Those fears were unfounded – for her anyway.
She ought to have feared her son, instead of the micro-wave.
She died on her front lawn from a gun-shot wound to the heart – inflicted by her 23-year-old son, who then turned the gun on himself.
When we first set out to have children, we have aspirations for them – none of which include drugs or violence. We hold our infant child, no larger than our arms can handle, and whisper to her our hopes and dreams. We watch with adoring eyes as she grows; reach out to catch her when she takes her first tumble while learning to walk… and for awhile, wonder if she'll be able to take more than a few steps before kissing the carpet again. But she masters the art, and soon we’re chasing her around the house.
I’ve heard women say they’d like to have a child for the unconditional love between mother and child.
Newsflash: That whole 'unconditional love' thing on her part lasts about 2 years.
Then your adorable child does the unthinkable – she starts to develop a personality of her own. She wants to feed herself in the highchair, even though more makes it to the floor than in her belly. (All toddlers are morons – they get more on them, than in them.) She doesn’t want to wear that beautiful dress you bought because the lace is itchy. She doesn’t like the gym shoes you picked out because her nemesis in junior high gym class has the exact same pair…
Then high school - and the fights begin.
The “I hate you!”s and the rolling of the eyes…
You think it, too, but you’d never say it to your child… instead you say, “I love you, but I do not love your behavior.” She throws a dirty shirt at you, grunts something indiscernible, and slams her bedroom door in your face.
And you sit quietly on your couch, remembering her little hand in yours; the way she looked up at you with total trust and commitment; her little voice saying; “I love you mama. I want to live with you forever.”
Then you hear her scream from inside her room; “I can’t WAIT to get away from you; to move out of this house!”
And you wonder what you did to change this angel into a devil in a matter of months. You wonder why you were unable to show your love for her better. You wonder if it will ever be good between you two again.
But it will. And, it does. And she calls you from her apartment/dorm and talks to you about her heartaches, sister problems and money woes. You help her out when you can, but you feel like it’s never enough, because you sense her growing away from you every day. You see her becoming more a woman and less your little girl.
And then she really does leave. You find yourself standing on the front porch, watching her drive away with her boyfriend. And you know you may never see her again because she’s moving to the other side of the country to be closer to his family. And your heart breaks once more. The tears flow. Not for the first time, you wish you could have done more to connect with her. You hope she knows just how much you love her; how much her presence enhanced your life. And, you let her go.
Goodbye, Peaches. I’ll miss you. Take care of you.