Your heart is always whole, just as the moon is always full. Your life is always complete. You just don’t see it that way.
— Karen Maezen Miller
the myth of the missing moon
When we say the moon will be full tomorrow night, what we’re really saying is, we will get to see the whole thing. Maybe its fullness keeps you up all night or makes you brave or you just enjoy how beautiful it is, that night brightness.
I am thinking of a girl now, not the moon, though she is very much the moon, very much her mother’s daughter and her father’s, too, and her other mother’s. And more that any of those, so very much her own waning and waxing self. Always full.
Her little sister asked me yesterday how we know when the moon will be full. And I suppose I could try to be educated and then teach her about lunar cycles and sky maps and charts from the dawn of time to Google. But all I could think to say was that we watch. And see it happening before our very eyes, slowly and then all of a sudden.
My daughter who hates it here in waves, whose sense of loss is as real and visceral as her voice inside those owl headphones from TJ Maxx, as she works on recording her first demo on the computer she got for her eleventh birthday: Always whole.
I watch. I sit and wait, hoping I’ll have the right thing to say, studying her face as she looks away and wipe tears from behind her glasses. I am looking for an opening, however small. The worst thing I can say is, “I know.” The best may be, after a while, “Come, it’s time for bed.”
And the gift is when she climbs in under her covers without protest, and I sit there for a while quietly stroking her hair, and she lets me. “The thing is,” I whisper, “Life has a way of working itself out. And we are usually exactly where we need to be. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt sometimes.”
And just when I think she might be asleep, she says without opening her eyes, “Lie down.”
So I do. And we sleep.