Monday, August 28, 2017

Back on the Ice

First time, on the ice, bright cheery face
with red lips and glossy blue eyes
smiling from under a pink beanie
with a white puff ball on top.
Her mitten hand holding onto me, so tightly,
the thrill of new skates mingled
with a fear of falling. Age four.

At fourteen, the mittens have gone
and so has the beanie.  Short skirt
twirling, spinning, jumping,
her hair billowing as she races from
one side of the lake to the other.
There is freedom on the ice that is
lacking elsewhere in a world of
puberty and teen social pressure.
I am on the shoreline, watching,
but my hand is not required as she
glides back and forth on her own.

At nineteen, 
the call, 
a crack in the ice,
she slipped through and got out but
I hadn't told her about jagged lines 
etching frozen water or density 
or changing seasons. I hadn't covered everything.

She was out there, on her own
without my hand to hold onto
and we dodged a bullet because
she reached out and spoke up while
we listened to her cries in the middle of the night.
Weeks of time lost, focus changed,
repairing, rebuilding, relearning.

The ice calls to her, 
still healing, still naive
to the dangers of winter, and water, and elements.
She takes my hand with full grown fingers
and promises to be safe,
her other hand clutching
the very skates she wore in her fall.

I drive four hundred miles to the lake,
examine every inch of the ice while she sleeps
and try not to lecture or hover or show
the great new fear that has burrowed deep inside me.
I cannot rationalize leaving her side but
she is not taking no for an answer,
is grown,
is ready, 
wants to skate by herself.

My sweet round faced child, 
same bright red lips and fresh blue eyes,
back on the ice, twirling and spinning,
racing in the best pair of skates I can afford.
She has me in her head and in her heart
but has dropped my hand once again.
Every crack in the ice presents a catastrophic ending
to the most powerful love story a
mother can have, but the ice
brings her life and she 
deserves to grow and
to thrive and to succeed in her own way,
on her own path. I need to believe, to trust,
to let go.

Four hundred miles back home, I weep tears of agony 
and tears of hope, curled up on her bed while
clutching that little girl's pillow as tightly as her mitten
hand held mine so many years ago.
Reassuring words from the first day on the ice, repeated as
I struggle to sound confident,
"It's okay honey.  Everybody falls but you just get up 
and try again.  You'll be fine, sweetheart.  
I'm here for you. I promise. I'm always here."



  1. This is a very powerful piece Amy. I'm not sure how things are but I hope everything is ok with you. I would say breathe deeply and stay strong, there is always light no matter how dark things may seem.

  2. Thank you Laurel. I believe at some point, every parent faces a moment when he or she must let go so a child can grow into an adult but even as grown ups, their dependence ebbs and flows. It's all part of the stages of life. One step at a time. One day after another. Yes, I'll breathe and do my best to focus on the light.

  3. This really spoke to me....and your timing is amazing..thank you! hugs abby

  4. I'm glad, Abby. I still need to email you.

  5. You know the thing that I am beginning to realize as a parent that truly sucks? It is an endless roller coaster of letting go, trusting, taking deep breaths, and hoping all will be okay, REGARDLESS of how old they get!

    1. You summed it up very nicely...hugs abby

  6. My baby in her third year in her career now, a home owner - but she thinks she needs me as much as ever. Now it's bouncing ideas off me, asking for advice while not always taking it... But like you she knows I'll be here as long as I live.

  7. That is very sweet and very true, PK. You've got a bond that lasts a lifetime. I'm glad you have each other.

  8. beautifully written expression of the love of parenthood...thank-you for sharing

    1. It came from a very tough time for our family but things are looking up slowly but surely each day.


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