For me a memory of an anxious birthing that so nearly was tragic. Me intervening demanding forceful and ‘no forceps send for the consultant.‘
The foetal monitor spoke of distress and I spoke words of dire warning and secret urgency out of an exhausted mothers hearing. Action at last and it’s to be the unkind cut that delivers but denies the mother her natural conclusion.
Wait, wait, wait and then the nurse is there with the lardy bundle and my girl is. Her little head is pointy and I am alarmed. She’s been trying so hard to be born she’s pencil-headed herself. She wears a net and the nurse reassures her head will be right in hours and it is. I hover near the incubator and watch as her head rounds and her colour grows less alarming. In hours a pretty big healthy baby materialises before my eyes. She is to be Ria Kathryn and I stand close and peer in and say her name for the first time.
Naughty against the rules, my hand goes in and she grasps my finger. Contact.
Floods of memories of fast breast-fed growth and lying on my chest at night with the thump of my heart lulling her to sleep after the croup. Then the gabble sing song nonsense that abruptly becomes Dada and I am named.
Crawl, walk, toddle, fall, walk, run, speak, laugh and my God where did the time go?
She’s a child with personality and questions. But I’m getting crazier every day – burdened by a bad marriage, a bad life and a bad past. I struggle to protect her but there is leakage. I can’t protect her from me completely and as she gets older she sees how fallible her Pa is and I ache to protect her from my baggage.
Ten, fifteen, seventeen and suddenly she is a woman. I have found myself but is it, too, late? Have I lost her?
No, no, she is kind and loving and she forgives. She forgives.
I bless her for her understanding and wisdom and pray she can be intact, be strong and love herself.
Slower now, time passes and she has her own life, her own pain, her own mistakes and baggage. We still talk well and I hope trust is back between us and love never was lost.
I learn to say less and to mean more. I learn to listen more and say less. I still ache at her mistakes and yearn to protect her from harm but I must stand back and say less and listen more and let her be. Just be with the risks and damage and hurt and panics. I must just be.
I try to follow her words and live more lightly.
I wish I could transpose my feeling for her like a blood transfusion. Inject her with hope and admiration. Give her power and hope and certainty. I try, Oh I how I try with words that are lighter now but which say: “I love you. I like you. Your are good and worthy and you must believe and be happy and somehow shed the baggage and fear and just be happy. Strive and try if you can but be happy.
You have grown from my seed and you are ready to seed yourself.”
My darling daughter Ria Kathryn, just be.