For my daughter, on her third birthday
You were born on a Saturday afternoon. You mostly let me finish my breakfast, and we settled in after dinner, together, except this time in my arms. We’ve both grown. My short hair is long, I’ve got some wrinkles, and you are no longer my Colorado ‘baby’. You are becoming. Feisty, wild, and sweet, lover of unicorns and this moment, your presence is incredible, your timing, ridiculously serendipitous.
I was not ready for you, but you moved with me. I remember my belly in Tunnels, swimming through blue soon to be seen in the color of your eyes. You were the indecision that held my hand, the unexpected life that birthed my own voice: my ‘never again’, ‘not anymore’, and ‘this is no longer how it will be’. Your heartbeat gave fierceness to mine. Fingers and toes and doubled blood count nurtured our reach for a place that was safe and good and true. Your delight and joy are precious to me as one who was an intimate witness to the hard work of healing I began before, and have continued since, your arrival.
There has been a lot going on in this way of change and it’s hard to see you be resilient so young. I want more for you. I want different. But I know the only way forward is through. You do too, just like your book “We’re going on a Bear Hunt.”
This place we live, desert, altitude, and mountains all require more to inhabit. You choose to widen; your world is much—albeit often inconvenient to basically everything else happening at the time. And such is the necessary work of one’s young heart.
Sometimes I feel worried, what does showing up in my story mean for you and your siblings? Am I just taking with time and expense and emotional weariness resources you all need? What’s it worth? And if it’s not, what am I to do with the fact that there’s not another way round—at least that I can, or believe should be, taken?
So when you threw one of your magnificent, unstoppable, glass shattering, affects and then calmed yourself down: you answered.
“My fire dragon.” You called her. And then you began to tell me more, about you, about her and what she needed, and her other names, and how she makes you feel, and all the ways you understand all the things she and you both have to say.
As you went on, the audience of your parents’ captive, describing your soul in freedom, beauty, and detail, I glanced at your father and we wept. For all the ways I’ve labored in secret for so long, to tend to wounds recent and ancient, here was the result. You have no fear, or shame, or reservation in knowing the wonder of your own heart. It’s no surprise you love to reflect your inner workings through things fantastic and magical because you are fearless to the depths of your being. You belong to you.
And, I suppose, because I just so happen to get to be the one who walks through with you for these next few years, that, if you are fire and dragons, I am a mother of them too.