I just got home from a blind date.
I hadn't been on a blind date since I tried on-line dating a few years back. That was a miserable experience. And a lot of work. I had to try my hardest to be my best for a lot of people that I couldn't connect with. The last guy I went out with mocked my hometown, my profession, and my taste in music, then had the nerve to stick me with the bill. I vowed never to do it again. And since I met my husband, I assumed I wouldn't have to.
But after I gave birth to a daughter with a rare syndrome, my friend Anne set me up with a friend of hers who has a young son that also has a rare syndrome. Since I've been so emotional and scared, Anne thought it might help to talk with somebody who could relate to my unique experience. You know, be vulnerable with a stranger.
Opening up is hard for me to do with some of my closest friends. I wasn't sure how this was going to work. Still, I figured...why not? So I went out today to a German bar called Der Rathskeller in search of a woman named Katie. I found her. And I found quickly that--unlike my previous blind dates--I wasn't going to have to try hard to be my best. In fact, I was going to be able to cry big weepy mom tears just as easily as I could ask the waiter to bring another scotch and soda.
Everyone knows the classic ways to be fierce. Persevere. Stand up for what's right. Believe in yourself. The usual, admirable things.
But there is also strength in daring to expose our soft, fragile broken hearts.
My daughter Johanna has her first surgery this Tuesday at the Children's Hospital in Madison. I've read all the literature. I've spoken to all the nurses. I've done all the homework a person can do. I am ferociously educated. My head is prepared. But I haven't prepared in my heart. And it wasn't until today's blind date that I realized just how badly I needed to allow myself to feel the gamut of emotions that I have these days.
Before Katie left, she gave me a bracelet that she made for me to wear during Johanna's surgery. It's a gold band. She stamped into the gold metal "Though she be but little, she is fierce." I was so touched. Needless to say, I asked for Katie's number, and there will definitely be a second date.
Today, I cried tears that came from a place I didn't even know was hurting. I've acknowledged them. I've wiped them away. And now I'm ready to face what will no doubt be a scary week. Reader, I'm wishing you lots of strength for whatever challenges you will face in the coming days. Stay fierce. -Em