Faith,  Family,  Life,  Motherhood

Unavoidable Remembrance – A Letter to my Daughter Ten Years In

It has been a decade now – plus a few hours – since I met you and everything changed. I told you last night, curled up in your bed, what you taught me, what you keep teaching me. I told you it was more of a remembering. Something I knew when I was little, but forgot and your existence made it unavoidable.

I looked at you for the first time outside of my body and I loved you. Not for anything you’d done except arriving. Not for your beauty (though you were beautiful to me, all swollen up and funny colored). Not for your wisdom of which I had confidence without proof. I just loved you. Every part of me wanted to pull the very best of the universe to your view. I wanted to reach out and grab the stars for you, wrap you in the mystery. I wanted to give you everything you needed and the rest of it, too. I wanted to shield you in my arms from anything that might hurt you, although I was not sure anymore what could possibly be bad in a world with you in it.

Some might throw a yellow flag and call this hyperbole. They might be right. But only because the language I must use stretches to absurdity. You outdo it. Once I received that critique on a piece I was writing for saying that you made the world a better place, but I clucked my tongue and kept it in because I am not sure of very much anymore, but I was certain of that.

And ten years from your birth, all the postpartum hormones faded, all the novelty worn off, I still believe it. I believe it rationally, when my emotions are not welled up at all. As a matter of fact. That you are – you, with your preferences and humor and buttons – a force of good here. You’re evidence. You’re proof. If we are just animals on a rock hurling in entropy toward disorder, you are a rope holding us back, slowing it down. This is mere scientific observation.

That is what you make me remember. That we are all created in connection with something divine. No, not something. Some One. I Am. Being and Beauty. You remind me past the mythologies around it, that there is more going on and that it’s good. Love, you show me, is not possibly finite, is not possibly crashing into chaos. Love is swelling, it’s arranging, it’s intentional. Like how millions of years behind you made you develop in my womb just this way and not that, Love is building up for something. A push, a tear, and excessive light.

It’s a thing I knew when I was young – when I was your age – in a different way, of course. God made me, God loved me. God made all of us, God loved all of us (but me especially). God is good, love is good, life is good. Things that were strong starts, but couldn’t long hold the weight of pain and loss and betrayal which are inevitable and pile up. By the time you came I didn’t know it anymore, but I hoped for it. You convinced me. And in the ten years since, my hope crushed and crumpled and tossed around, you are bedrock; you’re the bottom that won’t fall out.

Love is bedrock and that is saying the same thing.

It seems a little strange to me, because I don’t think you had a choice, but thank you for being here, my love. You may not read this until you’re old like me, and maybe forget precisely this. I wonder if we all forget it even just a little and we meet God in the remembrance. Or maybe not and you have walked boldly into the world as the gift you are.

Either way, sweet girl, I love you. Happy Birthday.

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