You will never be alone. I know that you fear this but I wouldn't let it happen.
My cousin, Jill, closed a letter to me last night with these words. I'm not sure if she realizes the significance of her words. I can't think of a single day since I developed a sense of self that I have not been scared to death of what will happen to me.
I spent most of my life independent, relying on myself, but I never fundamentally felt safe or loved until I met Aaron. He promised me that there is magic in us together and that the force of our connection will endure. Though I believe in his love for me, most days I am terrified of being in this world. There are too many threats to my happiness and I worry about each and every one of them--those that I am currently facing and those that may loom. Even at my age, I am in need of the reassurance that I give to my son day in and out so that he takes pleasure and delight in his life without this constant fear.
I am completely alone with Sasha this independence week. Though I've spent many days alone with him, I always knew that Janet would be back, that my safety net was still in place. Now I am creating my new life with my son. Janet told me that she is just a phone call away and so far she has called me each day since she left. When I saw her number appear that first day, I have to admit, I was surprised.
"Why wouldn't I call you?" she asked when I conveyed my doubts. "I said that I would and I will."
In my mind, I imagine that she is delighted to be gone and rid of me. "I am always waiting for people to disappoint me, to abandon me. I can't help it."
"You must not think like this, Michelle. You worry too much."
I do worry too much. But I can't seem to stop. My mother search was a search for a way to feel safe. Mothers create a sense of safety and well-being. This mother space in me is filled instead with a raw fear of being on my own in this world. Having Janet here with me while I gained experience taking care of my son allowed me to intensely feel what a mother is meant to be with less fear of failure. Janet taught me, supported me, insulated me from the mother issues facing me. Now I am deepening my bond with Sasha on my own.
The word independent sounds so appealing--relying on yourself, being self-confident, freedom from control. Choosing to stand alone, however, is different than being cast off and being independent by default. For most of my life, I've experienced the latter. I'm not convinced that I would have sent Janet home if she didn't have familial obligations. Though mothering seems to come natural to me on many levels, I am still frightened by the day-to-day shifts and wish I had Janet here to back up my intuition.
I miss asking her questions and hearing her reassurances. I miss seeing her when I wake up and when I go to bed. Standing in the nursery feels different to me. Sasha seems to notice her absence as well, looking to her chair at the same time I do. He doesn't want anyone else to sit in this chair and nestle him on a lap the way that she did. The routines need to be tweaked to become something that do not include her. And yet she is still here on the phone with me each day, maintaining that string to me, a lifeline that reminds me that while she has left my home, she is still a presence in my life.
It is so hard for me to allow myself to become attached to someone. I am feeling now the risk of what I've begun--this missing her that triggers the old wounds. Janet's departure reminds me that she is not mine to keep, not in the way I've known her these past months, but she is trying to show me that she is still here, that she is not abandoning me, that she does care for us. She has merely pushed me out into the world and said you can take care of all of this. I believe in you. And I am pleased that she does. But right now I don't want to be independent. I want to feel supported, to surrender to it without hesitation.