The Place Where I Belong

She calls me, breathless.

“It was amazing,” she panted. “I loved it. I was made for this, Ima. I need it.”

Patched up by the threads trailing behind her gathering into a seam sewn with every fall and knotted with each triumphant rise, my lungs fill.

My hands slow their spasms. My head sweeps the day’s anxious pacing to the place in my brain that archives these moments in memory where they no longer hold me by the throat.

**********

I had been unsure for so long.

She was my rainbow baby.

When I grew her in my womb, I stopped the world to keep her safe. I could not trust my body, it had betrayed me before. I slowed time, went still, and waited. Month after month, I pushed down my swelling heart, locking it up so it could not get hurt. I would not dream, refused to take any steps further than the one right before me.

And then she burst into the world.

I had never seen the colors she threw at me, the way she blended the lines and filled the spaces with depth and layers. One on top of the other, her shades of joy spun me around and changed me.

But light does not color darkness. Beneath it all, the part of me written into her code lay dormant, waiting to pounce.

It found a moment of vulnerability and doubt and dug deep into her translucent skin.

Oh, how it hurt.

It strangled her with the rope I had never been able to shake off my neck. She couldn’t explain it to me, the only one who could really understand.

“I know,” I would say, imploring her to let me in.

“NO! No, you don’t.” Screaming with rage, she’d pull away. “You’ll never know what it’s like to be me.”

Punching my gut from my past stood 10-year-old me.

“I know,” I’d whisper to her through the years. “I know exactly how it feels to be you.”

So I tiptoed around a ride through hell and ecstasy, hoping she’d get what I never could find. Her voice rose and fell with each curve, gathering speed as it steadily spread the black between each vibrant color.

Flashes of pain seeped into her notes. It was haunting and beautiful and the scariest sound a mother can hear.

My prayers swept around her tormented thoughts, her twirling emotions, her bright overwhelming light, into the vastness of a universe I feared could not see her.

Just one little corner, one place to lay her head down… please let her feel like she belongs.

Her song grew strong, too strong. It began to surround her and swallow her with its need to be heard.

It could no longer be contained.

Softly, with the gentlest touch on her fragile little back, I steered her towards the spotlight.

And then she stepped onto the stage, a solid black ground raised for the world to see. Her eyes blinked, her heart stilled, and she poured out across the place she was meant to be.

Curled up at home where I could not rush to her side, I waited for my star to rise.

**********

“I was made for this, Ima. I need it.”

“I know,” I say to her and to me and to all the times we didn’t believe it and all the times we won’t be comforted by it. “I understand.”

And I do.

Father Of Mine

The discussion was about Divine Intervention and whether it is an integral aspect of belief.

It was mostly intellectual with the bouts of emotions (that always seem to trickle through with me) getting properly addressed and shelved by the most significant influence in my life.

First, my mother left.

She tried to pipe in with emotions at the forefront.

It wasn’t the point so she lost interest.

Then my brother tried to lighten the mood with irrelevant quips.  He went back and forth from the computer screen, seemingly trying to take part, but on his terms which were to change the topic and make everyone laugh.

Soon it was just my father.

On my side of the world, the topic pulled my husband in and sat him next to me as we worked through a complex topic that needed less than a screen between us all.

My father closed with a comment that made my heart sing.

“And that’s all for this session of intellectual conversation between father and daughter.”

And I flew.

My husband and I talked about why our stimulating, interesting conversation bored or turned off other members of my family.  He wondered if they don’t know how to participate in open communication based solely on intellect.  I’m not sure that’s true.  I supposed that maybe they thought it was a fight.  Or that it was a session between teacher and student – that he was trying to guide me.

I thought it was incredible bonding and loving.

Maybe that’s because everything I always thought about my relationship with my father was based on a childish view on genders.

I was positive my father wished I were a boy.  My theory was that he enjoyed our learning sessions but was secretly upset that it meant nothing because I was unfortunate to be born a female.  I saw the look in his eyes when he practically begged his sons to learn and then they would drift off or get angry when they didn’t like the way he taught them.  Then he would reluctantly sit down with me.  I was so jealous of them.  I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t want his attention.  I thought his brain focusing on me was the most amazing thing in the world and I craved that intellectual attention.

I still think it’s great.  And I still crave it.

But after this long over-due conversation I realize that all those years of resentment were based on nothing but my silly insecurities that held me back from a deeper relationship with my father.

I saw a look in his eyes that I recognized from my childhood, sitting at the dining room table trying not to jump in with an answer to his question before he completed his thoughts.

He enjoyed every minute of those learning sessions.

That look in his eyes that I took to mean disappointment that I wasn’t a son…I’m pretty damn sure it was a look of pride that it was his daughter who was capable, willing and craving to grow up to be the one he could stroll through the throes of intellectual connectivity with.

So until next time…

Your Daughter.

P.S.  Is this a good, non-sensational blog post? Wouldn’t want to disappoint you…:)