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Finding road, not water.

I started an email account for my daughter when she was a baby.

And I wrote emails to her pretty regularly so you have to imagine that inbox looking like the chronicled thoughts of a post-partum lunatic.

I mean, I don’t want to brag, but at some points in my life, I could have definitely given Sylvia Plath a run for her money.

There was one evening, driving on the JFK bridge (John F. Kennedy Causeway if we’re going to get all technical about it) that connects Flour Bluff to Padre Island. And to this day, that bridge is representative of the very thin veil that exists between my heaven and hell.

Because that day, her screaming was so bad, I thought about it. About what metal and concrete and the slow-fast glide into a solid sheet of water would feel like.

How nice it would be if everything just got a little bit quiet.

It’s not something I’m ashamed of as much as it’s something I refer back to, thumbing through to my beginning chapters and telling myself: “See. That was what darkness felt like.”

And then I turn my face to the sun.

But sometimes it comes back, that old familiar feeling. I break bread with it in my closet, give it a little room to sort through my shoes and rifle through my shirts. I imagine it looks at me and smirks, “Look who thinks she’s all grown up.”

But we never are. Not on our own.

There’s you. There’s that voice telling you to venture out. To search that quiet.

To make everything stop.

But then there’s God.

Because that night, who do you think steadied my hands and straightened my gaze, my eyes finding road, not water?

I can guarantee you, it wasn’t the post-partum lunatic.

So here. One last email:

Dear Ava,

Your mother’s crazy.

But she loves you.

And she’s never needed anything except for God’s unfailing light.

If that’s the only thing I teach you, then I think we’ve won.

Love,

Your Mother

 


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