Johanna, who is my daughter, is the antithesis of me. I have always been the typical clean freak, always. I am also very organized. I needed to be, I was raising a lot of kids. All of those kids had appointments: school, braces, counseling, sports and then us as a family.
Johanna was a different child. She chose to live her life in a tornado, touching everything and anything and never quite understanding boundaries. She never developed a boundary with me, and of course, that responsibility is mine because I named her after me.
She fascinates me, obviously, I write of her often.
Something in me has changed. I’ve learned acceptance. All of the time that I wanted Johanna to change and for all of the time, I wanted her to be like me, were wasted efforts. She is who she is and who she wishes to be. She is perfectly capable of making those decisions.
Her life has been very hard on her. She struggled for more than five years to gain custody of her child. She was relentless. It was more difficult for her because she waits until the last moment to get things done. She gets them done, but often, not on time. It’s been eighteen months since she won custody — and finally — normalcy is returning to her life.
Her car is full of the debris of living. I’ve never seen her drive a clean car. She knows where most things are and she will produce it for you, you just have to ask. In fact, that is the thing with her, you just have to ask. She will give you anything you wish for, if it is within her power. Johanna’s superpower has always been love.
Her mothering is nothing like my own mothering. On one of her trips here to Florida, she told her boys to pack toys in their back packs. She packed everything else for them in the luggage. I know lots of mothers who are much more practical and would not allow kids to pack their own back packs. She believes it fosters independence and also, the kids don’t blame her if something is forgotten. I appreciate how she values independence in her sons. She also spends most of her time with her sons. If she isn’t working, she is with her sons. She requires a great deal from her sons and yet, she requires nothing. She is an unusual mother.