Rise in Wonder


We met when the leaves were orange. I had waited so long. Before I really had a chance to say hello, your dad was holding you up to the window so you could see the colorful trees. That was your initiation into this world, into this life. Look at all of this beauty. This, all of this, is for you. You will find your place here.
And as I look at you today, beauty is all I can see. It is all around. As you’ve grown, you’ve given an open heart, hands that hold, lips that smile, and a mind that searches. The light in you sees the places that need light and you leave yours there. You reach towards it, gathering its energy. I watch you shine it forth, creating a wake as you pass. I cannot take credit for who you are. I can only take joy in witnessing you. In experiencing the way you move in this world you’ve been given. The way you take your place and enhance the lives of those you meet.

And I wonder how we got here. How I’ve gone from a tired mother, counting your breaths to one who slowly exhales them as she lets go. Because as much as I wanted to hold you first and always, you don’t really belong to me. Your life belongs to you and you will walk through it on your own feet. My job is not to keep you safe but give you a sense that you can rise. That your power is in you, not in me. That I might hold your hand but yours can grasp and find the anchor you need. That I might have been there before, but if could be different for you. That as much as I want to know that I can protect you, what you really need to know is trust. That it will always turn around. That you are not alone. That hope is the best lens of perspective. That we believe in you. My work has been to lay that ground under your feet. Walk with confidence, my girl. Run if you must. You have what you need. And you can find what you need next. This is where we are after fifteen years.

The world is not flat and I will send you there, among the hills and valleys, as surely and as soon as the sun will appear again. With every moment I am letting go a little more. It is not without wistfulness but I know the only way is ahead. The days are unfolding one into the next without any of my effort and you are growing up and away. I can only clear the way for it to continue. All I can do is help you go. I will create the space in which you practice responding to the forests full of trees, the deep seas, and the hilltop sunsets you’ll encounter. I will hold the space for you to feel what you feel, to question, to wrestle with your choices, to wonder what is the best way. To wonder at everything. I will close the space that harbors my own fear, my own longing. The space between who I am and who you need and who I will be without you is ever in flux. Because even though I’ve always been here I’ve never been the same.

You know those orange leaves? That was change you saw and into which you were born. When I did hold you, everything unhinged. Everything came together. My heart exploded into the stardust of which you are made, raining down on all those parts of me that needed healing and love and joy. And it hasn’t ended. I knew at that moment that there was nothing I wouldn’t do for you; that all I would ever want was to be in wonder with you. My life started again when yours did. And so it has continued. Expanded. How everything is bigger and more beautiful than I ever noticed before! And I’ve learned the irony of my desire to be steadfast; to be the mother you need. It is not for holding fast to the ground upon which I stand. Indeed, being a mother is for surrendering to the seasons as they come. I’ve learned that requires constant and continual shifting, asking more of myself and not of you. Releasing the way it should go and embracing the way it does. Holding my tongue and opening my mind. Closing the past and walking boldly forward. I’ve rejected the status quo because you deserved more. My hope has been that you see possibility. Opportunity. Growth. Do not accept the way that everyone says it is, says it should be. You decide.

I did. Our society tells me that parents raise their children. That the kids need to change, should change, according to pre-determined stages. Toddlers are to be endured. Tweens are to be grounded. Teens to be controlled. Does that sound like your life? Have you ever known me to brace against you? To dread the year you became a teenager?

No. You’ve told me that the years have simply strung together, without any expectation that one should be more challenging than another.

I let you rise. I’ve searched for what I wanted to see: kindness, curiosity, a desire to help, team spirit, generosity, openness, hope, trust, wonder, effort, lightheartedness. And that’s what I found. That’s what I cultivated. You already have everything you need to live this life you’ve been given. To search and to try until it feels right to you. To run until you are exhausted and decide it’s not worth running anymore. To take a step forward and fall two back as many times as it takes to get where you want to go. To experience that a when life feels good it’s easy to do what’s right. To embrace your talents and build upon those and let the rest go. To know that you can’t be everything to everyone so it’s important to be true to yourself. To ask for help because you are loved and worthy of that love. To uncover your deepest desires and put them first. To listen to intuition and insist that it lead your head. To look around, not just within, and extend your hand where you can. Because this life is not just for you to rise up. It is for you lift others as you lift yourself.

Don’t do what is expected of you. Be an example of what it means to live with integrity. Only by being true to the character that you create can you know life’s liberty. I am here to help show you the way, but it is your responsibility to take the steps. I’ve held you and I know the strength of those arms. The beat of your heart. The light in your eyes. Share that. There are places in this world that need the healing and hope and joy you’ve brought me. That stardust still lingers. You linger. And I still see you, my sweet baby. You have only added to the beauty the colorful trees held on the day you were born. Fear not. For even when the season changes again and you are further down the road away from me, I will still be here, holding the space, holding you to the window with hope. That will never change.

“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”- E.B. White

  • Sasha Kuczynski

    What a lucky girl to have you for her Mama. Happy Birthing Day.

    • Flo

      Thank you, Sasha! xoxo

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