Then I remembered the fear, the constant, gnawing fear that something could -- would -- go wrong, that I would do something wrong or eat something wrong or I would do nothing and something would still go wrong. I remembered thinking, every day, that the only remedy for that crippling fear would be to have my child safe in my arms, finally.
And then she was born, and the fear actually intensified with the realization that parenthood bestows only the power of influence, not control, and that the world, the wonderful, wide world, is also a terrible and dangerous world, and at some point, I would need to let my child find her own way through the wonder and the danger.
For all of my fear and worry, however, motherhood has cultivated in me a strength and a sense of bravery that I did not know I possessed. Motherhood has been my greatest adventure.
My daughter is two years away from graduating from high school. Whenever I acknowledge this, I feel a momentary sense of paralysis, but when I push past that, I find strength and courage dwelling with surety beyond that brittle crust.
I did not and do not have control -- control is just an illusion -- but I did and do possess the power of influence, and I continue to do my best to influence my daughter in ways that matter, so that someday -- sooner than I would like -- I will, despite my fears, stand behind her as she walks into the wonderful, dangerous world. My instincts may tell me to shelter her from it, but my mother's heart will know that this child will be a gift to that world.