Monday, December 22, 2014

Epistle: To Lior, Because the Words Are Spilling Out of Me

Dear Liorie,

Eleven years ago, when Adi was in the NICU, I was terrified. I had no idea what was wrong with my baby, this new creature I hardly knew. I didn't know if he would survive. I didn't know if he would live, only to be afflicted by horrific disabilities. I didn't know what was wrong, or what the future held. And I was equally terrified that one day, you would come to me accusingly and tell me, "It's NOT FAIR that I" -- and here, I didn't know what, exactly, would come, but it would be something, and it would be because of this other child, and it terrified me, because I knew you would be right.

You were the first to be mine, and for a time you were the only one to be mine, and you are always mine. It is always you.

I think I imagined myself bravely heroic in these discussions, holding back my tears as I let you shed yours, allowing you the space to resent your sibling's special needs while respecting him.

I think I wasn't very smart then.

You have never thrown Adi's disabilities, or his leukemia, at me in anger. You have been the graceful one, doing what is needed, often setting your own needs aside. This is not to say that you have never railed against the unfairness of this mortal coil, but you have always done so in reasonably good spirits.

Some years ago, I was terribly angry with you and your sister. Honestly, I don't remember the actual incident, but I do remember writing the post. I remember how awful I felt, listening to you and your sister going on and on about how horrible we were.

One day in the future, I'm sure I will see this post, and I won't remember The Math Test Which Shall Not Be Mentioned and The Incident of the Text Message and the other many, many difficulties of these, your teenage years, but I will remember how much it hurt every time we had to reprimand you. Every time we had to take something away, to say no, to remind you to study. I will remember how I had no idea how to tell you how very much I love you and that I am NOT KIDDING when I say that it hurts me more than it hurts you to study for that test and to do that thing and to not do that other thing. I will remember how it caused me physical pain when you wouldn't answer my "Good morning," because your righteous anger burns in you.

Oh, you are so very clearly my daughter.

You were the first to be mine, and for a time you were the only one to be mine, and you are always mine. It is always you.

You are so wise beyond your years, and sometimes all I want to do is protect you from the cold, hard truths of the world. I want to prevent all the mistakes you will make -- you will make them, it's inevitable -- but I want to spare you the pain of making them, as impossible as that is. I want to just give you all the answers now. But it doesn't work like that. You have to forge your own path, to make your own mistakes, and to learn in your own time.

We will survive these tumultuous teenage years, I know that we will. And I know that if this is the worst -- these mornings of stormy silence, these evenings of bitter tears -- that we are very, very lucky. Even if right now you think I am the most horrible person in the world, and not very smart, to boot, we are very, very lucky.

I love you so much. I can't find words to tell you how much I love you and how amazing I think you are.