I am in the last throes of childrearing
The miracle of being pregnant begat the miracle of birthing her, which begat the wonder of falling in love, which begat stupor of midnight breastfeeding, which begat the thrill of watching her take her first steps…
You know, there is wonder and terror in bringing a new life to the earth.
I am in the throes of wonder and terror, and these are cycling like pistons in my head. We are just less than two weeks away, and the idea of my daughter sleeping in an apartment and not being safe, here, in her bed, gives me insomnia. All I have to do is think of her jingling keys to her place late at night and I am bolt upright in the bed. My chest hurts like a little bone inside my ribs is dying.
Saturday was her last jazz band performance. She played every jazz competition during her sophomore year, even though she was not in the class. She played well and along with the other musicians, earned first place for her school. She played in wind ensemble for three years, First Chair for the last year, and they placed third. She marched all four years, and is 1:1 for marching band; they won Sweepstakes for the competition.
There have been many parades, lots of shoe shining, lots of music lessons, lots of printer ink for papers. These are all outer manifestations of inner values. She’s a beautiful soul who cares deeply for others, especially other women.
Just last week she texted me from her room, “Do you know where to get a vulva puppet?” and knowing that she was writing a paper on the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), I knew the context. I showed the text to my husband.
“Hey B, I bet you’ll never guess what Cait texted me.”
“Here, just read it.”
Being an engineer, he said, “Do you know where to get one?”
I looked on Etsy and found three seamstresses who make such things. One, (Dorrie) lives in San Francisco. I emailed her, and she could meet me by 2:00 on the next day with the pillow.
When we met, I told her the pillow was for my daughter. She said that my kid should be president!
The next day, my daughter gave her presentation with the aid of a vulva puppet.
I think that is pretty spectacular.
I have two other bright, energetic, intelligent children, but this one is the last one.
No more parent conferences. No more Back to School Nights.
No more checks to Jostens for yearbooks.
No more checks for prom tickets.
No more checks for AP tests.
No more Band Boosters
No more Friday Night Live football games with half time shows.
No more cooking breakfast at 6:00 am
No more packing lunches.
No more driving to school together.
I visualize her safe on campus at UC Davis with a balanced class load, organized study habits, clean laundry, and new friends from Band-Uh. I am in the throes of hauling out more umbilical cord of the unseen kind. You cannot see it with your eyes, but if you listen, there is a pulse connecting her to me, just as there are two cords going out to my son and oldest daughter.
I am smack in the center of the terror and wonder of her beautiful new life of adulthood. Caitlin-Anne Flaws, the world is a better place because you are here!