Glorious morning to you, my most beautiful creatures. You hearts beloved by me or someone else, but still: beloved! My exploring Doras and Little Princes, who sooner or later have had to grow-up — fall out of love with roses and sheep — but oh how I pray have never grown out of your childlike curiosity. “You princes of Maine… you kings of New England.” You bohemians and gypsies whose eyesight has been humbled by the size of the world, but whose souls expanded across the universe. You decent beings, with daily acts of courageous living:
How I wish for your world to be ever-so kind! How stubbornly I hope that there is enough love in your lives to give space to your mournings and strife — and to resurrect and heal you at the end, every single time! As trials and tribulations of humanity affect you via headlines or, more directly, via personal tragedies, I know your souls can summon the grace you didn’t know you possessed — and your hearts can prove to be resilient. There shall be more forgiveness, if you want it — I promise. And there shall always be more love!
This morning, I woke up thinking of my goddaughter. Three time zones away from my spoiling hand (and wallet), she is quickly growing-up on the opposite coast, where over a decade ago, I chose to grow-up myself. There, at my college, is where I met her mother — my best friend. My total BFF! My “dudette” and confidant. The Sister of My Heart. The woman of unbeatable grace, and of spirituality so disciplined, I have yet to find someone to measure up to it. It is her love — and the love of her family — that has replaced this gypsy’s lack of homeland or home. Seemingly forever — or for as long as my ever lasts on this planet — I shall continue coming back to that love, after every insignificant defeat; and every single of my tiny victories, I shall stubbornly dedicate to her.
Ten years ago, we were inseparable. Oh how many endless, pontificating walks we taken back then, along the campus of our all-women’s college! (Yep, I was of those naive feminists back then; and thank Shiva, I haven’t grown out of it!) And oh how many human emotions we thought we could deconstruct to a complete understanding, while en route to pick-up some Chinese food! The stories we’ve collected and retold, one brown mouth to another’s brown ear (or pen to paper and fingertips to a key board) — they are infinite! In a group of fellow writers and nerds, we dominated the office of the college newspaper, staying up past enough sunrises that even the campus security gave-up on hoarding us back to our dorms. (Oh, we were official! The Midnight Moths, they called us. And we demanded to be reckoned with!)
When the academic year of 2001 began, my schedule was overloaded with journalism classes while BFF was quickly becoming a computer wiz. When the news of a plane crashing into a Manhattan building popped-up in the corner of my computer monitor taken up by a QuarkXpress tutorial, I shrugged it off as just another freak accident which any self-respecting New Yorker should be able to take in stride. (And that’s exactly what I decided to be then: A New Yorker –with internships and friendships in the City, and a quickly developing sense of style, identity and womanhood.)
But then — there came another hit…
In that room, chairs were shuffled in panic. Somewhere, in the back, a classmate broke down. Recently returned from California, I was wearing too summery of an outfit; and as further headlines floated up onto my computer screen, I fiddled with the belt of my wraparound skirt. And then, there was the face of my teacher — the mentor to my aspiring journalism career — and that face was paralyzed by a lack of any comprehension or adult composure. I think she was about to cry. What was happening?
No way, was I sticking around! I was out! The first to leave the classroom, not at all interested in the consequences, I went looking for my BFF. If only I could find her, I thought, the world would not dare to fall apart on us.
I found her. On a staircase where we’ve watched marathons of Will and Grace and Peter Jennnings during our Christmas decorating stunts. I’m sure she’s seen me demonstrate some very embarrassing, sleep-deprived behaviors on those same stairs. But that day, my girl just sat there. Silent. Stunned, I fiddled with my belt: In our now decade-long friendship, that morning — would be the only time I would see her cry. And her face! It seemed I would never forgive the world for that face! For not until that day — and not since — have I seen her resemble a little girl.
She is a mother now. A mother to my goddaughter. Always inseparable, even in this experience, my girl has granted me the privilege to live vicariously — with her. And as I watch the face of her daughter (via BFF’s disciplined acts of photojournalism on Facebook), I wonder about the world that she is about to experience.
Thankfully, that kiddo is never easily entertained. Perpetually, her face looks like that of a philosopher or a writer — and she makes this Russian mama ever so proud! (I am pretty sure that if ever I am to experience my own motherhood, my child will turn out to be one of those goofy, grinning munchkins — just so that I myself learn to lighten up a bit.) With my breath stolen by that little brown face, I am waiting for her to start talking. What will she say? How will she comprehend the world still filled with misery and misunderstanding which I haven’t been able to fix for her? Where will I find the wisdom to teach her that despite the daily testaments to some terrible human behavior, she shouldn’t fear — but inherit the life of grace and love from her magnificent mother? What will happen to us all? How will I shield her? How will I endure witnessing the loss of her innocence?…
Oh, hush a bye, my little darling heart!
For love has not expired. It will never expire — if we choose. I shall show you what your mama has taught me: That no matter the acts of disappointing human behavior, love strives — still! We may be no longer innocent, but hopefully ever-so wise; wise enough to know that love — is the universal homecoming for us all.
So, hush, my little darling. Hush, my little darlings.