I watched you race like a March hare along the deserted beach; arms flung wide, face tilted towards the sun, as the tide washed over your feet and the wind tousled and tangled your beautiful soft curls.
The waves crashed onto the rocks tossing spray skyward to sparkle with the colours of the rainbow.
From the far end of the shore a young rider on horseback thundered towards you. You froze in your tracks. He galloped right by leaving prints in the firm wet sand. But you appeared not to notice.
You were mesmerised, your wide eyes transfixed on the twinkling jewels of salty sea fanning out in the bright winter sunshine as one huge wave chased another in a race for the shore.
I called your name but the wind snatched it away.
I watched you as you fell to your knees, and arms wrapped around your slender frame in a big hug, you began to rock, backward and forward, again and again, over and over. Perhaps you were mimicking the tide, crashing, retreating, and endlessly repeating.
I called you again. I don’t know why. I go through the motions time and time again. Perhaps I’m a little bit like you. Perhaps I’m to blame.
The horse and rider returned. The gallop slowed to a canter and then to a steady trot. My heart skipped a beat as the rider pulled on the reigns and the magnificent steaming beast came to a halt alongside you. The young man dismounted.
“Hey little man,” I heard him say. “I saw you sprinting along these sands faster than my Suzy can go on a good day.” He crouched to look you in the eyes. “Do you like horses?”
He seemed not to mind that you didn’t reply, that you didn’t even turn to look at him. Very perceptive for one so young, I thought. He stood up with a knowing smile and with spontaneity too quick for me to warn him, ruffled your hair with his fingers.
It might have been a strike of fork lightening from the skies searing through your body. You threw back your head with such force that I feared your neck would snap. The horse startled at the pitch of your piercing screams as you clenched fistfuls of hair and scratched fingernails down your cheeks until the blood appeared.
There were no tears. I never have seen your tears.
The man tried to calm you. You sank your teeth into his arm.
“Don’t touch him,” I yelled, “He doesn’t like it.” I asked him to leave us alone, told him we were fine.
I defended you. I protected you. That’s my role in your life isn’t it? I knew that you only needed to watch the waves to find peace, to be happy. I knew that the man’s good intentions would ruin our time together.
Licking his wounds he mounted his Suzy and moved on.
“Don’t worry,” he called back to me smiling. “I understand.”
I was enraged, unreasonably so. He had assumed knowledge about us that he didn’t have. His understanding was nil and our special time together was stolen from us.
I coaxed you out of your frenzy with the ball. It rarely fails to do the trick. I watched the tension, like an ocean wave, flow through your body and far out to sea as you became one with the blissful motion of spinning and circling in a ceaseless round, totally engaged with this multicoloured tinkling delight.
Wild child, I want to know why you needed to retreat, to hide inside yourself those six short years ago. Your young life had barely begun. We were just getting to know you when you left us, hurt and bewildered, searching for clues and answers that are never to be found.
Wild child, if you never need our love and comfort, if we’re here only to serve your needs, how will you ever know the love of your Heavenly Father.
Wild child, I’m scared. How can someone so self seeking, so self absorbed ever enter the Kingdom of God.
There are no answers for me right now. One day I will see all things clearly.
When that day dawns, I want you to look me in the eyes, just once, and call me Mummy.
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