My youngest told someone that I get this "crazy" look on my face when I tell her how much I love her. She demonstrated. It looked a bit like this: only my eyes aren't as open, she says.
So, instead, today, I hugged her noodleness and told her how glad I was that she was my daughter. "I hope someday you'll be blessed with a daughter as wonderful as you," I said, as I squeezed her tight.
I heard an instant chime of memory, faint and painful. All the times I heard those words spoken with a different twist by my mother, to my sister: "May you be cursed with a child as evil, as horrible, as you are."
My sister was challenging, at least for my mother--independent, fiercely determined, defiant. And like the stepmother in the fairytales, my mother had little to offer this adventurous child. From a very young age, my sister would do what she would, even if it meant punishment, usually physical, usually out of control, accompanied by the curse.
There is a moment in the fairytale, though, when the heroine has crossed the world in her iron shoes--
or barefoot, has climbed the mountain of glass to remove the splinter from her brother's eye--
or through love itself has reversed the curse, turning beast into human.
Today, when I heard that chime, I knew this curse was lifted--at least for me, for my children, and I hope for my sister's.
And perhaps, someday, my mother, too, will break free of the curse that was passed down to her.
Would that I had a magic wand, or iron shoes, or a mountain of glass to climb that I might see her free from her prison at least once before she dies.