How often do we acknowledge Rites of Passage in our culture and society these days? There are so many milestones and monumental moments to celebrate our children’s growth and stages of life. In our home, we have one daughter. ( she is in the middle of two brothers).
When I grew up, I didn’t enjoy the cattiness of how females could be toward each other with insecurities and jealousies and competitiveness. I was so glad my daughter was more of a tomboy when she was younger. Then, as she got older, she started liking more femininity and all the girly stuff. I was a little…taken aback. Things were so much easier for ME the other way. She was growing up and developing and needing more female interaction.
Oh boy! or should I say Oh Girl!!! All I had tried to avoid was coming full steam at me! I needed to embrace my femininity myself if I was going to support her on this new journey. I realized avoiding it was no longer an option. The ups and downs with her girlfriends was and still is unsettling at times to see how these girls can behave and represent themselves and treat others & themselves. (especially the way they could treat MY girl!!!) Unbelievable, at times. The lack of confidence and low self esteem and need for love and acceptance shines through so brightly and comes out so unhealthy at times.
It is an opportunity for my daughter to learn how she wants to be and show up as a friend and to also learn to set clear boundaries and communicate and use her voice. This is no longer my journey. I cannot shield her from some of this pain and disloyalty she is experiencing. What I can do is teach her how important building her tribe is and how important having good, solid girlfriends she can trust is in her life. She will figure out the others and learn who and how she wants her relationships to be along her path as she goes and explores.
And so, this leads into the topic of my writing today…My Baby Girl’s Rite of Passage~Elephant Style. I love elephants. I used to want a pet elephant when I was very young. (to be honest-I still do!). I’ve learned more about elephants and know that they represent a way I’d like to have in our society. The female all come together as a village and help protect and take care of the young. It is amazing how they work together. Grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, etc….all together working to help each other raise their babies. Doesn’t that sound beautiful? That kind of support and love is what I want for my girl.
Her Rite of Passage when she started her menstrual cycle was very important for me to impart that type of Village/Tribe for my girl to have and know was there for her. She didn’t want a RED party. This is still a very personal and private time for our girls to be introspective and reflective. I had to honor her wishes and not do what I wanted for my own needs/gratification. And so, with her approval, I came up with a wonderful idea I thought would welcome her into womanhood and help start her tribe.
I asked all of the women in our life, grandmothers, aunts, friends, etc. to help her embrace this new stage of life where she was entering womanhood. I asked for each of them to send something in the mail to her that they felt they could share with her, whether it was a story of their first time, a note, advice, or anything they wanted to offer her. It was so beautiful what everyone sent her and so personal and she felt honored and part of a bigger picture. It touched her and opened up a new door.
I also told her, that for me, I wanted to offer this to her to let her know that there are way more women available to her, than just me. That it is ok to need other women at times and not to feel badly for reaching out in need. There will be times I am not the one she wants to or needs to communicate with or turn to or share things with. There are all these women who have offered their love and support to her and now she has a wider reach when she wants to connect, they will be there for her. It created a bridge that showed her how she can trust other females and feel loved, held, and supported, as well as honored as a woman right along side them.
This Rite of Passage was as much for me, as it was for her. I also had a few other women I turned to when I was younger when MOM just wasn’t the one at that time. I didn’t have to turn to boys, or empty love, or sell my soul for affection or other needs~ I had this tribe to support me and be there for me when I needed. Mom is spread thin at times, and although she can love you with all her heart, sometimes she is just too invested and too close to stay non-judgmental and not take things personal at certain times. No matter how hard we try to be SuperWoman, there are times we just can’t do it all. That’s where the herd helps and I can breathe and know she is in good hands.
And so, the teenage years are still what they are and there may be some conflicts at times and differences of opinions and that’s when I can step back and suggest she connect with another of our gals to help support her when I can’t or am not in the right way she needs. It is okay to surrender and trust and allow our daughters to seek love, support, and guidance from others. Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up. It can simply mean stepping back and allowing.
And so it is, my girl is in sync with nature, the moon, her cycle, and has been welcomed into womanhood, the best way I saw fit at the time.
I’d love to hear ways you and your family honor Rites of Passage and celebrations throughout the stages of your children’s lives? Please feel free to share or comment below…