The news boasted that for the next four days we would be treated to a celestial treat. Two nights ago Christopher went out and stood out of the deck for a few minutes and declared that there was no action! Last night was supposed to be the last and best night for viewing the meteor shower. At 9:30 p.m. we dressed the kids in warm clothes, packed snacks and headed over to my parents house, with Fergus. My parents live out in the country where it is unpolluted by light (Christopher's words, he took an astronomy class in university).
Mom and Dad had set up a small tent with mattresses and their kitchen tent. The kids settled into the tent, looking upwards. The sky was of course overcast, there was not a star to be seen. I was tricked twice by fireflies, but no meteors. We had fun anyways. We sat and chatted and the kids
We tucked the kids all into bed. Before he headed off to bed himself Christopher went out and checked one last time for the supposed show. Nothing! He headed to bed and I watched the end of my reality t.v. show (pure garbage, but I watched it anyway). I put the dog out one last time and decided to take a peek in the sky. I was rewarded with falling star. I stood out there in the quiet coolness, and was treated to two more falling stars. The little kid in me was pretty excited. I ran upstairs to see if any of the kids were still awake, did I mention that it was 1:30 a.m.? They were all out like a light, I turned off their night lights and made my way downstairs. I then stopped and turned back. I walked into Grace's room and woke her, "Do you want to see the Meteor Shower?" She was a little sleep drunk, and then slowly her mind understood what I was asking. "Yes" she sleepily slurred.
I grabbed a quilt and a blanket. We felt our way outside (I kept the deck light off so that the stars would be more clear), her not so little hand in mine. I threw down the quilt. "What if you threw the quilt onto dog poop?" Grace asked. "Then I guess I will have some serious laundry to do tomorrow". She seemed satisfied. We lay on our backs, she was cozily tucked under a blanket and snuggled in like she did when she was just little. This was a beautiful moment.
Gracie is 12 and really embracing her "tween" side. What that means is that she fights me at every turn. I say black, she says white. We have very few "nice" conversations. Most of our conversations involve angry words, and shouting, rolled eyes and stomping, lots of stomping. I try to stay calm, to choose my battles, but I usually end up rising to the occasion. Most nights I fall into my bed wondering what I am doing, knowing that every angry word I say to her marks her with an invisible tattoo on her heart. I promise myself that tomorrow is a new day, a day that I will be the mother that I want to be, that she deserves. The morning comes and brings with it bad attitude, eye rolling and stomping and I start the cycle again. It is staggering when I think that we will only have her under our roof for another 6 years. 6 years! That is just the blink of an eye. She will not remember me looking down at her with tears thanking God that she is alive. She will not remember me watching the rise and fall of her little chest feeling blessed to have such a beautiful little girl. She will not remember the soft touch of my hand or the kiss that felt compelled to give her. She will not remember me crying and wishing that I could take her pain after her countless surgeries. She will not remember the hugs, kisses, loving words. My gift to her will be my angry words, my lack of patience, and yet I seem powerless to avoid it. I just find myself stuck in the never ending cycle. Sometimes I wonder if she remembers how much I love her? I tell her, but wonder if with all the anger if it sinks in.
So there we are, just the two of us. In the distance is the soft hum of a neighbour's air conditioner, not too far away the swishing sound of the pool filter, and the distant whisper of the traffic, all mixing together with a choir of crickets chirping just for us. We were the only two people in the universe, and lying on my back looking up at the billions of stars in that beautiful star filled, clear sky it felt like the universe. My little (by little she is only two inches shorter than me) sleepy girl is lying with her head on my chest, her arm draped over my chest. I can feel her warm breath on my face. I'm not sure how long we lay there, the dog scampering around, then finally settling to lie at our feet. We just lay there. This is how motherhood is supposed to feel, like what you are doing matters. Our peace would be occasionally interrupted by one of us reverently asking if the other had seen that falling star. There must have been twenty falling stars. It was not what I had expected. When they had spoken of the meteor shower, in my head I saw them falling like fireworks. The reality is that they gracefully danced across the sky only to disappear in the blink of an eye.
Time stopped briefly. In that slice of eternity it was just a mother and her daughter. The immense unbreakable love floated around us like a vapor. There was no thought of anger, no memory of it even. There was just me, and my beautiful little girl, my little girl who is testing her boundaries and trying to grow up. I held her close to me, tightly like I thought the tighter I held her the less chance the night would end. I leaned over gently and pressed my lips to her forehead, letting my kiss linger, like that kiss could pass my almost painful love of her into her heart like a love transfusion. She then returned that kiss with on of her own on my cheek. No matter what we say, no matter how we may act we have a love that can never be extinguished.
That night we lay in beautiful peace. Finally I reluctantly told her that we had to go in and get to bed. The clock read 2:30 a.m. I walked her upstairs and tucked her into bed, planting a few more kisses and words of my love. As I flipped off her light and was shutting her door she softly, sleepily in almost a whisper told me "Thank You". I wanted to cry. Maybe we have a chance. Maybe if I just try a little harder. Maybe she will remember this night. Maybe she will carry my immense love for her with her throughout her life... maybe.