My Daughter

How Did I Get Here?

Silhouette of mother and child in gold on maroon background

Mother’s love is too deep to measure.

As I place the dishes in their space, and the cups in their space, I think of her…my daughter. I sort the forks, knives, and two sizes of spoons. I have a system for how I put them away. Designed for efficiency. Why do I need to be efficient about this? Why do I try to be efficient about anything I do? But I order steps in my mind and whiz through them in such a logical fashion, like driving to a place you drive everyday and, at one point, lost in thought, you realize that you’ve arrived and honestly, you don’t remember how you got there. That’s how I put the dishes away.

No Room for Conversation

toddler in sunglasses looking at reflection in mirror

I was always there, now forgotten.

I send a kiss and a prayer to her. She always replies quickly, but in a few syllables, then finished. Simply, “I love you.” Her response has closed the door. If I initiate with a further question, I imagine her annoyance sizzling through the inactive screen, a groan and an ‘ugh.’ So I conjure what she may or may not be doing. I look at the clock, 8:30 am, and consider what I know of her schedule. I think, ‘She’s at work…behind a desk, her face staring into a computer screen, designing pages for strangers, attending to their wishes.’  Sometimes, I send a kiss, a prayer, and a ‘how are you’ in one swoop hoping to initiate conversation. But her reply, “I love u …fine,” leaves no room for further chat. I close my heart and turn to other things, back to chores, to cleaning dishes, setting the meds, and making cream of wheat for my mother.

An Empty Heart

She doesn’t miss me like I miss her. I know this because I did pretty much the same. Busy in school and work, I only felt my own immediate world, not my family’s anymore. Although I didn’t have a message system nor a communication device snug in my pocket, I did have a phone. At that time, our conversations connected by squiggly wires hooked to sockets in the wall, rooted us to one space. Still I couldn’t see beyond the radius of me, myself, and I, any more than she does now.  Recognizing that doesn’t make it any less painful.

A child's small hand rests on an adult hand

Small fingers, enormous hopes

My heart is empty where she resided. I walk through my days and my routines feeling a shadow of an ache, just there, behind today’s chores–a soreness that happiness can’t relieve. In that space, all my hopes of our future together twirl and bow in a frenzied dance of dreams, thousands of scenarios that never came to be…possibilities.

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