I was asleep on the couch when my daughter, Sara, burst in the front door and said, "Mama?" Her voice was broken. She only calls me Mama when something is wrong. When she feels small and afraid. She quickly walked to the couch and I enfolded her in my arms because she had already started crying. She cried on my shoulder for 10 minutes. She sobbed. Gut-wrenching, heart-breaking sobs that shook her body and mine. At first, I kept whispering, "What is it? What's wrong, baby?" but after a few minutes, I knew. I knew the only thing that could produce that kind of crying comes from a broken heart. And I started to cry, too because oh, man, do I remember how that feels. I remember the physical pain that resulted the first time a boy broke my heart into.
They never stop being your babies. Really. You never stop hurting for them. Or wanting to hurt others on their behalf. As I write this, his car is parked on the street in front of our house. She left with a friend after she stopped crying and he stayed with his friend. The blinds are open and I'm watching for him. Waiting for him to slink by and pick it up. I imagine throwing open the front door and staring him down, Clint Eastwood style, my right hand poised above the six-shooter that rests on my hip. I walk slowly to the car and remind him of the time I told him that if he ever hurt my daughter, I would look for him. And I would kill him (yes, I love that movie). Time to pay up, little man. You little, little, man.
It still amazes me that my gut turns somersaults, that my brain can think of nothing else, that I still feel the tug of the cord when my children are hurting. Sometimes, I become immobilized with fear when I imagine the years ahead for my three kids and the pain that will surely come their way. I'd take it all on for them if I could. If only.
But I can't. I can't. I knew this boy would be the one to break her heart. I'd hoped he wouldn't. But I could tell by the way her eyes lit up when she mentioned his name. And she mentioned it often, she looked for ways to mention his name. The way her whole countenance changed when he walked in the front door. The way she's been softer, kinder, happier since she started dating him. Suddenly, the whole world looks rosier when you're in love. I remember. And everything looks darker, more sinister, when it's taken away.
I want to tell her that it'll get easier with time. That he doesn't deserve her. That he must not be the right one. But yet, something stops me. It isn't time yet. I don't want to diminish her pain with trite little pieces of advice that only make the hurt worse right now. So I'll wait. I'll hug her. And love her.
And I'll keep looking through the blinds.