Bubble wrap, since the late 1950’s has been used to protect items from damage or breakage. I was actually wrapped in it from the age of six when my dad died, till…well I don’t really remember when it was that I broke free from it. I think sometimes that if I looked hard enough I might still see bits stuck to me. Amazingly I could still breathe, but only just. The problem was I didn’t think I was any different from any other kid. Unfortunately, when I was sixteen I popped some of the bubbles and there was no turning back, that was when I started to feel the good and the bad and see the beautiful and the ugly sides of life. Because I had been in my bubble cocoon for sixteen years I was sooo unprepared for what life had in store for me.
Since having my daughter I vowed never to use bubble wrap on her. I wanted her to be prepared for life, but alas being a mum myself I suddenly realised why my mum had used it. It was great stuff and I could use as much or as little as I needed. I began being selective as to where or when I would use it on her. My intention wasn’t to smother her I just wanted to stop her from feeling hurt, feeling pain. How silly was I? I wrapped her in it mostly when she was outside, convinced she was fine when at home, with me or her father. Yeah right! Well she wasn’t. She was being abused right under my nose and I didn’t see it.
Fast forward to now, fourteen years on. She is a beautiful young and confident woman who I still see as my little girl. I still want to protect her. If she is hurting, I hurt. When she is happy I am happy. The bubble wrap is gone…..well I thought it was. You see, this morning I had an epiphany. Here I was contemplating her life and thinking about a few of the problems she is experiencing at the moment. I was actually trying to brainstorm a few ideas for her to help get her life back on track. I suddenly realised that I was being quite selfish in trying to sort her problems for her. I was, I must admit wanting to help her so that I didn’t have to feel her pain. OMG!!
I had just been discussing a blog I had read here about the importance of getting in touch with all our feelings, not just the good ones. And here I was, still in my bubble wrap shield and still forcing my daughter to use it. Even the painful feelings should be recognised as important in teaching us about ourselves, others and life. Some of my best ideas, epiphanies and creativity has come from painful experiences. I suddenly realised that I had been continually attempting to rob my daughter of life’s experiences by shielding her from feeling stress, anxiety, worry and pain.
I know this new found knowledge won’t be easy to put into practice, after all I have been at it a long time. But I will still be the soft place for her to fall, the shoulder to cry on, just not so much the one to want to ‘fix everything’ to make myself feel better.
Life is strange. How long has it taken me to realise this lesson? too long I say. Maybe I am the reason she is ‘stuck in a rut’ as she describes it. Perhaps I am preventing her from learning from the lessons she needs to learn in order to grow. Well today is a new day, there are still more lessons to learn, bring it on 🙂