I love my daughter but…

When growing up, I always heard the terms “daddy’s girl” and “mama’s boy” when speaking on the relationships of mother’s, father’s and their children. For me, it was always so hard to choose. I loved both of my parents so much I didn’t understand how you could be more of one than the other. As I grew older, I learned that being a “mama’s girl” or “daddy’s boy” wasn’t an intentional thing, but more of a natural connection. No one is intentionally choosing to grow closer to their mother than their father, it naturally happens.

When I became a parent the first time, I soon learned what it meant to be on the other side of “mommy’s little girl” and “daddy’s girl.” In the early years, maybe up until three, our daughter Taniya loved her some mommy. My husband was the love of her life and favorite person to play with, but when it came to me… I was the apple of her eye. As she grew older, my husband soon turned into her favorite person. Quick side note, her grandparents are on a whole different level when it comes to people she loves. My husband and I know our place lol.  But when it comes to us as her parents, it’s “I’m daddy’s baby, mommy’s crazy.”

I thought it was cute and loved that she could see no wrong when it came to her father. My father was deceased when I gave birth to her so it was heartwarming to see her enjoy the love of my husband. Eventually, what I once thought was cute began to transform into irritation as the years flew by. I started to notice my daughter intentionally choosing my husband over me.

Since my baby had to spend a lot of time away from her dad due to work, I sympathized with her. For example, when he came home from the road I would put myself on the back burner in order for her to spend as much time with her dad as she could before it was time for him to leave again. Their bond would continue to grow while he was out on the road, but it was through their experiences with one another in person, that made them inseparable. It was beautiful to me! During this time, she and I had no issues. She and I were tight like a corset, and she was able to still have a strong relationship with her father.

Things began to change in October of 2017 when we gave birth to our second daughter. Although there was a six-year gap between the two, I knew the baby’s presence in the world would bring about mixed emotions and behavior from Taniya. She was an amazing help, loved Jayla dearly, but also had to share the attention. She was also growing and learning herself more since she was in her first year of grade school. I soon began to hate age six, while my husband loved it. Of course he did! She loved, respected him, played with him, and he didn’t spend all day with her. When it came to me? I received the back talk, terrible listening, shifts in attitude and more. I tried my hardest with gentle parenting and being super understanding to her having to learn the new dynamic in our household. I understood that for six years I belonged to her, but I grew to a point where I was fed up. I believe my daughter viewed me as inferior to my husband. Like he was the only person she needed to respect. It was upsetting because I thought that I would have this struggle when she was a teenager, not six!

Fast forward to June of 2018… After a year of being a local driver, my husband and I felt it was okay for him to head back over-the-road to drive long distance. Taniya is in her final months of being 6 years old at this point. He left on a Monday, we went to visit South Carolina with my in-laws that Friday. When I tell you my daughter LOST. HER. MIND!!! I mean literally lost it.

I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears. I kept censoring myself and trying to be kind since my in-laws were around. I wanted her to be able to enjoy them. But I soon learned that she thought she could get away with her disrespectful tone because they were present. It was so noticeable that my in-laws ended up addressing it also. On the last day of our visit, I almost turned Cracker Barrel upside down. Every time I corrected my daughter she had a rebuttal, and I had to repeat myself 7 times before she would finally do what I told her to do. I saw RED! In order to keep my cool, I let her sit with her grandparents while I went to nurse Jayla. I began to calm down as I nursed, but I felt myself shut down from my own child. I didn’t want to talk to or be around her.

I genuinely loved my daughter, but I didn’t like her. I felt disrespected, unappreciated and unloved. I know that sounds crazy. I’m the parent, and children will be children. But I was already in a vulnerable state. My husband just left and I was on my own with TWO kids this time. I was still battling bouts of postpartum depression, and I was honestly used to Taniya and I clinging and working together when it was just us. I was completely caught off guard and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to punish her for responding to the departure of her father, but I couldn’t let her continue to act out the way she was. I tried not to bother my husband with the drama because he literally just left 5 days ago at this time, but I called him and let him know everything. I told him very calmly that I knew what I was doing wasn’t healthy, but I had checked out. What was supposed to be a nice getaway was ruined. He was appalled. He immediately said, “Put her on the phone.”

My feelings were so hurt when I heard her responses to his questions. My daughter completely dismissed all that I did for her and sung all the praises to my husband. She would be willing to do the tasks, but would rather my husband told her to do them. I was flabbergasted! My efforts to make sure that Taniya respected and loved my husband when he came home turned into her thinking that she should only listen to him. I would never turn her against him, but how?! I did and do everything! I mean everything! When my husband isn’t home, I operate as a single mother for up to 2 months at a time. How dare she make me invisible?! To my surprise, my husband felt the same way. He was so disappointed in her actions.

It took me 4 days to gain back control of our situation. I was battling with having a pure dislike for my daughter. I felt like a bad mother for not liking my own child. But I chalked it up to this. Although I was the adult in the situation, my relationship with my daughter is an extremely important one. Whenever any person feels mistreated in a relationship, they feel hurt. I felt mistreated by my daughter. I had to let her know that although she is a “daddy’s girl,” it doesn’t mean she has to choose one parent over the other. I wanted her to remember that her mother and father were a team and she had to accept us as the duo we are.

I also learned that I had to change-up my day, and maximize the time that I would spend with Taniya. Even though I needed Jayla’s nap times in order for me to get other things done, I had to use some of those times just for Taniya and I. It’s an ongoing process, but she and I are getting it together. This phase really allowed me to see that there is a lot that I need to work on as a mother.

We don’t always get it right!

Mommy I Can’t See, It’s Black

When I was younger, the thought of having a child used to make me nauseous. I couldn’t fathom the pain that women endured in the process of giving birth, and I couldn’t imagine having something squirming inside my stomach. It would honestly make my stomach turn, and I was fearful of the moment it would happen to me. Nevertheless, I knew that at some point when I was an adult wanted to have at least two children, preferably one boy and one girl. At the time I didn’t think about the health of my unborn children. All I thought about was the fun and adorable times that we would experience. Soon I would learn the gender of the child doesn’t matter one bit. Your ultimate desire is a healthy baby.

I was a young college student away from home and always worrying if I had done something to harm my daughter when I was pregnant the first time. As I grew further along in my pregnancy, it became engrossed with negativity and talks of high risk, so my prayers began to turn into begging God to bless my baby to be healthy. Well God did just that. Blessed me with an 8-pound beautiful, strong and healthy little girl. I wouldn’t have loved my baby any less, but no mother prays for a child that will need visits with specialists or more emergency visits. I thought my child was perfect, although I knew no one was truly perfect.

It was when my daughter was a little over the age of one when I noticed that she still struggled to gain focus with her eyes. During her well-child visits, her pediatrician stated that children are still learning how to use their eyes when they are that young, but if it persisted that I should take to her to an eye doctor. I took her advice, but ultimately knew I would do what I felt was best as her mother. At the time, I wasn’t too bothered. I chalked it up to her having a lazy eye. Then as time went on I grew a little concerned. If you ask any mother about her child, she’ll tell you she knows when something isn’t right with her baby. When I covered my baby’s left eye, she said “Mommy I can’t see, it’s black.” My heart dropped into my stomach.  I responded, “Are you sure baby? Is it black, or is it just fuzzy?” Her response, “No mommy I can’t see, it’s dark.” I called my husband and we scheduled her eye appointment immediately.

The doctor concluded that the optic nerve in her right eye didn’t fully develop, limiting her to only 5% vision in that eye, while her left eye was pretty much perfect. He said that the vision in her right eye would never improve, but it wouldn’t get worse either. We were given a prescription for some glasses that only had little medicine in order to give her a little balance, but for the most part they were vital in order to protect her left eye. At the time we were told that if anything happened to her left eye she would only “feel” like she was blind.

Years passed, and everything remained the same, but me. My daughter was thriving and refused to be viewed as one who was handicapped, but I grew more insecure. I worried about how she would succeed in the classroom, if she would be able to play safely with others, if children would bully her, if she would think she was ugly, and how she would be able to deal with it all. When I looked at my child I saw perfection, but it was tainted with MY insecurity. I suffered for years with my own insecurities and low self-esteem, so I knew I had to get my life together. I didn’t want to pass my negativity onto her, nor did I want her to think that I viewed her as less than.  I began practicing affirmations with her. It started off vocal, and the more she improved her reading and writing skills, I made her write them out. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am smart. I am loved. I am confident. I am enough. I am Taniya Beautiful Gurley.

Between the ages of 5 and 6, she began to take notice of her eye not remaining straight. I would catch her in the mirror trying to force it to look in the same direction as her healthy eye. I would reassure her that her eye was fine, but deep down, it hurt my feelings because I know that she has matured and cares more about her physical appearance. I remain strong and fight the urge to stress and grow insecure again. I did however schedule another visit with her ophthalmologist- pediatric specialist.

The results came back the same, but final. Taniya is legally blind in her right eye. So now if she damages her left eye, she will not feel blind. She will be blind until it heals. The only surgery that can be done is to correct the appearance of the eye. He said if it doesn’t bother her, leave it. But if she wants to change it, he’s available. He also reassured me that she’ll be able to drive, fly an airplane, dance, cheer, swim, gymnastics and more. She will simply struggle with athletics that use a smaller object, such as tennis, hockey and softball.

There was nothing I could do differently throughout my pregnancy to change this outcome. The optic nerve was either going to develop or not. For a while I battled with that. I believed that I was the cause of her blindness. I told myself that I was too inconsistent with my prenatal vitamins. If only I had breastfed her longer, maybe the milk could have fixed it. I am so relieved that it was not my fault, but just the birth mark that God has given my daughter. Today, I am reminded that my daughter is in fact perfect and healthy. My child is blind in one eye but is a first grader who reads on a third-grade level. She reassures me every day that she is okay. I reassure her every day that she is a queen in training. She is smart. She is confident. She is enough. She is Taniya Beautiful Gurley.

Healing and Letting Go Gives You Your Power Back

How many times have you been told, or even told someone to “Let go, and let God” “Forgive and Forget” or “In order to move forward with your life, you have to let go of the past?” I know for sure that I have said all three of these statements and other renditions of them to my loved ones or even random people who I meet and converse with. It’s much easier to give this advice out than to do it yourself.

I typically remember EVERYTHING. I mean everything down to the time it happened, where it happened, and what I was wearing when it happened. With that being said, the whole forgetting portion of “forgive and forget” is tough for me. Lately I’ve realized one of the reasons forgetting is difficult for me is the trauma that came along with that moment.

On May 11, 2017, during my second pregnancy, I was involved in a hit-and-run accident. It was three days away from Mother’s Day, and I was four days away from being five months pregnant. It was raining, and I was on my way to pick my daughter up from her aftercare program. If you know me, you know that I’m pretty much late for everything so I made sure I left out in enough time to not drive crazy in the rain. I was five minutes away from my house when I stopped at a red light. I was in the right, turning lane, but still had to wait til the oncoming traffic ceased in order to go. As I began to turn my car, an off-white Chrysler 300 slammed into the back of me forcing me to turn the corner. Just as I put my car in park, the man driving the car backed up from the rear of my car and drove off. My heart was racing as I did my best to study his license plate and dial 911. I was in total disbelief. My car was fast enough to track him down, but it was raining and who was I to chase a man down who hit someone and drove off without a care? I would be putting myself in more danger. I have asthma so I did my best to keep my breathing under control, which was a struggle.

I began to panic because I couldn’t feel any pain and I thought that the adrenaline pumping through my body was covering the damage that had been done to my unborn child. There were other cars around during the incident, but only one guy stopped to help me. His name was Angel, he gave me all of his information and offered to stay until help arrived, but I told him thank you and he could leave. I didn’t want him to stay out in the rain, and to be honest I’m not that great at receiving help and support from total strangers. I hate feeling like a burden.

At this point, I’m holding back tears. After getting off the phone with police dispatch, I call my mother-in-law, tell her what happened and asked her to go pick up my daughter instead. Once the officer arrived I broke down. I told him, “I don’t know what to do! I’m four months pregnant and that man hit me!” He told me to calm down, we drove to a residential parking lot nearby and he proceeded to help. I gave him the license plate number and he went to search for it. While he did that, I called my insurance and gave them the rundown. Simultaneously, the insurance representative and officer told me that the plates had to be fake or not registered because nothing came back for them. I was devastated.

My husband was the last person I contacted. He was driving over the road at this point and I didn’t want him to hear me in the mist of my ugly cry. When I told him he was so hurt. “Are you okay? Is the baby ok? Where’s Taniya? Was she in the car? Did you call the hospital? What did the dude look like? What direction was he driving in? You need to go to the hospital!” and then we ended our conversation. He needed some time to digest the fact that his pregnant wife had just been involved in an accident and he was nowhere near. He didn’t have control over the situation so his go to was, tell me what he looks like so that I can find him when I get home. I’ll take care of it. At that point, I was all game. Usually I don’t want him to be my bodyguard, but in that moment, I wanted my husband to demolish the man who put me and my girls in danger. All I could think about is my daughter being in the back of the car if it had happened 45 minutes later, and that I would possibly see blood in my underwear later as a sign of my baby being hurt during the accident. Thank God my daughter wasn’t in the car, thank God the baby and I were fine, and thank God there was no damage done to our car. God really works. The bumper of our car should have been a mess, but it wasn’t.

I have to go through that light every day. And each time I’m staring in the rear-view mirror paranoid that someone will slam into the back of our car. Every time I see a white or off-white Chrysler I’m staring to see if it’s THE car. That accident was ruling my life. I just couldn’t come to terms with how that man could have ruined my life that evening, and he drove off and went on with his life.

Well, I got what I wanted. I was sitting at the light on the opposite end headed home with my girls in the back and I saw the car. His light was green so as he drove past I still attempted to catch the numbers on his license plate, but couldn’t get the last few because of the other cars around him. I couldn’t run the red light to catch him either. That was my moment to get justice for what he had done to me mentally and emotionally. So many thoughts ran through my mind. If I could just see where he lived, my husband could beat the crap out of him once he got home from work. If I could get his license plate I could report him to the police and they could get him for what he had done. If I could just have one civilized conversation with him, I would tell him how he could have taken the life of myself and my unborn child had that accident been any worse. But I had to sit at that red light and watch him get away AGAIN.

It was in that moment where I realized it was time for me to let go. There will be many times in life where someone will do me wrong and I will not be able to do a thing about it. It’s totally out of my control. I felt weak all over again watching that man drive past me, and I didn’t want to feel that way again. I’m over here distraught while he’s driving around without a care in the world. God blessed me the day of that accident regardless of the pain I endured so I knew that it was not my job to deal with that man, it was God’s. I felt my baby’s first kicks three days later on Mother’s Day. My baby told me she was ok. Why do we have to deal with the initial hurt of the situation as well as the pain you feel as you are healing and letting go?

To whomever is reading this post and is holding onto hurt, I pray for your release. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. For your sanity. For your future. For your loved ones. True healing and letting go of that hurt gives you your power back.

Let go Queen…