Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dear Lily

Dear Lily,

Sometimes I wonder when you will stop loving me. When you will no longer look at me with eyes that shine with joy, when you will lose your taste for me, for being mothered. I wonder when you will become as other girls are, offended by my presence, wishing I would back away and be silent.

Wishing I was not there.

I know this will happen. It is the tide of mother daughter relationships. It is the ebb and flow of the most devoted and complicated of family ties.

I never expected to need you so much. To see your face and feel love so strongly that I could die for you. To smell your hair and close my eyes and feel you again, so warm and new on my chest. So known and unknown all at once.

You spend your day away from me now. In a classroom filled with children and people I do no know well. This strikes me as odd and sad- the idea of sending you off to be among strangers because you are five. But it is the way. It is what is done. No matter that it hurts and that it seems so cold.

I feel like I have been robbed of you in this way. In these hours you are gone you are learning and growing without me. And it feel like loss. It feels a little like grief. It is good and right and wise to let you go. But it is, at the same time, a death of what came before. The hours of you and me. The hours of your hand in mine, your coloring books, your voice singing, and your head nodding as you feel asleep against me.

You are a once my baby and at once your own person, figuring out the world for yourself. You ask questions I cannot answer. You give answers I cannot bear. Yet you still at the end of the day curl yourself like a kitten into my lap for a snuggle and a story. You still want to be held and kissed. I beg all of heaven you never lose that, Lily. Because I need it as much as you do.

Just yesterday you had a consequence for lying. And afterwards, I cried with you. I let the tears of hurt and pain flow, because I knew you needed to see them. I knew that without these tears he impact of your actions would be unclear to you. You sat on my lap, crying all the harder for seeing me cry. You rushed to get me tissue. You dried my tears with your little hands. You SAW what needed to be seen. I was proud of you in the moment for your clarity and your compassion.

I miss you. I miss the baby girl who would fill my days with laughter and joy. I miss my sweet unburdened girl who hadn't a care. You are different now- mature. You think of schoolwork and of things beyond your own happiness. This is good as well, but it is still hard.

I want you to know that I miss you. I want you to know that I think of you every minute of the day- wondering if you need me. If you are wishing for me. I pray every morning that your day be filled with learning. That you are treated kindly. And that you are kind in return.

But I am not complete until I see your little face waiting for me. I am not whole until I turn to kiss you as you get into the car. In some ways I am holding my breath until I see you and have you safe with me.

I hope above all that I am getting this right. That although I walk this road of motherhood in the dark when it seems like all others around me are in daylight, I am choosing the right things for you. I hope that you can say someday that although I made mistakes, I always loved you. I always gave you enough affection and enough care.

It's three hours until I see your face again. And until then I will wait and wish and love you.