I am a tender-hearted woman. I empathize easily; I am touched by pain, joy, the color of a cherry blossom or the clarity of a night’s sky, the feel of lambs ear and the sound of water falling on leaves, any passing 3 year-old (particularly those who pick out their own clothes), and the eyes and smiles of people who love and live deeply. You might say my personal bubble is a bit porous.
Sit by me. Sit on me. Grab my arm when we’re walking. Hug me. Lay your head on my shoulder. It’s all good.
My youngest daughter is like that, also. She is nearly 17 now, and when she doesn’t feel well, she will come down to the couch where I sit and plop herself right on top of me. Whether I am laying or sitting. It always takes me by surprise, and I love it.
When she was a babe (above she is about 2), she was such my buddy. She would sit and color while I cooked, content to be in her world while closely connected to me. When it was time for bed, I would often lay with her after reading to her. She always wanted to be physically very close. Sometimes she would swing her leg over my thigh snuggle in. It was so funny. I didn’t know how she could be comfortable with me laying on my side; her with her tiny leg propped over my body. She chattered away about this and that, singing or humming until the very last moment when a leg would twitch and she would become silent. She literally sang herself to sleep.
She was such a joy. She still is.
On Thursday I am moving to Louisville, KY. (That is “Thunder over Louisville above, the largest fireworks display in the U.S.) It’s a haul from Seattle. Siani will be staying here to finish her Junior and Senior years in high school. I will be back often and she will be coming my way as much as is feasible. Not surprisingly, I am finding this part of the transition difficult. I know she is also. I don’t want to miss this time in her life. I want to be there for her. Thank God for texting, skype and face time. And she is in the capable and adoring hands of her dad. This is an opportunity few children get: to have a focused season with her dad. I am excited to see what this will yield for the two of them.
I often find that my suffering comes more from what I imagine might happen than from what eventually takes place. Staying in the present, not frittering my energy away future-tripping is a life-long discipline. I think I am getting better at it every year, but only in baby steps.
For this bittersweet season, I want to focus on being present to myself, my family, and my friends and colleagues. Relationships grow this way. I am hoping that will continue, even with a couple of thousand miles between us.