I am holding on to the loves of my life. I am holding onto my daughter who is gentle and sensitive. I literally hold her in my arms so she may rest. I feel her rest, leaning into me, trusting that mom is and will always be there.
I am holding on to my daughter who is troubled. I am holding her with a fierceness and commitment. I am like the relentless badger or the pitbull whose jaws lock and only death will release. I am like the hawk, ever vigilant, eyeing all around me, my expert dive ready to annihilate any foe. (P.S. I saw a hawk on my walk today. The rains have flooded the ground squirrel’s burrows and the hawk was perched on the fence above their home, ready to breakfast on anything that emerged. That's me. Searching, holding on to my daughter.)
However, something else has emerged in me since the birth of our granddaughter Bella. I say “our” because this is a family affair and my holding of her is different than my daughters. When my daughters were young I was busy being an employee and a wife. I was externally focused and not as internally intact as I am today. If I were mothering today the following is the way I would have held my babies – the way I am holding our Bella. My hands, as it were, are a nest.
I hold out my hands as an offering. The nest I offer is something she may climb into as a place of security and gentility. I have lined the nest with love, of course, and wisdom. The love I offer is the fulsomeness that love can ever be. Love is full of love itself. Love knows itself in the unbreakable bond that unites a grandmother with her grands and, of course, a mother with her children.
The wisdom I have to offer is to show her, not tell so much, what there is in the world. To show her art and performance, to show her the beauty of sunsets and the intelligence of flowers, to show her poverty and riches beyond her imaginings offering her enormous choices. The world is a smorgasbord. Choose Bella Bambina, choose. In the nest are generous doses of patience and understanding. Since failure is the first option when learning, so it is of utmost importance that she trust she can fail and fail and fail until she doesn’t and that there is a nest within which she may lie when weariness overtakes her. We each need a place to land that is soft and inviting and I want her to know that she has a place to rest away from the noise and chaos that surrounds us, always. I want her to know that as she efforts for whatever it is that interests her, she can always come back to the nest. The one I hold and to know there is a loving and generous being next to her in that nest.
I have lined the nest with fun and playfulness and joy and laughter. When I am with her I must laugh a lot because she shows me by her mimicry. When I laugh she stops, looks at me and laughs too. So this nest must contain joy.
Another element in the nest is commitment. I am committed to that little one. I travel to Phoenix every month to see her. My commitment is that I get to see her grow, as much as possible, and that she knows who I am, that there is another person in the world who loves her along with her mom and dad and grandpa and step-grandma. We are a nest of people surrounding this little one with all the love all children deserve.
One more thing about holding on to this little one. I am holding her gently. My hold is soft and loving, filled with kindness and peace. I am not holding onto her like I did my children, sometimes squeezing the life out of them. I am holding onto her with gentility knowing that the world is open at the top, that Spirit is in charge and I just get to be with her, not own her. My dearest hope is that she will thrive and live a long and self-fulfilling life.