I buy them toys to asuage my guilt, a peace offering, a token. My love, made real, given purpose.
It’s not just guilt. I take time to pick out their wants, one of these for Vivian, to be built in 3 minutes flat. Some of these, to play with the almost forgotten Lite Brite (new from the thrift store, 3.00. Perfect find. I wanted one badly enough to taste it as a child. Never got one.)
The shining light in their eyes, the speed with which they run to the table, the “thank you!”, the hugs, the joy in their intent faces, I know it’s not just stuff as I fear. It does mean something, being able to provide, knowing that stuff, along with their mother, means something. The fact that I spent 20 minutes deciding what little thing would be best, they don’t need to know that.
Viv turns to me and says “The lite-brite stuff for Ros? That’s perfect for her. Thank you Mom.” She puts the little robot man together, takes him apart, together, apart, over and over. “He can hang out with my Bionicle” and they do.
It’s stuff. It’s 15 or so dollars, less than an hour’s wage for me, but sometimes, I know it’s more. I remember the time my mother bought those stupid expensive popsicles, because things were stressed and weird and I just needed to know what sometimes the magic things could show up at home. And sometimes they did.
This is what matters to me as a mother, as a parent. Being able to stretch out my fingers and make a rough week better. I don’t always have time, I don’t always have money. But sometimes I do, and the mess across the table just means my kids are doing what they should-being my kids.
I’ve been writing lately, and the words have been pouring from me, the story flowing outside my fingers, another child, this one growing on it’s own, growing like a weed, over taking my brain. It leaves me spacey and distracted, caught up in what if’s and maybe’s and how long her hair might be and why she might kill him and get away with it. The world builds itself in my head, the greens verdant, the sunlight flowing like rum.
It’s amazing after so long of nothing, of false starts, to feel like this time, it means it. This time the writing is real. it’s left me dry for most other things, the false starts of open browser windows or emails, emptied it seems. And perhaps that’s how it should be, all energies devoted to that one child, this one voice, this latent memory of future.
However it’s happening, it’s sweet like a plum and I’m savouring each bite.