I've experienced different kinds of neediness in my life: My professional contacts have reminded me since you were 6 months old how badly I'm wanted back at work. Your father has patiently waited for me to become a friend and a wife to him again. Your grandparents have always missed spending time with their only child. But nothing like this.
It's an interesting phenomenon among parents, this "just wait." What will happen if all I ever do is look out for the perils that lie ahead? I'll wait and wait and wait and then these precious years will be over. And in waiting in fear of what's next, I'll have missed the process of actually getting there.
My child was not developing like other children. He was beautiful, happy, but separate from us somehow. I was scared. We still celebrated Mother's Day, of course. I was still overjoyed to be a mom, his mom, yet now I felt I was failing him. A year after that when we knew he had autism, our celebrations took on a new turn.
In a New York Post article that's recently gone viral, Meghann Foye argues for "meternity" leave (get it? me-ternity?), something she imagines has "all the perks of maternity leave -- without having kids." But her piece did get me thinking about what a "maternity leave without kids" would look like. So, I drew up a list of suggested rules guidelines, and now I think that this is a great idea.
Were she to face any other systemic challenge, whether big or small, I would take that challenge on as my own. I would write, speak, march, lobby and fundraise until my throat was hoarse or, more likely, she became embarrassed by me and asked me to stop. How, then, could I justify turning a blind eye to the primary systemic challenge she would face throughout her life?
If you are hiring summer students, have teenagers slouching around the house, or you are a forward-thinking CEO, you are spending some time thinking about Gen Z. The follow-on generation to the Millennials is something of an unknown to most. The biggest question: how they are going to perform in the workforce?
I'm 39 years old. I'm not all that proud of my behaviour as a teenager and young adult. It's been years since the last time I viewed a woman as a sexual conquest, but the impending arrival of a daughter has me swimming back into my past, and I feel the riptide of guilt pulling me under. Like the conman who becomes an FBI agent, maybe I can use my ingrained flaws and experiences as a method to shape my daughter into a young woman who could see a guy like me coming a mile away.
As a three-year old child in the mid-1970s, I was allowed to play outside on our street by myself. It was taught that I should "never talk to strangers" and "never go with strangers". Only one year later, I was granted even more freedom, and was allowed to roam freely throughout our entire neighbourhood... How did I know when it was time to come in? Once the street lights turned on, of course!
I see so much of myself in her; it's both heart-warming and heartbreaking. I don't want her to suffer socially like I did growing up, but I've realized I can't keep her in a bubble, either. Sometimes when I'm with her, my memory casts back to my own childhood, and I remember a fleeting instant in time when I was free to be myself without shame.
The emotional distress started to make me feel sick all the time and it came to the point that I just couldn't continue like this anymore. I decided that my first step to healing was to talk to people who have experienced the same type of loss, and by doing this it helped me realize that everything I was feeling was normal.