Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with
people who are reckless with yours.
I imagine the first boy who breaks her heart, and I crack my knuckles in preparation. I never had my heartbroken by a boy until now, but with this new understanding, I fully understand father’s who wait up with an axe in their hand and a Bud Light on the table beside them.
Look at her. She’s magnificent. She is a creature conceived in love, long ago yes, but very much in love, and she grew beneath the weak pulse of my heart. She grabbed my finger and my tears and my heartstrings sitting in my arms, once my heart let her. I promised her, those first days, that nothing would harm her, nothing would touch her heart, not in the ways they touched mine. No one would would be reckless and teach her how not to trust, not to love.
The events of this month remind me that I cannot protect her from reckless hearts. The reckless hearts aren’t always ones you can change or get near, or matter to. Sure, she’ll be fine. Maybe I’ll just need to put her in therapy later. Maybe we can still be some sort of fractured family for her, at least for awhile.
But I won’t be able to put her world back for her once it dissolves, once what was once safe because unsteady and fast.
We’re reckless, with these our daughters. We play loose with Vivian, who understands things she shouldn’t, who already seems to live with some terrible sadness tucked behind her eyes. It is she who will suffer. I will hurt, my heart will be battered, has been battered, but ultimately, I will find my happiness somewhere eventually. You can replace a lover, a friend, husband.
You can’t replace a father. You can’t replace your parents, loving each other, even if they’re considerate and warm and friendly when they see each other. She will only see the recklessness with which her parents cast each other off, respect lost some random morning, love slowly dwindling down a void they couldn’t get it back from. You can’t replace that security.
We are reckless. Yet I have to teach her not to be reckless, with herself, or with others.
(Quadelle had a fab idea to do a series of posts based on phrases from Mary Schmich’s commencement address . [You may remember it better as a “song” by Baz Luhrmann] I thought it was a great idea, so, I stole it. Or copied. Whatever. Imitation is the soul of wit. Or brevity. Or both. )