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“does bipolar go away?”

23 Feb

No. No, it doesn’t.

I don’t think that there ever was a time I didn’t have this disease in my brain. I think it was minimized, something I could control to some degree, something I could compensate for. But my extreme sensitivity as a child? My varying moods, my shyness-all things that could be normal in a child, but which seem, in hindsight, to be indicators, potentials.

Being molested by a neighbour, watching my mother slowly die over a number of years, only letting go when told there was no point anymore, trying to hold on to the splinters we called family-I can’t help but think these things, and puberty, forced the hand and took me from merely strange, to a little crazy.

I had a nasty habit of hitting things when angry. Things like thick wooden fences and concrete walls. I’d turn on friends in an instant, for no reason even I could discern. I’d shut myself off, blocking the world out for days.

I found lovely delicious drugs which liked me back.

I think most of my adolescence was spent in denial. Denying anything was wrong to any of the shrinks who saw me-pushing away anyone who might have wanted to help me.

What’s surprising is that Mogo was willing to be with the mess I was, and staying through all the late night accusations and needy MEMEME that involves so much of bipolar for me. Nothing was ever enough. I needed to be shown, I needed his love to be proved. As if staying with someone who’d sit in a bathtub running cold water when she was freaked out wasn’t proof enough.

Babies came. PPD came. My mind left.

There’s an awful sense of doom when you’re diagnosed and you realize that this is it. After years of not knowing what it was, years of Mogo saying “I think you might be manic-depressive” and me snapping “Fuck off-I’m not crazy”, years of pretending everything was ok and maintaining a life that was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, you suddenly think it will be ok. You have a reason.

But then you realize that that reason is a life sentence. You will never escape your disease. It IS you. It’s part of you, it’s formed you and in some ways, you’re at it’s mercy. You’ll take drugs for the rest of your life, and you’ll hope like hell they don’t stop working. You’re thankful that there are drugs that make you mostly normal.

Bipolar doesn’t go away. There’s no magic switch to turn on and off. There’s no secret formula to fix your brain. It just is. Cancer you can cure. You can get a new heart. Your brain? All you can do is drink a magic potion, and hope it works.

Do I wish there was a magic switch? Hells yes. I worry daily that the drugs won’t work-now that I’m on Lithium, and it works, and I can see the chaos I spawned and what the ultimate ending I was headed for I worry. Because my BPD, untreated, is a death sentence. If I was still untreated, it’s more than likely I would be dead by now. I could feel it building. It’s why the periodic feelings of “hey, swallow those pills/cut yourself” scare me so completely. Because they are still there, and I fear them. I fear that voice, and I fear, more than many things, returning to that state of living.

You don’t realize how bad those voices, those thoughts are, until they’re not there. Every day, for years, I thought of dying. Of taking my own life. Those thoughts became friends-bad friends, but friends nonetheless. They were always there.

Now, living without them is such clear bliss that I would have trouble going back to living with them in my head everyday.

I wish it would go away. I wish I didn’t have to take 4 pink pills every night. I wish I didn’t have to worry about my children, how I’m affecting them, if they’ve inherited it. I wish I didn’t have to worry about my husband, who has spent far too many days wondering where his wife went, and if she was going to survive. I wish I could say I’ll never be hospitalized ever again.

I wish, I wish….but at the end of the day, it’s not going away. So we pick ourselves up, and soldier on, hoping we stay strong, yet preparing daily for the worst.

“Home is where you hang your childhood”

31 Jan

What do you like best about where you are, what makes it good for you?

And what do you like least?

Would it be easy (emotionally) to relocate?

I grew up in a small town on the St Lawrence River, where the sun burns the water every morning. An old town, hundreds of years old, with buildings that tell their own stories, ground once soiled with blood, backyards that contain old middens and packed dirt streets.

When I was a child, I haunted those streets, or at least the square block that surrounded my house. My father’s business a short walk from home, the river a 3 block running leap in the summer. The sun would warm the sidewalks as I’d walk up George St to the library, pausing to put my sandals back on at the door. Behind the house I’d dig for marbles in the not so clean “clean” fill my father had trucked in one day after we build a rock wall.

As I grew older, my love for that little town grew smaller. It became confining, suffocating, as small towns do. People know you, know what you’re doing, where you’ve been.

Unfortunately, in my case they also knew my mother and father. This limits the amount of trouble one can easily get away with.

After the cancer, after the community did the one thing it’s good for-feeding the mourners-we moved. As far north and away as we could. Somewhere new. A new start.

It was cold. It was isolated. As it turned out, it was likely the worst thing we could have done. But that’s another story entirely.

I left home when we lived there-16 on a greyhound bound for somewhere south, reading Plato, eating mediocre grilled cheese in Sudbury, avoiding a creepy skinny South Asian guy, meeting a guy I’d go on to date. I was 16, and taking chances and out in the world and not the least bit scared.

After living on my own for a year, renting a room from parents of a friend, I thought for a moment, during a sober moment, about my life.

I saw two roads before me. One led home to my father, who had moved back to that pretty little town. The other-not so hot. I had a vision of falling into more drugs than I could handle, and never falling back out.

I packed my things, and moved home on a lovely spring morning to a father who was surprised, but silently grateful.

Then high school, then falling in love then moving. More moving, through southern Ontario, my favorite places spinning before me. Again, a story for another day.

I ended up here, in The Armpit when my company moved and offered assistance to find a new job in Toronto, or assistance to move out here. I accepted the latter. I wanted something new. I wanted out of Toronto. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, the right path.

In a way, it was. We have two little girls to show for it that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.

But it’s been 6 years, and I hate it here just as much as I did the first day we drove in, and everything looked dirty and disposable. (A lesson that one should always view the city before blindly moving)

I feel no connection. Anything historic seems to be torn down or altered, disrespected. History seems hidden within universities, not out in the open like it was where I grew up, where it was part of who you were growing up there. It’s too new, but yet it isn’t. It’s like an old woman playing dress up in her granddaughters clothing. It’s all wrong, and awkward, full of unimportant and poorly designed buildings, wal-marts and unnecessary sprawl.

It’s a city of no signs, symbolic or otherwise. Drivers need to know where they’re going, or risk accident. People need to know where they’re going, or become adrift. It’s a city with no soul, and it aches to live here. Where I grew up, you could feel the years in the stones, feel the lives lived and lost in the river. Here, they’ve ruined the river years past, disguised it as a ribbon of mud so maybe it will also forget itself.

I feel no connection to this place, since to have a connection, this city would need meaning. But like a teenager, it reaches it’s arms out searching, but never finding, it’s fingers so many places at once it’s lost count. I would feel nothing back a vague twitch thinking about my backyard if we were to leave.

I had originally wanted to be gone from this place by the time Vivian started school. And if it was just me then maybe we would be gone. But we have jobs to worry over, money to look for, a house. All the trappings of adult life. I could leave these things behind, but Mogo, the more rational of this pairing, glares at me when I mention it, reminds me not to be so stupid. It’s not so bad here he says. We’re secure-secure enough for now. We love our backyard in the spring-we love the beach so close, the islands so near.

I love that nature is right against us, pressing close each day. I love that slowly, we’re winning over neighbours, that Vivian’s school is mere blocks from the house, that we are surrounded by play parks. That a brewery is almost next door.

But these things are what make a life. They aren’t what make my memories. This is all Vivian will ever know-living in the whitest neighbourhood I have ever lived in, limited to one bookstore, one market. One of everything different.

I hope for the future. I hope this place will become more of what I want-I hope I can make it that way. I want to love where I live again, like we did in London, like we did in Toronto. I want my daughters to have the same sundrenched memories that I have, of simple slow days, of people pinching their cheeks, telling them that they’ve grown. I want them to dangle their feet in a river that feeds.

I want us to be happy here. But somedays, I think this place has made me forget how.

“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.

“Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, it is only time we have. “

14 Jan

The clock ticks, the wind blows outside, I sit listening to the smoker breathing of my father across the table from me.

He’s 69. I think. He will be 70 years old this year. 70 years on this earth. When he was born, a war was just beginning. The world was changing. He was my age when man walked on the moon. This age I feel so old and worldly at. I look behind me and think “man, where did that time go in such a hurry?” and yet I look at him and the time, seems like it’s spun itself out so long across the decades.

He must think of death now, or perhaps he’s accepted it. Perhaps 19 years ago when he sat at my mother’s deathbed, while he sat and murmured that he loved her, that he cherished her, that he was happy only with her he realized his own mortality. Perhaps he faced death in the corner of that room, near the window facing the brick walls; and he had a conversation, speaking of love, devotion, pain, fear, ache and loss. And maybe, for once, death understood, took it under advisement, let it rattle around the brain pan for a bit. Death, perhaps understanding a little clearer, maybe took a step backwards, felt the utter crap that was our loss that day, and gave my father a break.

I’d like to think that. I’d like to believe that my father’s extra 40 years on this earth, his survival through losing a brother, his parents, another brother, his wife, a good friend, that these things shore a person up, give them some insight into the human condition that I just can’t muster up. I really want to solace myself with the thought that maybe my father fears nothing, that death doesn’t frighten him.

But then I wonder if he worries about my mother, if he dreams of an afterlife so he can dream of her.

I no longer have the comfort of that dream. With the full loss of any faith, with the dropping off of my catholicism went the belief that my mother would find me in the afterlife. I do not believe that there is a better place. I do not believe that she is waiting for me.

But will I hold firm to this when I’m 70? Will I be so adamant in my belief, no my knowledge that nothing is there that I will remain unwavering, shooing away the priest who’ll think I need last rights?

I remember that, with my mother. The priest arriving, in black, always with the black, my mother’s personal friend, Father Paul, young and vibrant and, well, kinda hot, if you were eleven and trying to make sense of things like cancer and mastectomy and chemo. He had a small black bag with him.

The led me out of the room for it. From what I understand, she had her last rites a few times. How many times is too many? How many times until your god says”bah, die already! I’m watching Oprah!”

I was in another room eating Junior Mints, while my mother had the rites of the dead performed on her, while machines pumped out stale false breath from lungs that hadn’t worked for hours. On a corpse, the laid out the last words her body might ever hear, as I chewed on candy, watched mindless TV. As my father likely contemplated the forever alteration of his life, the meaning of his own ending, as the priest droned on and the machines kept their steady rhythm, I curled my feet under my slim child’s body, and pretended there wasn’t a voice echoing in my head, telling me “She’d Dead.”

Death hid in the corner of that room too, the “Family Room”, musty with prior years when smoking in hospitals wasn’t such an oxymoron, coated in that familiar green haze and plastic. He whispered to me that day, no melodrama, just a conversation, an acknowledgement.

I would never fear death. I would fear pain. I would fear a disease that slowly eats me from the inside like acid or venom. I would fear loving people, letting myself be loved. I would fear living. But I would never fear death. I would face him head on. Death had already taken the one thing I loved and needed in the world. What more could it take?

Now that I have children, a family, a husband, I understand my father’s obscure pain even more. What’s losing a parent compared to losing a wife? What’s losing a brother against watching your daughter cry out for her mother, knowing nothing but her mother would still those cries? What’s to living if you cannot soldier on and claim some sort of victory from death’s hands?

70 years. 70 years, full of love, heartache, loss, joy. I hear the clock tick, and I can see in my eyes a moment, a moment in time, a moment in life. The joy in bringing home his long awaited daughter. The sweetness in watching her with her mother. The ache in watching her howl her loss as the machines were switched off. The terror and sadness at realizing that life has come to this. The pure bliss of a granddaughter, then another. The silvery calm of this time, of the now, when everything has finally come to a rest, where the screams have died out, resonating only in our hearts. A place where we can sit, and think of better times, better moments between us.

A soft, sweet spot for all of us after all this time.

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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“There are only two creatures of value on the face of the earth: those with the commitment, and those who require the commitment of others.”

17 Dec

The wind howls and moans at the windows, snow dusting up against them. I can feel the cold without feeling it. I’m Canadian, remember? My bones can tell you the difference between -25C and -50C. The difference? At -25, you can still feel your skin and wish you couldn’t. At -50, you can feel your skin trying to fall off, and then feel nothing. My body tells me that the wind outside conspires to keep me safely tucked indoors, at least until it’s time to go home. Today, I’m glad I have to work a little late, in the hopes that the wind will die off, move along, bother Newfoundland with it’s displeasure and general scroogishness.

A few days back, one of our nicer neighbours mentioned to Mogo how much she enjoyed seeing the girls out for a walk, how she could never quite grapple with the fact that there were never kids outside anymore, not in our neighbourhood. Apparently, she wasn’t counting the hoodlums picking fights out of the low rentals across from her house.

She’s right though. You never see children out anymore, not often. We’re too busy, or too scared. And of what? An invented boogeyman, a creature the media plays up despite the falls crime rates? Those mean evil molesters, hiding in the bushes? We all know they hide out in plain sight most of the time, so what’s the fear?

What the hell has happened that we’re scared to death of our own shadows?

I have very clear memories of my mother leaving me in the backyard for hours in the winter, and I’d play my ass off. Sure, sometimes I’d whine at the back door like a puppy, red nosed, fingers stiff until she’d relent and let me back in the house. But most of the time, I was happy to be out there. Inside meant chores, and we didn’t have cable. You can only reread your books so many times.

I plan to do this myself as the girls get older. We have a massive deck (as you can see here) which is great right now since I do worry about Rosalyn running off. We have a nature trail, stream and a large field behind the house, plenty of places for kids to run and play in, and they will be let loose to do so. Not that I see many kids doing kid things back there ever. Aside from leaving garbage around, I rarely ever see any kids out and about.

It’s really strange to me, as someone who spent so much time outside. I can’t imagine spending a childhood indoors. I know things are different now-technology has changed things so much. But what ever happened to the plain and simple joy of sitting outside and finding something to do because you were bored? Thinking outside of the box to get a bottle of pop?

Even when we take the girls for walks, it’s rare to run into other kids. If we do, it’s usually a mother and a stroller. No roving bands of children, playing, yelling. Nothing. Most nights, our neighbourhood is silent as a tomb.

I don’t want their only memories of childhood to be so silent. I want them outside, experiencing the weather-the wind, the rain, the heat! One of my favorite memories from when I was younger is getting caught in a thunderstorm during a Shakespeare in the Park with my Dad, and walking slowly home. We were already wet, and it was incredible, being pelted by the rain as we giggled our way down the street, his cigarettes becoming waterlogged, my glasses useless, hair plastered to my neck. I will never forget that night, the smell of the rain, electric in the air, the smell of my skin, clammy, salty. The glare of the street lights in the raindrops, hard and heavy against the asphalt.

Should my children miss that? Should they miss the heat, heavy on their heads, because we fear the sun? Should they miss the snow, up to their waist so they have to swim it it, because we fear the cold? Should they miss the first real spring rain, delicate and tentative, because we fear the dirt?

I don’t want that for my girls. I want their feet to be firmly rooted on the ground, touching the earth. I want them to feel it in their fingers as we plant herbs, tomatoes, peppers. I want them to understand why the trees sway in the wind, and why the birds don’t fall off. I want them to understand that they are part of the earth, and are indebted to her.

We can’t raise children to protect the earth if they feel no love for it. We can’t grow people who will guard it if we never let them near it.

We must raise children to love the howl of the wind, the piercing light of a storm, the calm summer night equally, as pieces of a whole. We owe them, and the earth, at least this much.

“A man’s dreams are an index to his greatness.”

8 Dec

As I sit here working up the will to do some work on a Saturday night (oh how glam my life is!) I can’t help but ponder Marcela’s question “What is my dream job.”

Aside from being a kept woman? 😛

I don’t really have a dream job-I never had. Granted, I’m a woman who has never had dreams, who is new to this whole dream business, but I don’t recall ever feeling passionate about anything. When I was young, maybe 5 or 6, I wanted to be an artist and a paleontologist, and maybe an archaeologist. When I got a little bit older, and watched my first major production on stage,  I said to myself that I wanted to be an actress-I wanted to be up on that stage making others feel as I felt that day, moved.

A few years of high school drama and I never want to set foot on another stage again.

I’d say I want to be a poet, but I don’t have the discipline required for real writing, for true, honest day to day writing. My temperament dictates when I write, and generally speaking, publishers don’t dig that. Plus, I’m not sure what I have that I want to say.

I’d love to be able to help people, but I wouldn’t be able to deal with it when it goes bad. Hell, after 6 months or so volunteering at an AIDS hospice, I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was all just so sad and useless. Meaningless. Watching someone dying from AIDS and cancer, covered in tumours, meeting her son for the first time in years-I just couldn’t do it. I’m weak.

My dream job then, the thing I want to someday fight for and become, is a midwife.

Having my children was a turning point in my life. A difficult one at times, a trial, but the crossover line from childhood to adulthood for me. My births, as scary as they were at times, as miraculous as they were, could have been something even more inspiring. I could have been surrounded by women willing me on, supporting me instead of impatiently trying to get me to accept the epidural. I could have felt included in a sisterhood-instead, I felt like a problem that needed to be solved.

I want to be part of that solution. I want to help guide life into this world. I want to bridge the gap for other mothers between maiden and mother, between 1 child, and more. I want to let the beauty of birth shine, and be as it should be, a natural process.

I never had this dream before giving birth. I thought midwives were cool, but I had no desire to be one. But now-it’s like something is calling me to learn, to become a welcoming presence for other women. To help usher in a new age for birth in our culture. We’ve come so far away from what it should be-why did we ever think men knew best?

Will it happen? I dunno. This province doesn’t support midwifery (shocking I know) at present, and some of the better training is in other provinces. I’d need to train under other midwifes. I’d need time, and money, two things I don’t really have. I also want to finish my English degree at some point in the next ten years-where’s that time?

I wish I could have had dreams, real dreams years ago when it would have mattered. Now it just seems like a waste of time.

“Science and technology multiply around us. To an increasing extent they dictate the languages in which we speak and think. Either we use those languages, or we remain mute.”

5 Dec

I scratch the surface of the internet, searching, searching, always looking, grasping for something I can’t name, something of interest. We never used to be so short on attention, us, by us I mean you and I, we once could read a book in a whole sitting, right? We could follow the plot lines which so intricately danced around us.

Which isn’t to say that we can’t. We still can. I can still make my way through a book about Tudor England on the bus, but that doesn’t make me any less distracting, a running file, binary people code, processing through my head, things to look for, things to look up, things to say.

What to say, what to say.

I saw a shirt the other say that said “I’m cooler on the internet.” Realizing how much this is true depressed me in that deflated balloon kind of way.

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I realize the disconnect from those older than me when I email my MIL about a Xmas present, mentioning that she should include the link so I’ll know what the hell she’s talking about.

She calls me instead, not knowing what I mean it seems.

Or talking to my father about simple things like IP addresses or even pivot tables on Excel and the blank look tells me everything I need to know which is condensed into a single thought that emanates from his head “I have absolutely no need for any of this knowledge.”

He doesn’t. Hell, when he was born, commercial airflight was still relatively new, washing machines were new fangled, and silk stockings were still silk. He watched the atom bomb explode, a man walk on the moon for the first time, students gunned down by their own government, the Berlin wall fall. He’s watched miracles, no matter how mundane they seemed at the time. What use has he for the internet, this vague place full of words and it’s own language, full of goatse and 2girls1cup. What use has he for the collective vomit of our brains, when he can sit in the memories of his own.

Makes one ponder their use on this bloody machine it does.

Having a day away from the computer, or rather, half a day was rather illuminating. You feel unplugged, detached, alone. What am I missing? What wonderful things are people saying, what glimmering conclusions are they coming to, right now?

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Most of you disappear when I turn the computer off, if you even existed in the first place beyond my imagination. At the end of the day, we’re not connected, not really.

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I have a love/hate relationship with technology. The closet hippie luddite in me fights with the wannabe computer science geek inside me. They struggle, grappling with each other. They’ve mostly settled on believing that life isn’t better in the trees, and that no, we don’t need to know how to code. Although they still want to learn Sql. They are slowly finding a balance that I didn’t know I’d need to find so few years ago-was it only 10 or so years ago when my history prof was trying to figure out how I should footnote a web site? Was it only 8 years ago when my cell phone could also be used to stun muggers?

Was it only 15 or so when you had to use the payphone?

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Most of us don’t really understand the technology around us. We pretend to, maybe throwing terms around, or learning how to use something like html or CSS, something that is basically useless in terms of life skills. Constructing something out of nothing-the magical void that the internet exists in-it’s incredible, but at the end of the day, it’s illusion. You server goes down, those underground cables get cut, those satellites go down, and this is all nothing. These pictures, these words-nothing. Visions floating on ether, fluttering in front of your eyes.

If it all went away today, if tomorrow the internet collapsed on itself and died, could we move on? Could we find each other again?

Death is the mother of Beauty; hence from her, alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams and our desires.

21 Nov

“Your grandmother loved horses. Your grandmother was even worse when she combed my hair-she gave me afro perms! Your grandmother hated mice. Your grandmother was the bravest person I will ever know.”

I tell Vivian stories of my mother like she’s real, like she exists and is just away on a long trip somewhere, maybe riding camels in the Sahara to bring Ngiri his Jungle Drums, maybe in Europe, drinking milky tea in some fabulous cafe.

That’s not right. My mother wouldn’t have wanted to travel. My mother would have rather been holed up somewhere with her sewing machine, maybe some pencils to draw with, some opera music. She’s sounds pretty awesome as I detail what I do remember-creative, open to new, “intellectual” things. But the truth, the things I’ll leave out until the girls are old, those things are colder and harder to remember.

Like how she relied mostly on corporal punishment, or at least that’s what stands out in my mind. How she had rigid ideas about what I should be, do or look like. How I was wrong for liking “boy” things.

I’m no more immune to making my mother a saint, or a devil than anyone else. When I was younger, I transferred my anger at her for leaving to anger over the fact that she’d hit me sometimes when I misbehaved. But I was wrong to judge her choices, and her behaviours. I was a stubborn, defiant precocious child who pushed each and every button imaginable. I was also shy, timid and mostly in my own head.

Now that I’m a parent, I understand my mother on a level I never did before. I understand the spanking. I understand the desire to mold me into some image that she held so dear-after all, she waited for a little girl for years. That I turned out to be the complete antithesis of the girl she envisioned wasn’t her fault. Her fault was her inability to let me be the girl I wanted, even if at the time, what I wanted to be was a boy.

She wanted many things for me, I’m sure. I stare at my daughters and try to imagine all the dreams my mother held for me, all the moments she wanted to share and yet lost. All the futures that weren’t.

********************************

“I love you Mommy, you’re beautiful.”

“You’re beautiful too Viv. And strong, and smart, and awesome.”

“Thanks Mum.”

***************************

I have dreams too. Dreams of cookies at Christmas, skating on crackly ice on black and clear nights, summer afternoons spent lazing in the backyard. Graduations, weddings, grandchildren. I see it stretching out in front of me like a ball of yarn, unspooled and tangled.

But dreams can die, or be broken. Knots form. Children have a tendency to not do what you think you want. All I want for them right now is their happiness-will that change? Will I become hung up on the colors they prefer, they boyfriends/girlfriends they choose, the friends they become attached to? Will I deny them my love over something as trivial as what they want with their life?

It is their life. The one failure I believe my mother had was not acknowledging MY life, and my right to find it. I comfort myself with the knowledge that adolescence would have been incredibly difficult if my mother would have been alive, although not as difficult as it was without her.

But I never grew to hate her, as so many friends did, at least for awhile. So many people threw those vile words “I hate you!” at their mothers for such little grievances, no new jeans, no lunch packed, no new haircut, while I sat and pined and wished I had a mother to hate. I was spared these indignities at least.

************************

Someday, I will take Vivian, middle name Dianne for my mother, I will take her and show her. This is where your mother grew up. This is where your mother lost a piece of her soul on a rainy April morning. This is where I began. This grave is where I grew older. This river is what washed away a multitude of tears.

This place, this town, that town I turned my back on so long ago, that place is where I really begin.

“Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits. “

18 Oct

The last few lovely days of 2007 are upon us, and we bask in it’s sunshine, the soft warmth of fall, the automatic scent memory of wood stoves and crushed leaves in our noses. The trees shine yellow, orange, purple-my candy dreams come to life around me.

Conjure up if you will, a target smile of comfort, blissed out eyes, closed off into their own little world. This is where I am most at ease, most alive. During the transition between life and death, summer and winter, I find my place. A child born of that division, forced to acknowledge it forever.

But I don’t mind. Fall lingers in my pockets like an old favorite of a book, nothing too chewy, nor too easy, but just right-just enough to make you ponder and think, make you wonder. Just enough to help you fall off to sleep each night.

If a season can be home, then autumn is mine, with all it’s nooks and crannies.

 **********************************

We trudge off to the park, as we do most nights, dragging Poppi along, trailing sticks and cigarette smoke.

“I don’t trust you on the road Poppi.” Vivian states as he pushes Rosalyn down the street to the next sidewalk ramp. “Get off the road.”

Bemusement fills his face. “Little Dictator” he mumbles as he plods along. I grin silently.

***********************************

We watch Rosalyn toddle along from slide to slide, veering between her favorite red one, the fast one, and the shorter yellow one. She hops when she runs, almost like a rabbit, but cuter, that irrepressible toddler spirit humming along.

“Mom would have loved her.” I blurt out. “She’s just so adorable and girly…”

“yeah.” My father says. “Think of the pink frilly dresses she would have bought. Oh! The pink!”

And it’s only the truth. Love might be equally shared, but everyone has a secret favorite, a child whose heart matches theirs just that little bit more, the child who just gets it, the child who fits just right into the crook of your eye. Rosalyn would have been that child for my mother. The daughter who wanted skirts. Who wanted little girl things. The cute little girl, loving and warm.

A little part of me is jealous, even of the relationship they would have but couldn’t. My mother would have understood this child in a way that I can’t, ways I might never. I envy that.

My father and I sit quietly for a few moments, lost in thought, watching Rosalyn go up, down, up slides. Perhaps my mother watches as well, putting down her sewing to hover around Rosalyn’s head, making sure she doesn’t fall too hard or too far.

I like that idea.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seamed with scars.”

28 Sep

I scream that I want your life, but that’s not fair.

I sit on the bus staring at the dozen or so heads before me, and wonder why I think their lives are perfect. Who of they will die of cancer, will find out their child was raped? Who among them has already suffered?

I cannot judge. I am not in a place to judge. To look at others and believe that they have it better than I, that their lives are less full of pain and suffering and terror.

It’s a continuum, pain. A spectrum much as my own disease, and to each his own. My suffering may be someone else’s peace, as full of fear and loneliness as it may be.

Could I survive losing a child as Bon and Kate have, living with that hole underneath my heart forever? Could I do it with such grace? Never. That ache would echo in my chest for eternity, and I would forever be changed. Theirs is not the life I point to, and that’s just it.

I do not know you.

I do not know the person next to me at work, not really. I don’t know their past, their mind, their today. I do not know what their life has meant, or where it’s going.

I remind myself, shake it off, do not judge.

Do not judge. Ask they return the favour.

***********************

On my way to work, clutching coffee blurry eyed in the rain someone I once worked with walked by, hacking, saying hello. He said he was the working homeless, spoke of how he went to the soup kitchen and some of his ex-coworkers were there and refused him a second bowl of soup. How he reacted in a rage, and could feel them thinking ‘He hasn’t changed, not just one bit.”

I felt kinship, and a humiliating helplessness. I cannot fix him. I cannot make it better. But I can question why someone needing food only gets one bowl. I can imagine how painful it is to accept food from the very people who fired you. I can see the simple lines of incidents that could lead me to his very place, mistakes, moments, sudden stops in a doorway and suddenly, your life is very different indeed.

I liked him. I always enjoyed talking with him, and now-it’s reduced to words in passing on a street, and my impotent desire to help.

My life could very well be his, my misery compounded. I could be sleeping in front of Canadian Tire.

*********************

A friend brought in her 2 month old twins, all healthy and plump and snurgly. I held, no, I hogged them both for a time, reveling in a moment I never allowed myself to enjoy. The girl fell asleep in my arms, her tired eyes fluttering up for seconds, then back down with a sigh. I could have sat like that forever.

In a rush, the newness, the glorious newness returned to my body, the remembrance of all the futures you plotted as you watched your first born sleep. The smiles you wanted to stop on their faces, the small important victories of heads up and side rolls. The shiny smell of new baby in the house, the tiny diapers.

I mourned a little then, but I also found within me the ability to move past it, to look forward to the rest of my daughters lives, to school, to boyfriends (or girlfriends) and periods and PMS and ice creams and everything that life has before us. This part, this new life, the jarring impact, it’s now past us. We have aged and moved into an age.

And with age, I can now enjoy a long baby snuggle. Small victories folks.

************************

It’s raining today. When I was a child, I thought this meant god was crying.

“Time is a gift, given to you, given to give you the time you need, the time you need to have the time of your life.”

20 Sep

I’ve been scrabbling for words lately, trying to find the head space between being stupid busy at work and mood swinging in my head.

I’m full of thoughts-almost to bursting. To the point where I can peel through them. I feel like an onion with layers, some moldy and rotten, some remaining sweet and fragrant. But an unstable onion, unable to point and shoot in the right direction, my sulfuric acid going to waste.

This is my irritable time-when the words don’t work, and I’m not full of flowering phrases or beautiful odes to those I love, to the moments in time I’ve stopped for. I feel deconstructed, Northrup Fryed. My metaphors are jumbled and distilled.

It’s the most awkward thing-being capable of such moving grace in words one day, and the next being almost incapable of stringing a sentence together. I know my work is sometimes lovely, but it is fickle, and removable.

I’m full, and yet at the same time, vastly empty.

**********************************

I took Rosalyn to the mall the other day, and we browsed in the dollar store. In one aisle were a stack of clocks.

“Want the clocks!” she yelled, “WANT CLOCK!” Except she left the L out of the word each time, and I felt the surrealness of life with a toddler descend upon me. Thankfully, no one seemed to hear.

*********************************

Watching my daughters makes my hands shake to write, to try and capture that essence, the sloth like speed of time, the blindness we hold towards tomorrow. I have suddenly become so very cognizant of time, of how soon they will be 16 and ignoring their weird mother, how soon I will rarely touch them again. Time is going to betray me, and make women out of my daughters.

Again, I tell myself “No Pre-Mourning.”

I am but a vessel for them, my words an extension of their arms. I write for them, so the late afternoon September sun will remain fixed in their eyes, orange and peering through changing leaves, the soft diffusion that makes me wish for a camera. Their brown eyes trust implicitly, and follow me, casting about for their beauty. The sky holds wonders, turtles and magicians, rocket ships, the moon.

How we ache for the moon.

Already Vivian stretches up to touch the sky “What will it feel like?” she asks. “Tell me when you touch it.” I reply. She might go there some day, into the sky. “Will it feel like cotton candy?” I ask.

“No!” she giggles.

The blue is blue on blue on forever, and her eyes shine because of it.

“Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.”

15 Sep

Rosalyn grabbed my hand with her soft stubby fingers as we walked, the early autumn mint air swirling around our heads. Vivian walked a few steps ahead, already beginning her slow movement away from me.

It hit me then. That little hand won’t hold mine forever. In a blink and a flash, my baby would be in school, my baby won’t want to snuggle with me early in the morning, half awake. While I’ve expected and accepted my oldest growing older and moving on, my baby girl, my honey bear,  is a different story.

Part of me clings to her, clings to her softness and memory. I was the baby too-I was the apple of my mother’s eye. Rosalyn melts my heart in all the ways I like to imagine I melted my mother’s-in the sweet innocent comments she makes, in the eyelashes she bats in my direction. She represents my childhood, the one left behind in so many ways.

Will I hold her back? Will I struggle to let her go, to let her be herself? Isn’t it the oldest that is supposed to get all the curfews and rules? Because I imagine it differently, my youngest being constrained by my worry, while my oldest runs the streets, my worry indifferent at best.

For now, the leaves are changing, the world is turning, and their feet are growing. Life moves past another year, more moments I’ll never return to, and entire section of stores I’ll never need again. The finality of knowing.

I’m both eager and scared of the future. Of knowing who my daughters will be, of the stories they will tell, of how happy they will be. So much, and yet ultimately, so little depends on me.

I hope I can squeeze her hand back just enough.

girls.jpg

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.

New Event! First time for everything

6 Aug

I can remember a lot of firsts. The first time I realized that I had a place in a larger world, that I fit in a larger context. The night I lost my virginity. The first cry of my first daughter. My first period. The first time I ate chocolate mousse.

Firsts, to me, are indicators, sign posts. Places I’ve been, places I’ve seen. Places I will go, like when Vivian starts school, or Rosalyn gets sent home for beating up boys for the first time.

So for this month, the hazy lazy month of August (which also happens to be when the birthday of my firstborn-she’s FOUR on the 11th FOUR!) write about your firsts-the first time you wore heels, make up, the first time you knew you’d found your partner for life, the first time you ate something disgusting (scallops, I’m looking at you)

You can write a new post or use an old post, so long as you throw in a link to this post or the site, and leave me a comment linking to your post in the comments of this one. I’ll leave this month’s contest open until August 21, my original due date for Vivian.

The prize this month? A box of stuff I actually like about the Maritimes, possibly including some fricot, saltwater taffy, poutine mix, and maybe even some Acadian goodies. Mostly a surprise, since Vivian was a surprise after all. 🙂

So get writing, and linking!

They wanted facts. Facts! They demanded facts from him, as if facts could explain anything.

25 Jul

You know what’s hard about talking about mental illness? Talking about it.

I tend to be one of those annoying, share too much of everything type people at work. I’m a very open person, within reason. I like to share my experiences, my life, my opinions, and the odd time, some wisdom.

You can talk about almost anything and not weird people out anymore. But talking about being crazy-you just can’t do that. Suddenly a look will be shared with those around you, a silent step backward, a little twitch. Everything signifies to you that the person in front of you has absolutely no idea how to deal with what you’re saying. They are scared.

My boss, bless her heart, told people outside of our immediate team that I was on vacation. So handling the pleasant “So, how was your vacation?” can be a little offputting and confusing. I want to tell them “I almost drugged myself to death, I felt the urge, the fingers around my heart, the cold moment of never. I almost took my own life.” I want to try and explain everything about my life, everything about how I live, how I handle and process my experiences, everything up until this moment.

I want to explain.

But most people don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to stop and acknowledge that sickness, in the head or the heart or gut, is a rotten thing. They don’t want to reassure me that things will be ok. They can’t look me in the eye often.

I am not a pariah. I am not a leper. I won’t pass my illness on to you. You cannot catch crazy. You can pretend to be all cool and freaky and weird but you aren’t-you’re either within this hell, or you aren’t. You wouldn’t fake cancer, would you? You wouldn’t overemphasize your hemorrhoids for the sake of looking more interesting, would you?

There must be a middle ground, between the people who believe my illness to be a fun person quirk and the people who can’t get away from me fast enough to wash themselves off. A place where people just know that this isn’t my fault, that I can’t make it better. Would you tell me to try harder if I had cancer? Would you make me feel that I make it all up if I had a heart attack? Would you prey on my emotions because I lack control if my kidneys failed?

I want understanding-I want to bring understanding to a wider audience, a broader world, reassure people that my crazy, so many versions of crazy are not much different from the illnesses they feel pity for each and every day. Stop and think-do you give money to the Canadian Cancer Society, or CMAH? If you had one dollar to give, it’s likely it wouldn’t be to us crazy folk.

We end up on the street. We end up marginalized from a world that just doesn’t fucking get it. I’m not a creative wonder because of my illness! I’m not weird and cool and neat. I’m a scarred little being who is nervous in crowds and wonders who to trust. I worry that someday the pieces will fall out from under me, and I’ll be on the corner, begging for that dollar.

Let me talk to you-let me explain.

What, me scared?

6 Jul

In the comments somewhere, Eden asked a question that has stuck with me for the past few days.

Why was I so scared to go into the hospital?

I really wasn’t sure myself-I’ve just always had this guttural fear of being considered crazy enough to be hospitalized, like it would leave a mark on me that would always be there, that it would break me, or turn me into an unthinking, unfeeling person. I’d rather feel too much than too little.

There’s also the matter that on a certain level, hospital=death. Nothing good has ever come from a hospital. My mother spent many, many days lying weak in her bed, skin yellow, with me sitting with her, not knowing what to say, but knowing not to make trouble, not to make too much noise. My mother came home to die, but we said our final goodbyes in a dingy hospital room one late April afternoon.

That smell is everywhere, in everything. I’m sitting at home and I can still feel it on my skin-it’s that greenish hue, the grey mint stench that I’ll need to wash off myself later. And it’s this smell that, more than anything, scares me. It’s everything in my childhood that terrified me and saddened me, everything that signified my time as a child coming to an end. It’s the big bad WRONG in my life.

And let’s face it. No one wants to be the crazy person. So long as I could pull of real life by myself, so long as I could continue my myth of “I don’t need no stinkin’ help”, I wasn’t crazy. A little bent, but not lost to the world. Admitting to myself that I needed more help than I could give myself was a sign of weakness, and for awhile, I couldn’t afford to be weak. Quite honestly, a lot of it was my need, my wish for someone to take the time to notice that I wasn’t as ok as I pretended to be, that having it together at 12 or 13 was a big fat smelly lie. I wanted someone to pay attention to me for once, and ask if I was ok, if I needed help. I grew tired of having to call out for attention so much.

All I’ve ever wanted in my life was for someone to play the role of my mother, and watch out for me, help me when I was sick, allow me the pleasure of weakness. But I haven’t had this in a very long time. Capitulating this need to someone else is one of the hardest things I’ve done in a very long while.

I was scared because at the heart of it all, I’m still just a scared little girl curled up in a ball in the corner. Allowing someone inside to help her out meant exposing her to the daylight, melting the broken wings that kept her so firmly anchored to the ground.

But it seems that finally, that little girl is being allowed to leave her cage, and move on. It couldn’t come at a better time.

Linger

24 Jun

I was pondering in the shower as I washed off my hangover.

I read this article yesterday, and it’s stuck with me in a few ways.

I remember sitting in my backyard for hours, content to play by myself, trapped between the driveways on either side of the house. I can recall standing on the edge of it, wondering exactly what would happen if I nudged my foot over the line between sidewalk and driveway. (I did find out a few months after that when I decided to go with Joey to his house down the block, and my mother screamed the entire way there, and swatted me the entire way home)

Later on, I ran between backyards all day long, getting dirty in the laneways and mud behind our houses, and the downtown stores. It was time to come in when my mother flicked the back porch light on and off, on and off. I’d drag myself inside unwillingly, covered in grime and summer afternoons.

My mother was a lot more strict than other mother’s were at that time. She did indeed care where I was, and every tiny bit of freedom I gained was grudgingly given. I had to earn that trust, hard. I don’t know what ever happened in her life to make her so distrusting, but I have a few guesses, guesses I’ll never confirm.

Most of us have similar experiences-we ran the streets, the yards, in small towns and cities. We had a leash, but it was long enough most of the time. Kids were hurt, kidnapped, molested, killed, even then. Kids got hit by cars, dawdled home. Fear of random acts did not prevent us from walking to school, or playing at the beach with our friends. It was life, and while you were usually lectured about what you would and would not do on your way to Jamie’s house, and who you would and would not fraternize with on the way there, you were given enough rope to begin to figure out important things like bad situations and how to avoid them, the type of people you didn’t want to be around, why you had to pay attention when you walked up the road.

Flash Forward 20 years. 20 years is both long and short in my mind. Hell, the other day I marvelled at the fact that I could browse the internet on my cell phone, while when I began highschool, the internet was still this big scary new thing to most of us. We have this huge amount of intellectual freedom and capacity, and yet we limit ourselves and our children in a very important way.

They no longer get to find their own answers.

I admit it-I sit here wondering if I’ll ever let Vivian walk to school alone. It’s easier to imagine her walking across the river styx without coin than her walking those 4 blocks to school. Every imaginable fear runs through my head-and each and every one of them is just as rare as they were when I was a child. Yet I had little anxiety attacks everytime I think about it.

Why? Have we been so brainwashed by the media, but news stories and terrible articles about rape, torture, child abuse, random consciousless people that we cannot even let our children find their way in the world alone, without us hovering over them “just in case”? Parents drive their children everywhere, refuse to let them use transit, since they wouldn’t be safe. What’s there to be so scared about?

My own abusers were family and neighbours. They were with us. They weren’t some boogeyman on the street. They were real, and I couldn’t escape them. In a small town, they really ARE everywhere. Yet my mother only ever worried about strangers, or at least, that was the message I internalized.

I don’t want to be my mother. Yet in some ways I know I will-I have an almost pathological fear and distrust of any grown male. I will not let them near my children. I have trouble enough with my own father and FIL. But I’m trying to let go, trying to teach myself already that my job is to guide and release, rather than to hold on.

What brought us here? Why are we so afraid of the world? Bad things have always happened-bad things will always happen. So what changed in 20 years to make everything outside of our homes a battleground?

The boogeymen are still out there. The boogeymen are everywhere. But now, instead of teaching our kids how to deal with it, how to handle the inevitable “bad people”, we isolate them, coddle them. What happens when they’re adults? What happens if they need to know the tools to dealing with monsters and Mommy isn’t there?

What’s happened to us that we’ve let our lives be taken over by possibility so much? What have we lost?

and today’s lesson in Irony…

10 Jun

I know, I know. I shouldn’t give a shit about Paris. But it’s so freaking FUN! She reminds me so much of certain chicks I went to high school with that it’s almost tasty how enjoyable watching her fall to the level of mere mortals.

I also cannot STAND anyone who is well known for nothing more than a crap sex tape and her dubious “talents”. She illustrates for me everything that is wrong with celebrity culture.

And now she’s getting a little taste of the bad side of fame, and apparently, she doesn’t like it very much, going so far as to say:

“I must also say that I was shocked to see all of the attention devoted to the amount of time I would spend in jail for what I had done by the media, public and city officials,” Hilton said in the Saturday statement,”I would hope going forward that the public and the media will focus on more important things, like the men and women serving our country in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world.”

I mean really. You spend all of your waking hours trying to drum up media attention while you wander around drunk, dance on tables and attempt to sing. And yet suddenly, you don’t understand why people are so curious! (Or more likely, so hateful)

That is why I find this entire thing amusing and fascinating. It’s the ultimate burnout of the ME ME ME! child. It’s that child finally realizing that yes, the rules DO apply to you. That no, you can’t do what you want. That other people actually do have a hand in your life.

To me, she’s a figurehead for that type of culture, the “you’re not the boss of me!” screaming little hordes. She has done nothing to deserve where she is or what she has. She just is. I’m nauseated at the thought that we live in a culture that reveres this as a godhood.

It’s not very big of me to feel this way, I know. But I have daughters. Daughters who will one day start paying attention to celebrities, start having crushes. I had HUGE crushed on Christian Slater, and later, Angelina Jolie. One ended up grabbing chick’s asses. One dedicated herself to helping the less fortunate.

Guess which one I’d prefer my daughters to look up to? I want my children to know that the world does not revolve around them, and that hard work is important. I want them to find role models in various places, and while I’m not wanting that to be celebrity, if it is, I’d at least like it to be someone who can see past the tip of her pointy little plastic nose.

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.