Ruby Dives In

Sitting upright with my legs crossed, attempting to watch the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy Season 2, which I have seen 15,000 times, because I can’t focus on any new information right now. This may be my favorite season because they are all so young. Meredith and McDreamy are still flirty and new. There lives are not laid out in front of them. They may be cardio gods, or neuro geniuses or pedis heroes, the opportunities are endless. They are only responsible for themselves and only answer to the “Nazi” (AKA Dr. Bailey). They get to walk around and say “seriously” all the time without anyone blinking an eye.

Well, I am no brain surgeon, though I’m sure I could play one of TV. This parenting gig, has me up all hours of the day and night, I’m in pajamas which could double as scrubs, walking around screaming “seriously” constantly and I may turn into Dr. Bailey by the time I get my hands on my first born. In the most uncomfortable chair in our home, I watch season 2 episode 17, which has the infamous “code black”, and I think to myself, this is the only excuse she has right now. There must be a bomb in a body cavity at the hospital she was brought to tonight because she was attacked by a pack of werewolves or vampires and she is cannot use her phone or any phone in sight to call me because the bomb squad forbid it. That must be the explanation.

While Izzy and Cristina wash the blood off Meredith after the bomb explodes in bomb-squad-guys hands, I decide now is the time to begin to call hospitals. I hit my home button to request Siri’s assistance with searching phone numbers, when there is a thump at the front door. I hop to my feet like I am ready to receive a trauma case coming in and I think to myself, oh good she is alive, now I can kill her myself. The front door falls open to reveal my baby girl stumbling around like a stampede of buffalo, believing she is scurrying like a tiny undetected mouse. She is drunk. Paging Dr. Bailey!

“Miranda. Rae. Errore.” I spit out each syllable of her given name.

She freezes. I watch her mind turn as the internal debate ensues. She can’t decide if she should begin spilling the ridiculous explanation she concocted to fight with me or retreat to her room and flee the situation. Though, it appears she is choosing door number three while she remains frozen in this moment waiting for further action from me.

I too am still. Inside I feel this red rage of emotions flowing through my veins. I have the urge to scream out, but I cannot find the words to express all the feelings running through my mind. I struggle to pinpoint where to begin my motherly assault. Do I commence with my anger at her lack of respect for me by rolling in at this hour? Or should I start by telling her how disappointed I am with her choices? I could list the possible outcomes of this evening ending with her on the operating table with Chief Webber calling her time of death.

However, I remain frozen. We look at each other, speechless. Then my mouth involuntarily moves and releases, “go to bed, Andi. We will talk in the morning.” Without a word she quietly withdraws to her room.

I fall onto the couch and lay my head in my hands. I softly release the emotional tidal wave that has ravaged through my body waiting until I laid my eyes on her again.

Yes, I am angry!

Yes, I am disappointed!

Yes, I am relieved. However, as the flood of emotions roll from my mind, fear is strongest of all. I am afraid of what I saw tonight. I was afraid of what could have happened to my child. I actually thought she could have been dead. That is unthinkable, but I invited the thought in like a vampire and let it attack my mind. The tears washed me clean of these infectious thoughts. Andi is home and she is alive. I can exhale.

I sit on the back porch and watch the sunrise. I thank the higher power I bargained with earlier this morning for delivering her home to me.

I ask that power for one more favor – the words to say to her. I hear the back door open behind me. I do not move. I stay wrapped in my blanket on the swing. She quietly approaches, head down, and sits next to me on the swing. I want to shake the shit out of her and squeeze her at the same time, but instead I offer her part of my blanket. I feel the space between us shrink and I take her hand the collapse the rest.

“Mom, I am so sorry.” Miranda almost whispers in my direction.

I hope that higher power starts speaking through me and I chose my words carefully. “What exactly are you sorry for, Andi?”

She turns my way and I see the shameful pain in her face. “All of it.”

I have a choice. I can just say okay and move on without diving into this sea of uncomfortableness leaving so much unspoken and closing the door on my daughter letting me in. Instead, I suit-up and take a running start. I dive in head-first.

“Andi, I was afraid. I couldn’t get you on the phone and I was so scared at what could have happened to you.” I am turned and looking at the side of her face. “And I am sorry too.” She looks up from the floor for the first time. “I should have done a better job of talking to you about this already, so we are going to do it now.”

Miranda nods her head with acceptance.

I tell her about my deepest, darkest fears of her being sexually assaulted, not because she asked for it or deserved it but because there are bad people in this world that I cannot protect her from. With tears falling down my face, I express the pain I had already imagined if she were killed in drunk driving accident. I decided to share with her stories of my mistakes as young girl who’s mother never said anything accept “do as I say not as I do.”

Miranda shares with me the stress of being seventeen. And a girl. And an honor roll student. And a swimmer. And the oldest of four. Her tears shared a story of the pressure she had bottled up and stuffed down so deep she thought a little alcohol couldn’t hurt in the fight to keep it all together. I watched her pour out her soul to me and I saw my baby girl image of Andi fade away and the young woman, Miranda take form. She was no longer a child who’s hand I could smack to stop her from touching the electric sockets. Right before my eyes, she had turned into a woman and my job had transformed into consultant instead of manager. That morning we talked. I didn’t preach (much). She didn’t roll her eyes (except twice).

We had a discussion and we both listened. Instead of holding on to the illusion of control with both hands on the reins, I loosened my grip and let go just a little and Miranda showed me how great of a mom I am. I (with the help of her dad) raised this miraculous female sitting in front of me. I am transitioning into a new roll with her, and I am going to try to show a little freaking grace as I do it.

We stand up and I squeeze this girl who stole my heart, seventeen years ago. The first person to call me “Mommy” and the first one who will send out into the world as an adult, theoretically.

“I love you more than you know, Miranda Rae.”

“I love you too, Momma.”

“But if you ever come in this house like that again I will beat the hell out of you like a grown woman. Got it?”

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4 thoughts on “Ruby Dives In

  1. Honestly, Stephanie… every time I read your stuff, I am in awe of your giftS. That’s a capital ‘S’ for PLURAL😉 Thank you for sharing, inspiring, teaching, reflecting, and especially, loving 😘

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