Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hand prints

A soft wash of light funnels in through my doorway. I sit up onto my elbows and turn to him. He is flat-faced to the pillow, making his allegiance to sleep very clear.
 "Which one do you think it is?", I whisper loudly.
Her.  Its her. He halfheartedly agrees. Like a school girl using a bathroom pass as an excuse to ditch class, I spring to my feet and abandon the bed and its invitation to sleep.  Standing in the dark, I see her walk through the splash of light.  My arms reach out to her as if they are weightlessly floating up and away from my body. She glances at me with a frown and continues on her path.  My face crumples.
"What's wrong baby girl?" The words are slow and tiny coming from my mouth.
"I thought that you don't want me anymore." Her voice is breathless and quivering.
"Oh baby girl! I'll always want you. No matter what! You will always be loved. Did you have a bad dream?" (Yes! That must be it! A bad dream.  Because surely she would never think I don't want her.)
And then it happens.  A memory pops into my mind. I remember earlier that day she asked "Mom, how come you don't like it when I touch you so much?" My stomach sank.
I bring baby girl back to her bed and brush the hair from her face, tracing her miniature features.  I float gentle kisses onto her forehead and touch my nose to hers. As she settles next to me, I begin to sing her favorite lullaby.  "Hush little baby don't say a word..." Her eyes lock with mine deeply and she smiles comfortably.  "Mama's gonna buy you a mocking-bird..."
Baby girl is sleeping and now it is safe.  Safe to say all of the things I want her to know, but don't know how to say.
"You are so amazing.  Your hands do so much.  You are creative and smart and all things good.  Don't let anyone make you doubt yourself.  You can do anything you want; be whoever you want to be.  There is no 'right' when it comes to being yourself.  Just be...you. I love you more than there are stars in the sky.  I'm proud of you...proud to be your Mama. Now, I know sometimes I seem to pull back from you.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and like I'm messing it all up.  But believe me.  I want so much to be close to you."
And then, I get mad.  My face grows hot as my stomach flutters in anger.  This. This, I realize, is evidence of their hands.  A legacy passed down like contaminated water flowing down stream.  I will not let it touch her. I will not let her see their hand prints on me.  She will not be damaged by their misdeeds because I was. Its not fair. I will fight for her.  I will heal for her.  I will learn to wash myself clean so that by her innocence I can be embraced.

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