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My new tattoo, let me show it to you

13 Mar

So, this picture is shitty since the camera on my phone is shitty, but I hope to have a good picture sometime tomorrow to replace this with. Good picture now. 🙂

I’m just so fucking happy with this that I MUST squee now.

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Brandon at Kustom Thrills Tattoo in Nashville did this for me tonight. The price was incredibly reasonable for the absolute kickassness of this piece. I’m over the moon I’m so happy. It’s like he knew exactly what I was thinking of without me having to actually say it. I’m so overwhelmed by how much I like this.

So glad I didn’t go back to the place in the Armpit that ripped me off last time. This piece is quality-and did I mention that it’s also a coverup? It’s the last piece I wanted to do for my mother, and it being this fantastic makes it mean even more.

Having a tattoo artist that didn’t spend his time trying to make me feel inferior, and having a shop full of artists who were friendly and open made all of the difference. I’ve never been so pleased with anything. I’ve already warned him I’ll be coming back next time I’m here. Check out their gallery on their site-really awesome stuff.

So happy…….

Love, My daughter, Love

6 Mar


Originally uploaded by thordora

In the late afternoon Sunday of a winter you’ll never remember I took this. Your soft eyes glancing downwards, the pointed button of your nose giggling before you, lips caught.

The sun reaches out to catch you, to caress you, much as my hands do from time to time, lingering on the soft baby cheek, that softness which recedes a little more each day, into memory, into a blue bin kept in the basement, between fragile christmas ornaments and first sleepers.

You turn three in a few days. You cross the threshold from baby to child, that precarious world of “preschooler”-not the toddler you were, yet not the child you will be. Such rare magic this year will hold, and I will miss it. Your frustrations have nothing on your incredible fascination. How you see to world-the babbling brook of conversation with your tiny superheroes in that tent Poppi bought you, the lectures heaped on Teddy 2.0….all worlds condense to one for you-the four walls of our home, the harsh brick that warms you, lets the sun in.

You are incredible in your ordinariness. Where Vivian did nothing the books and charts told us, you follow them, a train on schedule. There’s a certain type of magic in this-pedestrian predictability. A comfort. You are exactly what should be.

And this-maybe this is what I love the most. You are so certain of YOU-no questions, no deviations just stubborn, gonna do it my way you. A you I am proud of and driven crazy by in equal amounts.

It’s Love Thursday, whatever that means, and I remembered how you were howling Ros, wanting juice as I had to run out the door, after I had already given you the exact juice you wanted in the exact cup you wanted.

And I laughed a little at this just now. At your insanity and how someday, you won’t need us, not like this. Someday the sighs will descend and the “fine…..” routine will come to town and I’ll remember a little girl who couldn’t tell us what it is she wanted so badly and I’ll remember a little girl who won’t let me out the front door with anything less than 5 kisses.

Your arms daughter, entwine my heart. It is yours.

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”

14 Feb

I never ever imagined I’d grow up and fall in love.

Just like the white picket 2.5 kids white dress dog story didn’t fit into my worldview, neither did falling in love. Rather, I couldn’t imagine someone would fall in love with me, or even fall in lust. I trusted no one, and kept myself closed off.

We met first when I was 15 I guess, wrote letters, visited when we could. Slowly, with time, something grew.

I felt it the first time we met really, me scatterbrained and sitting at the GO stop, waiting, my giant bag that always smelled inexplicably of salami behind me. He swung into a parking lot, opened the car door, and I knew. I just knew.

He who had been part of me forever, maybe before, was standing there saying hello. But not in a sudden shock to the system, mindfuck kind of way. In a quiet, “I know you” way.

My body, my mind, my heart recognized him, and was quietly comfortable with him in that first moment. Every inch of my body yearned to reach out for his-it was like it already knew how.

But of course, I was only 15 or 16 and he had a girlfriend. It was almost painful to watch, but I never imagined we’d be anything more than friends. We lived apart. I pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind.

a while later, in Guelph, in this horrible dirty house he lived in with an old man who loved Abba and hacked his lungs out every 5 minutes, a klepto and a schizophrenic who stared at my tits, you could feel it rising. A tension, an urge, a line we wouldn’t cross. Again-time and roads and life got in the way. I felt I couldn’t, I should make that move, reach out and finally touch him, really touch him as I’d been wanting to do for so long. I ached for him in some ways, my body aware that he knew me already-that we were merely waiting for each other.

Finally, one March, something happened. Events conspired and brought us together-a week spent sleeping little, but finally acknowledging something we both knew was there. His skin was like butter, sweet and soft and I will remember forever the feel of my lips on his that first time. That first kiss…was everything, that and his lips upon my neck.

I had fallen deeply, and honestly in love with him.

It took him a little longer to realize this, but it’s ok. He’s male.

This year marks 10 years of marriage, 11 years of being together. 11 years with the same person. 11 years with someone I love more today than I did then.

I love him more because of who he’s helped me to be. He has stood fast against the face of my illness. He has held my daughters late nights as babies, as I slept away my terrors. He’s wiped my tears and helped me to the bathroom when weak. He makes me laugh, hard from the belly like Kenny vs Spenny, even when I don’t want to laugh.

He’s walked a path lately that was incredibly hard for him, but he did it. And I am so very proud of him. He spends his days with our daughters, showing them what a man should be, watching them grow up and become children, later, women.

He thinks of me when I’m not around. He tells me that, and I feel warm and full.

He makes me happy, even if I sometimes forget to tell him.

I feel lucky to have found the person I believe “fits” me, completes me. Even the thought of him not being there scares me more than anything else in this world. I see us growing old together, holding our grandchildren together and sitting on our porch, bitching about kids today.

I look forward to every second.

Baby, I love you.

Happy Valentines Day.

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“The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory.”

20 Jan

As I sat, folding laundry this morning, I stared over at my kids, at Rosalyn transfixed by Wonder Pets, Vivian attempting to help me fold. It occurred to me that despite my having no real memories of that period of my life, my mother still did all the work.

She listened to the screaming. The whining. Did the potty training, tried to get me excited for new foods. She helped me learn to dress myself, learn to talk, learn to read. She wiped away the tears when I fell down, she praised me when I did something new.

And I remember none of it. My girls, will remember little if none of it.

Vivian is finally entering an age where memory will start to be retained. She also has a memory like a steel trap. She still remembers, vividly, dislocating her elbow when she was 2 or so, not even 2 if I remember correctly. It was that scary and painful that she can still speak to in in detail. But now, the mundane will be collected and stored for later, and I find myself wondering just what she’ll remember. Will she remember all 4 of us on the couch, watching a movie? Will she remember my threats to throw her father’s (clean) underwear on her head fondly? Will she remember the perogies she had for lunch?

I can’t control what she remembers, what she keeps for later. But I know how much I mourn not having those memories, and not having someone around to help reinforce what little I have. I don’t know what’s real, and what’s fantasy in many cases, because it only involved my mother and I, and I can’t validate it. So I try hard to make moments that will impress themselves upon her, shared giggles, the warmth of a shared need for contact, a look in the eye together. A bond that maybe even death could never shake free.

Because I worry about death. Not obsessively, not like I once did, but I still worry “What if?” What if I die before they’re old enough. What if I leave them without me, without my words and arms to remind them of how much I loved them, here and now. What if they never hear my voice as adults. What if…

I can’t build a life on what if, but I can prepare for all contingencies. So I do. So we sit and tell stories, we tickle, we love, we appreciate, awake and aware, what we have right now, so that maybe, we won’t forget when we’re older.

Questions about Bipolar can drive you batty.

18 Jan

Sara asks how I deal with the innumerable pain in the ass questions that surround bipolar.

If you aren’t crazy, let me introduce you to the life of a bipolar.

We never just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. If we’re cranky, there must be a reason. The drugs must not be working. We must have forgotten them, or stopped taking them. We must have been drinking the night before.

We’re never happy. If we’re bouncing around the house, singing, we’re asked if we remembered to take our drugs. If we’re whistling at work, we’re asking what the hell we’re so happy about, asked if we stopped taking our meds. We’re asked to stop being so bloody annoying, and gee, are you sure the drugs are working?

It’s hard enough handling the mood swings. Having the added benefit of doubt surrounding you really puts the icing on a shitty cake.

What some people don’t seem to realize is that even on drugs, one will still experience the full “bipolar express” that they did before. Only it will be something you can deal with. Sadness will be just that-sadness, and it won’t descend into suicidal thoughts. I will still get a little manic, just not to the point of draining my bank account or talking all day long.

I am still entitled to my emotions. I am still entitled to a full range of life as a human being. Just like all of you.

Truth be told Sara, I don’t handle it well at all. I get pissy, and annoyed. BUT, on the other hand, I have gone off my meds before, and it’s pretty much the thing that precipitated my hospitalization. So I’m not exactly trustworthy all the time anyway. But I get nervous when my husband gives me the eye and wonders if I need my dose upped. I start to wonder if there is something wrong with me, with the me that’s inherent in this body, and I start wondering if he’s trying to cover it by encouraging me to ask about having the levels adjusted. Then I get sad, because honestly, I don’t know who “I” am at this point.

That’s what bothers me the most. The feeling that everyone else knows who I am more than me. I’m a different person in my head constantly, a nattering mess in my brain. But they have the benefit of the relative silence of my external self, and I don’t.

Most of the time though, I don’t get many questions. You may have noticed that I’m a tad bit vocal about my illness, and this does transfer into my real life. I will tell even if you haven’t asked. I am not ashamed of my illness, and I am very open with the people around me, even if it makes them uncomfortable. They wouldn’t act weird if I had cancer, and I wouldn’t hide that either.

I found the best defense is offence. I’ll let Mogo know, repeatedly, that I will never be 100% normal. EVER. (Not that I ever was) I will still get moody, especially around my period. (HOOOO dog does that SUCK now that I can tell the difference!) If I’m manic, I’ll try and warn him-it’s usually been helped along by too little sleep, too little exercise and too much coffee.

There’s a healthy dose of “in one ear and out the other” as well. I can’t get mad at his concern, not truly. This is a man that stuck by someone who has been continuously suicidal, full of rage and meanness for the last 3 years, someone who was depressive and mood swingy even before descending into the maelstrom. He has weathered this with me, and is entitled to his concerns. Because sometimes it’s scary, wondering if it’s just a glitch, or if the meds have stopped working.

That thought gives me nightmares. The thought of going back to how it was, to the volatile madness that was my life and myself. We wouldn’t make it through that again, and I think we both know it. His vigilance is security, really.

Keeping it in the context of “they love me, they care, and they want to help” is likely the only way to preserve your sanity. Because they do. The people who surround us truly love us, or they would never, in a million years, have stuck with us for so long.

To Rosalyn on a Thursday

10 Jan

You wrap your tiny, perfect little arms around my neck, like pincher’s, clinging softly, not desperate, but like a craving, scrambling higher and higher up my body, until your warm head fits snugly in the crook of my neck.

You hair is soft, freshly washed, your body retaining a little, just a little, of that baby softness. It’s outgrowing this weakness, but still, around the back, I can find it, and I draw lazy circles as we sit, you recent from the bath, still dripping in some places, and I perched in that spot you dropped the water, nose to your brow, drinking you in.

I want to freeze you intact in this place; your limbs, stretching from baby to child, your curious, 70% cocoa eyes, that mouth which bubbles and brims with thoughts, ideas, loud words, wants, quests. I want to trap your giggles in a margarine bucket, opening slightly at the edges when I’m 40, and you’re being, well, difficult, so I can remember today, so I can remember you smooth arm and chubby fingers stretching around my neck, so I can remember the joy which shoots like beams from your eyeballs as we tickle you.

“I want it! I want it!” you scream in any direction, any room in which your sister has the discourtesy to touch something. She capitulates in most cases, the path of least resistance, or at worst, the path that leaves ones eardrums intact.

You are the baby. I stare at you, straining to remember this age with Vivian, this almost 3 time, and I can’t. She was not you-she was so completely and utterly different. Mature somehow, older. You’ve been left to ripen longer, left to explore the outer reaches of toddlerhood without our impatience for what’s next to disturb you.

I watch you cling to your father as you do me, the same, but different. As girls are wont to cling to their daddies, you dangle yourself across his chest, nuzzling his neck, your eyes closed. Sweet, peaceful contentment, in the warmth of a father’s arms.

Stop growing my honey bear. I cannot stand the thought of losing the you who is here with us now.

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Morning.

9 Nov

This morning, the sun broke through my windows like a thief, quietly, shifting upwards almost imperceptibly, until it was shining in their eyes.

My messy haired daughters, wrinkly pajamas, sleep filled eyes. They sit playing, almost silently, lighting up as I turn the corner to wish them good morning. How happy they are to see me-like they haven’t seen me for days.

I raspberry a belly. Suddenly, two shirts are held up, giggles held in, barely, saying “please Mommy, me too”. Their laughs are like crystalline daggers in my heart.

It’s a beautiful morning.

“Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.”

1 Nov

My earliest memory of my mother is one of fire.

When I was just a bit older than 2, the church up the street from our house went up in flames. Being a regular small town gal, my mother dragged me along to watch the flames. I remember staring from the other side of the street as the structure went down.

After that, I don’t remember anything until I was 5 or so, and someone was at our house to evaluate me for school, testing and talking. I wore a red and blue dress that my mother had made.

I remember flames, I remember dresses, and yet I hardly remember my mother’s face.

I wasn’t born to this mother. I was given, and received. A gift, a long awaited, joyous arrival. Something special. I was told repeatedly throughout my childhood that I was different, and special. That I was chosen. That I was wanted.

My childhood was full of the knowledge that I was loved. I can think of nothing better. But the trouble is, often I can’t remember being loved-I don’t remember hugging my mother, I don’t remember being affectionate at all with her, aside from cuddling up with her to look at the Sears catalogue on grey Saturday mornings. I can’t remember hearing her say she loved me, although clearly it didn’t matter.

I don’t remember the little things, mostly. I remember that she loved her tea milky with lots of sugar, and I’d drink the little tiny bit she’s leave cold in her teacup. I remember that she didn’t like color on her nails, preferring clear polish. She had a fork that she preferred. But what I don’t remember, or really even know, is who SHE was. Why did she take me to that fire so young? Why was it important to go?

I found drawings once that my mother had done, before my father threw everything out. She could enlarge almost anything by hand, and had a great talent for pencil drawings. Did she dream of doing anything with it? Or was she happy living in the shadow of my father’s incredible but wasted talent for painting and sculpting? What were her dreams?

Surely she didn’t want to be sewing hems forever, as she did to bring in extra money. Years after she died, people would come to the house looking for Dianne to alter their pants. Usually I’d be the one at home to tell them she was dead, had been dead for years. Did she touch people that much that they’d remember her after all that time? Was that what she wanted her legacy to be?

I want her voice back. I want to hear it again. I want her soft arms to encircle me, I want to smell her perfume. I want to play in her closet again and sit under her dresses, stare up at her jewelry. I want to pin together all the pieces and cobble up a full mother. I want to look back into the face that I love and meet her head on, as her daughter, as a mother.

My father tells me she would be proud of me. He reminds me often that she loved me. But she didn’t know me anymore than I knew her.

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.”

29 Oct

Somedays, I’ll be sitting there at work, and I’ll think of him. I’ll think of my husband and his strong soft hands, his kind laughing brown eyes, his awesome rear end and I’ll smile. I’ll grin, and I’ll feel that quiver all over again-the quiver I felt years ago, so many years past, when we were just young and I was a wild mess of adolescent rage and he was just alone in a small town making music. That quiver which pierced my heart when I was just a girl.

I didn’t intend on falling in love-not ever. I had distanced myself from those needs, even so young I was walled off and had my defenses set to stun, phasers! I told myself that life alone would be ok. I’d have cats and vacations, lots of breakable things and curry. The walls of my home would be multi-colored and jewelled.

I wrote him a letter after reading his in a magazine, purchased on a long drive north to a town on Lake Superior, a grief stricken move, a father, a daughter, me high on codeine after having my tonsils out 2 days prior. I read his letter and something quivered and twinged and I wanted to write him.

And yet…that letter became lost, lost in my room, a cavernous void, a mess that could suck dry a household. I didn’t think of it again until months later, I found it behind a dresser. I sat down on my floor and stared at it. I opened it up to read it, to see if it still represented me. I sealed it up again, and mailed it that day.

Months later, letters later, I called him. I’d be travelling near him-did he want to meet?

And we did. I got off the Go bus and waited near some crappy little store, leaning on the phone booth when he pulled up in his parent’s Olds. I met his eyes, and I felt like he was an old friend I hadn’t seen in years back for a visit. A moment of spark. A second of history I couldn’t account for. But I knew him. Somehow, I knew him, my body knew him.

A vague craving for him sprung up inside me which I quickly dampened. I had renounced all these things and besides-years of being told I was unattractive had taught me a lesson about that. I packed away my own desire, and only felt it pine once as he held his girlfriend in a pool and they laughed and laughed.

Time passed, I moved, moved again. We’d meet now and then, and I’d still feel it. I’d feel the desire I had for him, the unexplainable need to be with him. We could talk for hours, never feeling uncomfortable or strange. It really was like we’d known each other forever. I visited him in a scummy rooming-house in Guelph, slept on the floor near his bed, wishing he’d lay with me. Feeling him near me, and yet knowing it just wasn’t right. Not then.

My last year of high school, I visited on break in March. We stayed up night after night, talking, smoking weed-I got to the point where I was completely mad from lack of sleep. And one night we kissed. One night, his lips trailed fire up my neck and I felt the warm embrace of the one thing I never thought I’d find-love. It filled me inside, it boiled over into everything I touched as I waited for the year to play out, and for my life with him to begin.

And it did, as all things do. And ten years later, I am still madly in love with him, he who is now my husband, he who I am tied to with many bonds. When I let him, he heals me. My heart aches for him, and he soothes it. His laugh is gentle, and he cannot bear to see me suffer.

Some-days I sit around and think of him and laugh. I just cannot believe that I deserve such a blessing.

False Alarm. Please return to your seats.

18 Oct

So of course, after a day filled with “Holy shit, what’s wrong with my body” Aunt Flo returned to the scene of the crime.

But something is weird. I am NEVER late. While I don’t track to exact days, I know by feel when it’s time. And it was time. It’s like in The Red Tent when they talk about a hot womb. I can feel when it’s time to shed.

And to answer a comment on the other post, sadly I wouldn’t be excited about being pregnant. It would end in termination. I would not be able to survive another pregnancy, not after Rosalyn. I’ve never experienced being excited about being pregnant-I’ve always wondered what that would be like. My own pregnancies were filled with many emotions-excitement generally wasn’t part of it.

It might be the lithium, although I haven’t found any literature supporting any links. It might be stress, since I’ve been kinda stressed out over the last little while. Could be age-could be anything.

I just thought I’d be past the worries. Guess not huh?

My lullaby

3 Sep

My mother was dying the Christmas of 1988, I just didn’t know it then.

Just like I’d never gone, I knew the song
A young girl with eyes like the desert

That Christmas I remember for 3 things.

  • The softness of the clothing. My father went out of his way to find soft accessible clothing for my swollen, sore mother. It was all some version of pastel in my mind.
  • My grandparents and Aunt were there. We never had company for Christmas. Ever. We never went anywhere for Christmas. Ever.
  • Feeling oh so grown up from the camisoles my mother bought me.

My mother had decided that it was time to show me how to be a woman. We had previously gone to the snooty ladies dress shop to look for underthings for me. I was growing up. Things were sprouting.

I was excited. My mother was finally looking at me as a person. I was slightly unnerved by the look in her eye at times, the look of sadness, watching her ponder me. But I chose to ignore it as I fingered the expensive dresses, linen, lace, the tender tootsie shoes in rainbow colors. All the pieces of woman my mother stood like. Her staunch, classic face, which grew more and more pained and morose as time wore on.

My memories of my mother do not include smiles. Not near the end.

I prayed that the days would last
They went so fast

Christmas morning was a mess of presents, but only after church. The adults had gone to midnight mass, as was the tradition in our house, that beautiful service of dark skies and stars, the cold snap of air as the bells rang through the night. My mother however, had no energy for that, so we instead went to the morning mass, the restrained impatient one. I had no desire to go. I wanted to stay and open the massive haul of presents under the tree, the one that comes from having extra relatives in the house.

I don’t remember the service, but I imagine it was like every other one in that massive, lovely church I grew up in. The choir singing to burst their hearts, the light lilt of peace and faith hovering over heads. My mother’s face, seemingly pain free as she reveled in the glory and wonder of her own personal god. My mother believed. She really did. No matter how sick, how tired she was, she dragged her bones to church, with me in tow generally. Her eyes would be transfixed on the altar, and many times, they would bring the host to her. She wanted so badly to be healed.

When we returned home, we opened everything. There was a small look of sadness on my mother’s face, seeing that nothing my father had purchased would fit. The look of pleasure and pain, all at once. Pleased that he had thought of her. Upset that he would be sad that he didn’t get it right. Looking back, I know they knew then what they pretended wasn’t going to happen. There was no remission. There was only waiting.

I want to be where the sun warms the sky
When it’s time for siesta you can watch them go by

 

My mother never wavered. She never showed pain, not to me. Discomfort, frustration, the obvious irritation and sadness at making her daughter, her young daughter help her get her boots on and off and carry her bowls of vomit. But she never really let me see what was happening.

Christmas morning, I received 2 camisoles that signalled my entrance into womanhood, my baby steps there. I pranced around my room, listening to the radio on my new tiny boom box, singing, taping things just because I could, back when you had to tape songs off the radio. A song came on that I would carry in my heart the rest of my life, because my mother stood watching me as I sang it.

Tropical the island breeze
All of nature wild and free
This is where I long to be

Immerse yourself in love.

15 Aug

Years ago it seems, I was living on my own in a city I loved passionately for awhile, surrounded by people who lived their lives in a way I wasn’t used to, people who tasted the world around them with all their senses.

I loved it. I did more living in that year than I did in many others since. It was magical-being 16 or 17, on my own, running the streets. What I remember most about that year was how the streets always seems to be wet-that reflective autumn wet that smells of growth. It was a warm winter, and we walked for hours and hours.

I spent many of those hours by myself, listening to music. I remember vividly the first time I heard this song-all my defending Radiohead suddenly made sense. I saw in my mind something I hadn’t seen before. How lovely and heartbreaking and breathtaking a song really could be. I felt in my lungs the note that would be carried through life, the beginning, the end, my own wonder at life, my own wonder at myself and everything that sprung up around me.

It was an incredible year that I carry with me everywhere.

Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder.

12 Aug

Someone asked me in an email if I found being the mom of “A kid” weird.

I do, kind of. It’s odd after years of haunting the baby aisles to know that I don’t need to anymore. New bottles appear. Cute outfits come and go. I find myself crawling up the store into new areas, legs stretching to find where my oldest daughter now fits. I mourn silently the baby time I have lost. It’s a new place this type of motherhood.

As a new mother, you wander streets and malls with the same tired eyes, floppy deflated bread tummy, hopeful grin. You meet the eyes of other first timers, and share a moment of wonder, a look that says in one second “I know exactly what you’re going through, and it sucks but we’ll get through it” like the baby confers ESP. You pass along coupons in the diaper aisle, recommend wipes and new ideas for stimulating play. You have something to day. You’re scared and excited, all at once, and you’re young. Oh so very young, fresh.

Now I look at new mother’s and wonder if I was ever that young and fragile looking, that tired and washed up. I’m a soldier on her 2 tour surveying the fresh troops. I envy them the knowledge they don’t have-the newness awaiting them. But I don’t envy the fear, or the lonliness, or the long days and nights of nothing working and nothing good to say.

Today, the mother of a “kid” and a toddler turning into a preschooler, I hardly recognize myself in them. It’s only been 4 years, and I marvel at this. 4 years have changed me so utterly, altered my being and my sense of space in so many ways. 4 years have matured me in ways impossible without children. I have become responsible not just for another life, but for another person. Who they become, the values they hold, how they treat others, that is MY doing. Which is why I’m now just as terrified as a new mother. I can break them in such subtle ways now. In hindsight, cuddling a baby for hours to help them sleep is a breeze compared to talking down a “kid” having a meltdown while the toddler decides to join the fun. It’s hard work to be understanding and calm some-days.

I’m not my mother-I’m something else entirely. I’m my own person. My girls clamber for me-last night, after the excitement of the day, they wouldn’t go to sleep, and Rosalyn needed a few moments of Mommy alone. And with her head tucked under my chin as we watched Dirty Jobs (ooh! Alpaca’s!) I remembered how fleeting my girls are, how nearly invisible they are in the long span of time. Today they play hide and seek and pretend. Tomorrow they might be choosing a trade or backpacking through South America.

It’s all new once again. And I’m glad. I could use a spit shine.

Let’s give Mogo props…

8 Aug

for being the sweetest and sending me orchids, my favorite flower, for no good reason other than to cheer me up.

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I love them baby. Thank you. You totally just cheered me up.

For this moment forever sing for my darling that I love you.

19 Jul

From time to time, my heart aches and burns. It ebbs and flows, moves from me through diaper changes, time outs, the constant muddle of cleaning up, toys in the box again.

Before I had children, I felt nothing like this, nothing nearing the grasping power that my heart now holds. I was never this joyous, or scared. I was never this *here*.

Kate at Sweet/Salty started a….conversation the other day that took on a life of it’s own and polarized people on two ends almost accidentally.

She stated something many of us feel to be a truth as a parent-that you do not feel pain as a parent as you do when child free.

I feel this to be truth.

If you read the comments, all 121 of them, you’ll hear the screeching of the childfree saying “I’ve felt pain! I’ve suffered!” as if it’s a competition to beat out the mother mourning her child. “We’re people too! US! US! It’s not fair! What about us? You’re so MEAN to us! How dare you call us pussies, directly, or by implication.”

My heart flutters and sighs, because I know. How I know.

Before children, that time that seems forever and a few minutes ago, I hurt. I felt the pain of losing my mother, the pain of being abused, the pain of being the daughter of an alcoholic, the suffering of being a crazy person who didn’t know they were crazy. I felt it, a numbing vapo-rub kind of pain. Life was lived in pastel. I slept late and ate take out. I dreamed of a life lived only for me, and that was just fine.

Then I accidentally had a child, then another. And my heart bloomed, opened up, unfolded. It became bigger, it became more than it was. And suddenly, it understood.

You don’t get why your parents get so mad at you sometimes, not until you’ve really worried about your child. Sure, I worried about my mother when she was sick, but nothing will ever compare with the time Vivian had a seizure, and I panicked and just sat their crying and screaming and begging her to breathe, willing her to not die-my mind screamed in purple YOU CAN’T DIE! The fear choked me, surrounded me, like a cloak. I had felt nothing like this ever before. I realized then two things-losing my child would kill me, and that I loved her with every inch of my being. I had a passion for my daughter.

Maybe it’s biological, which would make sense. But out of all the experiences I have had, none have burned as brightly as the love I hold for my children. Do those who haven’t experienced it claim their love or loss is just as valuable or strong because they cannot be undone? Or because they truly believe, as I did, that they couldn’t feel anything the way that parents described? I never anticipated this-I “pshawed” all the cooing “you  just wait” mothers who surrounded me-what did they know about my heart?

But oh. Oh oh oh oh. There is a density to the love you hold for a child, a willfulness that IS different from what you feel for other things. I adore William Carlos Williams, ripe peaches, perfect starry nights. My chest swells with these things. I have felt the loss of many things, crushed from my grasp so often. And yet nothing, absolutely nothing can come anywhere near the flush love I hold for my girls.

Our lives hold stages, and pardon me for stealing from Wicca, but I firmly believe that we move through Maiden, Mother, Crone. What I felt as a maiden is nothing I feel like a mother. They are different people, as Crone Thordora will be different again. I do not measure them against each other anymore than I explain music to the deaf. But I will revel in Mother me, and learn to love the Crone I am to become.

Or maybe it’s just that before kids we think we know everything, and after, we come to realize that when you can’t make a 8 pound infant stop crying, you really know nothing at all.

To my daughter, named in dream.

12 Jul

There are drawings in the notebook I have written this in, drawings my eldest daughter has left me. The heads are far too large, bloated even, but the arms and eyes are just right, perfectly placed almost, dimensions as they should be.

With these drawings I hold in my hands a memory I will never lose, a memory of irrevocable times, of words she’ll only say correctly from here on out, thoughts she’ll have beyond the pricelessness of her youth. How sparse! How magical-how brief and melting are these days.

As a newborn, an infant, I listened to her squalling with the frustration and helplessness of my youth, my inexperience. I pleaded with her nightly to stop screaming, to let me know, to tell me, hell, to turn colors so I’d know what it was that she needed, what it was that I was doing wrong. Her snurgles late at night as she slept, her broad smiles in the early morning, her disdain for closeness-all things I thought would never end, that I would never find the answer to.

Yet here we are. Here I sit, thoughts meandering to late night baths, lavender lotion slathered on chubby unused baby legs, the desperate coos of the of a young mother trying to entertain a cold, wet unimpressed infant. Bottles by the sink for 4 am feedings, spent torn between annoyance and awe. Your lips would droop as you fell off into sleep, your stomach filled, until the nipple popped from your mouth and your grip on my finger lessened. Only my arms to guide you gently back to sleep.

I grow weak for those moments, those days. I want to beg for a do-over, another chance to get it right, to appreciate and enjoy, to love you as you weren’t, to love you for what you were, not what you some day would be. To love you. To love the daughter I had given myself, the one who named herself in my dreams.

Soon, too soon Vivian, you will turn 4. The heads you draw will become smaller, more expected. Perhaps your grin will not be so broad for me. Your world will hurtle outwards into space, time, into the lessons that make up a life.

I am sad, and yet hopeful.

It is the mother’s place to hold tightly to the past-once the demands have lessened, she can stop and remember the coy moments spent laying on the spare bed, playing with the littlest of toes instead of remembering the innumerable loads of laundry. She can finally stop and recall the excitement of the new. How truly soft your cheeks really were.

I don’t sit sadly, maybe crying because I miss you already. It’s not because I am sad to lose you, as all mother’s will one day lose their daughters-I cry because I mourn what I have lost instead-what I gave up. Your first years gone in a retreating flash of time. Your silly years gliding away from me, already lost to you.

I will keep these drawings as i will keep this letter. For you. For your future, the daughters you will or won’t have, the days when you question my love for you. When you question the life I dream for you.

——————————————————————————————

While I am not your father, my love is mirrored in the following.

All night long the hockey pictures
gaze down at you
sleeping in your tracksuit.
Belligerent goalies are your ideal.
Threats of being traded
cuts and wounds
–all this pleases you.
O my god! you say at breakfast
reading the sports page over the Alpen
as another player breaks his ankle
or assaults the coach.

When I thought of daughters
I wasn’t expecting this
but I like this more.
I like all your faults
even your purple moods
when you retreat from everyone
to sit in bed under a quilt.
And when I say ‘like’
I mean of course ‘love’
but that embarrasses you.
You who feel superior to black and white movies
(coaxed for hours to see Casablanca)
though you were moved
by Creature from the Black Lagoon.

One day I’ll come swimming
beside your ship or someone will
and if you hear the siren
listen to it. For if you close your ears
only nothing happens. You will never change.

I don’t care if you risk
your life to angry goalies
creatures with webbed feet.
You can enter their caves and castles
their glass laboratories. Just
don’t be fooled by anyone but yourself.

This is the first lecture I’ve given you.
You’re ‘sweet sixteen’ you said.
I’d rather be your closest friend
than your father. I’m not good at advice
you know that, but ride
the ceremonies
until they grow dark.

Sometimes you are so busy
discovering your friends
I ache with loss
–but that is greed.
And sometimes I’ve gone
into my purple world
and lost you.

One afternoon I stepped
into your room. You were sitting
at the desk where I now write this.
Forsythia outside the window
and sun spilled over you
like a thick yellow miracle
as if another planet
was coaxing you out of the house
–all those possible worlds!–
and you, meanwhile, busy with mathematics.

I cannot look at forsythia now
without loss, or joy for you.
You step delicately
into the wild world
and your real prize will be
the frantic search.
Want everything. If you break
break going out not in.
How you live your life I don’t care
but I’ll sell my arms for you,
hold your secrets forever
.

If I speak of death
which you fear now, greatly,
it is without answers.
except that each
one we know is
in our blood.
Don’t recall graves.
Memory is permanent.
Remember the afternoon’s
yellow suburban annunciation.
Your goalie
in his frightening mask
dreams perhaps
of gentleness.

Folds.

16 Jun

I’m folding laundry in front of Paula Zahn Now one night, relaxing after another chasingyellingfeedingsmellinggiggling day with my girls. I love doing the laundry-a simple mindless task with one purpose-clean nice smelling clothes. I grew up using the laundromat, so I find doing my laundry in the privacy of my own house a luxury.

As I folded the shirts and the pants of my daughters, I thought back to being pregnant with Vivian. After a business trip to Houston, I stopped at my in laws where they had a surprise shower for me. I lugged home what I could, the rest was mailed. I opened the suitcases, and the boxes in the empty sunny room, blue carpet, green walls, that was going to be my firstborn’s room. I sat on that floor, opening every tiny piece of clothing, marvelling at it all, at the fact that I would need it all, and the tiny fact of it’s being.

It was so new. I washed it all, drying it on the line in the backyard, in the sun, whipped by the warm late spring wind. I stood back to stare at all the little shirts and socks and hats and facecloths. It hit me at that moment how real the whole thing was.

I spent time folding it, hanging it, wondering if my baby would wear it, how long they would wear it, how I’d get it ON the baby. I let my fingers linger in the drawers, on the shelves as I entered the room, waiting, waiting. I stared at all the soaps and cremes, dumbfounded. I had no idea what was to come.

How new it all was. How clean and unfolded and sharp those few months before Vivian were. How I wanted everything to be just right, how I grew up so fast. How wonderful and happy my daughter was.

Folding my laundry now, I can’t help but be  struck by the speed of light, of time. Not four years ago I was in a different house, waiting for my life to change, folding newborn diaper shirts scared shitless. Their pants get longer and longer, the shirts bigger the stains harder. We grow. The baskets overflow, and I can no longer dictate what they wear, already!

I ache for the changes in those piles, how quickly they have changed, how soon the tiny outfits of babyhood are lost to the wider world of shorts and skirts and nail polish and haircuts.

How quickly it all has gone.

Slant of Green

9 Jun

It’s end of the day tired that makes me think. These days, not so long ago, when I was running naked in the yard, my mother alive, sitting, watching me. The soft warmth of air through greener leaves.

That summer light. That glorious, diamond light bouncing from leaf to leaf, settling on the water.

It’s the end of the day tired that reaches my legs, that echoes through me the moment I get up to do another something (more play soap! wipe my bum! ACK!!!! more yogie!). It’s a reminder of the times already past, the days I won’t be able to gather around me, the light that will never be the same, the whispers of myself around me.

It’s the end of the day that makes me hopeful, allows me to look kindly at the drooping eyelids of my firstborn and remember that tired. The sunshine tired, the dirty park tired. The tired from running and running and running with the wind entwined in you, running to some place in the future you don’t know that you’ll never want.

It’s the end of the day that makes me remember. Recall, superimpose my childhood on theirs, tears in my eyes. The quiet nights sitting on the steps with my mother, sitting still to feed the squirrels. Her warm arm pressed up against mine, leaning. How large and omnipotent she sat in my eyes. How woefully ignorant I am of her.

It’s the end of the day that brings me full circle. Child, child of lost mother, mother of child. A circle I do not want to continue, a circle that shall be eclipsed by the moon my daughters point to, and the worlds they will touch.

Registering for school?!! Already!

8 Jun

In a few months, I’ll need to register Vivian for school.

You heard that right. SCHOOL.

I’ve got mixed emotions about sending her to school here-I’d love to homeschool, but I wouldn’t make a good teacher. (Trust me on that one). I’d love a catholic school, but they have none here. So the local public school it will be.

I remember my entry interview as a child-feeling judged and curious as to what we were doing. But on my best behaviour, dressed pretty in a home made dress. I was so excited for school! A place to learn, to have fun!

A few years later, and I was sadly disappointed by school. It wasn’t about learning-it was about curriculum. And that saddened me most of all.

Vivian is curious about the world around her, engaged, willing to work to find answers. She’s alive! How long until school crushes that out of her? How long will it take for the little girl I know to disappear under the baggage of school? How long will it take for her energy, and sweetness to be erased? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

It feels like yesterday I had just brought her home. And suddenly, she’ll be preparing for school! Where has the time gone? The years? How much longer will she tumble on the floor in front of me, trying to do gymnastics? How much longer will she throw her arms around me unselfconsciously? She’s already started the “I hate my Mommy” routine when mad-will that become real?

She’s excited to start school, and I know she’s ready-she loves other kids, loves it when someone draws her into learning. I suppose that many of my fears are worries about the social aspects. I hate knowing that someone will be mean to her. I know that’s part of life, but I remember being that kid. How I’d love to spare her that. But considering how assertive and strong willed she is, I’m sure more than a few kids will have an issue.

But how do I teach her about that?

Meanwhile, I’ll sit here as she tells me “poof! Your computer is a dog! Poof! You’re a cat!” and adore the fact that I love my daughter, and her quirks. It’s the quirks I worry about being erased. She’s so much herself, and I never want her to question that.

..this great black night, and this fireglow.

31 May

When my Vivian was a small infant, and I a new mother, my father gave me the sage advice that all grandparents seem to pass along.

“They grow up too fast. Enjoy the moment.”

Since I was juggling work, the adjustment to new motherhood by accident, and a baby who refused to nap without being bounced in a bouncy chair, I really wasn’t into appreciating the moment. I wanted the moment to pass so I could go pee or eat something.

Nearly 4 years later, I understand beyond any belief, I grasp this phrase as one of those truths you only hold dear after the fact.

I stare at both of my daughters some days, wondering where the babies I help aloof went. Where their tiny feet went, where their small grasping hands disappeared to. Their faces are now those they will carry through their lives, their legs losing the bowed stagger of toddlers, settling instead into childhood. I look on in wonder as Rosalyn navigates stairs on her belly, frighteningly fast. I shake my head when Vivian argues her point, loudly and clearly. Where did these children come from?

Yesterday it seems, a week ago, they were just squalling infants in my arms, chubby arms pulling themselves up, new feet slapping tile. I turned around to get something, and my babies were replaced with children, with MINE! And I don’t want to go home! My babies have been replaced by the daughters of my future.

I mourn that I ignored it. That I turned away from the wonder of their movement through stages so quickly I could blink and miss it. I find myself quietly asking why I couldn’t stop and see things through the glasses of memory, why I couldn’t just be, absorbing the place none of us would visit again.

It’s gone far to fast, and we’re only 4 years in for my oldest. But I see the future stretching out, quickly, elastic. I see my daughters as girls, as teens, as women. As the people they’ll be, they might be. I see them, and view the road which burns speeding from their past. I see myself dropped off as their life begins anew. I see myself wishing for grandchildren, for their happiness, for the living of their lives. I see the road, and it’s not too broad or even that far.

The future hovers over my head, much as I imagine it hovered, and still hovers over my father. I can hear in his voice the ache of past, the memories that congest his eyes, the child I once was, transposed over the woman formed by our joint past, by who he is.

I enjoy the moments as I catch them. Vivian throwing her arms around my head in the morning light. Rosalyn coy and sly, allowing just one kiss to her cheek. My daughters fighting for that toy, or book, or spot or whatever is owed to them in their little world.

Each day is past, full of smaller footprints than today might hold.

I drink of them, and hold it in for tomorrow.