31 December 2009

last letter

You crept toward the glow of an open door. You called to me, and I let you in. You met me where I was. You always have.

For Auld Lang Syne.

Once, you were enough. You loomed in winter’s shadows, filled empty spaces and found strength in my fear. But this year, I faced you and called you by name. Now I see you.

I see you.

But you are not the ugly monster I once imagined you to be. I was surprised to find traces of beauty and meaning in your countenance.

Let it be said, that you once were my teacher and my friend. Indeed you were my comfort and my companion. Many days, you were my security, my truth and my North. You served me. You helped to shape me, and you wove threads of depth, dimension and compassion into my character.

I see you.

I now see that you mattered. I see value in who you have been and what you have done. And today, on this New Year’s Eve, I thank you. I thank you for meeting me and holding me the best way you could. Sometimes you did.

But in the flicker of tonight’s candlelight, I also see that you paralyze, command and consume. You always have. You always will. So as the Light of a New Year beckons, I choose love. I am letting you go.

Although, you will remain a part of me and my story, I no longer need you for sustenance and strength. I will always remember the lessons you have taught, and I will behold these scars with a full heart. But tonight, I am ready to stand on my own feet. It is time for me to live – to run the race I was born to run. It is time for me to breathe and to laugh once again. It is time, and I am ready.

So with love, gratitude and a soulful embrace, I bid you adieu. Thank you, but no thank you. No longer.


the point

"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction." ~William James

02 December 2009

in between

In a few minutes, with tousled hair, an untucked tee, and a backpack and lunch pail in tow, Maya will step down from her pencil-yellow chariot to the stop where I kissed her goodbye, and we parted eight hours ago. Dressed in the ensemble she picked out herself, she will return to my care. I will solicit answers to questions and although she will eventually fill me in on scattered details from her day, others will slip away through the cracks when I'm not looking, like her first tooth.

I'm still getting used to these growing spaces between us.

I seized the opportunity to hold onto my little girl and to keep her close in the name of tradition this Thanksgiving. She reluctantly agreed to leave the family festivities early so we could go to our third Nutcracker in Seattle Friday night. It was magical.

We slumber partied, pedicured and painted our way through Saturday before Paul and Cole returned home. By Monday morning, after a week-long, fun-filled break from our routine, the spaces in our togetherness seemed small. Obsolete.

But under our roof last night, with our backs momentarily turned, Maya slipped from our grasp like one of the dishes I was washing. In a mad dash to cram as much as possible in the last ten minutes of wake before bed, Maya missed a step and tumbled head first and backwards down an entire flight of hardwood steps. Time moved aside, and my heart stood still.

"Mommy, I really hurt myself," she sobbed.

I was frozen, panicked and paralyzed, while Mommy scrambled down the stairs after her fallen daughter. She stepped in, and she knew what to do. She made sure my baby was okay and rocked her tenderly. She let Maya cry her tears of pain, fear and shock. She remained calm in the storm. She nurtured me too once the tears subsided and assured me that my daughter would be okay.

This morning, somewhere between upward and downward dog, Mommy let her guard down and the gravity of those stairs and the spaces in between hit my heart. I ached beneath the weight of my love for this child. The torrent of my own tears finally came.

This morning I wept both tears of gratitude and bitter tears of pain. I wept for yesterday and for tomorrow. I wept for my daughters, my mothers and my sisters. I also wept for every misunderstanding, misstep and mistake. I wept over beginnings, ends and the spaces in between, and I wept for the weight and the ache of this love. Oh, it is beautiful. It hurts, and it is hard.

Just a few days ago, while Maya and I roused from sweet dreams graced by Sugar Plum fairies, four Seattle officers were mercilessly gunned down. They kissed their families goodbye then slipped through the cracks when no one was looking.

This morning, as I wept in the space between my child and I, I wanted to hold her and keep her and never let her go. But then, through the ache and the sting of my tears, I watched my daughter ascend the stairs she had fallen down the night before. She donned a smart outfit of her own design, with disheveled hair she had already styled. In that space, she had also made her bed, packed her bag, and she was poised to face another day.

So we ran down the hill to the bus stop, my sugar plum princess and I. We heartily laughed our way down the hill as her chariot approached. I held Maya tight, kissed her goodbye and then let go. Just before the bus rounded the corner and pulled away, I saw her once more. She was still breathless and beaming.