My Mom died when I was 20, she had a battle with cancer that began when I was 13. That single circumstance has influenced my parenting in many, many ways. Other circumstances have flowed into parenting, it’s a complex human experience to be part of a Mother-Daughter bond.
Now that my daughter is 20, and she lives on her own, our relationship is free from the conflict around house rules. Our bond and connection has grown. I recently ran into a few pieces of paper that we were able to look at much differently.
I found a detention note from 2008. My daughter got 2 hours of detention and was required to write a letter of apology. For “exposing her underwear, on purpose to another student”. I found this and really laughed. It flies in the face of everything I train schools in regarding restorative practices. The forced letter of apology to someone we don’t even know if they feel harmed. I am sure in 2008, I wasn’t laughing! I was more connected to her actions as a reflection of me. I was connected to what people at the school might be thinking about me! I was shamed by her behavior, that all I got was a copy of the detention paper. I didn’t speak my truth to the school staff, I probably wasn’t restorative with my kid! We laughed about it now. I’m really glad I saved that paper.
I found another note from her. She was requesting I give her more space, in the letter she promised “I won’t have sex and do drugs until I am ready”. I didn’t see if for that at the time, I saw she wouldn’t do drugs. I don’t know if that was a Freudian slip, or what. When we were talking about this recently found treasure, daughter disclosed how she did not have sex with a particular boyfriend I didn’t like. She rushed out the info, a rushed honest disclosure. I wasn’t ready for this kind of conversation, my reaction “eewww, I assumed NOT!”
Things change from 16-20 and for me 40-44, as my Mother-Daughter bond gets stronger, the truth becomes more and more. I see this with Restorative Justice. I recently did a fishbowl Circle, showing teachers the process with students from their campus. The students responded openly and honestly, they related that creating a “path” to open up was helpful. Building connections in Circle, with the values, the early rounds, the emotional safety builds bonds and relationships.
Bond and relationship changes the climate between people. That bond allows for more truth to be told. Truth has layers and layers. In addition, my side, your side, the other side all have layers. When placed with values and safety an open container IS the climate and has the space for more and more truth.