Early this morning, on my way into the kitchen to start breakfast, I found a series of post-its tucked behind a vase. These were notes written by the same author who penned (really markered) yesterday’s inspirational message. Eagerly, I set out to devour them - smiling before I started - expecting nothing but joy. Here’s what the notes say, verbatim, in what I think is the right order:
Hi, my name is Sara. You may know me, but may not. So if you do please listen and the others should listen too. I am here to talk about gang people. You shouldn’t turn into them. I am only nine but you don’t know what many nine or ten year olds can do. I feel like I can change things when it comes up to gangs. I will always be people’s friends. Unless it is someone I hate. Then, some day we might be friends. It seems that people who seem popular that really aren’t want to be, but they just can’t. They try to but all that happens is they have to dress pretty and pretty much act all cool until they think you are. And popular people seem like they don’t have to do any home work. They think they will pass the third or the fourth grade. But, most likely not gonna happen. I am Sara. Thank you.
Not exactly Yates, I know. But for some reason this series of notes didn’t elicit a simple, or even singular, response. Instead I was flooded with a potpourri of emotions. I was overcome first with an oversized apple of pride. She is empowered and confident! That’s good. Then, the moment became bittersweet. She is strong, yes. But she longs to be accepted and feels left out. This made me sad, melon-choly is it? (I thought about blue-berries, but that was more predictable, no?) I wondered if I’d been there all the times she wanted to talk with someone who would show compassion instead of impatience, or interest instead of distraction. As I contemplated my anger inward, a fire-red fruit, I imagined my vengeance against those who had hurt my baby.
All the while, I held those soft, crumpled notes in my hands, running my fingers across the letters and feeling, in my own mind, the tender heartbeat of my baby against her chest as she wrote the words, smelling the perfume of her sweet, sweet soul. The more I held onto those notes the more wistful I became. How I longed to go back to myself at that age and tell myself I was doing everything right, because some day I was going to have a daughter as magical as this one.
And as I stood in the kitchen with those remnants of a day gone by in my hands, a new day spread across the room and washed slowly over me, temporarily bleaching the words from the page until it seemed I was holding nothing at all. In truth, I was – I am – holding every single bit of it tightly and closely. Through the swirl and sway of emotions one stepped through and took command of the room, blinding me, overwhelming me.
Love, love, love. In every single possible way, I love this child with all my might. And the full, rich, satiating scent of this love stays with me all the days I endure.