My little bird.
You push me into places I never wanted to go, pulled me into messes I never wanted to clear up and stretched my heart till it had to take in more, accept more, love more than it ever thought possible.
I've written about you before.
You say the exact wrong thing at the wrong time and makes sure that exactly the wrong people are there to witness it.
You are the most emotionally honest person I know.
If you think it, you'll say it.
If you feel it, you'll holler it.
I want to be as fearless and open as you, girl of the kiss curls and the pixie eyes.
Oh what thoughts swim in those unfathomable waters?
You made worm soup in the garden yesterday didn't you.
I found a worm in my coffee cup this morning.
You said you brought the worms in at night so they wouldn't get cold.
You said worms didn't you?
I still haven't found the others yet...
When we were sowing our Spring greens you dug up my viola's with a kind of earnest care and attention to detail rarely betrayed.
Then you lovelingly replanted the bindweed I'd spent a morning grappling with.
You said it was your special plant.
The plant with the pure white shell flowers that could almost, almost be mistaken for lilies and the strong, fiberous, unyielding roots.
Ah yes, now I see.
You spend most of your days happily playing in the garden or painting your hands, or in the bath, or with your collection of wild animals with whom you feel at ease.
Sometimes I get you to help me beat up, I mean, knead a little bread dough to let off steam.
You know you were born almost 10 pounds and Eskimo-like.
I met my own reflection within your beautiful brown eyes that day.
There was something sacred in their deep pools.
High cheek boned, heart shaped faced, beauty.
I stared at you in wonder for hours into the dark, murmuring quiet of that mid-May night.
Matilda, your big sister, the one you bicker with constantly, the one who is chalk to your cheese, oil to your water, yet still, the one you would do anything in the world for and more, was still a waddling toddler of barely 15 months.
The day Daddy and I came home from the hospital , fish and chips wrapped tight under one arm your car seat hooked on the other, she stared, wide eyes swimming across your little face for hours.
She wouldn't leave your side.
She would try to stroke your soft velveteen forehead and press her cheek close to yours to feel your warmth.
At that point, though I'd had 3 babies before, I didn't know what unconditional love was.
I didn't know what it was to love through the constant, wiggling, squirming, crying, relentless need for tactile sensory experience that some little souls and bodies need.
I didn't know about the giving, beyond my own measure of enough.
My own standards, preconceptions and expectations.
You challenged me to love deeper, wider, fuller.
I had know idea what incredible, sacred, elemental lessons you would teach me.
I had no idea that you would break my delicate porcelain life apart and remould it into something, coarser, more vibrant,more useful, more honest, indeed, more beautiful.
If only I would let you.
And often I wouldn't.
Instead I would silently rage against the dissent, the defiance.
Pull the fences and the fence posts back into their places with quiet, defiant resignation and stubbornness of my own.
I would not let you teach me, soften me. Round me out into the kind of shape that can hold life's ambiguities, unanswered questions and paradoxes without cracking.
But slowly I am coming around.
Slowly I am learning to see.
How you make me careless about what others think.
"Put your priorities first" you say without saying. "Remember the things that really matter." Relationship, connectedness, truth.
You make me thankful for every small precious act of kindness, every shard of reflected light, every swilled rainbow in every muddy puddle.
Since you came charging through my world like a bull in a china shop I've let go of the defences and walls I built when as a young teen mother I felt the need to prove myself worthy of my child in the face of other's judgements.
You make me accept the shades of grey, and the whole spectrum of life's colour. I've stopped judging. Because of you.
You make me see a bigger picture, a wider panorama than that old narrow vision I squinted myself down to nothing to fit.
People talk about unconditional love. But rarely how hard it can be.
It can be something that goes way beyond the boundaries of feeling and emotions at times. Sometimes it is something you have to chase down with every sinew in your body.
But when you catch it, cradle it in your arms, it births you into someone, truer, stronger, softer.
In the words of the Whale rider Piakia's Grandfather Koro "Wise leader, forgive me. I am only a fledgling new to flight."
My lovely girl today, you were five.
Seraphina, I hope you will always fly free. I'll be flapping my little wings behind you.
joining Emily for Imperfect Prose today.