The house is beginning its quieting din. The time right before everyone settles in for the night. My daughter cuts herself a piece of cranberry orange cake purchased from Costco earlier today. It is rather crumbly and gives part of itself to the floor. I tell her she is making a mess. More of a commentary than a criticism. She says that she will sweep. "Oh, good! Get the dining room while you are at it." I say a silent thank you to the cake that spilled, because I hadn't really wanted to sweep tonight.
I watch her as she sweeps the floor, singing off key and being very teenagery as she does it. I see how she is growing up and changing. It brings out the critical in me. I can see in her the parts of me that I never liked, the parts I wish I had learned to master. I hold back my tongue and stop myself from saying things about what I notice and how she can be better than me. I don't want her inner voice to be the same critical tyrant that mine is. I want better for her, so I bite my lip.
I fight with that tyrant daily, moment by moment, and I know how those battle scars look and feel and I want better than that for her. That tyrant in my head is vicious.
She has finished sweeping the floor and I sit in darkened silence and I fight for my daughter and myself against that stabbing voice. The voice that tells me my ruin will ruin her as well. And I fight and I fight and I fight, because she is beloved and I am trying to learn how to feel beloved too in the midst of my broken.
The music of Swan Lake plays in the background on a tv in another room.
Writing beloved has quieted the tyrannical voice.
In case you want to read a synopsis of Swan Lake