Now I am the hungry one, longing for the familiar connection we once had. Our relationship has changed; our roles are different now. These days the connections come in small moments, tiny precious encounters.

I’ve heard older mothers talking about this change for years but I didn’t fully understand it. Yesterday my friend sent her sixteen-year-old off to backpacking camp. Her daughter would be in the mountains, unreachable for two weeks. A few hours after she put her daughter on the bus I asked my friend how she felt. “Sad,” she said, “I miss her.” I knew exactly how she felt. Even when my daughter is sleeping soundly in her room one floor below me I miss her. She’s here, but she’s far away. I know it’s a good thing. She’s moving on, living her life, becoming an adult. But the missing is still there.

It’s not unlike the feeling I had when my daughter was six weeks old. When I had to go to work, to be away from her, even for a few hours, I missed her. I relished the moment of coming back home, opening the front door and scooping her little body into my arms. It was such a clear, easy feeling. I was taking care of my baby, doing my job.

That baby is all grown up, but I still feel that desire to scoop her into my arms and squeeze her full of love, to know that I am doing my job. My job looks different now. It’s not as obvious or simple. My daughter doesn’t need me in those same ways. But she still needs me and I’m figuring out how, trying to follow her lead.

What I’ve learned is that the moments of connection are still here. They are smaller, more fleeting but if I look for them I can see they are here. The morning chat, the evening cell phone scroll, listening to a rant on the way home from a soccer game. The key is to be open, to watch for the opportunities to connect, and be present and grateful when they come.

Unresolved: That Uncomfortable In-Between Place

 I’m unresolved. Much like anger or elation, unresolved is an emotional state. It takes energy. It distracts me from being present. It is a niggling, uncomfortable state. It’s not there all the time, but when it shows up it is strong and clear.

Almost a year ago I lost a friend. She didn’t die or move away. She just became lost to me. We were friends for thirty years and then one day we weren’t. It’s like she went on a boat and never returned. She’s okay. She’s still friends with our other friends, but she’s lost to me. I don’t understand why she decided to stop being my friend and this confusion eats away at me. I have so many questions.

I am unresolved. What do I mean by unresolved? There is a sense of loss, the feeling of longing. And confusion. Because of the way our friendship so nebulously ended I have no clarity. Maybe I would feel resolved if I knew she was really gone. But she’s still here, just a few miles from my house. There’s a term in psychology — ambiguous loss. I think that’s what I’m experiencing here. I am in a confused, delayed state of grieving. There was no closure with this friend, no clarity and so I am unresolved.

Several times a week I think about calling my friend but I know she won’t respond. I’ve tried reaching out numerous times and she hasn’t reciprocated. So I don’t call or text. The impulse just sits there reminding me that I am unresolved. I haven’t let this friend go.

My unresolved feelings are like an in-between place, a bookmark between the comfort of our friendship and the sadness of its definite end. I’m frustrated because this lack of resolution is lasting a long time. It’s been months and I still dream regularly about seeing my friend. I still have her phone number in my head. I have so much anger about how she dropped me like a rotten banana in the compost. I’m unresolved.

Part of being unresolved is focusing on the other person. I wonder so many things: Is she happy?; Does she miss me too?; Is she unresolved? In focusing on what my former friend is thinking I am prolonging this state that I am in. I am wrapped up in my ego — worried about how she and other people see me —  instead of my own experience with the loss. 

To come to a resolution with this friendship, to actually grieve the loss, I have to throw all that other stuff out the window. I have to let go of what my former friend thinks about me, what she is telling our other friends about me. That’s the hard part. Once I let go of all that other stuff I will have to enter the true grief state of this loss and that makes me too sad.

Strangely, it helps to just have a name for this state that I’m in. I’m unresolved. I’m not happy, not sad, just somewhere in between. It feels comforting to define that. At least I know where I am. And it helps to remember the good things about our friendship. Too often I just feel anger when I think of my friend. Maybe that’s why she comes to me in my dreams. Maybe that is a subconscious invitation to remember the good things about our history. 

Being unresolved is uncomfortable. It’s like wearing shoes that rub your heel or a bra that rides up one armpit. But it’s also a form of self-preservation, a way of staving off the painful feelings of truly grieving. Ambiguous loss is often the experience people have when they lose their relationship with a parent because of dementia or a spouse because of addiction. The person is still there but not in the way you want them to be, not in the way you knew them to be. There’s a sense of waiting for a moment when things might change — when your mother recognizes you or your spouse finally enters treatment.

That’s where I am. Waiting for the moment when I’ll know for sure. I’m waiting for my friend to write me an email explaining why she ended the friendship. I’m waiting to know something for sure. I’m waiting for some kind of sign that there really is no hope, that our friendship is truly over. For whatever reason, I just can't face the loss yet. I'm unresolved.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Learning to Live with The Wolves

When my daughter was two, a friend of mine said, “our job as mothers is to prepare our children to live in the world.” I remember when I heard this my heart broke a little bit. I didn’t want to let my little girl go. And I still don’t. But now she’s sixteen and my job to ready her launch is more critical than ever.

Parenting a teenager through a pandemic and then watching them enter back into the big bad world is one of the most harrowing, unmooring experiences I’ve had as a parent. During the pandemic, my daughter was isolated, lonely, depressed, and unmotivated. I worried about her mental health on a daily basis. But I knew where she was all the time.

And now she is vaccinated. All of her friends are vaccinated. She is free. They are free. My daughter has a car and can drive wherever she wants. She went from having no options to infinite possibilities. And I am scared shitless.

Being a mother is like being a shepherd. I am charged with the responsibility of guiding my daughter safely through life until she is on her own. During the pandemic everyone was on the same path —  staying close to home, protecting ourselves and each other from the big bad wolf that was Coronavirus.

Now the wolf is not as strong, it is not an imminent threat and we can all roam the pastures without worry. But as the shepherd I know there are other predators to my little sheep. My daughter is not at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 like she was two months ago but there are other wolves. For a mother, there are always wolves — lechy men who look at my daughter when she fills her gas tank, parties with alcohol where kids lose their senses, drunk driving, peer pressure, social media, eating disorders. I could go on.

But the point is that these wolves, these fears, are mine, not my daughter’s. My daughter is alive with independence right now. She wants to be with her friends or she wants to be alone. The only place she does not want to be is standing by the shepherd who wants to keep her confined. But like any good shepherd, I am afraid of losing my sheep. My instinct is to pull out my staff, call my sheepdog and get my wandering sheep back into the field where I can see her.

But my instinct is not my job right now. I go back to what my friend said fifteen years ago. My job is to prepare my daughter to leave the safety of the pasture. She has to venture out where I cannot see her, beyond the protection of the fenced meadow. That is where she will ultimately live; now is her time to travel beyond the fence.

It’s agonizing — watching my daughter wander and not pulling her back to safety. As the shepherd, I worry about the wolves every day. That’s my job. But these are my fears, not hers. My daughter is on an important path of her own right now. She might wander into danger. She probably will. And if and when she does she will have to figure out how to manage. Sheep do it. They have instincts of their own — to run from predators or to stick with the flock when danger is afoot. 

My job now is to stand back and trust that my daughter can handle the wolves. It’s scary to watch her go. I worry that she’ll wander too far; that she’ll lose her way and never come back. But in these moments of panic, I tell myself that the fenced meadow will always be here for her. I will always be here for her. She needs to wander now, to explore beyond the fences. She has good instincts. She’s a smart, capable sheep and I know deep down that she’ll be okay. She’ll be back. 

My Daughter Has Secrets and That's a Good Thing

When my daughter was little she didn’t keep secrets. She told me everything. Once when she was four, she told me that she and her friend snu...