Lament for the eldest


Every one says you look like me. I am afraid you feel like me, too. You are the oldest, and you take responsibility for things that aren't your fault. When I feel sad and huddle in my bedroom, you think it is because of something you did, or didn't do right. You are a little Mama to your brother and your sisters. You make a killer breakfast already, do my laundry, clean the kitchen up several times a day. You who are just learning long division, you are already a multiplier of love. I see the fear in your eyes, fear that you're not smart enough, or self-disciplined enough, to deserve my love.

I made a lot of mistakes when it came to raising you, my firstborn. I taught you stoicism and now I am trying to undo that. I take you along to my counselor, and she asks you how you feel about my depression. You answer that you don't know. There is this disconnect between events and emotions that I wish I could repair. I have hope for you in ways that I don't have hope for myself...that we got out of it soon enough, before you were scarred beyond repair - that you will be able to change the way your brain works, and learn about feelings before it is too late.

I wish I could lift the burden of "peacemaker" off your small eight-year-old shoulders. I wish, simultaneously, that you could feel less and feel more. That emotions would wear their grooves into your heart, yet you wouldn't take everything to heart.

Did I catch you early enough? Did I recognize the road signs? Did the church already traumatize you beyond help? I am at the Throne early every morning, like it says in Lamentations 2, Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children. I pray for your healing when you bury your thick head of hair into my shoulder and I can feel the sobs welling up inside you but they never are birthed to breathe the air of this world. I wish I had a key to unlock your sorrows so they could be purged and mopped up. Instead you are like a glass jar with a tight lid. Nowhere for the pressure to go. I pray you don't bury it in your own bones.


Written on the prompt "Awake" for 5 Minute Friday