I see my daughter has liked a poem posted on facebook that is rather desperate. I go to check on her and she is asleep. I sit next to her, kiss her forehead, and smooth her hair and tell her I love her. She sleeps so peacefully. I watch as her chest rises and falls quietly, and notice her beautiful face absent of all makeup, her rosy cheeks a reminder of the toddler whose sweet fingers intertwined mine as she held on to my hand. I remember leaving her, peeling those fingers away, one by one, extricating myself from her, feeling it so necessary. I wanted her to be independent. She was not ready to stop needing me. I did not know my child. I still do not know her.
I lay down next to her and hold her tightly now, my body puzzled into hers like we once were before she was born, fitted together. I’m listening to her rhythmic breathing, and I pray. There are no words. I simply think of God and match my breath to hers. She is warm and soft and once again, for this short time, the child for whom I could fix what was broken.
So young to understand the impermanence, that there are no guarantees. Whose pain is greater, that she does not feel grounded here? That she has considered her options?
So cruel to contemplate how I could live if I lost her. I could not survive with only half my heart. I think of her brother and what would be left for him without us.
So maybe there are words to my prayer. God who gave her life the first time, do not leave her alone as I have. I am a mother watching this beautiful tortured soul struggle to find herself, to come of age, in the midst of the messy life we have been left to clean and this utter darkness as she struggles to see the light from the cover. Surround her with protection from the world, from herself.
I smell her hair, very sweet and pleasant, her scent this my child. I cannot reassure her it is just a bad dream, cannot make the bad dream go away.
Little one you have to fight. I do not want to leave you. Yet I peel my body from yours and slip out of your bed and room as I see it is me who is needy now. Me who would hold onto you when you need to be your own woman.
I am not the perfect mother and his words echo about how bad a mother I was. I sometimes don’t even know the truth. I want nothing more than to be a good mother and if love is enough, I am. Even now, after all this time, his voice is so clear.
Was I not a good wife, nor mother? Were you just repeating the voice you heard in my head, or were you that voice itself?
Hold on to life even when it is easier letting go. Hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you. unknown
Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:28