Requirements in the name of 'I'm here - are you there?' had to be tested.
The thousand pink blossoms of the peach tree fade away in spring. But their color is one. Zeizan Zenji
In 1990 I was faced with a query so earnest and over my head that it took my breath. My youngest child had lived her first 7 years with awesome assurances - fortunate gifts to be sure.
Just the same, the ravages of adult-sized fear waited at the door and were blown open by the inexplicable death of a constant in her life - a vital and beloved caretaker, her grandmother.
Swimming in the water of my own anxiety, I gave little thought to my children's grief stricken images. One night as I put her to bed, the tears began to flow and in sobs, she said that she was afraid that I would die too.
In that moment I knew inadequacy. The truth of it weighed more than I could bear alone so I said - “Yes, I will die one day, but I hope not for a very long time. If it happens before we are ready, you should know that you will have many more people to love in life, but some things stand. I'll still be your mother and you'll still be my daughter.”
I would like to think that she instantly felt better, all the same, I know it took a while. Requirements in the name of 'I'm here - are you there?' had to be tested. The mundane did the trick - cooking meals, escorting to and from school, laundering clothes, indulging creative urges, and something that I had to perfect - perpetual listening.
In the end, pushing her outside her self imposed limits proved to be the most worthwhile.
Now she can do it all without me. The responsibility of nurturing children has lifted, but the affection has not. Just the same, in a couple of weeks, we will release her from the south as she and her fine young husband make their way to Utah.
Not knowing a soul, she'll push away from fear and experience adventures in the disguise of a newly married, school librarian. At close range, she will observe the Mormon faith and encounter spectacular scenery. Perhaps, she will even learn to ski.
If she has an uncertain moment, she can remember that some things stand ....... I'm still her mother and she's still my daughter.