Hero Girl

We curled in a ball. Like we do every night. Unravelling her day. Her favourite thing was the library. Nothing beats the library. Except the cinnamon donut she got on the way home from the library.

Just as I turned out the light she said what she says every night. Mum, I’m going to dream about Superheros tonight.

She can’t decide if she’ll be a Knight or a Doctor or a Superhero. Tough career choices for a nearly four year old.

This much is true: she’s a rescuer.

Are you in trouble?

Do you have a problem?

I can help!

Most days she becomes Peso, the medic penguin from the Octonauts. Medical bag in hand, ready to treat the unsuspecting line up of  injured toys.

I worry about my hero girl. Much of her short life has been marked by an underlying sadness. A mother with a silent gaze. A mother pre-occupied with the screaming baby. A mother who spits fire like a dragon. A mother who makes excuses about not playing with her. A mother who indolently drags her way through each day.

I worry about the damage I’ve done.

I’ve explained it to her. I am sick. I’m not my usual self.  It may take awhile. I’m trying to get better, back to how I was before. And then I worry if she will even remember what before was.

I grieve her loss as much as I do mine.

This morning we started the day in our curled up ball. Winter dark with a hint of hazy light. Silence from the rest of the sleepers in the room. Me and my girl were warm in our embrace.

The apologies rolled into her ear. Sorry for yelling yesterday. Sorry for not being patient. I want to start the day fresh. I’ve been so sick. I am trying with all my might to get better.

I kissed her nose. Sweet delicate nose. She wrapped her tiny arms around me and whispered in my ear.

Get better for me.

The tears crashed down and splashed her hair.

Softly spoken words of grace landing so heavy in my heart.

And because this is real life and because she’s nearly four, I should have anticipated the next words from her mouth.

And remember Mum, I’m Peso. I’m a medic. I can make you better.


  1. says

    I have teared up reading this – what a gorgeous thoughtful young girl you have there. As the others have said, be kind to yourself – children are more resilient than we realise. You look after yourself and take care !
    Love, hugs and positive energy.
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  2. says

    You do know you haven’t made her that way don’t you?
    She isn’t a rescuer because you’ve been sad. She’s on her own journey, and she’s just being herself.
    My own view? We don’t have nearly as much influence as we think when it comes to contributing to our children’s personalities (both the good and the challenging).
    You’re not damaging her. Promise xxx

    • Deb says

      I’m sure she was always going to be a rescuer. It’s natural for kids to want to protect their parents too. But I do wish I could rewind time and do things better. I am sad that she’s been burdened by things that she didn’t deserve. You know me Nat, I’m sensitive and emotional nurture is at my core, therefore I feel sad about how things have been. Thanks for the encouragement! xx

  3. says

    What a beautiful little soul she is Deb, your little superhero. I cried reading this. I felt like this as I looked at my son through the tear-soaked dark haze of ante-natal depression, what had his days become, what was he seeing, feeling? I got better. He is as amazing as ever. The tears he is witness to now are (usually) of joy. Throughout it all, they can still feel the love. And let yourself feel the love they are offering you if you can. Let them help in your healing. xx

    • Deb says

      I am so glad you have tears of joy now, Alana. But I am sorry you went through such a tough time. Yes, I am feeling my daughter’s healing love. This was one of those huge healing moments. x

  4. says

    I think everyone here has already said it all: be kind to yourself, she is a precious soul. But I would add that the times I’ve spent with your daughter she is also happy, bubbly, bright, alive, full of playtime and mischief and kindness and joy. She carries a heroine’s heart, true, but only a child’s load. You are a wonderful mother.
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  5. says

    Oh, I worry about the damage I’ve done too. I really understand this. And it can’t be undone.
    But I try to think about it as dilution. I dilute the damage in a mound of cuddles and kisses and playing togethers, that it doesn’t hold as much sway.

    ( I’m being serious, but the analogy of wee in a bath, versus wee in the ocean oddly comes to mind)

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  6. says

    Your writing is beautiful as well as your story. I’m unsure what the cause of your sadness is: postpartum depression, depression, over whelmed by several toddlers, loss of a spouse or… One thing I do know is this. Jesus knows and he cares. He hears your heart and love for your child. All he has called us to do is love him and love others. You are loving this sweet little daughter and it makes a world of difference. YOU make a difference in her life. She is gifted day after day with a an example of God’s grace. Every time we sin and ask for forgiveness is tiny little picture pointing to the cross. You mistakes are opportunities for the Gospel to shout to the world, “LIfe is found in Me.”

    I think you are an awesome mother.

    • Deb says

      Thank you Ali for your lovely comment. I’ve struggled with exhaustion and a challenging baby. It made for quite a year last year, but we’re recovering slowly. Lovely to see you here.

  7. says

    wow, some days I could write that story, your amazing little miss obviously has a beautiful heart, she knows you need looking after and that you are sad she is there for you and you are already there for her when she needs you, you just don’t see that at the moment

    kids are amazing resilient little things sometimes
    Belinda recently posted..stuck at homeMy Profile

  8. inkpaperpen says

    What a girl you have! I share your worries- I sometimes have the worst thoughts about what I might be doing to my sons, feeling like I am spoiling them (as in ruining spoiling not too many ice creams spoiling), that they were born perfect and I an slowly subjecting them to my owns flaws and faults. But its too much to think this way, isn’t it? Our children are so good at unconditional love, and I guess life is about a warts an all approach. Just remember, you made this gorgeous girl, and she does sound divine so you must be in the right track. Our children don’t need us to be perfect, do they?

    Congrats on the BlogHer news too, deb. I am chugged for you x

    • Deb says

      No we don’t need to be perfect – what a relief! I’m amazed how forgiving and protective they are. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting to try to do my best for her.

      And thank you, Gill! – I am thrilled by the news!

  9. says

    I got all choked up inside reading this beautiful post.
    The beauty about it all is that she sees no fault in you, Deb. Your precious little girl just wants to see you get better.
    I’m going to be echoing what many before me here have already said, but try to be kind to yourself. Take care of you. You’ll return. I know you will.
    Much love to you, dear friend xxx
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  10. says

    This is such a beautiful post, Deb. Made me cry. Your worry about “damaging” her reminded me of my mother. She worries the same about her early years as a mother which were quite sad at times. I know she felt disconnected. In the end, we’ve all turned out okay. As for me, I can see how much closer Miss T is with her dad of late and I know, or feel I know, that it’s because her baby sister came along and has needed me so much. I miss bedtimes with her because I’m always struggling to settle her sister at the same time so daddy sits with her. I missed spending a lot of her 3rd year with her because she was at childcare often whilst I was at home with her sister. I know she is a beautiful, well-adjusted child and so intelligent and sensitive and usually kind. I suppose a lot of this emotion is about me. It’s at times like this that a raw nerve is touched and I wonder if I should have been a SAHM. Then I wonder how much “damage” I might have done being more impatient and frustrated with them being around them almost 24/7. Sometimes I don’t patiently even do a day with them.

    Anyway, I cannot say enough how much I love your writing. It really touches my heart and it is so full of vivid imagery. And judging by the number of comments your posts are getting lately, I’m not the only person being touched by your precious gift. xx
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    • Deb says

      I hear you Veronica, about the worry of the ‘damage’ we potentially feel we do. I know kids survive, but I guess I am sensitive to these things and I was aiming a little higher for myself. At the end of the day, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t be a good mother to them – so this is why we make the choices that we do, yes? Thank you yet again for another thoughtful comment. xx

    • Deb says

      Thank you so much Catherine. I need reminding on a daily basis that I’m an adult. Children have a remarkable way of doing it. I think they have an enormous capacity to forgive too – thank goodness! xx

    • Deb says

      Thanks Martine, that was written 7 months ago and yes I’m getting better. :) And YES I have so much confidence that she will continue to be an amazing human being. xx

  11. says

    What a gorgeous girl you have. Don’t be too hard on yourself, being able to recognise your mistakes even to begin with is such a huge thing, that many parents just don’t seem to do.

  12. says

    What a beautiful post. I have just found you via FYBF, so don’t know your history yet, but I can feel the sadness through your writing and also the beauty of your daughter. Be kind to yourself, we all do the best we can with what we’ve got on any given day. xx
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    • Deb says

      Hi Jane – thank you for your lovely comment. There is sadness and I choose to write about it as honest creative expression. I hope there is also hope and goodness in each post too. xxx

  13. says

    I’ve just come across your blog through Grace FYBF and what a touching post. Without knowing your battles, I feel your pain in regards to not being all that you want or can be to your children. I’ve too had to apologise to my 4 year old for being so grumpy all the time, not playing with her and yelling (oh I cringe when I think about it). I suppose we just have to hope that the love we feel for them will conquer all else and they will love us warts and all, as we do them.
    Thanks for sharing
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    • Deb says

      So well said, Emily, you’re absolutely right. And yes, I cringe every day… so good to hear I’m not the only one. Our children are so forgiving and loving. I’m so glad that connection is unbreakable. Thanks for stopping by. xxx

  14. says

    Wow – what a powerful post Deb. Your daughter sounds gorgeous and perfect. I love that she wants to help people and also wants to help you. Don’t be hard on yourself though, I hope the intervening months have improved your health and that you feel more like the mother you wish to be.
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    • Deb says

      Thank you so much Tracey. I’m really okay – I write just to express the honesty of feelings in a moment in time. :) And yes, she’s amazing. Thank you for such a lovely comment. xx


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