Friday, May 30, 2008

Each one, teach one

Katie reports she's eaten kangaroo and emu, explored Sydney's public transportation system, and discovered that a 12-pack of diet coke costs $15.

When I was in Minneapolis helping her get ready, I had a sudden flash that every minute we'd ever spent together had been leading to the one where she got on that plane. And every minute after will be leading to the one where she walks away from scattering my ashes.

Might sound morbid, but it's not.

My job, since the moment our caseworker placed that 5-week-old, little bald darling in my arms, has been to help her move away from me into her own life. The real purpose of everything I've taught her, everything we've done together, is to prepare her for life on her own.

We've built beautiful memories, my girl and I. We've had excitement and laughter, happiness and tears. We've faced down some really scary shit together. We've had crazy fun. We've learned.

On Wednesday morning, she handed me a small sewing kit and a new pair of jeans. Without a thought, I hemmed them. When I finished, I looked up and laughed. "Last pair I do for you," I said, "Next time it's your turn."

"But you always hem things for me," she said.

"Yeah, but you're going to need to do it for your kids some day. Might as well learn while I can help."

And there it was, the thing that's been my job all along: to teach her what I can, while I can, so she can pass the same things to her own children one day.

The goal of mothering is to make myself redundant. I can live with that.

So can she.


riversgrace said...

Love who you are so much.

holly said...

Ditto, Prem.

I'm learning a lot of lessons from you that nobody ever taught me.

Doubting Thomas said...

Great great post. Knew it would be.

You've got the parenting down so, so well.

Deb said...

Writing this through tears of wonder at the depth of your love and wisdom and the power of your writing.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Beautiful Jerri.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ditto everyone. So tender!

kario said...

Yay, Katie! Love that adventurous spirit!

And you know that she is doing this because the mother you are has taught her that she has a solid foundation from which to work. You will never be redundant. You will always be revered.


Go Mama said...

I'm with Kario....

Not redundant...not dismissed and released. You have given her the solidity and security that comes from being loved and supported so she can then take off and fly.

"...the thing that's been my job all along: to teach her what I can, while I can, so she can..."

be the one she came here to be...!

Being loved. That's about the best gift you can ever give another.