She will be 16 in two days, this beautiful little girl of mine, but on Saturday night she asked me to come in and wash her hair while she was in the tub. I haven't washed her hair in a good ten years, haven't been welcome in the bathroom with her while she was bathing in at least three, so it surprised me. I am trying so hard to be present for her, but I will admit to feeling slightly annoyed when she called out to me. I was reading a book, the little boys were in bed and Eli was gone...so I felt annoyed and put upon when she asked me to do something so simple as wash her hair, something she is obviously capable of doing herself.
However, I went into the steamy bathroom began pouring the water over her head, and she started crying. Not the shaking, shuddering cries from days past, but instead a soft, shattered weeping, the sound of which shot through me like a bullet. I haven't heard her cry like this ever, I don't think, and in response, I started weeping myself. I sat there on the edge of the tub, lathering up her hair and scrubbing her scalp and rinsing her head like I did when she was small, both of us just-crying. No words were spoken other than a "thank you, mommy" when I was finished, but in that fifteen minutes, a whole different feeling of communication was there.
How grateful I am that I took the opportunity to be of service to her, to just show up and be present. At the church we went to for Easter, they had this whole foot washing deal where you could up front and wash one another's feet just like Jesus knelt and washed the disciples' back in the day. And there he was, this really cool and strong and awesome spiritual dude who was performing MIRACLES and yet kneeled down on the floor with these guys who, frankly, were a little questionable and he washed their stinky, crusty feet because he loved them. Now, I am not comparing myself to Jesus in ANY way, but there is something so powerful and humbling about the simple act of hot water and shampoo, of simply showing up and loving, that just about knocked me to my knees right there in the bathroom. There is also some Biblical passage (and I know it is there somewhere, so y'all don't need to find the exact reference for me; I am content with just having it out there in my head a little) about how it is our job to lift each other up and share our sorrows just like we do our joys-and let me tell you, this little girl has sorrows that none of us can truly understand. Oh, some of us have been there, so we can relate, for sure-but this is hers and hers alone, and all I can really do is sit back. Watch her, cry with her , be an advocate for her, and when all else fails, wash her hair.
It appears that in a sense we may have another week's reprieve from going to court-but that it isn't really a reprieve in the sense of the whole process. It sounded, after talking to the woman at the Prosecutors Office, that things will actually start rolling now, meaning paperwork and testimonies and subpoenas, but at least for this week, no court dates. I put in another call to the counselor who was recommended, and with luck we will have an appointment this week.
In the meantime, we keep breathing, keep living, and just keep showing up.