When working with grief, there is a tricky balance between allowing for your experience, and letting it color your whole world. If I can stick with just the emotional energy of loss, in the moment, there is a release inherent in the process. However, when I begin to THINK about what it is that is passing on, the story builds, the pain amplifies and sticks, and daily witnessing is tinged with waiting for the other shoe to drop. I confess, this has been happening for me lately in regard to my daughter, and her passing babyhood.
At first just caught in glimpses out of the corner of my eye, the little girl Fern is becoming is now visible at all times, and it is her babyness that whispers by in a momentary glance. As if I actually could, I have been willing time to slow, for little hands and toes to stay small, for words to still tumble off an infant tongue in the language of a babbling brook. I have been trying to grasp at ghosts, heart tumbling down, my eyes following the descent and blind to what is right before me.
Then I read this post recommended by another writer who’s unabashed gushing over the present moment is infectious. Her reflections on the toddler years and how, unbelievably, it just keeps getting better, felt like a reprieve. Like I could somehow banish the dread that Fern is doomed to grow into a grumpy, sassy teenager who hates me and the rest of the world. More on point…it’s ok if she’s grumpy or sassy but please don’t let it be because I screw up as a Mom. Suddenly I am jolted awake and disentangle myself from an imagined future that evaporates. What do I see?
~ I see a 22 month old who just learned how to jump, both feet 3 centimeters off the ground, her joy leaping even higher.
~ She is playing with blocks, still knocking them down, but now stacking them up too. She balances the small ones end on end, with a dexterity that takes my breath away.
~ I hear cackling and I look over to see that she has figured out how to put plastic playskool chickens on her fingers, waving them around in gleeful triumph.
~ Each morning, I am awakened by a little face peering over my shoulder saying, “Mom. Hey Mom. Mom. Mom. MOM.”
~ We try to pick blackberries but they have yet to ripen. I look in my purse and discover six dollars. I say, “We have six dollars Fern. What should we get?” and she replies, “PIE!!!!”. That’s a girl.
~ Somehow she has figured out the universal signs for “MEN” and “WOMEN”, because in any public space I can ask her, “Fern, where are the bathrooms?” and she will lead me straight to one, even if I didn’t see it when we passed by.
~ In the blackberry patch she stands, transfixed, watching a butterfly. I say, “Do you see the butterfly?”. “YEAH! Bly bly! Bly bly!” She points to a bee, “And Zeez! Zizz. Zeez!”
Now she wasn’t a little caterpillar anymore, she was a big fat caterpillar. She built a cocoon around herself, and when she came out she was a beautiful bly bly.
I will give you a boost and you just keep on climbing. I will try to keep up, but when you take flight from the highest branches, I will stay on the ground and I will always watch the skies for a sight of you.
(I am so excited for those who have already signed up for the Bioregional Swap! This is going to be wonderful!)