A few months after moving to McKinney my daughter took up MMA fighting, and during her first fight I was seriously trying not to lose my mind. All I could think of was when she was first born and I got to see her for the very first time. She was perfect, the sweetest round face that was totally unblemished with no lacerations or bruising. I remember how the hair at the nape of her neck would curl around my finger, and how she would lay her hand on my breast while she ate. I'd never seen such beautifully perfect eyelashes or such luscious deep blue eyes. I was in love for the very first time, the kind where there was no ability for it to lessen. It expanded with every second until it could no longer be contained.
And I sat on the couch that night while she was in Arkansas. I surfed the net doing everything I could to not think about what would be happening soon. I kept checking my cell phone, watching the time, reading her texts that let me know when her fight time was approaching.
The first time she ever hurt herself she was eight months old. She had fallen on the heater vent in the floor and cut her knee. We didn't even have band-aids. She screamed bloody murder, and as her father held her, I ran to the store to get the first of many first-aid supplies. I would never get used to the bites, the bruises, the cuts, the fractures, or the surgeries. I would stay up with her all night, hold her until she fell asleep, and never once think of doing anything else.
And then, as a grown woman she chose to get in a ring with another woman and get the shit beat out of her while I sat on the couch just breathing and checking my cell over and over. I don't remember exhaling fully until after she called to let me know she was all right.
Sometimes I still don't breathe deeply because I feel the hurt in her heart. Like this morning when I called her dad who I haven't spoken with in three and a half years. It would only be because of her that I would speak with him again. I told him the reason I was calling, and he went into his usual speak ease like he'd done all the years I was with him. I asked him if it was at all possible for him to show up with an open heart and with great compassion for his daughter, and he went right into a spiel about how divorces affect children no matter what the age.
I know he loves her. I know he loves her so much more than he can ever express, and that may be all that she can get from him. What I would love to see is for her to be able to see her father's traits in her and truly love them. She may never have a relationship with him, but if she could possibly see the greatness within herself, knowing that some of it came from him and appreciate it all anyway. Whew! What a gift. What a gift...
So, in the past almost thirty years I've seen my daughter get injured in so many ways, but it's when her heart is affected that it brings out in me the need to step in. So, I reached for the phone and dialed her father's number, one I still know by heart. I can't control how he handles this or what he does with this information, but I do know this. It was easy to talk with him. It felt good to let him know what was going on with his daughter, and it was a real moment when after hanging up, I felt calm. I was peace. Now that, my friends, was the finest gift yet.