Almost seven years ago, our little girl turned 9 months on her first Halloween. In 2006, we lived in Houston. I lived in-between bottles, burp cloths, and legal documents. I called myself a mother and a lawyer. Feisty and vocal, our daughter spent much of her time crying. I juggled so many moments. Some I remember with clarity. The first moment she rolled over is a part of my highlight reel. When she took her first steps, everything felt new, happy, and right with the world. In my sleepless seconds, I focused on hurrying through everything and ignored how much the now is where my attention should focus. My visits with loss were only the cursory kind that happened only to other people. I held on tight to what I knew.
Now. It is 2013. Our daughter is on the edge of eight. We live in Arizona. I live in the pages of school drop-offs and pick-ups, answering endless questions from my daughter, and blank pages that I hope to fill with meaningful words. I call myself a mother and a writer. Inquisitive and sensitive, our daughter spends much of her time fully aware of her emotions and ready to jump in with a zeal only a child exhibits. She loves with power. It is a love that is tangled with kindness, unconditional heart, and one that can swallow you whole. Each of her discoveries is a revealing moment.
I am different. Now is an important mantra that threads it ways into my days. When I feel hurry sliding down my skin, I stop, reflect, and say, now. I know the pendulum exists. We all shift between happiness and sadness and in this swing the ordinary is filled with the most wonder. The seconds that appear as so mundane, of course, are the ones that are paramount. I am well aware of the cliché, that life can change in instant. It has happened twice in the last seven years. Both centered on loss and propelled me to clench tighter and bear down, but gave way to realizing that eventually one must let go.
As we celebrate our daughter’s seventh Halloween, I hurl into the reality that in seven more years she will begin her teenage years. We will not accompany her door-to-door while she trick-or-treats. Her love will be directed in new directions. Toward her friends, her independence, and her need to define herself by what she knows instead of what her parents tell her. I still hold on, but it is punctuated with the knowledge, that all of it, needs to give way to letting go.