Thursday, June 2, 2016

Letters


I wonder if Eve could write letters in Paradise! 
But, poor Eve, she had no one to write to - 
no one to whom to tell what Eden was, 
no beloved child to whom her love traveled through any or all space. 
Poor Eve! 
Catharine M. Sedgwick


June 2,

Dearest Daughter,

I read the news this morning of a shooting at UCLA. It always makes me sad to hear about a shooting (or anything bad happening at a school). It's hard to imagine being a parent that sends her child to school only to find out that something horrific happened at that supposedly safe place. Actually that would be true of most any situation, but it seems especially awful for parents and school children. Today's news brought back memories of your time at UCLA.

In my mind's eye I can still see us on our first drive to UCLA back in 1989. How could I forget that parade of people dressed in black holding pictures of the Ayatollah Khomeini and shouting words that sounded menacing even though I had no comprehension of the language? The idea of leaving you, my  beloved first child, in that place caused me to tremble. I wanted to turn the car around and drive back to San Diego. Did I say that? How many times did I ask you if you were sure this is where you wanted to be. A hundred? I think you were so busy taking it all in, you never heard me.

I realize now that I was more afraid for me than for you. You had the benefit of youth on your side. You still wore that cloak of teenage immortality about you. College life was nothing more than a new door to open. Another adventure. UCLA a place to learn not just English and History, but how and who to trust, how to manage your time, how to stretch a dollar, how much beer you could drink in one evening. It was a place to test not just your mind but your wings.  To see how far and how high you could fly while you still had a semblance of parental boundaries. My mind knew that. Yet, my heart knew that in a short four years, those same wings would take you to places farther away from me. 

I had some fears left over from the day your blue canvas tennis shoes climbed up those big school bus steps taking you to Kindergarten. Would you make friends? Would you miss me? What if you skinned your knees or someone was mean to you? Still, I never had any doubt that you would succeed. You had already proved that you could tackle most any problem and come out on top. That's not just mom-talk. Your grades, your trophies, your friendships echoed my pride. Your successes came from hard work. You had a few falls, but some of our best lessons come from our failures. I'd learned how to stand on the side lines and cheer you on. That doesn't mean I didn't bite my nails and pace the floor in the wee hours of the morning. Do you know I'm still your biggest cheerleader?

Before touring the campus, we sat on a bench waiting for Aunt Linda. I had tears in my eyes, sweat under my arms. You had what can only be called a look of exhilaration on your face. I wanted to cry. Like a racer in the starting blocks, you were ready for the gun to sound so you could run. I was hoping Linda would back me up. That UCLA was too big and scary a place for my girl. I can laugh now to remember she wore the same anticipatory look in her eyes as you. She'd sent two daughters to college. She knew everything would be ok.  As in most of my life's scary times, her calm demeanor helped settle my  nerves. It helped to know she would be close to rescue if needed.  Not surprisingly, my fears were unfounded. You can be thankful that you inherited your courageous and confident genes from your father, your ability to dance from me!

So many years have passed since you were in college. Why do I write this now?Mainly I want to acknowledge the woman you've become. Not just beautiful, but strong and wise and funny and trustworthy and brave and maybe a little wild and wacky.  Have I ever said how proud I am of you? 

I love you more than lying in a hammock on a summer day,
Merry ME (aka Mom)

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Very lucky daughter to have a Mom like you.