Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The ride is everything

Adolescence waits for me as I open my eyes.  She snickers as I place my optimistic feet on the ground.  Oh no, you will not have her today she cackles in my ear.  My daughter already up, is straightening her hair; her beautiful, long curly hair, she straightens.  She grunts an acknowledgement and continues on her task.  I conjure up my cheeriest greeting.  It is met with an octopus-like disdain.  I cringe as it's tentacles wrap around both our throats and our steps, stopping our voices and blocking our path to a peaceful morning.

There is much I want to tell her this morning. 
 I want to tell her to: wear sunscreen/pack a good lunch/maybe the skirt is a wee bit short?/don't forget to empty the dishwasher/boys respect girls who say no/is this your math folder?/cherish your friends/too much mascara is a dangerous thing/and please let the dog out.

We don't get much past the sunscreen.

I internally do my morning routine of tug of war -do I let go/do I hold tight- as I pour my tea.  She starts to tell me something about her day and I concentrate like a gambler betting it all with my poker face.  I hardly hear her story as the internal dialogue is the bomb squad talking me through...do not smile, no sudden moves, only look in her eyes at key phrases...too much raise of the eyebrows and the bomb will explode and chaos will ensue.

Like a ransom call I will do whatever I can to keep her talking.

I find there is comfort in numbers.  If I could not vent to my friends who walk this shrouded way with me I'd surely start the day with rum in my tea.  How else to cope with losing your child?  She will come back yes, but when?  And who will she be?  I loved her when she was at my breast, when she screamed in the cereal aisle, when she dug for worms until the sun went down.  I love her still.  But there is a tinge of red in this water break.  It is a rebirth where nothing warm will be placed next to your heart.

My heart aches for her.  I see the clutches Adolescence has her in.  Adolescence doesn't care.  To her it's nothing personal.  She gets around that Adolescence.  I hear her in dressing rooms, restaurants, school concerts.  She is everywhere.  And wherever she is is a teenager with her head spinning around her shoulders and a Mother looking like she was just punched in the stomach.

When those moments arrive I try hold unto something. 
A picture.  A memento.  The counter. 
 Like an awful roller coaster ride I know I will be back down to the bottom eventually but the ride is still going to make me puke.  I see myself at the top, frozen in fear, unable to do anything but scream primal as loud as my lungs permit.  There is always someone on that same ride with you after yelling and clutching seems to accept that there is nothing to be done.  You both chose to be on this ride, you both knew the drop was coming.  But these people, they actually smile, as if to say what goes up must come down, hang on but also enjoy the ride.  I am not one of these people.  I am still mastering my clutch.  But each day I try that much harder to laugh at my lurching stomach and think how lucky I am to even be on this ride.

It's the only thing that gets me back down to the bottom.


  1. Yes, they do come back, like yo-yos and they are never the same! But who would want that? Just keep clutching, talking, LISTENING and loving. And enjoy each stage the best you can. Some will make your heart burst with pride, others may make it break as her heart breaks. Mostly, you are PARENTING VERY WELL which is becoming a lost art. You go, MOM!

    You'll respond to her in ways that you never expected to, as you also grow and change! Just remain constant for her whether in full view or as that energy on the other side of the door waiting to welcome her home!

  2. What lovely advice! I think I shall post it on the bathroom mirror to remind myself everyday :-)
    Thank you!!