My daughter missed me so much over the five days we were apart that it shocked me. We’ve been apart for that long before–I think we even had a six-day hiatus once. But there was something different this time. She had such a hard time letting me go last Friday morning, and if she held me any tighter when I greeted her in Cadillac I would have suffocated. She has been literally glued to me every minute since, showering me with devotion and hugs and kisses.
At first it was rather annoying–wrapped up in my own world of self-centered “needs,” I resented having to reassure and negotiate with and distract her from the endless love. Couldn’t I just have a few days on my own to just “be me?” (What does that mean, anyway? Who else would I be?) But then I began to recognize the similarities between her needs and my own, and my resentment turned to compassion. How could I have missed that right here, in my own home and heart, was a love truer than … everything?
My daughter’s love for me is powerful and frightening. Often it is too much and I am compelled to try to escape–into chores, into work, into social activities. I can even twist the picture in my head toward that special but worn brand of self-pity that is subtitled “single parenthood.” Why? Why would I leave such a lovely gift unwrapped under the Christmas tree, all the while lamenting that I never get any presents?
Her requests for my time and attention are exactly the same requests I make of those closest to me. At first I tell myself that they are far less equipped–or inclined–than I am to honor those requests. But what if I’m wrong? If I find in myself the slightest motivation to give her an all-encompassing love, a love that transcends the “feelings” and is grounded in “choice,” then isn’t it possible that those from whom I seek a similar love might be similarly motivated?
Anything is possible.
For now I will accept her gifts and be lavished in her sweet devotion.