Psychological stretch marks

February 26th, 2013 § 5 comments

The months and years go by. Like all of you, I mourn the quick passage of time. “Where did the school year go?” I hear my friends asking.

Projects we hoped would be accomplished — tasks we hoped would be done — sit unfinished. Organizing photos, cleaning out a closet or a room, reading that book a friend recommended— many things went undone in the dark and cold months of winter.

Maybe there were emergencies, maybe there were health issues, maybe you just couldn’t get the energy together to accomplish everything you wanted.

Regardless the reason, there can be a bit of disappointment when a season ends.

Growth happens in fits and spurts, not with smooth, sliding grace.

With each phase comes
pain,
discomfort,
unease,
restlessness,
sleeplessness,
yearning.

At the time of my mastectomies my reconstructive surgeon placed tissue expanders in my chest. These were temporary bags of saline that would be slowly filled to stretch out my skin to make room for the silicone implants that would eventually take their place. Each week, like clockwork, I returned to my surgeon’s office. He accessed a port in each expander with a needle, and added saline to each side to make it bigger.

Each time after a “fill” my chest would feel tight. The skin wasn’t big enough for the volume inside, and it would react to the increased pressure by stretching. Until the skin could replicate there was achiness, tightness, a slight ripping or tearing feeling.

A similar sensation happened to me during my pregnancies; the growth happened fast, I got stretch marks. I had visible proof my skin just couldn’t keep up: the growth was too rapid, too harsh, too vigorous.

I often wonder if mothers and fathers get psychological stretch marks when we are asked to accommodate changes we’re not quite ready for.

What can we do? What options do we have? None. We must “go with the flow” and do the best we can. Our children grow and change whether we like it or not.

We do them no favors by trying to protect them, coddle them, and keep them young.

We give them wings to fly when we give them tools to be
confident
and caring
and inquisitive
and trusting
individuals.

I am often moved to tears as I watch my children grow.

I sit in wonder at the succession of infancy, childhood, and adolescence.

I know that as a mother I lack many skills, but I also know that the words I have written in my blogs and essays will one day be a gift to them tooNot a gift to the children that they are, but instead a gift to the adults that I am raising them to be.

Each June as the school year ends I marvel that another academic year has passed.

The growth happens too fast.
The growing pains hurt.
The stretch marks might be invisible, but they are surely there.

§ 5 Responses to Psychological stretch marks"

  • I am very thankful for blogs. I feel the same way. My posts are a legacy to my daughters. Molly

  • leighkidd says:

    Beautiful Lisa. You are very wise, strong and reaffirming. Today is a gift. Thanks for sharing all that you are.

  • melissa says:

    Lisa..you keep me moving as I go through a divorce after 25 years…today my daughter who is,22 went through the boxes that define her life. We looked again at my life boxes that contain my mom…the one I lost to breast cancer…the woman I miss so much. Your words speak to me as a daughter, a woman and a friend. My divorce is nothing compared to your hurt. I would give you years off my life so you could have more time with your kids.I feel like I have icing on the cake became I have young adult kids and never thought I would get there with my family history….love,love those kiddos.. and hug your doggie. You are touching hearts.

  • Tiffany says:

    Lisa,
    I’m late to your blog. I just discovered you a couple of weeks ago, so now I’m going back to catch up. I just came home from dinner early because my 12 year old daughter wants her freedom and she is expressing that in a very bullish and hurtful way. She says I’m a helicopter mom because I wanted to check in with another parent about a sleepover tomorrow night. Am I being too controlling? One of the things I wanted to say to you yesterday in response to a post about how you were inspiring was this: you are inspiring me to be a better Mom. I’m struggling to find a balance with my 4 kids and I scream a lot and lose my patience and temper. Your blog has made me examine how I’ve been parenting and how I have too much anger. Your descriptions about what a Mom means to a daughter have really made me re-think everything. I haven’t been doing a good job. You are having a huge impact on me and you are inspiring me. I just got home from dinner and back to your blog I go. The first post I read? The one about letting your kids go…I need to go with the flow. I need to let go now. Don’t ever doubt that you are a huge inspiration for many more reasons than just your honesty in your fight with breast cancer. I know you know that, but I wanted to tell you again. I learn something valuable from every single post. Thank you.

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