A few months ago I published a blog, “A Mother’s Rage”. I re-accounted my rage and helplessness regarding my daughter’s high school rape in Miami, FL. I ended my post with words of hope. I wrote how several years had passed since my daughter’s assault. She was now engaged and pregnant with my first grandchild. This is the rest of the story.
I held my daughter’s hand as she labored through the night with my grandson. I tried to comfort her fiancée, who felt helpless. I rubbed my daughter’s back, and held my breath each time she pushed. She pushed for five hours, but never gave up, because she is resilient. She brought her son — my grandson — into the world with her strength, love, and resilience.
After her attack I always let her know I loved her, and that I was always present for her unconditionally. She couch surfed, she suffered, she rebelled, but I never gave up on her. Seeing my grandson born, I realized her strength and love was born from my love of her. It is so hard to understand, but so easy to see. It only takes ONE positive, stable adult relationship to build resilience and heal trauma, only one. Each of us can be that one for our children or our neighbor or our student or our grandchild. We can even be that one for an adult in our life who has suffered trauma.
Before my daughter and her fiancée left the hospital to take my grandson home, I gave them one of my long-winded spiels (my undergraduate degree was in philosophy, so words of wisdom are what I default to). I told them what an incredibly important job they had ahead. I explained how they were building their son’s, my grandson’s brain. I explained how their words, actions, and love could build the brain of a great, resilient man. They both listened to me, but looked like they only wanted to go home with their son and sleep. I was unsure if they heard me.
Weeks passed and they were at my house for Christmas. I was holding my grandson, getting ready to go downstairs to change his diaper when my youngest daughter shouted across the house to me, “Where are you going?”
I raised my voice so she could hear me across the house, “Downstairs, to change his diaper.”
My older daughter rushed over to me, laid her hands on my grandson’s head and told me, “Ssshhhh. We don’t raise our voices around him. It’s not good for his growing brain!”
I froze, tears welled up in my eyes. She had heard me. She understood. She knew her role, her job, and she had wholeheartedly accepted. Her resilience created, gave birth to a beautiful, bright eyed, tongue sticking out boy, my grandson.
Be the difference. Be the stable, positive adult in someone’s life. Let’s change the world.
Another thing your daughter learned from you: how to love herself. Congratulations, Grandma! ❤
Sounds like your daughter has actually developmentally moved beyond resilience to … antifragility, Cathy!
What a beautiful and simple example of what we can do. I especially love this statement ” It only takes ONE positive, stable adult relationship to build resilience and heal trauma, only one.”
Only one that believes and unconditionally supports, that stands beside and with and listens, that can make all the difference.
I am watching the difference right now with my grandchildren, all healthy, safe, happy despite the adversities their parents (my kids) experienced growing up, despite the trauma and adversities I experienced growing up.
I was able to hear Gabor Mate speak three times. He said if we”ve got “this much s***” with his arms stretched wide and we give our kids “this much s***” with arms stretched out less wide then we did good. Your grandbaby has far less to deal with and one more supporter in his corner.