"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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A Promise for Madeline


posted by Susan Dominikovich on , , ,

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To My Daughter,

You told me about your dream tonight in such a matter-of-fact way.  You showed barely any emotion at all in the re-telling and even giggled a little nervously in your "it was, like..." and so on.  You dreamt that you were being dropped off somewhere and were expecting me to be at this place but I wasn't there and you didn't know where I was and you woke up with tears running down your cheeks feeling like I didn't love you.

My stomach clenched and my heart boomed rapidly against my chest with a memory.

If you only knew. 

If you only knew the depth and breadth of my love that I felt for you the moment you were born.

Instantly.

With your brother and sisters, I grew into my love after a few days, weeks even.  But not with you.

Instantly.

You were born so effortlessly in our home and we celebrated with a chocolate birthday cake and marvelled at your meowing in the baby Moses basket.  Because that's what you did:  you did not cry, you meowed.

And friends came to see you and they exclaimed at your beauty because you truly were and still are so beautiful.  A perfect little rose with a gorgeous round head and soft dark eyes.  You had none of the endearing squishiness of newborns.

You were perfect.

Except that a few days later we took you for a hip check and I nearly throttled the heartless specialist who manipulated your little legs so cruelly and handed you back to me saying, "problem.  Need to double-nap.  Check back again in four weeks for x-rays and possible leg-brace.  Next."  My midwife, sensing an eruption close to the surface of my mountain of bewilderment carefully guided us into another room and calmly assured me that this was not uncommon, that at least you weren't being put into a hip-brace at this stage and that double-naps would not be the end of the world.

And for four weeks I bathed you and massaged your tiny gorgeous body in lavender-scented lotion every day, savouring the freedom of you and me, touching and cuddling, skin on skin.  The night before the specialist appointment I revelled in the gift of you in case it was the last time we would have such closeness.  But deep down I knew.

You were perfect.  

And sure enough, the x-rays proved it.

And when you were still a baby, only 7 months old and I found out I was pregnant again, I actually grieved.  I grieved for the anticipated lost special moments of you.

Then when we discovered I was carrying twins, I laughed.  Because that was just absurd and how could that be possible and what on earth were we going to do?

Your sisters were born and I missed you and your brother like mad but we got home-help and I spent every minute I could still enjoying you while someone else helped me with the twins.  We went to playcentre together, read stories together, danced at mainly music together, while the twins were cared for by our nanny and big brother was at Kindergarten.  I refused to let anything or anyone come between us.

And I admit, I'm still in that place.

You can be incredibly intense and self-justified in your little 8 going on 28 self, which annoys your siblings and your daddy something fierce.

And I can't help myself.  I stick up for you.

I love them just as much and I protect them and I stick up for them and I adore them too.

But there is something different, in me and you.

You see, I had a dream too.

I had a dream often.  And it is that memory of a dream long-since forgotten that turned my stomach and made my heart race.

My mother and I walking down a busy street in Winnipeg in broad busy daylight.  I can still see 1970's colours and cars around me.  My mother is wearing a red felted woollen coat and holding my little hand as we walk.  She is on the curbside, protecting me from the cars, when a big black van pulls up, knocks her over and drags her by her ankles into the back of the vehicle.  I am left standing alone on the street.  

Alone and afraid.  And then I wake up.

That gripping and sweat-infused nightmare of losing my mother was awful and I think subconsciously, when I found out I was pregnant with the twins, I determined that nothing and no one would ever make you feel that you were losing me.  So I get your dream Madeline, as brave as you were in the re-telling.  I get it and it cuts me deep to think that I let you down.  I couldn't protect you from that dream or that fear.

But then, we don't know what the future holds, nor can I control it as much as I might like to try.  Just as I did not know that my mother would be diagnosed with MS.  So I can't promise you that I will always be there.  I can't even promise you that you will always know my love.

But this.  This I can promise you:  as much as my love is powerful and protective and all-emcompassing and enduring, it is nothing compared to how much God loves you.  He loves you for eternity and this also is true:  when I fall short, He will not.  When I fail to protect you, He will not.  When I let you down, He will not.  

He will never leave you.  He will always love you.  

And so, Dear Daughter, this is my promise:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of the glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  (Ephesians 3:14-19)



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