This is a song off of the album Shakedown Street, released in 1978 (same year I was born!), and it’s a song that I personally overlooked. In fact, I had all but forgotten this gem. I downloaded the album, I once had it on cassette but who knows what became of that. I’ve recently “rediscovered” If I Had The World To Give and I love it. A song about love and wanting to give the world to the one you love. I see myself in this song, it instantly brings to mind a love that I have for my children.
“If I had the world to give
I’d give it to you – long as you live
Would you let it fall
or hold it all in your arms?
If I had a song to sing
I’d sing it to you – as long as you live
Lullabye – or maybe a plain serenade
wouldn’t you laugh, dance, and cry
or be afraid at the trade you made?
I may not have the world to give to you
but maybe I have a tune or two
Only if you let me be your world
could I ever give this world to you,
could I ever give this world to you
But I will give what love I have to give
I will give what love I have to give
I will give what love I have to give
long as I live
If I had a star to give
I’d give it to you – long as you live
Would you have the time
to watch it shine – watch it shine
or ask for the moon and heaven too?
I’d give it to you.
Maybe I’ve got no star to spare
or anything fine or even rare
Only if you let me be your world
would I ever give this world to you
could I ever give this world to you”
I love all five of my children equally, they each have a very special place in my heart. I’m choosing to focus this entry on my daughter Emily. I really wish I could share a picture of her beautiful face….but it’s actually in our court order that pictures may only be shared online to family/friends. As such, I’m sharing a picture that shows her doing something she loves but her face won’t be recognizable so as to stay safe within the guidelines of the court order.
Emily and share a love for horses. She also shows amazing natural talent riding. I remember once at a lesson with her first instructor Monique, she threatened (jokingly), to make Em trot Banjo with no stirrups. Now most children would loathe such a thing, it takes incredible leg strength and balance to do. Not my girl. She giggled at the idea, dropped her stirrups herself and commenced to asking that pony to trot and did a sitting trot without stirrups till her legs finally got tired. She’s amazing. I wish that I could afford to continue riding lessons for her, these pictures are several years old. She was scared of dogs when she was smaller yet she would willingly walk into a paddock with a Belgian mare who was 19 hands and hug whatever part of her she could reach. Of course, the mare was a gentle as they come and would welcome her visit because it typically meant a treat would follow.
Our relationship has suffered tremendously since I left her father. Due to the reasons I left her father, it has been a very difficult time for me and I haven’t been able to focus solely on her. I had the addition of the twins and a metric shit ton of PTSD “stuff” going on. The sexual assault my ex-husband committed against me sent me into a tailspin. Things and feelings I thought I had worked through from previous assaults came back full force. I made decisions that I would change if I could. I said things I can’t ever take back and I couldn’t be there for my girl 24/7 the way she needed. It was never because I didn’t want to or because I didn’t care or love her. I was overwhelmed. In fact, overwhelmed is quite an understatement. Before it was over, I would be homeless, shuffling from place to place, I lost my job at the hospital. I just couldn’t be what she needed. I will forever be sorry for that but I did what I had to do to save my life. Yes, it was that dire that I get away from that toxic man. Ultimately, he was given physical custody during the school year, despite being abusive. Emily is the only one of four children between us that he has not physically abused. Emotionally though, she’s been touched; Emily is a victim of his too. She has been led to believe the worst about me. She thinks I’ve stood her up for visitation and I have never done such a thing. She’s been told I’ve missed numerous visits for god knows why. I have missed visits, due to unavoidable things – my health (my diagnosis of an autoimmune thyroid disorder), the twins being sick/contagious, the death of my mother’s husband, no transportation…..things beyond my control. I asked for make up visitation each and every time and I was denied make up visitation each and every time by her father. It took me filing show causes with the court and a judge ordering him to allow me make up visits to change this. We had begun counseling with Emily’s therapist and mine, the four of us met a total of four times. I have always had difficulty communicating with Em’s counselor, I have never felt heard by that woman and it doesn’t seem to matter what angle I approach her, I’m wrong. I asked my therapist to join because I wanted to know if what I felt was real or just me being hypersensitive and defensive. This counselor of hers had submitted rather unfavorable reports to the courts about me and never even had the common courtesy to send me a copy as well. It seems as though it was not my imagination going wild with me, my therapist confirmed what I sensed. This woman (we’ll call her MG), MG completely ignores and overlooks anything I contribute. She has her mind set that I’m a terrible mom. It’s caused me a great deal of inner turmoil. This woman penned after four meetings that “…my assessment is that Cindy often times has difficulty seeing her daughter’s perspective and has trouble placing her child’s needs above her own”.
Wow. Just wow. I wonder if she would say the same if she had actually lived what I have? I wonder if she knows how I stood in front of a judge and her father in court and testified that I was unable to care for my daughter during visits because I literally didn’t have the money to buy extra food to feed her. At that time, the twins’ father and I didn’t eat most days. We spent what little income we had to provide for them. I cloth diapered to save money. I ate lunch at work most days, drug reps bring us catered lunches four days a week. I usually didn’t eat dinner because there wasn’t enough. I stood before that judge and told her my situation. I have never felt so low….but it wasn’t about me or my feelings, it was about what was best for Emily. I couldn’t feed her and I couldn’t keep her overnight for the very same reason. I didn’t have her room ready for her either. I lost pretty much all my furniture in a storage unit that I couldn’t pay for. Starting all over wasn’t easy or fast. I put her needs first. I knew I couldn’t provide for her and I was honest with the world about that fact. I wondered if MG knew about how my children have always been cared for before I have cared for myself. I was called “an insensitive caregiver” and “hurtful”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have nurtured all five of my children. It has always been a favorite thing to read to them, hold them, cuddle them; there is literally nothing else on earth that fill my heart with more love and joy. I’ve done the very best I could with the hand I was dealt. Emily and I used to be so incredibly close. I miss that so much. My heart aches for us to reconnect and grow. As of recent (the 21st of July), she has allegedly threatened to “punch me in the face” to get out of visitation. Granted, this was reported by my ex-husband who claims he heard her say it, truth is, I don’t really know. I didn’t ask her. I didn’t fear she would act out because she is not the child MG describes or her father describes when she is with me. She is completely polar opposite. That visit went very well, she was a joy to be with. We tried kayaking for the first time and then we hiked our favorite trail at White Oak Canyon.
This past Saturday I had another visit with her. This time it wasn’t as activity packed. We had quiet time at home with grandma and her twin brothers. I noticed from the moment I picked her up (literally, we didn’t get out of the driveway), her negativity. Not that she was negative about the visit or me or even herself….she just gushed out negative thing after negative thing about her dad and her paternal grandma. From the way grandma complained about the parking situation at her apartment and dad’s to grandma’s car and all the problems it has and all the complaining my child has overheard. We talked about the upcoming school year, she’ll be in 7th grade. She told me she was hoping to get drama and chorus this year as her electives. She liked playing bass, but she wasn’t the biggest fan of the band teacher so she decided to opt out of orchestra this year. We talked about school shopping and how book bags were not allowed in school; students are given a “book sling” to carry in between classes and book bags must stay in lockers at all times. I explained that it’s likely a safety measure (sad state when book bags are not permitted in schools because they may be used to carry weapons and/or drugs), to try to prevent school violence. She mentioned that she wanted to cut her hair but that her grandma wouldn’t agree to it. She said that grandma had told her it would ruin her beautiful hair if she cut it, layered it or dyed the bottom 2 inches or so of her hair blue. She has been trying to grow out her bangs for a couple of years now. She has said consistently that she never wanted bangs cut in the first place but that grandma told aunt Liz (who cuts her hair), to cut bangs and bangs happened. She was really upset about grandma telling her what she could and couldn’t do with her hair. I listened and agreed with her, she is nearly 12. She is perfectly capable of deciding what hairstyle she’d like to have. I told her she’d be the same beautiful girl with layered hair, blue hair, or bald. Hair doesn’t make her who she is, hair grows back and hair has never made the world go ’round. We arrived home, we hung out with the babies for a while; Liam LOVES his sissy. He grabs on to her and doesn’t want to let go. Cash was happy to see her too. As luck would have it, Liam had just completely blown out his diaper at the breakfast table and was in serious need of a bath. I excused myself, gathered up my poop covered little one and took him to the tub. When I finished bathing him, Emily opened the bathroom door and took Liam from my arms. He was still wet, wrapped in a towel. My mom asked me a question about Cash and when I returned to get Liam, I found that Emily had taken Liam into my bedroom dried him off and had begun to get him dressed. I didn’t ask her to, she did this on her own accord. It made my heart smile. There was a glimpse of the sweet girl I know and love so very dearly.
Emily and I tackled the task of shredding two humongous zucchinis I had been given at work. I cut the squash up into manageable pieces and she put them through the food processor. We sang and listened to music as we worked. My mom kept an eye on the twins for us so we could have some time together. By the time we finished it was time to figure out what to do for lunch. I asked her what she wanted for lunch. She rooted around, first in the fridge, then the freezer. She brought me a frozen pizza. I asked her if that’s really what she wanted. I told her I had some money and I’d happily take her out to eat if she wanted. She asked what her options were. I started naming off different places to eat around town. I asked if she really wanted pizza, that we could easily order it and have it delivered, Pizza Hut is right down the street and they deliver. She was silent. She just looked at me with a blank stare. Then it hit me. She is so accustomed to not being allowed to disagree. I know that feeling. I lived with her father for 17 years…..believe me, I KNOW that “I’m walking on eggshells” feeling all too well. I worked quickly to defuse the anxiety I knew she was feeling. I told her lunch made no difference to me at all, it was totally her call. I told her it was okay to not like or want Pizza Hut, it’s okay to tell me that, I wasn’t at all angry with her for voicing her opinion. I watched the tension melt off her face when she realized she was free to choose whatever she wanted. She decided on a place with a salad bar so that I could feed the boys something immediately and they wouldn’t be screaming until their food arrived. During lunch I got a call from the twins’ dad asking for my bank card because his wasn’t working. He was calling from a cell and his reception was not the greatest. I asked him where he was, he didn’t hear me. I repeated “where are you”, this time louder but by no means yelling. I saw from the corner of my eye when my voice changed her looking up alarmed. She’s hypervigilent, I took note. The sound of me raising my voice caught her attention and again, I saw the anxiety. We finished lunch, took the boys home for a nap and Emily and retreated to the kitchen to bake. Once again, my sweet girl and I were in the kitchen together, creating. She decided to take on stirring. One batch of bread can get tough, we had doubled the batch so that I could send a loaf home with her for my son Alex. She handed over the spoon when I got to cup number 5 of flour, “It’s all you now momma,” she said as she laughed. It had gotten super hard to stir and keep the contents of the bowl inside the bowl. Once all six loaves of bread were in the oven to bake, she and I painted rocks. In the background my mom had on a PBS station. According to the TV guide, a bluegrass band she liked would be playing on the channel. The guide was wrong; in the background was talk of meditation and mindfulness. Emily wasn’t really watching what was on, but she was obviously listening. She said “I sure wish I could get my brain to be quiet for a minute or two every day!” Haha! Momma has been meditating on the regular now and practicing mindfulness each day. Here’s my chance to teach her how to quiet her mind. I told her she totally could quiet her mind, she just needed to learn how to harness that power. So maybe next visit, we’ll learn a little about meditation.
I took the loaves out of the oven, and out of the pans to cool. As I stood in the kitchen with my back turned, I felt her arms wrap tightly around my waist as she hugged me from behind. I sent her home with a big loaf of bread for her, and I wrapped on in foil for Alex. Alex is away this week with his older brother Austyn. So I asked Emily to make sure she helped dad remember to put Alex’s bread in the freezer for him so that it would be fresh for him when he returned. It was important for her to see me acting out of love for Alex, as he hasn’t spoken to me for several years. I love him….I miss him terribly and when the time is right, I know he’ll come around again. When he does, I’ll be there waiting. Her grandma picked her up at the conclusion of the visit. She hugged and kissed everyone goodbye and was on her way.
I was utterly exhausted from my visit with her. I wasn’t exhausted because it was a physically challenging day like our kayaking and hiking trip. I was exhausted because I am an empath. I absorb other’s energy….good, and bad. It takes a lot out of me to be around someone who is vibrating at a lower frequency than they should. I felt her anxiety. I felt her helplessness at the situation with grandma and her hair. I felt the toll of the constant negativity and toxicity she is surrounded by daily. I had to take pretty much all day Sunday to recharge my batteries from the time I spent with her. Upon reflecting on it further, I think my place now is to heal me so that I can be all that she needs me to be for her. I can provide a place of love, peace, acceptance, happiness and joy for her by focusing on my own energy and thought patterns. I look forward to helping her learn that she can be at peace in spite of all that goes on around her. I want her to know she is a warrior. Everything she needs to conquer life’s challenges, she already possesses. She is strong, she is incredibly resilient and she is loved more than she will ever realize. I know my girl has been through hell. I wish I could change that and take every ounce of pain away but I can’t. Her journey is hers. It is my job to walk along beside her every single step of the way and let her know she is never alone. I haven’t given up fighting for her yet and I never will. For my love is real, not fade away. ❤