Why Open Another Box?

A unconditional conversation between mother and daughter...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Everything I Was and More

*Pictured Left: Grandma Carol and my Mom
*Pictured Right: Mom & Me

When I first became a mother,

I used to worry

that as Erin got older,

I wouldn’t love her as much

as when she was a cute, cuddly infant.

I was surprised to discover, however,

that instead of loving her less

as the years passed by,

I loved her more.

Even during the possessed-by-demon phases

Erin went through

at ages three and six,

I found myself becoming

increasingly addicted to her charms.

Now I look in wonder

at my twelve-year-old girl

because she has become

such a complex and interesting person

who will become much more complex

in the next several years.

The fact that the older Erin gets,

the less I will know about her

is fascinating to me.

When she was a baby,

Erin was the center of her universe

and I was the golden orb

revolving around her

and seeing to her simple needs and wants.

Over time,

other people were recognized as part of her universe.

There followed even more people

and objects and feelings

and attitudes and ideas.

As she became less dependent on me,

Erin became more the unique individual

she is destined to be as an adult.

My daughter keeps growing and changing

and will continue to change

until her life is over

yet I know in my heart

that all the things I loved about her

as she grew up

will always be a part of her.

The beautiful, happy infant,

the bright, adorable toddler,

the enthusiastically social preschooler

and the outgoing, creative person

she was in elementary school

are all still insider her.

Everything she has experienced

in her lifetime,

including all the treasured moments

I spent with her,

are pieces of the total Erin.

To put it simply,

Erin is everything she was

and more.

While reflecting on the miracle

of my daughter Erin,

my heart was pierced

by a sudden, painful understanding

of how you, my parents, feel

about your daughter, me.

You see me struggling to cope

with an illness

that is destroying my muscle tissue

and leaving me wasted and helpless.

There is nothing you can do

to protect me from this experience

or to bail me out of it

the way you used to do

when I was young,

the way John and I try

to protect our children.

Sometimes you must look at me

and think back to happier times

when my health was good.

I imagine that your memories of me

roll through your minds

like biographical newsreels.

You see the round, blond “Gerber” baby,

the even rounder toddler,

the “little mother” I was

to my younger sisters and brother,

and the director of childhood plays

and musicals.

You see the moody, introspective teenager,

the opinionated, intense college student,

the creative teacher,

and the dedicated wife and mother.

I became a very complex person

through the process of growing up

so that the longer you knew me,

the less you knew about me.

As I grew and changed,

your love for me increased

even when some of the changes

were baffling or hard to accept.

And I know in my heart

that your love for me will deepen

no matter how my illness changes me.

Yet I also want to assure you

that none of the changes

on my inside or outside

have wiped out the baby – little girl –

big girl – woman – wife – mother

I once was.

Everything I have experienced

in my lifetime,

including all the treasured moments

you spent with me,

are all pieces of the total Laura.

In other words,

I am everything I was

and more.

Whenever you think of me,

please remember that fact

and find comfort in it

as I have done with my daughter.

It helps!

By, Laura Schiller

June 1988


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  2. Ok here we go...
    During your alcohol "drenched" times you were young and had alot to deal with. Drinking didn't make it right but at the time it was your way of coping. Your heart is so big that you needed a temporary way to hide from all the pain. We were so immature at the time and didn't see the big picture.
    I feel that through your journey of recovery you have met amazing, strong people you would not have met otherwise. I also feel your mom was with you every step of the way.
    By reading her writings, I learned to pay more attention to not taking my mother and family for granted. It is really interesting to read what she had to say and way she puts her words together to make such beautiful sentences. It is hard for me to believe after reading them that she is not right here...physically.
    I am sure you have had many times you have wanted to call her or have her come over to see you and your family. The insight she had to write all of this was amazing. Though you can't touch her I'm sure you can feel her in reading her words.
    We were are not the same people we were back then, but the good base our mothers gave us are still within us. I think you are and always have been so amazing and stronger than you think and I thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your life with us. Your writings are great and I'm really proud of you (in a non-condescending way) :)
    Love, Shanners

  3. Thank you Shanners. This is definitely a journey. Sometimes an emotional roller coaster of a journey, but a journey nonetheless!