Disconnection and the Epic Wake-Up Call of Parenting.
11 years ago, a tiny gift, a pure being of light, was placed in my arms forever.
My fantasies about being a mommy fulfilled by a selfless woman in another country who gave birth to my child. My heart’s deepest, lifelong desire finally realized.
Less than one week later, I lay in a sobbing heap on the floor, spent, decimated, shell-shocked, staring at a finally sleeping child who literally was so terrified and discombobulated by the turn her new life had taken that her only safety, her only security, the only thing that kept her from blood-curdling screams every waking moment, was to literally be strapped to my body 24/7.
In that moment, my fantasies imploded.
What have I done? I am not cut out for this. I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life.
I spent the next three years silently blaming this innocent child for needing too much from me.
Until one day, the silence exploded in blinding rage. A rage I did not even know I was capable of, a rage that led me to lock myself in my own room, forced separation from my child who was throwing a tantrum, because a voice inside me said, “If you put your hands on her right now, there will be no turning back.”
I have never been so scared of myself in my entire life.
I wish I could say I woke up in that moment, saw the light, and that the heavens opened and I had an epiphany, a healing at my core which gifted me with an understanding of the true essence of this parenting journey, but that would be lie.
In that moment, I simply found a fear-based coping mechanism that kept me from killing my child.
The inner work that ensued over the coming years helped me understand my behavior on a deep and foundational level, but it wasn’t until last night that I finally understood where I am trying to go as a parent.
I recently got a particularly scary call from my daughter and her dad, mid-fight, while driving to his house. When I answered the phone, I heard “I fucking hate you! I want to kill myself!” My ex, also screaming, had to pull off on the side of the turnpike because my daughter had opened the moving car door.
Knowing that I cannot solve their problems, I talked them both off the ledge, prayed my daughter would be returned safely to school on Monday morning, and asked the Universe to help me get really serious in our healing efforts to combat these trying times away from home.
As I had the weekend to pray, meditate and reflect on what it is in my daughter’s heart that hurts, my findings are exactly the same as what used to hurt my heart, and what, I believe, hurts the hearts of most in this world.
Sitting with my daughter when she got home, holding her, hearing her, letting her be not okay and letting her know that is absolutely okay, gifted me with an understanding of this parenting journey.
My daughter felt crippling disconnection.
All who want to die in any given moment feel crippling disconnection and, here’s the thing, many of us have felt it at one time or another, but the silence of shame and the disease of perfectionism keeps us from saying it.
It is what, as parents, has us drive our child to the psychiatric hospital, Baker Act them, and put them on lifelong meds, when in fact our child is begging for our attention, to be seen, heard and loved by us.
Our psychiatric hospitals, our rehab centers, our prisons, our streets and our morgues are filled with disconnected children being raised by disconnected parents.
This has got to end.
We are killing ourselves and each other.
I wish there were a quick cure, a magic pill, a book to read, a video to watch, a simple solution to this epic planetary disease, but there isn’t.
There is only one way to cure what ails us all.
Connection is the cure.
Connection to self first, so we can connect to our children. Sitting with the abandoned parts of ourselves, so we can sit with the lonely parts of our kids.
Getting really real about what hurts inside of ourselves, so we can sit solid, calm and strong with our kids’ tough stuff, so we can hear them out, allow them to express fully and let them know they are not alone, that we too have felt these really hard things and that we truly understand.
Hiding from ourselves will breed children who have to hide.
Shaming parts of ourselves will facilitate children living in their lonely shame.
Pretending we are perfect, or even at times just okay, models a lie for our children, creates confusion and feelings of not enough.
There is a foundational shift happening in the makeup of our planet, in the evolution of humans. The time is here to get real, raw, vulnerable and emotional.
We can no longer overlook ourselves and each other, especially our children.
Connection is the key. It unlocks all the doors of love, of intimacy, of peace, and of a fulfilling life.
Want to give your kids what you never had? Heal yourself. Become a role model of mental and emotional health for your children. Sit firm and solid with your child when they tell you the truth about who they are and what they feel, and learn how to do that by doing it with yourself first.
Connection is the key. Connection is the answer. Connection will heal all that hurts on this planet.
Christie Del Vesco is a College Administrator and Professor, a Universalist Minister, a member of the RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) Speakers Bureau and single mom. She’s a children’s advocate, a survivor of many forms of sexual violence, and a voice for the survivors who have yet to find their own. Chris is a firm believer that we go through what we do, to help others when they go through the same. She also believes if we would all just “be the change,” we can change the world.