One day soon you’ll push me away.

As I reach out to guide you, my hand stretching over to steer you, you will shrug me off in a fit of frustration and independent defiance. “I can do it,” you’ll tell me with the furrow of your brow, the set of your mouth, and the powerful, confident footsteps you take. As I watch you making your way steadily away from me, your movements exaggerated in their newness, I will feel a surge of pride with just a flicker of wistfulness at this new distance between us.

And that will be just the start.

There will come a time when the hand I enclose around yours, enveloping it in a maternal force field of protection, will feel like a shackle to you, holding you back, keeping you trapped in babyhood. You will struggle to free yourself from my clasp, not understanding that to me it represents a secure bind, a link that keeps you by my side where I can protect you from the dangers I see – real and imagined.

Nor will you understand why I say no when you push the boundaries of your childhood, trying to break down the barriers that restrict you, determinedly wanting to exercise your own free will.

“Everyone else is allowed,” you’ll tell me with a look in your eyes that leaves me in no doubt of your discontent, your disillusionment. You will rail against the injustice of it all, your verbal volleys oscillating between fury and pleading.

That same look will be there in your eyes while you’re shakily crossing the treacherous bridge to your teens. A new determination will grow in you to do your own thing, even if it might be at odds with the rules within which you’re expected to conform.

“You don’t understand,” you’ll protest, your voice exasperated, your sense of hopelessness tangible. “You don’t get it!” you’ll scream, but I swear that I do. My words can only come from experience gained from these years already lived.

And then – almost a young woman, but still only a girl – my guidance will be especially unwanted when it surrounds the choices you make, and never more so than when it concerns the matters of your precious, giving heart. These are the decisions that will worry me the most, the ones which require you to give away your most valuable gift – your love.

“It’s none of your business,” you’ll storm at your interfering mother. A mother who is desperate to keep you shielded from pain, but still ruefully accepting the inevitability of the hurt you must endure as part of the journey. “It’s my choice,” you’ll affirm, quite rightly, and I will feel adrift in the gaping chasm between us as I struggle to explain.

There is no chasm between us now as you cling to me, not willing to let me out of your sight, not prepared to get down out of my arms. And so I hold you. I hold you and I relish every second you spend in my embrace, feeling your adoration emanating towards me. I hold you and I try to commit to memory this moment, this scene, this feeling. Because I know that one day, you will push me away.

But, my darling, I cannot be pushed away.

I will always, always be here for you.

Those gaps between us will come and go, all part of your growing and changing as you find your route to becoming you. There will be times when you will step away from me, as you must, so that you can become the strong-minded, independent, confident girl of whom I will always be impossibly proud. You will shrug off my protection, but I will still be there, in the background, ready for you for when you need me again. 

But for now, I will just hold you.