My daughter has a favorite lovie, a simple brown bear named Honeybear which she pronounces “Hubby.” Hubby comes pretty much everywhere with us. She says it’s her best friend (#covidkid) & when she’s scared, sick, or sleepy, she reaches for it. When people hear me say to a toddler in public, “you want your Hubby?” it tends to turn a few heads.
A cultural conditioning that many women carry is the belief that they should seek protection & safety in relationships, & particularly in men. This belief can lead to the smaller, less obvious patterns of generational traumas that convince women they cannot protect themselves, & that they are not enough on their own. I held this belief for a long time.
While I want my daughter to know that she should feel protected with a partner if she chooses, or me, or one of the countless other people loving her throughout her life, I most want her to know that she is safe within herself. That she deserves protection not because of who her partner is or because of who she is, but simply because she is.
Prominent within this piece is the symbol I created for Protection, & I’d never dissected it until, while doing this work, I began considering how I would protect my child from the experiences I’ve had. And I now know that I can’t. My symbol for protection is an arc over a complete circle. And the complete circle is my symbol for Wholeness. Wholeness is not interchangeable with happiness. It invites the joys & the pains that make a person completely & wonderfully human. My job as her mother is not to shield her from what I’ve gone through, but to be a light over her as she envelopes her wholly unique self in the complexities of this life. And when she breaks, and she will, I’ll be there, waiting like a soft small bear in the corner of a crib, reminding her that she’s already safe.