First and Last Lesson

"When I’m trusting and being myself… everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously." – Shakti Gawain

The conversation topics are all over the board. We discuss my apartment, my ex-husbands new car, my sons surgery, my daughters father, my daughter and more.

He indicates he has seen a change coming over me, a good change, in that I appear more true to me, more focused on living my own life and being true to who I am and who I want to be.

I smiled.

My mother had recently made a similar comment. I dont necessarily feel any different. I am not aware of any obvious changes but apparently they are there and they are being seen by others. I am glad they are positive changes.

He went on to explain that years ago I often talked of the split in myself. How I portrayed one face to the outside world and kept my true inner-self secret.

I smile again.

He knows me well. I suppose three years of sitting across from him on near weekly basis would provide that insight.

He asked me if there was anything pressing, anything bubbling to the surface that I felt the need to discuss.

I was at a loss. Sure, thoughts ran through my head but they were fragmented and disjointed and had no apparent theme. My daughters father scampered about my mind (as he frequently does) but I had not the strength to go there. My daughters graduation bubbled right up but again I pushed it away. I cannot deal with that today.  Those thoughts are scheduled for Sunday.

"Um, no, not really." I respond as I look away and admire the violets in his office window.

He became silent, as he often does, and appeared to become lost in his own thoughts. He closes his eyes, flicks at his short white beard and rocks a bit.  I scan his clothing and notice he appears to be losing weight. He must have rushed to get dressed this morning. He is usually better coordinated.

"What is that poem? Why is this coming to me now?" He asks himself out loud.

He rises from his beige bentwood rocker and picks up a book titled Good Poems by Garrison Keillor

I smile at his somewhat unconventional style and wacky ways but I am comforted. I have learned to trust his judgment.

He dons his eyeglasses, flips through the book and finds the page he is looking for.

He hands the book to me.

"Does this mean anything to you?"

In front of me, on the left page of the book, is the poem by Philip Booth titled "First Lesson".

First Lesson

Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man’s float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

I read the poem not once, but three times.

Yes, it means something to me. My first thought is of my daughter, naturally. My second is of myself.

I struggle to explain what it means to me for thoughts of my daughter, her graduation, the new life that is about to start for her, the new sea she will begin to swim in, engulf me.

I am aware of the theme of trusting others in the poem and the concept overwhelms me. He likely thought of the poem due to his earlier statement of me beginning to trust myself. I am however taken with thoughts of my daughter and how she doesnt trust me and possibly trusts no one since she was abandoned at birth and placed in the care of strangers.

I choke back a few tears but I agree.

I find that it is deeply connected to me as an individual and my daughter and her graduation.

And with that I respond, simply.

"Yes, it means something to me"

5 Thoughts.

  1. “When I’m trusting and being myself… everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.” This is awesome.

  2. What a gift you have given your daughter, whether her maturity allows her to see it or not. You gave her a gift neither her Aparents or any amount of money could have, you gave her life. Her very existance is because of you. As painful as this graduation is, my wish for you is to find pride in this one thing, she is here and accomplishing, because of you first.
    Much love,
    Kristy

  3. “…he has seen a change coming over me, a good change, in that I appear more true to me, more focused on living my own life and being true to who I am and who I want to be.”
    What a wonderful thing to hear from your therapist AND your mother. Be proud of the hard work you have done that brought you to this point!
    That’s where I hope to be.

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