I started writing to my daughter a year ago, when the confinement arrived and we had to get used to social distancing and life without hugs. For a year I wrote to her with hope, until she arrived last September, to be hope in my life.
In times of upheaval, being a mother is a living, permanent questioning.
And in a pandemic, what could I say?
We must learn to embrace uncertainty, a feeling that we all had to recognize in the last year and that seems overwhelming, but that must be accepted with joy and serenity. Somehow, not knowing where we are going ends up being an opportunity to build, listen, get to know, and discover other ways, other thoughts, other paths.
Irene Vallejo, a columnist for the El País Spanish newspaper, recently recalled Carmen Gaite in one of her articles, El Cuento de Nunca Acabar (The never-ending story), by quoting: “Getting into counting is like starting to sew; it’s going one stitch after another.” I remember that I read it out loud, as I read almost everything now, together with my daughter who accompanies me in the attentive reading, with a fixed gaze and sometimes trying to tell me something.
Starting to live, I think, is also like starting to count or to weave. And I repeat myself: “one stitch after another”.
Elena has started her life in times of collective uncertainty, in which emotions are very much alive and there are few moments of silence or reflection to understand everything. Talking to her, chatting when she is there, or remaining silent to observe nature, are my ways of telling her that she has already started to weave something. A life that I hope she will live with openness to what is different, with the sensitivity and inner eyes that reading or music gives us, with the excitement of a sunrise and hopefully with many conversations outside the social circles in which she moves as an adult.
What Elena is weaving, I hope, will be a free life. I would like her not to depend on my outlooks to be sure of hers, not to look for me to ask me what I think and to know what to think, but to find me to talk about what she believes, present her arguments, or confront my opinions.
Then, together we could start a conversation, which is what we need most right now. A sincere dialogue to recognize each other, all of us. To believe again.
What I will be in a few years, I would tell myself today: keep believing in what you believe in now, keep giving power to the word, keep trying to reconcile. Choose your discussions, learn from silence. Love and balance have a directly proportional relationship with what we say. Always keep speaking the truth.
That is to form a family, to share from contemplation, and to see the beauty in every sunset, in the sea, in the trees, in the air we breathe and in other people.