Sunday, October 17, 2010
Write of Passage - Day 13
(Motel room in Chamberlain, South Dakota)
"I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."
~excerpt from Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch
An unexpected conversation happened after I closed out my journal entry for the night. It was almost midnight, and Cote and I had stayed up much later than usual. I think, subconsciously, we both knew that our time was dwindling, we were only a day away from home and giving in to sleep would only cut into our remaining time together. Closing our eyes would bring morning that much sooner, our Rite of Passage to an end that much quicker.
Nevertheless, I felt myself fading, my resolve to stay awake weakening. I finally folded up our handy road map that I'd been mulling over, and turned to ask Cote if I could switch off the light. It was then that she climbed out of her own bed and came to me like a small child from years gone by. She wrapped her arms ferociously around me, and buried her head into the crook of my shoulder. She clung to me as if she were drowning and I was the only buoy in sight. And for the life of me, I couldn't think why.
"What's all this?"
"I want to tell you something."
Then she opened up a flood gate of emotion, a gate I don't think even she knew she had been pushing to keep closed. Cote said she had just finished up an exchange of emails with a friend from back home. They had been talking about relationships, ex-boyfriends in particular, and how when you're not in a healthy situation, you risk losing so much other stuff.......other good stuff.......in your life. That the "unhealthy" relationship often causes you to let "healthy" ones slip aside.
"When I was dating 'M', I didn't realize until just now, how much it was affecting our relationship.......you and me."
"What are you talking about, Cote?"
"Well, I just feel like you and I were fighting more. Maybe not 'fighting,' I guess, but just disagreeing more. And it was mostly over him."
She went on to tell me how this friend she was emailing then wanted to remind Cote how important family is.....much more, in fact, than any other outside relationship she might ever be in......because family will always be there for you.
"I see that now. I mean, I always knew it in the back of my mind, you know, but when I was typing my answer back, everything just kind of hit me. You've always been there for me, Mom, no matter what. My whole family has been, and I know you guys always will be."
"That's true, Cote. But let me tell you this.....you were never going to lose me. 'M' or no 'M.' I wasn't going anywhere. Yes, we've had our disagreements, but your relationship with him was all apart of growing up, and by dealing with what was right and what was wrong in that relationship, you found strength and truth inside yourself. These are good things, Cote. You learned so much about yourself over the past year and a half."
Our conversation continued, while I held her in my arms. I told Cote that when the right boy came into her life, he would encourage her relationships with her family and would want to join in them, be a part of them. And when that happened, her family bonds would become even stronger. Cote told me she was excited for a fresh start at MSU, which was only two short weeks away. (How can that be???) I said I was excited for her too, and that I had a feeling when she stepped onto campus, her "base" of friends was going to explode. Her life was about to blossom with an array of amazing new relationships.
We hugged and talked until 1 AM. In so many ways, I felt as if my daughter had finally fully "returned" to me. Yet in her journey back, I also sensed that she had somehow managed to scoot further towards the edge of the nest from which she was about to fly. Tonight felt like a turning point for us. Although we had always been close, it felt like something between us tightened, maybe even solidified. Our bond as mother and daughter now seemed unbreakable.......it was almost as if a protective covering had been poured over us, and had cemented into place. It's a feeling I hope to never lose.......nor ever take for granted.....
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. ~Kahlil Gibran