To L On Her 2nd Birthday

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L., we will be celebrating your second birthday in a few days.  I am writing this, not because I plan to read it to you and expect for you to understand it, but so that tomorrow when you wake up and you are thirty like your mother is now, you can read it, and maybe understand me, and what it’s like for me to be your mother. You are turning two, and there is duality to my emotions as well. There is a proud mother in me who watches you change and grow and encourages you in this, relishing in your learning and your progress. Then, there is another part of me that wants to hold you forever just the way you are now and never let you go. Every moment I have had with you from the time you were in the womb until now has felt like this, My Love.

Love is the only word I can give you that can describe what it is I that feel, and yet it doesn’t seem enough. Love is a word people throw around quite a bit and I always thought I knew what love was about. I have to be honest, I never really knew until you showed me, because although I had experienced love before in varying degrees, there is absolutely no comparison for the love someone feels for their child, the love I feel for you. One might try explaining how it is, as I had people before you try to describe what it feels like to be a mother, but there is no way to explain it. It’s something you cannot possibly know unless you experience for yourself. It’s nice to imagine something, but imagining and experiencing are two entirely different things, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I could describe Morocco to another person, how we stayed in the riad with the central courtyard; an outside room, and inside garden; about how I would climb the stairs and then the ladder to the crow’s nest at the very top of the stone building, where I could look out across the span of Fes, across all the rooftops. Here one could feel they were from another time, but for the satellite dishes sticking off the top of these archaic structures. I could describe how I would sit there at sunset and watch the birds swooping low in the pink and orange streaked sky and listen to the Adhan being called, the Arabic words reverberating from the speaker on the minaret. I could tell of the tremendous peace and unity of spirit that filled my heart during this time, a feeling I’ve not experienced since, but this would all merely be description and ultimately there is no way to know it fully unless you experienced it yourself. In all honesty, I no longer know it myself as it was, because the experience has passed. It is now memory  that has lent itself as another branch to the tree of my life, as it is with all experience. It is this fact that is the cause of my melancholy surrounding your growth. Those stages of you, every moment, I have held most dear is transient. They become memories that cluster together and as time goes by, become more and more difficult to pick apart and separate from one another.

It all goes by so fast, My Dear. Since you were born time has started moving at the speed of light. Sometimes I wonder what you did to my world to make it so, and then I remember. I remember how I used to talk to you before you were conceived, and how I missed you, and would tell you so. My life before you, was a separation from you and a time spent waiting to be with you again. I know there may also be others for whom I am still waiting, but since you came to me, my life has become more whole as that missing piece has been restored. But at the same time, it moves so quickly, because as these moments of life that were always meant to be, come to be, they also fall behind us and what we have ahead of us becomes less and less. When you drive from point A to point B in your car, the first part of the trip is always the longest, because you have so far ahead of you yet to go. As you get closer to the end it goes faster and faster because you are closer to being there and it doesn’t feel so far anymore.

Where are we going? I think it’s a roundtrip. It is a circle. As I am reunited with those who make their way into this existence, down the road, I will also be separated from others by something we call death. You don’t know about this yet, there’s no reason to, and I haven’t yet decided the right way to teach you about it. It is something that has frankly terrified me for a long time and not something that I ever want to have to face. It is not my own death that bothers me, it is others’, because it is that separation of which I cannot bear the thought. As I continue to contemplate this, I ask myself why do I fear that separation? I was separated from you and now you are with me. It is difficult when your whole sense of experience is tied to the temporal, there is no way to view things outside of one’s own sensory perception that is based upon learned experiences, genetics, emotions, etc. Perception is huge and I think it is the basis for so much of the happiness or unhappiness that we feel. I want to discuss perception more at a later time, but as William Blake wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” If everything is infinite, then there is no true lasting separation, but rather a veil. As the shroud of death is placed, the true shroud and the only one that matters, is removed. We have never been separated then, that is an illusion, and all those moments, those stages that have passed, they’re all as real as they ever were. I need to believe this as a truth that is a comfort to my soul.

You, in your sweet innocence and with a lingering otherworldly view, give me glimpses into a deeper meaning of things, and I thank you for this. You have been so much more than I could have ever dreamed you to be. Every moment, every connection that you make in your mind, every experience you have, may change you…but it will never change the fact that you are my daughter. You are the one I dreamed about for so long. You are the one I saw when I looked at your father. It was my love for you that made me fall in love with him. You and I are inextricably bound to one another for all eternity and I could ask for no greater gift than this connection to your amazingly, brilliant and brightly burning soul. You are turning two and this birthday and every birthday you will have, is a blessing.

You are my beautiful daughter. I have been typing for some time now, and no, there are no words to describe what it feels like to be your mother. Love explains it, and at the same time, falls so short. My wish for you, is that one day you will also have a child, and you will understand exactly what I am saying to you now. Please remember, wherever you go, or whatever happens in this life, you will always have me. My soul could never abandon yours, and if that mask of separation once again eludes us, please have faith, that once again, it will be removed. I love you, my darling child. I knew I loved you before I met you, and I will never stop loving you, for this love comes from a source even greater than myself. It is infinite. Happy birthday, Baby Girl.

#secondbirthday #raisingchildren #infinity #perception #time #love #growingup

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