It’s not a particularly happy song, but it has one of my favorite lyrics hidden towards the end of it. You get through the angst and sorrow of Flyleaf’s song I’m Sorry and there is the line, “This story ends so good.”
It’s not a clever lyric. It isn’t deep or existential. It isn’t even grammatically correct. But fifteen years after the first time hearing it, it sticks out in my mind.
This. Story. Ends. So. Good.
It’s important to understand, if you aren’t familiar with the song I’m talking about, that no other parts of this song lead the listener to believe that anything about this story could be good, let alone the ending. And aren’t we programmed to believe that bad and broken things will always be that way these days? Aren’t we prepared to hear that a story which starts out with lines like, “I’m not ashamed, Of that long December, Your hands coming down again, I close my eyes and brace myself…” ends tragically?
Have we forgotten that stories can end so good?
Or do we just write the end and forget it before we get to the good part? Maybe we’re too impatient. Maybe we stop the tape before we let it play all the way through.
My daughter will be fifteen tomorrow. I remember her birth as if it were yesterday, I remember not being able to see her because she wouldn’t cry, I remember her cord being in a knot, I remember a crash cart and yelling nurses and frantic people everywhere. I remember me asking everyone to stop stop stop, for someone to let me see my baby. I remember finally seeing her and feeling nothing but exhaustion and shame and pain. No euphoria, none of that New Mom Glow.
I remember people telling me how lucky I was. I remember people being more excited about my new baby than I was. I remember not sleeping. The crying. The colick that only Daddy could quell. Thoughts of throwing her off the roof. Thoughts of, “There is no way I can freaking do this, no wonder single moms or poor moms or moms with no support system drive their vans into rivers. I can’t even do this with a husband and other family members nearby. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME?!?”
I remember when she was a toddler, screaming for no reason I could discern, while I sat on the front porch and cried. I remember hearing about all these other new moms feeling so fulfilled and light and wonderful after giving birth. I remember thinking they must be lying. I remember hating myself for thinking that. I remember wondering what was wrong with me, if I was missing some integral part of my brain and I should be studied for science.
But, this story ends so good.
And I know it’s not really the end of this story, but it IS the end of the torment and the shame and the worrying about if I should have ever become a mother in the first place. Because my daughter will be fifteen tomorrow. And she is the coolest person I know. She speaks up even when her voice shakes. She likes Rage Against the Machine and Taylor Swift. She crawls into bed with me when she’s had a bad day, and she tells me all about her hopes and dreams for the future. Every day she is finding herself, and every day she lets me watch. She challenges me at every turn and still makes me cry sometimes, but I no longer wonder if I should have been a mother. I never wonder if I was wrong. I don’t worry about those first few minutes together and how they didn’t go the way we wanted them to, the way we expected them to. I try to tell other mothers who feel like they’re broken those first few days or weeks or even months and years… Just wait. This story ends so good.