It's never too late to begin the healing process from childhood sexual abuse. It's never too early to fall in love with the person God created you to be. Long ago someone made a choice to take away your innocence, but today that someone can't touch your freedom to heal.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Skin Horse Lied: The Wisdom of Motherhood and Grief

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.

'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Image courtesy of donnaspoons/


When you’re real you don’t mind being hurt? Excuse me, Mr. Skin Horse, but I think you are perfectly wrong. Because I’ve got seven children who love me. REALLY love me. Plus, I’m real. I. AM. REAL. And I mind being hurt.

I don’t know about you, but this momma thing isn’t for sissies. When my children hurt, I hurt. When they cry, I feel pain. (Well, unless it’s a temper tantrum or something manipulative, then I feel peeved.) But when something happens that hurts them or someone wounds them with words, I hurt too.

There is an old saying, “A mother is only as happy as her saddest child.” I don’t know who said it, but she didn’t lie.

So what’s a momma to do when sad happens? What’s a momma to do with sad?


I know. You wanted a different answer didn’t you? I want one too, but I’ve searched for years and can’t find one. So I’ve learned to grieve.

This hasn’t been easy for me. I come from a long line of stoics who hid their tears, picked themselves up by their boot straps, charged on through pain. And they taught their children to do so too.

Perhaps it was the Great Depression, the World Wars that molded and shaped their survivor mentality. Or maybe it’s all they truly had time to do. I’m not sure. I just know, it doesn’t work for me. And my eighty-six year mother admitted recently, “I’ve learned to cry. I do a lot more of that than I used to.”

We didn’t chat about her admission any further. We didn’t have too. She’s a woman of few words, and I understood her comment. I’ve learned to cry too. Not to wallow, not to wail, but to recognize each sadness as it comes, acknowledge the loss, sit in its presence, and allow the tears to fall.

Tears heal.

So at this point in my life, as I parent for the second-time around, I can relate to the Skin Horse. Several of my joints are loose, many days I feel shabby, and I certainly don’t mind being real. Yet, I still mind being hurt. But now I know what to do with it. And that’s no lie.


Next week. Should we cry in front of our kids? The Wisdom of Shared Tears: When to Cry for Our Kids, When to Cry with Them
If you would like to continue to read Carolyn's hard-earned wisdom on parenting, please subscribe to her new blog, Wisdom from a Second-hand Mother: A Momma Parenting for the Second-time Around. Click here. Tamar's Redemption will be under construction soon and designed solely for survivors of sexual abuse and those who love them. Thank you.

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