July 14, 2015

To my Daughter: May You know You can be Happy.

Daughter (Monica Stevens-Kirby)

There will be come a day, not too long from now, when you will fall upon your knees.

You will curl into a fetal position and go into that slow cry. It will be only breaths for moments and then wailing.

The world will spin about you, faster, slower, still and you will not understand.

That is okay.

You will be okay, I promise.

Tonight, you may appear at my side of the bed. You may have had a nightmare or need a drink of water.

When your hands reach out to me, I will hold them. No matter how little sleep I’ve had, or how many hours I’ve forced myself to stay up past what is reasonable reading frittering posts on social media—I will hold your hands, sticky and soft.

I will feel your chest rise with mine. I will smell your honey hair and feel a blast of air when the fan oscillates in our direction.

In my arms, your hair will tickle my cheek, as your eyes drop back and you sigh, deepening into white down pillows.

I hope you will know, tonight, somewhere, buried in your first memories, that I did not shut you down. I did not ask why. I do not care why.

I love you, and love was reason enough.

I never need to know why you are hurting, only that you are. Your telling me will be a gift, but I need nor want such gifts.

I pray that I will shut my mouth—that every synapse aching to rush me into talking will stop and change its course. I want to listen and to listen only.

When your maturing hippocampus (named such because its shape resembles the seahorse), remembers, I want your memories to be mostly good. I pray that you feel the rush of our hearts together on this night in your little body, now grown and wherever you are. I assume with trepidation you will remember that I held you.

It’s all I ever wanted—to hold, to hear.

When you wiggle from my lap in these days, our days, dappled with bits of childhood songs and rhymes and meltdowns over toothbrushing and other small things, may you know I understand that, in the moment, these were not small things to you.

Nothing is small when it comes to you.

What you feel is real and, although I will not enable you to do as you wish when you wish, I shall never squelch your voice of its truth. I will always be ears pointed, trained on you, as a mother wolf, listening for your voice, and helping it make sense to you.

There will be days that it will not.

Come to me as an Oracle in the ancient mountain cave, or let me show you what I see—you, in all your splendor.

I will stand behind the mirror, appearing less than villainous. I’ll be plain and wear your dollar store tiara and pink matching dress-up gloves.

Let me make funny faces just to see your lips crook into a smile. In the ornate mirror that grandmother had on her dresser, let me show you the reflection that is real, that is yours, that is real to you and real to me.

What is true is always real—your heart, your affection, your thinking and words, your doubts, your joy, your daydreams and your nightmares.

Others will try to shush your voice, to convince you that what you say holds no weight, but do not be so quick to inhabit their caustic ideas.

Raise your voice. Make it shrill, shriller than a caged bird and shatter glass with it.

If that’s what it takes, shatter glass.

I will not pick up pieces of your irreverence or disrespect, but when your voice breaks a thick and glaring silence, I will walk over glass for you and I will scoop you up and clean what is wounded in you, your steps and your voice.

Let your voice be soft and tender, as my rhythms are with you, every day that we dance upon the floor. You, in your underwear, pushing back hair that is falling over your eyes—me, without a bra and in my geeked-out glasses—in the rain when we watch T.V. and in the sun when we grow flowers and you push your little spade into the dirt with determination.

Touch the ground and feel its coolness when your days are chilly. Be comfortable in its warmth when you are lit by the sun. Rainbows live in between. Look for light in prisms and do not allow your voice to be trapped by the rain-dancers or makers.

They can be beautiful. They are not always right.

In your eyes, cobwebs of light and shadow, innocence and fear, song and sorrow, see this moment. You are dancing now in your rubber boots that look like dragons. More often you dance like this with your bare feet.

Your happy voice is worthy of being heard. You can make the rain fall, too. You don’t need a headdress or an epic legacy, as some may advise.

You were born with all that you’ll need when it comes down to it, if it comes down to it.

Let your voice be ordinary—let it be loud, let it be tender, let it be fierce, let it be weak, let it be known.

Plant your feet and be a vessel. Let your voice ring and watch it grow and be bold in its growth. Lean into it. Let it be happy.

May your voice be happy.

May you know you can be happy.


Relephant read:

The Good Mother.


Author: Monica Stevens-Kirby

Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: courtesy of the author

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