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Rawe-struck

The wonder-filled life of a single older-ish mom.

Archive for the tag “letting go”

Holding Sandy Hook

cold-1284028__340Your small self slips under my covers
at 3 a.m.
grazes a sleep-shrouded kiss on my cheek,
barely a breeze,
whispers I love you
before falling back into deep sleep.

I used to lean in close,
when you were barely bigger than a shoe box,
holding my own breath to listen, keeping vigil during darkness,
making sure that the hole in your heart
had not swallowed your wind —
not sure how to pray or
who
what
to pray to —
but silently whimpering
please,
thank you,
I’ve never known such
fragile, fierce
love.

Eggshells know.
When broken, the large of the shell is
a magnet for the small shards of itself,
yearning for the essence of
its wholeness
now separate but still belonging.

The cord between me and you was short,
the delivery nurse said,
making your separation from me traumatic.
Even within I held you tight
but now learn and relearn that what I receive
I must also release.

Let me go, Mama, you’ll say to me later this day
when I hug you too tight after learning that
twenty children
twenty
children
barely older than you,
and six women warriors who fought for them,
were gunned down in their classrooms.
There are no words for this.

One
liked to ride horses and had asked Santa for cowgirl boots.
One
wanted to be an architect and a paleontologist when he grew up.
One
had convinced her mom to let her wear the pink dress
that was supposed to be saved for Christmas.
She was going to be an angel
in the nativity play that weekend.

We don’t yet know how we will weep
as we study their bright eyes and impish grins.
How their parents will never wake
to shudder and shake off
this nightmare.

But before that darkness corrodes our world
you will rise to the dawn of this day,
fill your backpack with small love notes
you’ve drawn for your kindergarten friends.

And when you open the door you will see that
shimmering white flurries have dusted the ground
and you’ll call out,
“Mama! The world has been frosted!
Come taste it!”

— Amy Rawe 12.14.12

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Let Her Fall

trainingThis is bike week during gym at Nina’s school, which brought a reckoning. Nina had yet to attempt riding without training wheels — she said she just wasn’t ready. But when we parked in front of the bike drop-off field Monday morning, I looked at her in the rear view mirror and saw her face blanch. None of the other bikes had training wheels.

“Mama! Take off my training wheels! Please, you have to!” she pleaded.

“But you’ve never ridden without them,” I said.

“It doesn’t matter. I’ll figure it out. You’ve just got to take them off!”

As the bell rang and she ran to her classroom, I sat in the car staring at the bikes, wondering what to do. Would I be allowing her to cave in to peer pressure, at the risk of getting hurt? Or would I be honoring her decision, trusting that she’d handle the challenge. Which would be more painful — embarrassment or skinned knees?

When Nina was ten-months old, her dad enrolled her in daycare two afternoons a week. He thought I needed the time, and that she needed the separation from my protective grip. I worried that she would be scared, that she was too young. But he said, “What if she thrives? What if she really loves it, and it’s good for you both?”

He was right. Her gummy grin widened when she saw the other children in a room full of books and toys. Instead of dissolving into shrieks and tears each time I dropped her off, she’d raise her drool-drenched chubby hand and clench it open and closed to say goodbye.

I decided to take the training wheels off. As I was finishing, the gym teacher, “Miss Cookie,” walked over to survey the field of bikes. I explained Nina’s situation to her and she said, “I doubt she’ll be the only one. I’ll work with her in the grass so the falls are softer.” I told her I felt a little guilty that she’d need to give my child more attention because of something I hadn’t yet taught her to do, and she invited me to come back later that day to help.

Anxiety gnawed on me during the five hours until it was time for her class to ride. When the kids finally did run out to the field, I watched Nina struggle to keep her bike steady while walking it towards me. Her bottom lip was trembling and she quickly wiped away tears. “I don’t know how to do this,” she whispered, her voice shaking. I knelt down and told her that I’d talked with Miss Cookie and that we would help her learn in a safe way. And she wasn’t alone. Several other second-graders wobbled on their bikes down the gentle slope of the learner’s lawn.

Nina fell many times, but she learned how to fall away from the bike in the process, and her first small successes with balance and pedaling quashed her fear. “Let go,” she’d say when she was ready for me to stopping running alongside her, steadying the bike. Let go.

When she saw the more experienced kids riding laps on the pavement, she declared, “I want to do that.” Within a half hour, she was. I watched her ride past me, singing out loud, while I worked with the kids who were still in the learning area. On the last lap, she saw me and yelled, “Mama! Look!” as she dared to lift one hand — long since grown from being the chubby, drool covered hand of a child who could not yet walk. She waved and gave a thumb’s-up, then rode around the bend, out of sight.

riding video

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