It must be very difficult to be the child of a blogger. It was a grand experiment, this parenting blogging thing, and we navigated it by making a lot of mistakes, trying to figure out as we went along how much of ourselves to share and where the line was between us and our babies.
In SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK, I wrote a lot about the struggles of parenting. I didn't write enough about the joy. Now the parent of an amazing fourteen-year-old girl, I've waited too long to revisit what it feels like to be a mother.
I've often told my daughter that she can't possibly love me more than I love her. I still believe that to be true. The love I feel for her goes beyond human love to being love. It is both intellectual and instinctual in that I wouldn't have to actually think about throwing myself in front of a bus for her. I wouldn't be able to make the choice not to. I love her too much.
But it's intellectual, too, because I love her not only because she's my child, but for her intelligence, her humor, and her resilience. She's bravely survived both my husband and I losing jobs and all the financial uncertainty and sacrifice that came of that. She bore my cancer without complaint and wrote a heartbreaking poem about the experience that showed me not only her writing talent but the depth of her maturity at such a young age. She has understood the world better as a very young child than many adults do, and that understanding gives her empathy for others -- and for me -- that I don't deserve and shouldn't be able to expect from a teenager who's still growing up and going through so many changes.
I love her because she's funny. I love her because she's kind. When she was a tween, she bought a younger friend a stuffy with her own money because she said, "I know what it feels like to fall in love with something." That's not a perfect quote, but it's essentially what she said. That empathy, that kindness, that wisdom, takes my breath away.
She's brave. She rides the horse we lease better than I do and with more confidence. She charges into most situations fearlessly even as I twitter and wring my hands in the background (hopefully hidden from her but probably not).
Many parents think their kids just know that they love them. I think that. But it's good to say it, too. Say all the ways. These are not even all the ways I love my daughter, but I only had a few minutes this morning before my first meeting, and I realized on my drive in that it's too easy to just say you'll do it later when you have more time. Days and months and years pass, as they have for me, and I don't want to let one more minute pass without writing this down and publishing it. I'm sorry I didn't have time to make it better writing, but that's actually not what matters about this post. I love you, Lily. More than you will ever know.