By Melissa Elizondo
I used to be a girl, a daughter. My mother pressed dresses over my head, bade me go to school. My father told me to always say thank you. He passed too soon from this life. We became set apart in his absence. The days passed into years. One day I met a boy. We argued about books and the meaning of life. He drove me crazy. I wrote in my journal that I would never marry him. Then one day, he asked me a question and I said yes. The day he slipped a ring on my finger, I was no longer just a daughter but a wife. The days and years pass. The husband still drives me crazy and I’m not entirely sure where my life is headed, who I’m becoming.
One day, I’m caught in the worst pain of my life. It goes on for hours — thirty-six hours in fact. Then, there is this piercing, shrill cry filling an entire room. My husband is grinning as he tells me we have a boy. I am still lost in a fog, uncertain what that means, except that in the days that follow, I slowly become his mom. Less than two years later, it all changes again when his sister comes and I am not just his mom but hers also.
Through all this, there are these moments where I’m looking — just looking. Looking into the mirror (glad I ate those vegetables last night) or into my husband’s eyes (does he really still laugh at that joke?) or even my kids (did I used to cry that easy? What will growing up be like for them?).
Then it’s morning just before dawn, and I know life is more than the sum of food eaten and dumb purchases made, words spoken in anger and hugs that drive away the sorrows of yesterday. Yet — it’s also made up of those little things like dishes and laundry, the small decisions like where to put the phone down and looking for something good to watch on Netflix. And of course — there’s the big things too. Huge things like where to live, who to vote for, where to send your kids to school. The things that pull at you until you’re pulling out your hair, wondering who the person you are was the person you once were and if the person you once were really gets to call the shots on who you get to be.
The sun isn’t out yet, the night still hangs upon us. Most everyone is still asleep. Soon, we’ll all awake. The light will come. Then — in that moment, what will it be like? What will it be like — when the shadows of all the choices we struggle not to regret or the words we never meant will vanish? What exactly will it be like — when the sorrow will flee and joy will overtake us? In that moment and all the ones that come after, I wonder who we’ll be. Who will we find ourselves becoming — when the people we once were are so far removed from all we get to be? What will it be like if when we awake, we see we get to be children again?
Until then, I am a bird in flight, wings flapping as I head out into the sky searching for dawn and branch.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 1 Corinthians 5:21