There are days, whole rivers of days, that stream past me at warp speed, with precious little to tether me to awareness. And then there are days like today, that stop me in my tracks, days that seem to shake me by my shoulders and say, "You are never going back. Everything is different now."
I put Clara on a plane, alone. I had hardly even hesitated making the reservation. My mom and dad were eager for some extra time with her--the luxury of unstructured summer afternoons that our family gathering of next weekend will not afford--and they offered to pay for her ticket if she could come early. What could I say? Of course she can come! All the packing and preparation was rife with anticipation and confidence on her part, and I worked damn hard to show her only my confidence and pride in her courage.
And I did have confidence in her! And I do have tons of pride! But there was something else, nibbling at my consciousness, that I wasn't sure what to do with. Today when it came time to march her through the snaking security lines and down to the gate, it gnawed at me. And when she was swallowed up by the door to the jetway, crossing that threshold I could not cross, it hit me in the gut: grief. My baby is so big and I am saying goodbye to her.
I am saying goodbye.
Now, I know I'm being dramatic, but I'm also being totally serious. This small person, who once took residence in my body, is marching confidently away from me with barely a wave over her shoulder. And I am left. Alone.
She is so much a part of me, and yet not mine. This motherlove load is a heavy one sometimes, and I feel stretched to my limits. I want so badly to do this well, to love her into freedom, not into bondage. I want so much for her to stride with confidence into this glorious world, expecting only joy and adventure, and yet it hurts me physically when she does so.
She is still, seven years later, being cut out of my body with knives.