This poem was written for my daughter...
|Photography by Tori Mercedes|
When she returned to Australia a year later for graduate school (and then subsequently settled there), many of her friends' parents commented that we must be so sad that she was leaving. Others asked us how we could let her go so far away. When my daughter was young (actually almost right up until the time she left), she always found it difficult to leave.
She fought this trepidation, never wanting her life to be defined by fear.
I could never want something different for her than she wants for herself. I was less aware of being sad at her leaving and very aware of celebrating her courage, her capacity to do this, to move, all by herself, 10,000 miles away from home, to create a life she had imagined for herself.
I think I have always understood (and have written) that my children would belong more to the world than to me.
And yet, I do not feel I have lost them as that has happened. Especially not when my daughter writes:
"And I can never thank you enough for letting me be my own person and help me find the space to stretch my legs and search and grow and become an adult. I can't say it enough, I never will be able to thank you properly for getting me here. You are the only parents I know who 100% unselfishly want their children to be happy. And what you get in return for that unselfish support is assurance that I will never really be far away and I will always want to pull you close into my life. I am the luckiest girl alive to be so loved. It is you who allowed me to find home in those I love, in those who love me, and to know that there are many places in the world that can hold and nurture me as I go. With love, boundless and total."
Sheri Lindner, Ph.D., a former teacher of English, and currently a clinical psychologist, is also a poet and essayist interested in the processes of development and maturation as they are reflected in Biblical stories and children’s literature. Her writings have appeared in Jewish Currents, The Reconstructionist, Reconstructionism Today, Kerem, Jewish Women's Literary Annual, Poetica, Performance Poets Association Literary Review, Matzoh Ball Soup, Soul-Lit, The Ritual Well, and The New York Times.
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