"Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate."Charlotte GrayWhen she was little I used to sneak into her room in the dark and watch her sleeping, her face softly lit with angelic glow by the night light beside her bed. I'd stand in the quiet of her room and feel my heart melting within me.
This is Love, a tiny voice whispered within me. And I knew peace.
She once wrote in a Christmas wish to me, "When we are first born into this world, our every breath, our every gurgle and tear is witnessed. Our mothers watch over us with the most careful of attention, as if we are brilliant performers on a world-class stage. Our first smile is celebrated with unmatched joy. Our first steps are rejoiced over, and our cries break their hearts.
I can remember many nights, hours after bedtime, I'd be gently woken as the crack of light hiding behind my door grew wider. The figure of my mother would appear, but I would never let her know I knew she was there. I would just lie very still and feel her watching me in the silence. Just watching me breathe. As if it were something really special. As if I was special."
She came home last night. This child of the magical first steps and brilliant laughter who silently watched me watching her breathe in her sleep. This child of my heart who has wooed me out of separation within into loving all of me fiercely embraced in the wonder of her being in my life.
She came home. Just for a week. To visit friends and family. To Stampede and kick it up cowboy style, home from the range.
I stood at the arrivals gate at the airport, worried that in the long line-up to get into parking, she had already come through the doors and I would miss her entrance. Miss that moment of catching sight of her where my breath would stop for just one moment as I realized, this beautiful young woman is here to see me. she is my daughter.
I watched people exit. Laughter and smiles. Hugs and kisses. Firm handshakes. Awkward hellos. children running to meet grandparents. A woman in a wheelchair waiting to meet her family. A man with flowers waiting to greet his lover.
I glanced behind me towards the luggage carousels, turned back towards the doors and there she was, walking quickly towards me, her smile wide, eyes bright. I felt it. That moment where my breath caught in my heart and I was enveloped in the wonder of her being in my life. She moved quickly towards me. Arms outstretched and we embraced and held on and she whispered, "I've missed you!" And I replied, "I've missed you too. I'm so glad your here." And her arms tightened around me and my arms tightened around her.
We went out to dinner. Just the two of us on a walled-in patio under leafy branches of trees whose trunks were spun with twinkling white lights that glowed like fairy breath in the darkening night. A glass each of Chenin Blanc, a shared Pear and Gorgonzola flat bread pizza and deep conversation that stirred my spirit, soothed my soul and warmed my heart.
She is home. This child of mine who lives at the ocean's shore running along beaches and boardwalks. Hugging homeless men and gathering stories of travellers on their paths to where ever they are going.
"I love Vancouver," she said. "Is it wrong of me to want to come home so I can take care of my sister? If only for a little while? I really, really miss her."
She'll be back for a year this September to finish off her degree. She and her sister plan on living together.
They'll both be home. For awhile. And my heart will be soothed by the lull of their laughter and sweet voices filling my world with joy.
"I love having you home, honey," I said when we came home and were sitting on the couch chatting with C.C. about her adventures and misadventures in 'Lotus Land', the nickname those who live on this side of the Rockies dub Vancouver in our envy of its beauty and bounty. "But..." and I pause and smile and pick carefully through my words like she used to do as a child picking out the vegetables she never liked. "But... it would be great if you'd put your boots inside the front hall closet."
She laughed. A child's giggle. A surreptitious grin. A flip of her hair. Her hand stilled halfway inside the cookie jar half an hour before dinner. "I knew you missed me!"
She's home. And in the early hours of dawn, I quietly open her bedroom door, slip silently into her room and stand by her bed. I watch her sleep and wonder if she is only pretending. I smile. A secret mother's smile of contentment. Her every breath is so special. She is so very special.