mia and me, u.c.l.a. medical center neonatal intensive care unit, summer 1985
thank you for being my greatest teachers.
thank you for your continued love, despite the way i fumbled through this work of being a mom with equal measure of good intentions and immature nonchalance.
thank you for knowing in your souls what was not yet known to me on a physical level, those things i did not know how to produce via acts or words. (in other words, thank you for still loving me when i had no fucking idea what to do or how to do it.)
thank you for showing me how to be vulnerable and courageous at the same time.
thank you for helping me learn that love is not a grand emotion, but the act of being present, whether broken or whole, in the most infinitesimal and inconvenient moments.
thank you for teaching me about trauma and trusting me with your own.
thank you for your graciousness when we cobbled together meals from a $1 package of tortillas, government cheese, zucchini and tomatoes gifted from candy's garden next door; when entertainment was day-upon-day of nature walks and sidewalk scavenger hunts and reading aloud from the stack of overdue library books as the evening sun streamed through the kitchen window at the little yellow house on kenny street.
thank you for huddling up close in bed on those nights the police helicopter lingered a bit too long over our block, the whack-whack-whack of the blades chopping through earned moments of peace, the searchlights over-illuminating the danger in our lives. i had to practice bravery on those nights; the animal warmth of your body, the rhythm of your heart next to my skin, the awkward child length of your limbs simultaneously reaching for and pushing away my own gave me the impetus.
thank you for your patience and for letting me grow up with you.
thank you for the belief you hold in your heart that those who face and endure more challenges than the average bear arrive on the other side with a greater depth and capacity for joy, empathy, connection.
thank you for your forgiveness when i didn't always make the best decisions.
thank you for being exactly who you were at the time, who you are today.