"Instead of acting crazy
chasing things that make you mad
Just keep your heart ahead,
it'll lead you back to what you have
With every step you are closer
to the place you need to be
But it's up to you to let her love you sweetly
Instead of feeling bad
Be glad you've got someone to love
Instead of feeling sad
Be happy there's a God above
Instead of feeling 'lone
Remember you are never on your own..."
- Madeleine Peyroux
Yes, this song, "Instead" by Madeleine Peyroux, has its slight romantic connotations. But for me, it stems from a lot of "letting go", and not fighting the love that someone shows you.
I remember the day that i first started to accept the love from well...my mum.
The story of how she became my mum is quite complex. But in a nutshell, she and my birthmother were the best of friends. When i was a baby our family was hit by a drunk driver. Kate was by my mom's bedside until she passed away. She has loved and looked out for me in different ways ever since. Ways that i did not even know about until now, and i am still learning the extent of it all.
In my camper days at Adventure Unlimited I remember this "Kate lady" was always very present. I knew Kate had a significant role somewhere in my life, because my grandmother would always say "Say hi to Kate and give her my love" each year before i left for camp. I never did.
I noticed her around when I was about 14 and moved up to Round Up, the camp for high schoolers. I would be sitting at breakfast in Valerie Lodge with my cabin, and see her staring at me from the "table of the hierarchy", as i called it. I would either stare back, shoot her a look of disgust, or pretend i didn't notice and avoid her gaze all together. One day in the lodge, Kate approached me and wanted to talk to me. She told me that she and my parents had been friends, and if i ever wanted to talk about them she was there. I tensed up and gave her a simple "ok thanks" answer. I didn't talk to her that summer. I wasn't ready for it.
My parents were a topic that I never wanted to talk about. I think it was because nobody in my family ever talked about it either. Kate, being the practitioner at camp gave inspirational talks before we went out on out 3-day camping trips. I remember it being a pattern each year for her to somehow mention my mother in these talks. I was so terrified each time i sat on a cushion on the floor with my friends and counselors. I was afraid Kate would talk about my parents and i would cry. I hated crying and being pitied. I needed to be strong.
Before she started her talks, Kate would look into the crowd and talk about campers and counselors that she knew. She would say something she remembered about them, or loved about them before she began speaking. I remember the way she looked at me. Eyes as blue, sharp, and intense as ice. Her facial expression was warm and inviting...but the eyes...it was a look that penetrated your depths, and saw into your soul.
My last summer as a camper I sat down on the floor and listened to her speak. I can't remember exactly what this talk was about. It could have been the popular "sex and eric" story, the $20 bill story, or the one about my mother approving of her marriage. All I know is that after that talk, I needed to finally say something to this woman. This woman who I knew loved me so much, loved me as much as her own children.
After my counselor, Tina, had finished talking to her (when the talk was over) I shyly went up to her and said, "I liked your talk tonight". I hugged her and walked away. This was our main interaction that summer. But for me this was the pivotal moment when i had "let her love me sweetly", and let go of the negativity i associated with her presence in my life. All she wanted to do was love me, and i was going to let her.
The next summer we had a talk that would allow our relationship to blossom into the mother-daughter relationship we have today. This cherished relationship is ever evolving, ever changing, ever growing. I am so grateful for it. Thank you mum for all you do for me. You're beauty-full.
I love you...
I love you too Sam. Letting yourself be loved takes courage...I think your mom would be very proud of you tonight...dad too. I know I am...but then, I always have been. Hugs,
Kate Robertson, CS