Tuesday, December 13, 2005

snippets from bedtime, part two

“I wish I was you, Momma.”

I pause, halfway out the door. It could be a ploy, but I am intrigued. Turning to face her, I reply, “Why is that, Bub?”

“I just wish I was you, Momma.” She grins a self-conscious grin—the kind of grin that wears her rather than she wearing it. I am now intrigued and perplexed.

“Why do you wish you were me?”

“I dunno. I just do.” Her head plummets under the quilt in mock embarrassment, only to reappear with the same infectious grin. I don’t know quite what to say. So, I wing it.

“Well,” I reply, turning toward the door, “I’m glad you’re not me. I’m glad you’re you.” It’s not brilliant, but it will suffice. That’s when she floors me.

“If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about bad stuff,” she blurts out. I pause, half way out into the hall, and turn back around. I am now intrigued, perplexed, and completely caught off guard.

“What?”

“If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about bad stuff.” Standing, dumbfounded, in the doorway, I can’t help but smirk at her absurdity. But the sweet innocent has no idea she’s absurd at all, let alone just how absurd she really is—she’s never read my blog, after all. Obviously.

“You think Mommy doesn’t worry about bad stuff?” The same self-conscious grin shakes back and forth. Nope. Mommy doesn’t worry. My smirk threatens to erupt into outright laughter. The child really has no idea. How did I manage to pull that one off?

How did I manage to hide from her my sleepless nights as school approached each and every year? Did she really sleep through the nights I snuck into her room and curled up next to her in bed, convulsing with my fear and wetting her face with my inability to let her go? Does she not understand that I still make her hold my hand in the parking lot because visions unspeakable flash unbidden through my mind at 50 MPH? How does she not see?

Labels. Rejection from her peers. Rejection from her teachers. Rejection from other parents. Deep wounds, thick scars. Illness. Injury. Loss of life, literally. Loss of life, figuratively. Loss of a parent. Loss of our home. Loss. Rebellion. Darkness and anger. Bitterness and resentment. Loss of relationship. More loss. Bad seeds sown. Bad fruit reaped. Deception. Confusion. Walking away. My daughter on a therapist’s couch, talking about me and how I failed her. My daughter, on a morgue table. My daughter, lying in a parking lot. My daughter, in an abortion clinic. My daughter, in a big, bad world that I cannot possibly protect her from.

And those are just my fears for her.

So I’ll leave to her the thoughts of tornados, of thunder, of wind and rain. I’ll leave to her the worries of who sits by whom and what words were exchanged on the playground. I’ll leave to her the “bad stuff.”

And I’ll tell her, “No, my dear. You have it all wrong—it is I who wishes I was you.”

1 comment:

Julie Morrison said...

reading your fears for your daughter caused me to weep, remembering the beginning-to-worry at a young age. I realized early on my mother was not my protector and how devastating that has been in my life. Your daughter is so very fortunate to have Christian parents foremost, and secondly, you as her mother. I had just written a poem last week, an over view of my life with my mother, called "Backwards Mother Dream". I will make sure you get a copy. I am intendning to send it around to publishers and will post it on my blog after publication.
God bless you and Merry Christmas.