This post was meant to go up a week and a half ago and then the flu found us. I’m sorry I haven’t been around, my friends. I’ve missed reading your words. Now that I’ve returned to the land of the living, I’ll visit your places. Here is my belated post…
“I have to back off.” I reached this conclusion after having a long conversation with Scott about our daughter. Annie and I have been busy reacting.
As parents we comfort each other with, “Do what you think is best. You know what’s best for your kids.” Sometimes I don’t know what’s best.
I listen to other mothers and I mentally scribble, sway, scream as I race to keep up. When did parenting get complicated? Was it always this hard? I’m pretty sure I’m giving this too much thought. Maybe I’m pushing too hard. Clearly, I need a vacation and a martini. I long to soften life’s bumps and blows for my kids and, at the same time, I want to teach them to cope. My instinct is to hang on when I should take down the fences. Let them be. After 9 years of knowing my daughter I’m still unsure, I still second-guess. Who is she?
A week ago, perspective found me as I told my story. I heard my breath, the beat of my heart. For one hour my worries lay at the back of the room behind a small group of kind people as I answered questions. I saw my mangled car, the hospital. I saw me. I saw Scott. My family. My friends. Someone asked, “When you were in the hospital, what did you want from people? What did you need? What worked for you and what didn’t?”
I explained what drove me crazy. Self-help books with a heavy religious hand. People with plans to fix. I was broken and I had to be broken for a while. And what helped. People who were there with love and no agenda.
Later that night, on my way home, belief was on my mind. When I was jerked from a coma and confronted with a question, “Heidi, do you want to live?” and I answered, “Yes,” I knew I could get through. When my conviction wavered, the belief of my family and friends carried me. I rested in their hope. Trust heals and strengthens. Belief is often what holds Scott and me together. We’ll get lost and then find our way, each other’s anchors.
I parked the car and hurried inside to tell Scott about my great evening. Annie stood just inside the door waiting, “I wanted to say goodnight.” I squeezed her hard; buried my face in her hair.
“Mommy, that’s too tight.”
I sighed, “I know. It’s because I love you so much.” I released her with a kiss, “Have a good sleep.”
I watched her shuffle to the stairs, tripping over pajama pants that puddle at her feet. And I ached. I didn’t know I could hurt this much, feel this guilty, get this angry and love this much.
I don’t always know what’s best and I don’t always know what I’m doing, but I’m her promise. To love and believe.