This poem was presented to my daughter Cassia Remy Carnell on the last day of school 28th November 2019.
One last moment
The moment she walks through the school gate
For the last time.
School shoes from Year 7
Flung skyward to the nearest power line.
Abandoned in defiance, elation, completion.
I don’t need to hold it together anymore.
Bursting with this crazy
Demented love I feel for her.
It’s the one last moment where 16 years
Of being there ready to catch
What is thrown
What never comes my way
All back up behind this aching point
And now it’s over, it’s pure relief.
Students streaming through the tunnel of love.
We are frayed at the edges,
But still willing to keep becoming undone.
In this one heartbreaking moment
I let go of protecting her from
Dropping the ball.
Trusting my flawed mothering
Will help her to pick up the things that
Really matter to her.
To find her voice, her stride
Her reach into discomfort and fear.
I let go of 16 years of
Where’s your lunchbox?
Where’s your hat and sun cream?
Why all these capital letters and full stops?
Small things that made trust look fragile
All mean nothing now.
In this one last moment,
I let go of the biggest fear
That came in a dream.
There’s no protecting her from the violent
Of fear and pain the world has become.
That it will eat her spirit alive.
But I know her heart is too big
Her space for love too vast.
I see in her courage.
Excitement, anticipation of life
Beyond the gate.
And the sadness, aloneness.
The scattering of friends entwined so closely.
Now blown by the wind
To places beyond her.
In this one last moment
The reports don’t matter the grades don’t matter.
It’s the effort she took
To remove the blocks
To feeling vulnerable.
To see the unseeable
Say the unsayable.
Allowing life to penetrate her marrow.
Pain becomes her teacher.
Brittle teachers, beautiful teachers, brutal teachers.
All the same and one.
Held up a mirror to humanity.
Taught her by default better ways to be in the world.
She is wise beyond her years for this game of school.
But in this one last moment
On the other side of the school gate
She is still a child of the Universe
Holding her queen, ace and joker close to her heart
Uncertain which to play first.
But it doesn’t matter sweetheart.
Know that you made it.
I made it.
We made it.