She snuggled next to me, so warm and cuddly, and looked up intently into my eyes. Her gaze melted my heart that first morning of motherhood for me over 20 years ago, as it still does today when she looks at me with love in her eyes. That was our first official "snuggle" in bed together, which became part of our everyday routine for years to come. We used to snuggle when she'd get out of bed before the day began when she was little, and we'd plan our day together as she held on to her blanket and placed her head on my chest. Throughout the day, she'd ask several times just to snuggle, as she loved the feeling of closeness to me, as I did to her. In the evening, when she would be sleepy and relaxed from her warm bath, we would snuggle yet again in my bed, and I would read her stories of princesses or Jesus or Choco or blueberries on a hill or Anne of Green Gables or Laura from Little House on the Prairie. Those times together are forever etched in my soul, as they are precious and irreplaceable moments of love between a mother and a daughter.
She climbed into bed with me on Friday morning, the day before her "independence day" when she moved into her new apartment and out of her family home forever. We snuggled. I stroked her hair and her skin as I used to do, and she lay there contentedly with a soft smile on her face. I wondered to myself where the years had gone - where had all those days gone when I thought I would have her here with me for such a long time yet to come - and here we are, the day had arrived where she was leaving. The pain gripped my heart and tears started to flow - and I tried to explain it away to her as a "silly mom thing", as I truly am excited for her to get out on her own. It's just that I'm sad that she's leaving behind her childhood, she's leaving behind her daily presence in my life, she leaving behind the daily hugs that are so imbedded in our routine. As we snuggled, I asked her if she remembered all of those times when we used to cuddle like that - all the books we read, all the talks we had. She remembered. I hope those memories will be something she will come to treasure in the years to come. And perhaps, someday, with a little girl of her own, she will start her own traditions of morning and evening and during-the-day snuggles, so that she can experience the powerful love a mother has for her child. A love that can't be broken by miles apart, or hurtful words, or behaviors which are causing harm to self and others, or a slip in faith. A love that will provide safety and security in those times of trial and tumult and anger and doubt. A love that will remain steady even when being thrown back in contempt or when being questioned as to its' motives. A love that is never-ending, that will follow her wherever she goes, that will last an eternity.
Dear daughter of mine, I wish you joy and peace and happiness in your new journey. This part of raising you is done now, but I will always be your mom, just in a different capacity. I still want to be close and share an occassional snuggle and a frequent hug, but we are now embarking onto a new phase of our relationship. It should be fun and interesting as we grow closer together as friends now. I may slip up sometimes and get out my mothering personna. But be honest, you will always want me to be your mom, no matter what. Just as I always want to be "my kids' mom". I love you, babe. I'm a phone call away. I miss you incredibly all ready. You've taking a big piece of my heart with you - so protect it within your own heart and keep it there forever so that I can always live on within you. I'm proud of you, sweetie. I know we've had our rough times lately, but don't ever doubt the depth of my love for you. You are my precious princess.
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