She is on the cusp of becoming a young woman. Hints of disdain and subtle embarrassment at my behaviour flicker upon her face, at odds with her love for me. Her eyes, though, still light up in my presence, she still covets her hugs and snuggles from me, especially at night. I give them more freely than I ever have, because I know that these moments are now limited in availability.
She is my heart. She comes to me, only me, still, after all these years when she needs a compassionate ear. I used to joke that she wanted to crawl back into my uterus, exasperated by her constant physical need of my touch and embrace. That desperate two year old, all hands and kisses, smothering my being. But now, I take it all, all of the bestowed love with a guilty pleasure, knowing full well how fast time goes, how soon I will sadly remember and wish for it back.
My daughter, my light, my love. Before my eyes, she has become what I have always known she will be. Strong and empathetic, fierce and sweet. Tall. Utterly and dangerously beautiful. Cautious and shy with an ironic dab of attitude. Her heart gets hurt far too easily, yet I don’t want that to ever change since this is a part of her that is too huge and too important and too enmeshed in her own being to require fixing. I want her to embrace her Self, her depth and humour and pride and courage. To defeat the defeatist within her who nags and cajoles with “I can’t” and instead to recognize the iconic strength and hear that whisper of “I can”.
She is still my little girl. And even though the years will etch themselves upon her and me, these moments are coveted and treasured; these moments of mother and daughter bonding. We still hold hands while shopping for milk and eggs and while walking home from the school bus. Her face tilts up towards mine, her trust in me is beyond measure. I give in to this, I allow her epic adoration, I crave her necessity of me. In return, I receive beyond measure the joy of being her truth and guiding force. She trusts me. She listens to me. I tell her tales of my youth; she listens with such eagerness, my heart melts.
I am right now what holds her to this earth and molds her to be. I am not ready to let this go. I don’t think I ever will. It is complex, this mother-daughter love. It is a constant climb full of switch-backs, where she battles against me, fighting the similarities of her and I, begrudging our parallels of looks and personality. She resents how well I know her, and yet she is glad of it, because I know her so well. But as we curl up together and talk about such important things in her life, I know even if she cannot express it, she is glad that she can tell me anything.
When she was small, a teeny fuzzy bunny with white blonde hair, we would hold hands at night and I would whisper into her ear, “This is my Lily,” and she would whisper back, “This is my Mama.”
We are each other’s. Always.