This Cliff

I’m standing at the edge of a precipice, waiting for my daughter to give me a push.

I’m not afraid. 

I was, but no more. I may fall a long way, but I won’t be alone and I don’t anticipate hitting the ground in a life-mangling splatter. Maybe I’ll learn to fly on the way down. Maybe I’ll bounce like a red rubber ball. Or maybe I will hit the ground hard, and it will hurt.

But then I will either get back up, or I will be dead.

Either one of those is acceptable to me. Lying there forever isn’t.

I was going to say I’ve done this once before, but then I realized, no, I’ve done this many times. It’s just that usually the cliff is quite a lot smaller, and often if I really wanted to I could climb back up it. But this cliff is so high that the world at the bottom of it is blurry and indistinct, like I’ve forgotten to put on my glasses. I can’t fully see what waits for me there.

And so far in my life, there has only been one other cliff that was this high. The one I jumped off when I decided to marry one particular man and move a thousand miles from my home to build a life with him. 

In some ways that was remarkably similar to this: I wanted it even though I expected it to be hard; I had about 9 months to prepare; I was inviting another person to impact my life forever and promising to love them through it, without any guarantee of who that person would become. 

In other ways, this is different: I chose the day and the hour when I jumped off that cliff; I chose the person I jumped with; my responsibility in that relationship is vastly different; I didn’t try to take a whole lot of my former life with me when I jumped that time.

Both times, I knew my life was changing, massively and forever, but I didn’t know what it was changing into, not really. 

A lot of that is up to me, and that’s comforting. But not all of it. This is what happens when you decide to invite other people into the most sacred circles of your life and promise to care for them. You give up some freedom, some independence. You take up some more responsibility.

But I think a life that is all freedom with no responsibility is a life that is meaningless.

And anyway, if it was entirely up to me, I could predict everything and where’s the fun in that? I’ve been waiting for months, and I’m so curious. Who will she be, and who will I be, and who will we be? What will it be like?

If I could have one request given me as I dive off this cliff, it would be that motherhood will surprise me in the same way that marriage surprised me. 

By being more filled with wonder than I can yet imagine.

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