Dear Baby Girl,
Last week you were bucked off a horse, and seven days since does not allow me any further eloquence…
I can tell you this, though: there is/was a space between the time I realized what was happening and the time I was picking you up from the ground as you were gasping for air when I was changed.
In between the time I was trying to figure out if the horse was going to trample you and the time I was trying to figure out if you would be paralyzed–I leaped over a few lifetimes.
My love deepened in a way that is different from the eyelash winking increments that it grows for you each day. It plummeted to the depths of someone being thrown from a building. Of a six year-old being thrown off the horse.
In that space, in those seconds that felt like the worst nightmare looping in slow motion, my heart reaffirmed something. I’m not sure if the heart spoke any words but if it did, they would have sounded something like, “Mine. Beloved. Will fight.”
Within moments of my picking you up, you proclaimed, “That is the last time I ride a wild horse! I am only riding Western from now on!” That was sort of snobby of you, but we all decided to forgive you, since you had been thrown off a large animal and all which probably addled your brain a bit.
In the days since, I have been trying to memorize your face, your sweet face just as it is. I now know more acutely how quickly you could be snatched from the safety of this moment, a false safety if ever there were one.
And the truth is that you are being snatched each and every moment from me. The moments are taken, seized without warrant. I should be used to it by now. In parenting we are forever straddling our own little heaven and hell at the same time; the heaven of the moments we want to preserve, the hell of having to will these moments away to cruel time; the hell of wanting the hard times to pass more quickly, the heaven of looking back on things when they felt so much simpler than the complicated present.
I will return to the horse and to you on the ground and I will pick you up thousands of times in my mind and my heart will reaffirm millions of beats more resoundingly that you are, indeed, my beloved and I will never stop fighting–time, distance, darkness, pain–to make sure you know that wild horses couldn’t keep me away.