I Need to Tell You

October 27, 2010

All I can see is a little child in my mind’s eye right now. I’m thinking about how I feel, and all I can see is a little tiny me, not even four years old, standing in the middle of the house, lit by a ray of sun streaming in through the window. That little child, that inquisitive little image of myself that I remember so fondly, is just looking around, trying to take in what she sees around her, trying to understand slightly more than what she did the day before.

If I could hold that child right now I would. Of course, it’s not quite possible for me to hold myself, to embrace and reassure a much younger me as the young adult I am now. If I could hold her now, though, I would. I would take her by the hand and lead her to a quiet place in my backyard, where the shade made the air cool. I would show her everything beautiful that she would learn to see. I would hold her when she became tired and rock her. Somehow, I would tell her heart how brave she would need to be. I would tell her that she would be very strong and beautiful, and that she would never be alone. I would somehow, while she slept, plant all these things deep inside her spirit so that she remembered them in the years to come. Most importantly, though she had to carry all those things, I would tell her not to worry. I would tell her to love with everything she had–to share the best of what she had, to do what she could to be good, to not fear skinned knees and dark rooms. I would make sure she grew to love herself. She’s beautiful–I’d tell her so, over and over again. I would make sure that tiny little girl knew it as well as she knew her favorite songs.

In my mind’s eye, that little girl is standing next to me. She’s tugging on the leg of my pants. She’s hopping up and down for my attention. She’s looking up at me with her giant blue eyes and bumping my hand with her head so I would feel her soft hair and know she is there and wants to speak to me. I can hear the desperation in her young voice, her beautiful, pure heart telling me things that had meaning far beyond her understanding. I know what she’d say to me. “I love you! You did it! You do it every day!” Her smile is bringing tears to my eyes. She tugs my hand. “You don’t need to be scared. I’m right here with you. You are very beautiful, Miss Helen!” She does something silly that makes both of us laugh, then suddenly becomes a bit tearful, clinging to me, crawling into my arms and onto my lap. “You need to laugh! I LOVE YOU!” She cries in my lap. I am puzzled until I remember what I used to do when the tense parts came up in movies and at home with my family. I wanted to hold her tighter, but something in my heart broke. I wanted someone to come and hold me. “Share the ‘people piece’ with people you care about most. Believe in magic and a happy ending. Don’t worry. Ask for help. Cry when you’re sad and smile when you’re happy and for pictures. Have fun. Look at the moon. Help make tea and dinner and jello too. Hug Mommy.” She felt my face and the tears coming down. “Is being a grown-up scary?” Her own face was wet. I could only look at her and smile. I remember the feeling I used to get when I thought about being a grown up–a mix of terror and angst for it to come sooner. Now, I could only think of myself before all these duties came–before I grew up, and the lessons I’ve learned and need to learn better. The things I hope I convey to the people I love. The words I rehearse in my heart to make me feel better, lessons I am trying hard to learn and live in.

In my mind’s eye, the little girl and I make a promise, to live side by side and learn from each other, to take care of one another, and to be brave together. We would learn to love like we should and learn to be brave. She would have someone to rock her when she got tired, and I would have someone to remind me that laughs and naps are ok.

If I could hold me now I would. I would tell myself it was ok that I forgot, but I know it’s not. I would tell myself being brave comes in time, and that even though I’m sometimes afraid, I will never be alone. The tension that filled the air is gone. Softly, I whisper to the little girl…”Don’t worry…you’ll be alright.”


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