A Golden Time

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
A small letter I found from my mother in my drawer when I was a young girl. She is gone from this earth, but as a mother of two girls, I can now relate to her emotions at that moment when she put pen to paper and struggled to tell me how much she loved me and worried about me.

Submitted: September 14, 2012

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Submitted: September 14, 2012

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I stand at the window and watch you dance your morning dance, your breath puffing white on the not-quite spring air.  Now on tiptoe, not squatting on heels, now stopping in midwhirl to listen for the school bus.  Then with a sudden turn, you blow frantic kisses into the morning air and flash a smile that catches in my brain to follow me down the years.

A pain that has no name seizes my heart.  I long to snatch you back, to hold you close to my breast, to feel the warm cheek against my arm.

But these are selfish thoughts.  I cannot keep you to myself or shield you from your own life.  How many times will you soar with happiness, I wonder?  How many times will your heart hang heavy within you?  And how long will you turn your bright blue eyes to me in innocence?

Sometimes I see in your sudden six-year-old rages a portent of a day when you will no longer open yourself to me.  Your little bird hops and you bob about me all through the house will change to stiff steps heading toward the refuge of your own room, or to someone else’s understanding.

I think of these things to come and I am cold with fear.  Fear that you will no longer remember how we loved one another, how your arms would wind about my neck, how you would not settle down for the night until we had called to one another again and again, “I love you”.

I understand too well that it cannot always be so.  Nor should it.  Your life builds and grows upon your choices.  I cannot freeze this time when you choose me, capture it precious and unchanging.  And so I write you now.

It is the evening of another day.  There was no sunshine in your face when you returned from school, only an odd, defiant look.  No you wouldn’t play.  No you didn’t want to watch that program.  No you wouldn’t hang up your jacket.  You settle into a dark and sullen silence, turning away from me to clutch poor Bunny, ragged and matted and defaced by years of loving.

Finally, the evening draws to a close and I settle you down beneath the pink blanket.  Together we murmur the prayers that are part of our good night ritual, and I sit beside you for a time, stroking your tangled hear.  “How was your day?”  There is a long silence.  And then from deep down in that place where hurts hide, a long sob breaks out.  Then another, then another until your pillow and hair are wet with an agony of tears.  There is total abandonment in your sobs.  I do not try to stop them.  They must not be stifled; they must find their way to the surface.  Finally you are still and I coax: “What happened?”  Again the tears and with them a story of childhood injustice.  Blamed for someone else’s error; the disgrace of standing in the corner of the classroom, burning face turned toward the wall.  But most humiliating, hearing the idolized teacher speaking angry words to you.

“She hates me, I won’t go back to school”.

How I long to erase the hurt, to wipe away the day and make it morning again, a fresh and bright beginning of a day that will hold only wonderful surprises.  Instead, I sit in the darkened room and rock you slowly back and forth, whispering soothing words, aching with your ache.  “But she loves you still.  She only misunderstood”. 

And there will come a day when we too will misunderstand each other.  Perhaps you will be too proud to cry.  And who will hold you and tell you that I do indeed still love you?

These times are coming, my little one.  I fear the drugs and the sexual freedom and the unforeseen temptations that will wait to lure you into ways I do not understand.  Far more than this, though, I fear the silence that may one day come between us.  I fear the day when you awaken and no longer feel my love; when you doubt, at last, that it ever really was.

And so I write you, my dearest daughter.  I write in the fullness of my love, which can never lessen, can only grow as the wonder of you unfolds before me.  You have been loved, you are now loved, you will always be loved.  But one day, perhaps within the context that neither of us can foresee, I may find those words difficult to pronounce, and you, upon hearing them may not trust them.  That is the day when you must read this letter written in a golden time, and know that in a special place within me, incapable of diminishing, my love for you is cherished as a treasure…

With all my love,

Mom


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