She sits upstairs, giggling on the phone much like I used to when I was her age
And I sit here, listening to the dreams in her voice,
Trying to remember what it was like to not yet know what my life has in store for me.
I didn't know at fifteen how hard I would fall, how much I would love, how easily it was to be distracted.
She is tough and stubborn and full of the same spirit that I once danced with.
Her features resemble mine but she is far crueler than I remember being
And for all my years in this world I know it will take her sky falling for her to truly understand.
As a mother, it breaks my heart.
As her mother, it terrifies me because I want to protect her from the inevitable hurt,
Knowing that I must allow her to feel the pain yet to come for her to find her feet.
It was so easy when she was small, when she was little.
She wanted that cookie and I said no and the story was over.
She was sad and I would tickle her, give her a kiss on her forehead, and she lit up.
There was no fuss, no muss, just us loving each other.
I was her mommy and she was my little girl.
Now, as she sits upstairs, talking on the phone, giggling with someone else,
I know that I no longer sit in the space I once used to with her.
And I know I must be tough, strong, steadfast in my ways with her.
I must be firm and flexible and make the boundaries I never thought I would have to
Because in what used to be so many years from now has turned into a matter of a few.
She will go off into this world without me with only the tools I gave her.
As a mother, I worry.
As her mother, I worry that I haven't done enough
When she looks at me like I'm the worst person in the world.
As her mother, I worry that I haven't given her enough of a foundation
When she doesn't understand the concept of compassion
Because I know what the world can do to a tough girl like the one giggling upstairs.
My role as her mother has always been the rock she stands on
But eventually she will figure out her own ground to land on.
Right now she doesn't want my advise but I know one day she will.
I know one day she will call me just like I call my own and say, 'Mom what do i do?'.
I will laugh to myself, remembering the fights we know get it because I said no.
I will chuckle to myself, recalling all the times I am currently ruining her life.
One day this will come full circle and she will be back to eating ice cream with me in bed,
back to dancing in the middle of the living room because we felt like it.
I know one day someone will tear this giggling girl apart
And regardless of the mean spirited words she spews at me today
I will always be there for her tomorrow.
Right now she mocks the clothes I wear, the words I write, the nuggets of knowledge I have for her.
I have to accept the fact that right now she knows better than I do
But eventually she will get why I always tell her to try to be kind, to be understanding.
One day someone won't offer her those things and I can't stop her sky from falling.
At fifteen, this giggling girl upstairs knows everything.
At fifteen, this giggling girl is breaking her mother's heart.
I wish I could stay at my table for one sometimes,
Wandering about in the one place that has always offered me solace,
Where rainbows still shine bright, letting me fly,
But too often I am forced into bull races with ignorance.
I give the world a smile and it offers me a frown in return.
I have been lucky in love this year,
Finding a home within a kind heart that protects me from what he can
And I would do anything to never leave his warmth,
To sway in his strength, to lie beside him forever
But too often I puff up against threats that only exist in my head,
Fists in the air only to be knocked down by my own ghosts.
I wish I could be the person I know am without the broken parts,
Broken by all those things I let hurt me so easily,
Where I could offer my heart to you without being shattered when you walk away
Because too often my kindness only inspires fear, in me and in you and in them.
Too often my compassion gets the best of me
And I am left with the aftermath of their cruelty.
Tomorrow I shall be a day older sitting at my table for one,
Strolling back through my memories, taking stock in moments gone,
Analyzing the path traveled, the paths forgotten,
Realizing I know as little as ever, more than I ever knew.
Little girl dreams not yet true but one day they will be
Because I will continue to stand up, to hold my fists high,
To believe in the same love that I cursed.
Table for one, alone or with you or with them, this seat is never taken.
Puzzle pieces that don’t make sense,
That won’t ever fit together jumble around my head, making sense only to me.
I am cryptic, unsettled, emotionally stunted
Because I can’t just tell you what I’m trying to say.
So off I go with my bucket full of broken pieces
To make a master piece that will never see the light
And you tell me that I am a rock, your solid ground
Just when I need to hear it, just when I begin to crack.
You are calming, logical, impulsively inclined
With your easy going nature, your simple way of speak.
Your puzzle is put together with strategically placed joysticks
And I get lost in your translation.
Pieces, I am pieces of people I used to be,
Mashing together only to tear each other apart.
I pick them up, put them in my bucket, sending them to corners of my unfocused mind
Where they make sense only to me.
You grow sad at my chaos sometimes but fear not, my love.
You are the one piece of my puzzle that fits but I can’t explain to you why.
I am cursed, unclear, hypothetical
Because there are parts of me that will always feel fuzzy.
Off I go, skipping along my crooked path with my broken bucket swinging,
Picking up the pieces forgotten along the way,
Lost in my own thought, the big picture of me
And you offer me your hand just when I begin to fade,
Fade into obscurity out of your sight.
You make perfect sense when you shouldn’t,
Even when all I can give you is a blank stare
Because somehow you see me beyond my missing pieces
And understand when I need to hide inside my broken bucket.
I am euphoric, addictive, beautifully shattered, completely in love.
Love catches you when you least expect it but is it love?
I don’t know, at least not yet.
He is refreshingly sweet, respectful in a much needed way.
We laid beside each other but not a move was made.
His strong arms held me with intimacy but without the fear of being intimate.
His lips never came near mine though I knew we both wanted them to.
I awoke in the morning next to this man, not a boy.
I had given up on decency sadly, on finding a kind soul.
I am not asking for much, just a simple sort of love
And somehow I found it in this gentle giant smiling at me.
He brings me the smallest of joys in a way I didn’t know I needed.
There is no pressure for me to be anything more than me.
I can take my time, no rush to get anywhere but where we are with him.
I want to fall in love with this man but not in my usual car wreck fashion.
I don’t want to leap without knowing that he will catch me, without knowing he is a sure thing.
Could this be love? I don’t know.
I don’t know but he’s the best chance I’ve had in a long time.
He smiled at me the next morning, pulling down my shirt that had rolled up in the night,
And I didn’t flinch or wonder what I had done the night before
Because in his eyes I saw everything that I needed to see,
With this sweet man I only saw the best of intentions.
Is it love?
It has always been him.
It will always be him.
In one month it will be a year, a year without a father and I'm left wondering how the time has passed.
In one month it will be a year that I haven't heard his voice, haven't made him laugh
and these feelings swirl around me.
In one month it will be a year and this life without him has been a struggle.
I can't call him when I publish another book,
can't tell him about my daughter's first date, and I didn't realize this feeling of loss would continue to grow.
A picture of him sits on my desk,
a young man with his bride to be smiling
at the beginning of their lives
before children, before heartbreak
and I can feel him standing beside me,
telling me that he's Ok, that I'm OK
because the best parts of him will always be in his children, in the smiles he hid in the crook of our grins.
In one month it will be a year that I haven't sat with him over a cup of coffee,
haven't listened to the latest Fox News facts,
haven't rolled my eyes at his jokes.
I never realized how much I would miss him,
how much of him was such a huge part of me.
I look at my siblings, knowing that
it will be one year in a month they, too,
have lost their father,
understanding we all had our own relationships with this one man, this one man who loved us so dearly even when we pushed away
because he didn't know how to love us any other way.
In one month it will be one year and
I know that he has found a peace that he wouldn't have found if he hung on.
I have no anger that he moved on,
just regret that I sit here one month before his year anniversary with words that I should have given him before he died.
And then I look at that picture of him,
sitting on my desk as I write,
and I know he's reading these words just as you are, holding my hand, telling me it's OK.
He knew I always had it in me even when I refused to believe him
because he loved us no matter what,
because it was the only way he knew how to love.
My father, a dreamer, the best of his dreams will live on in our joy, our sorrow, in the corners of his children's smiles.
There is a fire that still burns bright though my flame has quieted over the years.
I still feel the old rage of the struggle that I have already conquered, the need to fix what hasn't been broken for years.
I have seen life from all sides but still feel lost when it matters, when I know that I have already been found.
My mouth still runs away from me when I know better to keep it shut, when I know nothing will come from the damage I sometimes still spew
though the passion for being right isn't all that important anymore.
I still try to make the world, the people around me better even though I know their change is not my burden to bare.
Demons, these old relics that still poke the fire, don't threaten yet I still have the fight.
The temper that once roared as a young girl
has been replaced with sighs, with a shake of my head but still I feel the scars of their embers.
My heart still pounds and my face still flushes
though my hands don't fidget as violently.
And I think of my place in this world now
as a woman, as a mother, as a wife and a friend,
understanding that all of these rolls
have inspired the most beautiful inspiration.
And I remember the bright light I once was,
loving that red headed girl and her spirit.
And I welcome the feeling of warmth that comes when the rage of things past come around, when the fight wants to throw fists,
accepting that both are just as lovely
as my quiet nature now,
as lovely as my love for you and you and you.
My sighs, this soft sound of frustration,
are as powerful, are a reminder of how much life I have seen, of how much I have grown.
And this fire that quietly burns will always be the reason I am still standing, a lovely reminder.
Perhaps it was not the path that I would have not chosen,
Being so horrible broken for so long alone inside myself,
Struggling to put my pieces back together
But I had my little light of hope to guide me along the way.
She was beautiful and alive and the one thing that kept me alive
And so we had settled into our life of make believe,
Just making our way through our tiny world
Until love drifted back into my life with open arms.
He was kind, patient, a dream that didn't seem real.
The path to this man was rocky, a test of faith.
I spent so many nights lying in my bed, drowning in my own tears,
Wishing that someone would see something inside of me
And then he smiled at me from across the room,
Making me feel as if love never abandoned me,
Showing me that inside of me I was still beautiful,
Giving me the ability to believe in someone again.
The path to him was not the road I thought I would take.
It broke my heart time and time again
but all my shattered pieces were worth the journey to fall in love with him.
At the end of the day, I'm just a girl who has been in love with writing her entire life. I am full of quirks, anxieties, fears, joys, laughter. And all I have wanted to do was give the world a smile.