I see her little face come peeking out the bedroom door. “Hi mom!” she exclaims, just waking up from her afternoon nap. “Hi sweety!” I respond, “Do you want to come cuddle with me?”
We snuggle up tight on the couch and she begins to excitedly recount all the many memories of the past few days. That and whatever else grabs her attention at the moment.
I stare into her big blue eyes, which stare back at me with complete love and adoration. Of trust and belonging. Eyes of happiness and peace. No pain, no sorrow, no mean boys or vicious girls leaving their scars upon her beautiful eyes. They smile at me.
“Boston,” I ask, “Will you be my best friend forever?”
“Even when you’re 16?”
“Yes, forever and ever!”
I feel the tears begin to burn. I wonder, what really lies ahead for us?
What will life throw at her? In what ways will it try to break her dear form? The thoughts begin to consume me to the point of deep heartache. How I long to keep her sheltered from all the cruelty of this world. If only I could be her protecter forever and ever. . .
That very evening I stumble upon an article by Jenny Rosenstrach, a mom of middle school girls. Girls whose own little hearts are now learning just how mean people can be. In one of those “I don’t know what to do to help them!” moments, Jenny called her own mom. The advice from this wise woman sunk deep into my soul:
“She told me what I already knew: I’d have to sit this one out, as well as the next one and the one after that and the one after that, too. It was time to let the kids figure this stuff out on their own. But in a vehement tone that I imagine she reserves for her most unruly clients (she’s a real estate attorney), Mom did give me one tangible way to help: “You just make sure that when those girls walk in that door every day,” she said, “they never doubt that home is the most comforting place for them to be. That is what you can do.”
In the coming years there will be so much I am unable to do. So many situations I will have to helplessly watch. Rejection, disappointment, heartache, tears. Chances are I will not always be considered the best friend. But to make my home a place of comfort, of warmth and safety–I can do this. I will do this.
With everything in me I am going to try. . .
I sweep my sweet girl onto my lap and hold her extra tight as we read together this evening. I sneak in as many extra kisses as I can. I brush back the tears as I listen to her pure laughter.
My dear girl, I will always be here for you, and whether or not you call me your best friend, you will forever be mine.
Life will hit you in many awful ways. Know your tears are never alone, for mine will always match yours in number. With every heartache, mine will be ripped much deeper still.
I may not always be the one you will run to, but I will always be here waiting, just in case. Always with comfort, always with encouragement, always ready to ask, “Boston, do you want to come cuddle with me?”