Today my Meredith is 23 years old. One pivotal moment in our relationship was just after she was born. She wasn't even one day old yet. The nurse wheeled her into my hospital room in a baby cart. I leaned over her....staring. She was bundled tightly in a soft cotton blankie, she had tons of black fluffy hair that stood straight up, and she had the most perfect heart-shaped lips. I said aloud to myself, "I can't believe this is my baby. Mine!" And, as sure as if she were speaking the words, I received my first clear message from Meredith. "I am NOT yours. I belong to myself. I am my OWN person." Twenty-three years later, I could say that this clear message still rings true. I have learned to stand back and let her blossom....mostly on her own. Parenting was more than a little tricky. "What is my role here? Am I not her mother? Shouldn't I be allowed this privilege to nurture, influence, discipline, teach, LOVE this child?"
When Meredith was 3 years old she told a friend of mine that she should be the mother and I should be the child. I truly believe that Meredith never really was a child. Or a baby, for that matter. She has always been a woman. And for many years, it has been a great frustration for her to be stuck in such a youthful body, having to dodge the mothering attempts of a puzzled girl in a mother's body. Truly, Meredith has been more advanced and mature than me, from the start.
However, I have been and always will be her MOTHER. I take this role very seriously! Often, I feel like she is my guide, but I have learned through my own efforts of trial and error that I must be tricky. "Parent Meredith through the back door," I would tell myself. As I have done so, my front door approach has been one from the best seat on the "observation deck" of Meredith's life. She is amazing! She is so unique!! I have never known another human being that is remotely like her. Facets reflect the light in ways I never knew existed. She IS her OWN person. A treasure, to be sure!
Twenty-three years ago, I was so willing and ready to dive into motherhood. What I didn't realize, back then, is that signing on to be a mother means you sign on to be a mother in-law and even....a grandmother. On New Years Eve, George Simons proposed to Meredith, presenting himself on one knee, and offering a ring that he had made himself....from a tree - a Madrona tree; symbolic of Meredith Lee.
My child has grown into herself. Finally. She can live and breathe and be the woman she was born to be. "Fly, Meredith! Spread those incredibly wonderful wings and fly high!! I can let go, having no regrets and knowing....I never really had you in the first place. We grew up together. You have trained me well. I am a different and better person, having raised you up by standing back and observing the artist, musician, fashion designer, potter, seamstress, alterations specialist, bookworm, facilitator of imaginary worlds, beauty queen, chef, fairy, collector, butterfly, bowling master, mermaid, athlete, dancer, fearless ghost lover, playwright, scientist, tea lover, yogi, hiker, biker, camper, fantasy fan, mystic, early morning riser, vegetable consumer, tease, coastal girl, cheerful family member, boss, peacemaker, mess-maker, magician, teacher, friend, master of patience, intuitive, dreamer, independent...."
This past week, as I have watched Meredith try on bridal gowns, I have been moved to tears. What a beauty!! She looks great in every gown she tries on. Her face lights up, as she stands on the bridal pedestal and she is at home, in her element - a true princess; comfortable in her ball gown and so happy to be exactly who she is. I LOVE you "my" Mer!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!