I believe in my daughter and what she has taught me. We went to the Grand Canyon last summer. It was the first time I had been and I was completely terrified that in some places, there were no railings! The sheer magnitude literally had me crawling on my hands and knees the closer we would get to those edges with nothing to stop one from careening into oblivion. I wasn’t just afraid. I also was thunderstruck; it was like looking at a living breathing sample of time. Here were millions of years staring back at me. I felt small and overwhelmed and filled with peace all at the same time. It’s sort of like having a child, the Grand Canyon. Your heart expands and becomes near limitless…and it’s also quite terrifying at times, such as when they become sick. My daughter had spinal surgery two years ago. For the three months preceding the operation my intestines were tangled, I had trouble sleeping, I had trouble convincing her that she needed the surgery, that it was the best decision, that she would be ok, I promised. The night before, she broke. She became hysterical saying, I won’t go. It was, however, out of my hands. I did not create this burden for her. And she was ok, I knew she would be. Just like I knew, at the age of 17, that I could care for her, that she had a father who would always love her and that we would make a good life for her even though not many believed we could not. I’m facing a moment soon where I will be the one to introduce another curve ball in her life. This is not an outside force of nature sweeping in, one in which you and your child buffer yourselves and create a unified defense. This moment, a joyful one, will probably fray her sense of security in some way. At the age of 30, I married a man that she has grown to love and consider a good stepfather. And now, we are pregnant. I haven’t told her. I have been afraid. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I feel guilty for the life we have struggled with together, perhaps I feel that she has dealt with so much change and undulation in her short life. Perhaps I feel that she might think she has been left behind. Not on the outside, she is far too mature and caring to show it – we are happy, and she will be also. But I would like to speak to the part of her that will be uprooted once again. This is life, which is change. As I lay in bed last night, I thought of the best way to say it. Daughter, I believe, and hope to paint a picture for you, of a world in which no one could ever take your place. This is the world where I live and love you.
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