I want a quick time-out to say plain what this story is not.
I’m not moralizing; don’t have an agenda.
If I ever carry a sign, it would be to champion hope.
Women face impossible decisions and need a tender grace,
not oversimplified, whitewashed shoulds.
I’m pro-life. Pro-choice. Pro-solution. Pro-people.
There isn’t a whisp of politics about any of this;
I’m just telling my story with tender care to offer some hope and healing.
Yup. That’s all. Back to the story;)
Now they’ve gone silent.
I email the address they’ve given, eager to know how she is.
I don’t hear back. For days I reach and get no reply.
A week passes and something rumbles hard inside – an ancient, angry ache.
I make a bold phone call and finally get a person who will take the time.
Her name is Edith and her voice is soft as I tell her, gentle but firm, that I won’t go away.
She hears me and my voice grows taller. They have their politics and I will respect
but I want them to know that I’m here. For her. In whatever way she welcomes.
She is no longer a child and I won’t go away. Not unless Allison says.
I have written her the first letter and Edith suggests that she wants to write back.
My heart can barely hold still when a week before Christmas they call to say that her letter to me has been mailed.
It arrives on December 23 – I’ve popped out for awhile and my husband phones to say that it’s on the kitchen table.
I get lost on the short trip home, driving the wrong way up a one way street and stand up a lunch date
who will later forgive me and offer the name of a good counselor:)
She is beautiful. More deeply, genuinely beautiful than I can describe.
Her words paint pictures that I’ve longed to see…..her childhood, her passions, her heart.
I wallow in the moment and linger between the lines, finding grace in nooks and crannies.
Edith tells me that Allison has said of my letter, “She writes like I think,” and I’m bowled over by hers.
She is so my girl:)
My heart swells with love and thanks and I’m eager to reply.
Christmas comes and goes like a dream and I send off a second letter,
this one typed up quick and scuttled off like a text.
I’ve loved these first shy lines to each other and I scurry to show that I’m in.
I’m in, Dear Allison. So very.
I await her response and Valentine’s candy appears on the store shelves.
I scoop up some chocolate for her as I do for each of my lovies….will send some sweets her way
and it wows my heart that I get to do this now! It’s crazy joy:)
I don’t tell many just yet; these are tender beginnings and I sense the need to walk in whisper.
And I feel keen their shadow, like a monitor standing over my shoulder
and I hope to wriggle free and reach out to my daughter on my own terms.
But I’m full up with gratitude and delicious hope and another month passes.
Her birthday is approaching; I’m actually going to get to send
a birthday package for her 30th. For the first time ever – my heart is turning sommersaults.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I’ve celebrated each of her birthdays. Always with roses. Rose – it’s the secret name I gave her.
And with cheesecake topped with shiny red cherry pie filling from a can.
It’s what I craved when I carried her and I imagine somehow that she loves it, too.
I realize I’m new to her but she has been with me for all her days,
present in my heart at each family pray, forever on my mind.
At night, when my husband and I say our love over each of our kids, she has been included in mine.
In a way I cannot understand, we feel her.
When my daughter Hannah was 4, she’d come to me and asked, “where is my sister?”
She’d sensed her, in the sweet intuitive way of a finely tuned child.
I’d gone pale and completely botched the moment; it was piss-poor parenting
and fresh fuel for the shame that often struck me dumb or babbling.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I try to side-step this same shame that hunts me now as I wrap my heart around her coming birthday
and wonder what I could ever give that would be enough for the first gift she’ll ever receive from me.
I’m haunted by all that I’ve missed and feeling it sorely.
I’ve been 30 years warned to stay away. Leave her to those she deserves.
I feel like I’m high atop a building and walking a line; one slip and I may lose her again.
I’m posting this Summer series bite by bite
and I realize I ricochet all over and around with this story
but it feels real this way
and I want to tell it true.
I appreciate your kindness and your company along.
Just so much:)