Savanna, Full of Life
Words by. Shade Ashani
There is a deep knowing now. That I will never be the same. That you have shifted me. Though right now you exist only as two little pink lines on a pregnancy test on the bathroom sink and a sparkle of cells in my belly. You exist. And that is enough to be the most electrifying BC vs AD moment of my life. It splits the history of this life in two. And thank God. Because everything before this kind of Joy is suddenly a pebble to the Everest of knowing you are coming. The Everest of knowing I will see your face. The Everest of you.
That two cells met and burst you into this existence is surreal. I want you to know that you were made in so much love. That a symphony of laugher and hope and adventure and home and peace and sweet silly can’t get enough love brought you here. When the doctors tried to guess your conception date I had to tell them I knew. I felt something sparkly and all together different. It was you coming to life like the shining star you are.
May you always know this unalienable, undeniable truth: you are loved. Bigger than I can make sense of. I love you so Big. Sky big. Ocean deep. Horizon to horizon wide. Forest thick. First snow peacefully. Last burst of color in the sunset gently.
I can’t give the love an adjective or metaphor or measure that makes sense. Maybe because a mother’s love is bigger than her own heart. What I feel for you is bigger than me.
I would do anything. Go anywhere. Sacrifice anything I own. Put it all on the line. For you.
My soul purpose shifts to elevate you as high you can go.
That your dreams may come to life on my shoulders.
The truth about this, my darling, I will probably never tell you. Because I want for you to know none of this world as I have known it. So I will change it for myself now. I cannot to teach you what I do not know. I cannot give you directions to a place I’ve never been. I am beginning now for my sake and yours.
I heard your heartbeat today. It felt like a summoning. Like you were beating out a drum call from our ancestors to demand me to this moment with you. I arrived to the present to find nothing I wanted for me or you. So this is my promise to you. I will not wait anymore. I will create now.
I promise you I am getting you out of this land that is blood soaked in hatred. This land that hates people who look like your mother, arrests men who look like your grandfather and kills boys who look like your cousins for walking home in the rain. I am getting you out. I refuse to raise you here where I cannot breathe for the violence and fear. I will take you to a land where we can live free. Where you will never wonder why all the girls have straight hair except for you, why your teacher calls on everyone except for you, why all the children are getting out of the pool because you got in, why the bank teller is talking to you like that, why your car is being searched and ripped apart for 30 minutes when you’re being pulled over for going 68 in a 65, why your doctor isn’t listening when you explain your symptoms, why, why, why. I am getting you out. I will do whatever I have to do to shut down, close, release and get out of what I’ve built here so you can have a far better life. You will not come to consciousness here.
I will give it away and run away before you come to consciousness.
I promise you that you will never wait tables. I promise you that you will never bartend or clean people’s homes or care for their children so that you can eat. I promise you will never walk home through a park at 3am after your shift praying at the top of your lungs because you can’t afford the cab fare. I promise you that you will never have to rely on the kindness of strangers to
survive. I promise that you will never be hungry or alone or scared that you don’t have a way out of something youve gotten yourself into. Even if it is all your fault. Even if you lied, cheated and stole your way there. I will love you anyway. I will come for you. Wherever you are. No matter what you did to get there. I will always come for you.
I promise you that you will never wonder whether you have a safe place to rest, recover or exist. Never.
I promise that you will have a joyful heart, a peaceful spirit and a sound and brilliant mind. I promise that you will have adventures and your heart will overflow with laughter and silly sticky sweet memories of afternoons spent building sandcastles, eating pineapples, watching sunsets, playing under the plumeria, learning how to surf and swim. I promise that you will watch me live a life I love.
All the days of your life you will know that you are radically, deeply, sacrificially loved because I first had the audacity to love myself that way. You will know it with all of you. It will change the way your brain forms and the way you look at the world. To be loved like I love you. You will leave people who hurt you and pick an equally yolked loving partner. Your dad will show up for you and you’ll be a woman molecularly convinced of her worth and validity.
You are the most precious gift I’ve ever been given. I pray an encampment of angels around you at all times. You will always be safe and anyone entrusted with your care will do so safely, righteously and appropriately. No one will ever hurt you or interrupt your convictions about your belovedness.
I will bang on the door of Gods mercy every day of my life for you to know a life of love joy peace kindness gentleness faithfulness health wealth honor and goodness. I will do anything to be carved out. So that I can hold that space for you. To be a refuge and safe haven for you. The authentic you. I long to be a place for you to hold thoughts in contemplation, to have inside jokes with, to be known in totality, to be yourself, to say nothing at all, to just be. More than all of my other dreams, this is the one I’d trade them all in for: any of yours.
This is my solemn vow to you as your mother: I will hold the boundaries up long enough for you to have a childhood. I am doing it now and I will not stop until the day you call to tell me you realize what I did for you as an adult woman. Because I will give you a childhood. I will give you a childhood. I will give you a childhood. I will let you be a child. You will grow up slowly. I will give you space to be a child for as long as you can. For you to behold the world with wonder and magic and enchantment in your eyes. To run barreling towards life with the joy of a child trusting that the world is full of beauty and love and adventure to experience. Because you trust me to catch you, help you, let you play. I will let you play. I will let you lounge in the purity of innocence. I will not interrupt it.
With all I have, I want to protect your playfulness. To keep all my sin and lessons and histories off of your spirit. So that you can be you. So gloriously, purely you. Not you who was mothered by someone in pain, fathered by someone in shame. I hate the thought of that life for you more than I want to hold on to this abandonment. I’ll lay it all down right now. All the guilt and shame and self-doubt and depression. To see you walking in the light of who God put you here to be— undimmed, unaltered, unfiltered, unadulterated. Just you.
Not who you had to become to survive. Just you.
Not who you thought you should be to fit in. Just you.
Not who you thought I wanted you to be. Just magnificently custom designed by God you. Even if you’re nothing like I thought you’d be.
Especially if you’re nothing like I thought you’d be.
I realize I have to do that for myself so I can show you how. Forgive myself for not becoming a doctor, for the false tragedy that Prince Charming never came. I am shaking off these stories so you don’t have to. I am doing it for us. So I can tell you that even though Prince Charming never came, all of Heaven did.
I pray that when I’m called to learn from you it’s never because of your suffering or my pride. I pray you’ll never hide pieces of yourself from me, wipe your eyes on the front porch and walk in the house to put on a show for me. I pray you’ll come blazing in the house blubbering to tell me the story of the mean kid down the street knowing there’s love and protection waiting on the other side of the doorframe.
I think I understand a fraction of how much God loves us now. Because I would give myself up for you, take your place if you were in trouble and you don’t have to do anything in return. When you give me your worst, I will do my best to carry a compassion you can feel, to pull you into a peace that helps shift you back to who you really are.
All I want to do is love you, protect you, hold you, see you happy. I would crucify anything in me that stood in the way of that for you.
I pray for you my precious daughter: FREEDOM.
A life of freedom to give, receive and abide in love.
Love that is: vibrant, expansive, exciting, silly, carefree, conscious, purposeful, peaceful, mentored, close, adventurous, faithful, sweet, abundant, whole, passionate, exhilarating, successful, surrounded, healthful, balanced, connected, joyful, Christ-centered, delightful. I pray for you a life that delights you and our creator. I pray for you laughter. Laughter that bubbles over and consumes you. A smile you can’t hide. A dance in your bones you can’t suppress. A heartbeat pounding ever-leading you in the direction of dreams you can’t deny. I pray for you a deep knowing love and appreciation for all that you are. I pray for you a connection between your passions and profits. May health, wealth, honor and life surround the many adventures you take to find your purpose. May your work be play for you.
I pray for you confidence in your talents and gifts thar radiates from within you. I pray that you would be so molecularly convinced of your own belovedness that your assuredness bursts out your pores.
I pray you can behold yourself with all of the love and awe I felt for you the first time I saw your face. Feel all the preciousness and reverence for the miracle that is your body. I pray one day you’ll feel for yourself everything I felt when the doctor laid you across my chest to hear my heartbeat from the outside for the first time: absolute total certainty that YOU ARE heavensent. “I wish you could see what I see”—the piece of God in every mother I’m sure.
I pray that our relationship will be joyfilled, that I can be a stable bow for you to launch from, that you’ll grow up to call me blessed. I pray one day we’ll sit in your love filled home with your children and you’ll understand this kind of love in a new way. I pray you’ll love me half as much as I love you.
To me, you will always be: Savannah: full of life.
My cherished daughter. An angel alive.
If you ever forget, may you find these words and re-member your holiness.
Because it is the essence of you. You cannot be separate except in your thoughts. You can always go Home.
Just breathe, my love. There’s nothing you have to be or do to earn anything. I will always love all of you. No matter what. No holding back.
Shadé is an author, speaker, coach and international philanthropist. She graduated from Columbia University and earned her Masters in Public Health from Tulane University. She interviewed hundreds of women ages 18-75 and found an absolute difference between girls who grew up with and without their fathers. She gained a profound understanding of the different ways women are wounded by their fathers and then go on to live as if those wounds are the truth. Shadé wrote a book called In Search of My Father about how healing her relationship with her father set her free to experience healthy love. Now she coaches women to heal the wounds their fathers left behind and speaks at colleges and conferences around the country.
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