The sunlight at the pool today has a monochromatic lense. The color's too intense and technicolor for my hypoxic heart. The memories of our beginning boomerang around my delirious mind. You are my zaichek, my only sunshine, my Sasha. I remember the day your infant face turned and our eyes collided in that stark fluorescent Soviet block building. I knew in that moment that you were mine.
I remember the Russian official, at her heavy wooden desk with her formal uniform as she looked me sternly in the eye and asked me a series of questions: "Do you promise to love her? Do you promise to never abandon her? Do you promise to never abuse her? Do you understand that she now will always be yours"
And yes, she has always been mine. My Goldilocks, my ballerina, my one day cheerleader, my gymnast, my Brownie, My Sunday School volunteer, my running partner, swimming partner, popcorn sharer, Halloween dress-up partner, driving student, homework buddy, and travel buddy. We've been inseparable for nearly 18 years.
Only today do I understand why I have felt so devastated and wrecked. You are no longer mine. You are now your own. I mean, I guess really you always have been your own. But now I realize that you're no longer are the little bunny safe in my arms. You are beyond the institution, beyond your childhood, and beyond my myopic gaze.
This is obvious and somehow shocking to me…
It is natural really. You've always been the most intensive, independent, fierce soul that I've ever known. Haha, I remember when you were a toddler, trying to give you half a stick of chewing gum. Your immediate response was that little hand waiving in my face as you said, "No piece! No piece!" And there was no peace as long as you did not get fully included! Into everything!
Still, you were the same little girl who wanted to be constantly at my side. I remember making you go and play alone in your room for 20 minutes by yourself. You cried. And now it is me crying as you have found your own place in a room 45 minutes away.
I've never before in my life wanted to return to a moment... and yet I'd throw away everything I have to return to that moment when I first held you in my arms, just so I could relive it all again and this time savor it more.
Aleks, I began writing these words the evening after leaving you behind in the place where my family once left me behind. I understand now, so fully, their tears. I did not share their tears, I was off to the adventure of my life. Once day, you'll also get the other side of this perspective. And I'll be beside you sobbing with you as we together leave behind your child. The one who was always... yours.
I will confess that I had to stop writing, 10 days ago. My words kept descending into despair. I knew it was ridiculous. I knew you were exactly where you're meant to be, where you've always said you be, where I always hoped you be... and of course you're only a short drive away... but still, I felt so desperately alone. I'd tell myself that cognitively I knew I was being unreasonable... and then a coworker would ask me about you and I'd openly sob in front of any and every person who was present. I was useless for days.
They say that you can run out of tears. That is a lie.
But then you facetimed me one evening and I saw your face. I've never seen that smile before. I mean, I've seen a lot of different smiles on your face... but never one quite like that. You looked confident and satisfied and well, content. I'm not sure that I've ever seen you look content. And then my Grinch heart that was so shrunken down on its own selfish ego... began to grow.
I shared a taco meal with you last Friday at La Nueva Charreada, just East of your campus. I sat across from a beaming young lady. I saw your future sparkle in your eyes. I saw the thousands of children who you are going to help, the families that you will comfort, the shitty co-workers who you'll undoubtedly and justifiably knock on their ass... and I again found my smile.
And so here again I sit at the pool. The deep emerald water, surrounding green trees, and golden sunlight on my skin all prove to me that the color has returned to my world. Yes, it is time to let you go... and I'm working on that... it is gonna take some time.
But unlike a few days ago, I wouldn't go back... and I wouldn't change a thing. You've landed perfectly where you are created to be.
So you go girl, go! I love you and my promises remain. I'll always love you, never abandon you... and while you'll always be mine, I understand now that I never really held you. You are held in a higher purpose by the One who holds us both.
And it is as it should be, because your pursuit gets all of you... and to any who would try to limit you, just hold up that sweet, fierce hand, and proclaim, "No piece! No piece!"
Take it all.
To read the how Aleks came to once become mine, the story begins here: Aleksandra Elise: (1) We Knew You Before We Found You