what does she want from me?

7 year old Ruthie and I sit in the dark, the clock drips to 9:00 p.m.
Books and songs are complete. We’re together in stillness, because we can.

Her voice crawls through to me,
“Mama, how old were you when you got married?”


A beat of in-betweenness and then she says,
“I’m afraid of something if I get married.”

“What are you afraid of?”

“I’m afraid of divorce.”

My heart grabs and holds tight to itself. Suction in_in_in.

I perform some mumbo jumbo about how marriage takes work to be happy. That you must work through stuff and find your way together. blah blah blah. That divorces also happen for may other reasons. That there’s much to it.

I finally shutup. We’re back to the in-betweenness. In the infinite grey between the words.

Which is when I hear what she’s really saying – underneath her words,
“I’m afraid if I love someone, they’ll leave me. Or it’ll end badly.
I’m afraid I’ll get hurt.”

These words appear in my mind like writing in smoke. They’re there and dissipating all at once.

Even as my tongue rests, my heart replies,
“Me too, baby. I’m afraid of that too. And I know it to be absolutely true. I know that every person that I love will eventually leave me. Or me them. I know this to be true.”

I also know that every person that I love will hurt. That their hurt will vibrate within me – sometimes like tiny tip toe kitten’s paws and sometimes like broad, heaving, crashing, thundering lion’s paws. I know this.

I know that every person that I love will experience joy. Whether they can see it and feel it or whether it gets pushed under the rug and hidden from them. It’ll be there. I know this.

And I know that we’ll all feel alone at times in life. Some more than others. Even in our togetherness. I know this.

And that is the way of things. And you, my child, know it too. And seeing that breaks my heart here and now. Because you are my child fearing the suffering of adulthood. And thus, already knowing it. The fear of loss now. The reality of loss later.

Your seeing sears me from inside out. Heart to skin branded by you.
Your seeing bathes me from inside out. Golden light and clear skies in you.

It’s one and the same, this thing you see. The love, the heartbreak, the wisdom.
You’re brave to touch it, dear one. We all are.

We’re brave to love.
Oh, so brave.

Let’s love fully and without abandon for this drip of time. This sacred Now.

Take good care,

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