I heard our song yesterday. It’s been a long time, and as the words washed over me I felt a deep sense of sadness. I was sitting in my daughter’s room, rocking her to sleep when it came on the radio. I listened closely to the words and thought about how much they actually foretold the future, or as it would be now, the past. I don’t remember how it became our song but hearing the refrain now nearly 16 years later, made me remember the lack of control I felt, the sense of destiny that my life would be defined by his kind of love. As I became that 19-year-old listening to the words again – “I can’t help falling in love with you, give me your hand, your whole life too” – I wanted to reach out and hug the girl I had been and tell her that what she felt wasn’t love, that it would get so much better than this. That girl, that me, really did believe that what I felt then, what we had together, was love. I knew I wasn’t happy – no one who felt as scared and unsure and alone as I did would be happy – but I believed that was just the way love was, at least for me. I truly believed that I didn’t deserve better.
As I sat there yesterday, rocking my daughter, her beautiful fringed eyelids succumbing to sleep, her plump little hands holding onto me with complete trust in the love that envelopes her, I wondered how I could stop her from becoming that same 19-year-old that believed that love was defined by fear. I felt a new kind of fear and sadness as I held her tighter and realized that one day I would have to let her go. I kissed her perfect forehead and promised her that I would make sure that for her, love would never have to hurt. I only hope that I can keep that promise.
I looked out the window of my daughter’s room and tried to banish the sadness by remembering how my life now is so filled with love – the kind that sustains and nourishes and let’s go. Somehow the 19-year-old girl I had been grew up to learn that love is a beautiful part of life. That song, the one that told me I didn’t have a choice but to accept the “love” that I was given, isn’t mine anymore.