As I drop my daughter off at pre-school, she clings to me and cries. Most days, I literally have to pry her from me and hand her off to the teacher. From her teacher’s reports, I know that it doesn’t last long. Usually she is done crying by the time I drive away and she does just fine. But I only see the crying Muffin who does not want her mommy to leave. Often when I go to pick her up, she is sitting on a teacher’s lap or being held by some staff members, so the other day, a bit worried, I had to ask, “She doesn’t spend the day attached to an adult, does she?” Her teacher assured me that she didn’t.

Every once in a while, when I leave the school’s play yard or when I return to pick up my daughter, I stop on the other side of the play yard fence and peek inside while staying hidden to watch her a bit. Not because I am hovering and don’t trust that she is okay. I watch so that I can see her in another light—one without her mother. I want to catch just a small glimpse of what others see of her.

We are viewed in life through so many lenses, each lens offering its own unique perspective but never quite capturing the whole. My mother knows me as a daughter, my sisters know me as a sibling, my students have known me as a teacher, and my friends see still another picture of me.  There are also views that are just for me—parts of me that I keep hidden because I do not want others to see. And some views we can not see at all—the darkest recesses of the mind and the inner struggles where there is not enough light for any lens to capture and the best we can hope for is to make sense of the shadows.

As well as we may think we know people, we can’t know the whole of anyone.  So too is my perspective of my daughter limited. I will always see her through the lens of motherhood. Don’t get me wrong. I love being her mother. When she calls, “Mommy!” my heart instantly warms. That’s me. She’s talking about me. I’m Mommy. And I am the only one she will ever call mommy. There’s something very special, and, dare I say, even sacred about that.

But as her mother, I am beginning to understand that there will be little pieces of her I will never see—lenses through which I will never get to peer. I wonder how others see her, how others that come into her life will see her as she grows.  What kind of friend will she be? What kind of student will she be? What kind of wife will she be? What kind of person will she be?

I am blessed to have my daughter and to get to view her through that very special lens. It may be my job to help raise the whole person, but I must accept that I may not always be privy to all of her. As she grows and her world widens, my motherhood lens will capture less and less of the whole. There will be more and more views of her that I will not see and yes, even parts that she will not want me to see. I have to be okay with that.

But I will still love all of her. Even the parts I can not see.


  1. Lisa Kelly says:

    What a beautiful perspective.


  2. Helenie says:

    And if you are blessed with a relationship with your daughter like I am with mine? It won’t matter at all that you can’t see “all” of her because like you said, what you do get to see is enough. While still maintaining a mother-daughter relationship, I am blessed to be able to call my daughter my friend, my co-worker, my advocate when her father makes me NUTS, the mother of my first grandchild, Jason’s wife, MY mother’s “angel” and JJ’s specially-bonded-with sister aka nemesis! There are so many more labels I can apply here, she is fiercely loyal to her small, intimate group of friends, and her family. She is a great sister-in-law to Jason’s 3 siblings and will be to JJ’s wife some day. But in the end, as glorious as it is to see this amazing, still-emerging young woman in so many ways, she is and always will be my daughter first. And that, my dear, is something that NOTHING and NO ONE can or will ever change. As mothers, we get the best view, the closest view into their souls that anyone will ever get to glimpse, that not even their fathers will ever get to see. Life can’t get any better than THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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