The vessel that contains every ounce of my love, devotion and hope weighs 47 pounds and wears a size 1 shoe. Her name is the most perfect word that I could conjure. Ever. She is my dear sweet baby girl and I need to give her better answers:
Well Sis, you’re six and half (yes we’re counting the halves and every day in between). At this point I have lived the past seven years through the lens of you. I know that that’s hard to believe as a daughter myself. It’s hard when the world is convoluted and puzzling. Things feel unfair and unsolicited. And at the top of the list of WHYS will always be my name. I’m not particularly thrilled with that reality but there’s no escaping it. Our lives, our wellbeing are the ultimate responsibility of our mother. Mine, Grandma’s, Great-grandma and all of the great-great-great-grandmas before have fucked up their children’s life in one way or another. It’s the human condition. It’s inevitable. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room that has hurt you so from the tender age of 3 and will still at the age of 33.
“I want you to love Daddy”.
“You weren’t nice to Daddy”.
“I don’t like it when you meet new ones”.
“I want you to marry Daddy”.
That’s how a verbose toddler and kindergartner breaks down– I have a broken family, one parent and I’m hurt.
I have tried my damnedest since you were 2 to explain to you succinctly, using all of the made for emotional support children’s books words. “Mommy and Daddy love you very much. We tried very hard to live together but we just didn’t get along very well”. There’s only so many ways to say that. Maybe it feels hallow. Maybe you can see right though me– well you definitely can. But up until a few weeks ago I haven’t blatantly lied to you (what, sue me if I bribed you to come into the house to see a surprise so that you would stop having an epic crying fit on the neighbors front porch). After which I told you in a very sobering way, more so for me than you, you’re right I did lie, that’s life, people lie.
All of that is to say that it has never been my intentions in life, love or motherhood to sugarcoat things. Sure I get stuck in my good Midwestern passive aggressive nature where I choose to bottle, bottle, bottle and inevitably explode. But we never got off on that foot and there will never be wool over your beautiful eyes.
There are some things that I want you to know. Things that I am afraid will get lost in time, space and animosity. I want you to know that love though flawed always shape shifts over the lifespan. Two people in like, lust and love are still two people. Human. Imperfect.
I could wax poetic about being young, irrational, adventurous, naive and brimming to the top with ego. But that would only provide a cautionary tale for myself while serving you in no way. Your own choices, trials, successes and God willing adventures are your only lesson. Some will turn out, some will turn you under. You may learn, you may not but one day the reverberations of LOVE IS COMPLICATED will reach right in your chest and grab something. The fog of applying logic to love will dissipate a little. It still won’t make sense but you learn to look at all matters of the heart with compassion.
Forgive but never forget, that’s how we grow boo.
Tonight I talked (at) to your father. The sound of his voice makes me go numb. It’s not a healthy reaction but it is adaptive. I had to let him go from my heart some time ago. Our relationship ended in total exhaustion. We tried we just didn’t know how.
Though I wish for you to find a (mostly) perfect love with great speed as to spare you the upheaval of loving and loosing I know that isn’t realistic. Especially when you like I, infatuate easy. Jump in without checking the depth of the pool and fall down a lot. Ouchies heal but sometimes the scars linger and that’s okay because they show that you got back up.
The details of the breakdown have seeped out in many ways, it’s not a secret. I just want this one to be different. I want to reminisce about when things were good. When we had a house full of love. The palpable amazement that we shared for you. A friendship. Loyalty. Family.
Your dad is such a tactile person. Love manifests through him in a way that you can touch and measure. He loves to be the one who came through in a pinch, the guy who fixed it, the first at the scene. When your great-grandma died I drove myself out to her funeral and felt more alone than I could ever explain. Your dad, at that point only a friend, called me constantly, insisting that he would come out there just so that I wouldn’t have to drive home alone. I had to forbid him from coming. He just wanted to make things better for me the how was the only thing that was ever askew.
Your dad was like inhaling light for me at a time when I was in the doldrums of life. He was so young. Bubbling with jovial shenanigans. We had a lot of fun. We were reckless and hell bent. That was the only reprieve that I had in a year of emotional anchors. I would have been a very different person today had I not lived that first year of us with out you.
When I was growing you from embryo to eight and a half pounds of utter perfection your dad would get so excited. I was very pragmatic about the lot of it. There was an itinerary, deadlines to meet, mountains to move before I could make a suitable world for your to land softly into. Not Dean. He told everyone about you before I was willing to tell myself. He got so excited about your crib that he built the whole thing downstairs without thinking about it needing to go up the stairwell and through a door. Without skipping a beat he tore it down and rebuilt it before I could notice.
He would gently cradle my belly in his gorgeous manly hands while peering into my soul with those exact big beautiful brown eyes that you bat me. After you were born he would still reach out to rub my tummy and look up bashfully when he realized that you lived on the outside now. I didn’t mind it still felt like love.
We would make really nice dinners every night. You would sit in your highchair stripped joyously directing everyones life with your laughs, points and NO!’s . You would smear your food everywhere, chuck bits of anything to the furthest baseboard. We swept and Swiffered every single day then. It would unravel out into music, dancing and harmonizing poorly to Crosby, Stills & Nash.
You were such a complete and total brat about sleeping in your crib. It didn’t last long after 9 months you would climb out and attempt to squeeze through. We all ended up in a big familial pile on the floor every night. You know how you insist on having your back rubbed before bed? That was your father’s doing. I would always be the first to pass out and there he was rubbing your back and singing Hush Little Baby out of key. He was never in a hurry to put you to sleep.
There were the sobering times when you were sick and hurt. When you had a fever. When we rushed you to the emergency room. When we so desperately would have given up either of our lives to make you healthy and happy. There were so many times when we were a unit of three out of necessity. All of the crumbling pieces of logistics were futile at those times. We were simply a little family with the biggest concern in the world, you.
Evey, I agree that it was all to brief, but it was there. You were made in a place of love. Were you a life raft out of a storm in my heart? Yes. Was that fair to you? No. In the light of retrospect I can confidently say that becoming a parent is the most selfish thing that a person can do? Yes. Would I change a single choice, fork in the road or excruciating decision that came before you? Never. All of the signs pointed to you in some mystical way. It was you that I found so that my life could begin. Know that it has been you many times that kept your dad from choosing to end. You are my destiny and I your starting line, I’m not going anywhere. You were loved fully and deeply then like you will always be.