Losing buttons and opportunities

I'd done it again.

I lost my cool in the twilight of the evening, and sent her away with the makings of her necklace minus the button that fell down the vent in the floor.  She'd wanted me to fish it out, and as though I was certain it was forever banished between the construct of our walls I delayed the hunt until morning.

She howled her way into the next room over, and I knew I was hoarding some kindness.  Sadly, I didn't care at the time.

An hour before, she was working steadily in her room for quite some time, looping each shell and spare button onto the string of floss.  She wanted me to tie it up tight so she wouldn't lose one precious part of her creativity.  I fumbled with it in the dark before the whole string came undone in the tragedy of a moment.

That was really the undoing of us both.  She was devastated; I was frustrated and we both hollered out our displeasure.

I laid quiet in my bed wanting to hear her cries settle, as if the only thing that mattered was the comfort of my sleep.  Will I ever stop being selfish?

The silence comes.  The storm is over.  My mind picks through the damage, looking at what can be salvaged.

In the morning I enter her room now full of early light.  Weak beams shine over her sleeping face as her breath comes in steady rhythm.  A string of shells and buttons laid down with gentle hands rests on her dresser, ready to be fastened.

She needed me.  She needed me to be patient and long-suffering.  She needed me to teach her how a messed up minute can turn into an all's well moment.  She needed me to love her beyond the tears and the tantrum, and she needed to see what dying to self really looks like.

There's a song outside, some winged creature welcomes the new day.

My heart is singing, too.  A melancholy tune plays out, finishing quietly on a note of hope.

She arises from sleep.  Her hair a mess of tangles, her eyes betraying alertness.  I pull her into me and kiss the top of her knotted head.

She still needs me, broken as I am.

I swallow the regret of memories, and give her the best of what can be offered.  A life laid down in apology.

She jumps to catch arms around my neck.  "I love you, Mommy.  Soooo much!"

I hold her for these passing moments, thinking of their beautiful wholeness.  It seems she has already learned forgiveness.


  1. Wow...you certainly have a way with words my friend! I hate to admit I have been here many times! Lord help me!


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