Wednesday, November 14, 2012

a strange luxury

Today, as I emptied the envelope Amelia’s kindergarten pictures came it, I found a missing child card.  It took me a minute to realize what I was holding.  Just a wallet-sized card with my daughter’s smile printed on both sides, and in bullet points were written the steps you should take if your child disappears.  Who to notify, who to call.  For your convenience, a recent picture right here in your wallet, just in case.  Looking at the card, realizing what it’s purpose was made my entire body tighten.  I almost threw it away.

I find it is those rare, balanced days when I think about this stuff.  Days when the sun filters down through nearly bare tree limbs, when I make the choice to slow down, make bread with Aven or draw with Amelia.  These are days when loss, when disaster seem so far away. 

A childhood friend of mine lost her mother three days ago.  It was a sudden illness no one saw coming.  Her mother was my sixth grade teacher.  I cannot find the words to say to her, cannot find any way to make sense of this sudden, young death.  She was a few years younger than my own mother.  We are never that far away from loss.

I think maybe being afraid is a luxury.  When we are afraid for our children, for our mothers, it means nothing bad has happened yet.  As a mother, I imagine disaster where there is none; my toddler running into the street, my daughter falling from a tree, I think about what they would know of me, if I disappeared tomorrow. 
I remember reading once that when you become a mother, your vision changes.  With part of your vision, you watch your child in real time, and with part you see every possible disaster and injury that could befall her.  There is some kind of protective logic, if I think it, if I imagine it, it can’t be true. 
This is something so tangled in love and trust and surrender that I barely have the words for it.  I choose to try to be open, to accept, to love and live without fear.  But there is something comforting in those sudden stabs of fear.  Because I am just practicing at fear.  I have never had to really feel it.

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