I wrote the following while on vacation this summer:
There is comfort in resting my ear against the fingered tines of your ribs, my body next to yours, sleeping - so small in this moment - curled into the blankets, like a seashell found buried in the sand at the shoreline. This is me, listening to the air moving in and out of your lungs - it's what we do sometimes, us Mothers. We listen to the breath of our children, the rhythmic pull and rush, like waves rolling in on themselves, steady and even. There is solace here. And what I hear, the rush-rush of your breath, is juxtaposed to what I'm seeking against the rainbow pajamas you chose because they're cooler, and summer nights spent sleeping in Nana's sewing room are warm. It's this rush I want to moderate, measure out in half beats so that I may inhale all of who you are and were, who you are becoming amidst the thief that is Time. If there was a way to rewind your body into the velvety soft bundle smelling sweetly of some illusive combination of talc and milk and spit up, rewind you into the cradle of my elbow, when we spent long snowy days together, your body tucked neatly into the curve of my arm - I would.
But this is not how it goes, my love - this rush is not to be damned, impossible. This is all you, rushing, rushing away, and into your own person.
We have spent a magical summer together, so many adventures, each one better than the last. Everything from airplanes, hiking to incredible heights, baking cakes, swimming, and sleepovers.
In a few short days you will begin Kindergarten. The uniforms hang neatly, a new lunchbox and backpack await, a small desk area has been prepared, you chose to pierce your ears, and dye your hair a wildly fabulous hot pink.You have memorized mine and Daddy's phone numbers, our address. You are ever so close to reading, and you love "plus" and "minus" numbers. Your vocabulary will blow them away.
You are ready.
But I am not.
I was not prepared for the overwhelming wave of emotion that has grabbed hold of me. I wrote to my superiors letting them know that I'd be into work a little late on your first day, as I would not miss sending you off on the big yellow school bus. And when those doors close behind you, swallowing you whole, I know you will do well. In your education, I have full confidence - you will be fine.
It's all the other parts of school that are terrifying to think of. Ad nauseam, I have repeated that it's your soul I want to protect. That self-worth and confidence we have worked so hard to nurture - will it remain intact as the world of school and friends do their thing, sometimes so painfully cruel?
Did I do enough?
I have learned to let others love you. It started with the morning I dropped you off at daycare, entrusting your care with those wonderful women as I returned to other people's children. It began then, I know. But this feels vastly different.
My Blueberry Girl, I hope you know, deep in your bones, that you are loved fiercely, that you remember all the times we told you, you were brave, and strong, and kind, and generous, that it is okay to fail, that you will fail, that struggle is necessary, to stand up for yourself, speak out against the bad, and compassion for others goes a long way - that you believe all these for yourself.
This is my wish for you.
I hope I have done enough.