Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Girl.

Lily and I are on our first adventure together. We are on the West Coast visiting family and friends and with every hour I feel more and more as though she were an extension of me, I feel so deeply connected to her. She is a very special, unique being and as I ease into parenthood I find that my new role, my purpose in life is to be her mother, her roots, her rock - I now fully understand the concept of guardian. The responsibility of being a parent is awesome, and with that come the fears, worries and even more vulnerability. I found myself on the way to the airport emailing my brother with last minute wishes for Lily should something happen to me. Neurotic I know, but I have already lost the person most precious to me in my entire life - so the thought of this beautiful piece of my heart, our hearts, without either one of us, is haunting. Even when I just need someone to watch her I know the general thought is "come on, she's safe, she'll be fine, worst thing that will happen is that she'll get upset and cry" but that's not the worst thing - I have lived through one of "the worst things" so I know that it does happen, hence my fears loom large. Experiencing separation from Lily whether it be with a relative or babysitter is a tremendous challenge and while factors such as trust and safety are of the utmost importance, the anxiety stems from something much deeper - she is mine, and I am hers and our mother-child bond feels primal. So for me, boarding a plane with her in my arms feels much greater than a taxi ride, and leaving her with someone else is an emotional test of almost herculean proportions.

For months after Alan passed away, before she was born, and now the months after, I've struggled with my identity. I read often on one of the widow "boards" about how people have lost their sense of self upon losing their partner and I too, feel as though the "old me" is forever gone. When I lost Alan, I felt as though much of me went with him ~ and I know he'd hate to hear that, to witness it, but when you are so entwined with another soul - regardless of your independence - the loss kills much of the spirit within; death deadens. It numbs. It leaves you feeling disoriented and I too mourn my loss of self. Thankfully, Lily has given me purpose, and it is her spirit that has begun to bring me back to life. Despite the fact that we're together nearly everyday, I have gotten to know her even better as my travelling companion. The flight attendants could learn much from her - she is patient, full of smiles, is nice to everyone and her obliviousness to unpleasantness around her is admirable. Her glee is infectious and more and more she embraces unfamiliar faces with an openness that dissipates with age. Lily is a sponge and absorbs everything around her. She entertains herself with lights, TVs, music and sounds. She is fascinated by older children, she squeals when dogs brush along side of us. She turns her face into the breeze, she grabs at leaves, she splashes in the tub with reckless abandon. For all of the sadness I have inside, I now have equal parts happiness. The way she brightens my life is staggering, and I am OK with being Lily's mom while I try to grasp at parts of me that have seemingly faded. Like other widows and widowers, I still care little for reading the paper and watching the news; events that once triggered emotive responses still don't move me, there is much I no longer care about. But as we make the rounds out West, reconnecting with family and friends and introducing her to many who have, until now, loved her from afar, I feel as though despite my ungrounded sense of self, she has proven to be my new anchor. So as we forge ahead together, Lily's life new with every morning and mine exploring unchartered territory I am grateful to have her by my side and am glad for her that she has me to dote on her and to love her with all of my heart.

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