Week 2/ October 10-17 - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 76 Old 10-13-2004, 06:16 PM
 
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How do you join? I just seen this thread?

Should we wait for the next assignment? Or do we just write here?

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#32 of 76 Old 10-13-2004, 06:26 PM
 
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Sorry
I am also wondering is it 10 min each topic or 10 min to do all 3 topics?

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#33 of 76 Old 10-14-2004, 12:03 PM
 
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Mothering is an honest, ugly business.

Each morning, I lay bare
beneath my son’s watchful gaze
the pages of my untold stories.

An abandoned thesis in the unfocused
way I fix his breakfast. A fear of strangers in
the tentative way we cross our street. A
love of jazz in the syncopated way I hang
his laundry.

Like an ancient abacus,
he reveals to me
the balance of my gains and losses.

This is the source of my cognitive dissonance:
That in every small embrace,
I am giving him the tools
to leave me one day.
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#34 of 76 Old 10-14-2004, 01:21 PM
 
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May I?

Here's what I came up with...

The time of my life I felt happiest was when everything was the opposite of how it is now. Which is strange, because even now I am happy. It is a different happy. An on-track happy. Then, it was a freedom happy and being taken care of. It was when the spring turned to summer and I was there at the house with the family around me, working, going to school and in love with someone who loved me back with an intensity I have not found since.

We were together every night, breathing slowly and silently, due to the importance of sneaking because what we were doing was immoral and certainly illegal. Me, divorced at 21, and he a teenage foreign exchange student. We held each other. He taught me to say “I love you” in his language. We explored each other's geography. It was all in the present and we refused to think of the future. We knew we had no future. We refused to acknowledge that time was passing. We rolled ourselves into a blanket cocoon on the deep green lawn which I never had to mow or even think about, we lay there under it holding each other and hoping nobody was looking out the window and loving the sunshine but ignoring the turning of the sun's rays to the north, whispering to us that summer was upon us and his departure date was drawing near.

We walked. We met at the park. We tiptoed silently down the hallway past the parents' room night after night as his departure date drew near. We never slept. And we became careless. We threw caution to the wind and when were were at the amusement park we grabbed each other, held each other, held hands, let all the touching come out into the air and the sunlight and the vision of those who held the keys to the house, the ride home, our lives. We sneaked sideways glances at their eyes. They were smiling. My mom later said she knew for quite some time. How couldn't you? When he left my world fell apart. I built it up again, and it is now a more real, a more true happiness. The colors are not as bright as those days perhaps but they are beautiful and I remember those days as the time of my life.

(edited to add some paragraph breaks--I just couldn't stand it!)
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#35 of 76 Old 10-14-2004, 01:23 PM
 
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Steff -

Welcome! It is ten minutes for each topic. Join by posting at least one topic from this week here.
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#36 of 76 Old 10-14-2004, 01:27 PM
 
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The upper left corner of the jigsaw puzzle is nearly complete. It shows a small white house with dormer windows, two on each side, the back ones looking out over a lush green grassy yard and then a large field with wildflowers, lupine and columbine packed in densely, reaching to the edge of the forest. Where there stands, still in the meadow, a twin birch tree, its white bark papery delicate, the green leaves fluttering. At the base of the tree, where the twin trunks merge into one and then plunge underground, there is a small hand hewn, wooden cross, tied at the x with some twine and a small clear glass bottle holding some flowers. A woman stands nearby handing her daughter with long stringy dirty blond hair another crysanthemum.

The puzzle though is missing a piece, the woman's face and so I don't know her expression. I want to ask my mother to help me find it. But I don't know if she would make a piece if she couldn't find the original, and maybe the woman's expression would have a bit more sunlight in it.

[Husbands cell phone rings...]

The girl with the stringy hair and the too arched eyebrows and too big front teeth that she gets from her father is holding a very soft furry angora rabbit. A baby bunny she cuddles as she walks around the small yard, her feet sinking in the cool green grass, and her mind saying, here and here and here are the edges of the yard you must not go beyond.

And she sets the rabbit down and it nibbles the green blades and hops and nibbles and hops but never ventures beyond the edges of the yard. And the girl with the stringy hair and the brown arms knows she is one with the rabbit and the universe and holds the golden ball of joy in her heart breathing the air from the atlantic ocean beyond the forest at the end of the meadow where the twin birch stands.
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#37 of 76 Old 10-14-2004, 09:37 PM
 
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There are a few pieces I've felt compelled to return to, mull over, sleep on, twiddle, what I mean is, edit.

Must the posts here be in the original form (nearly impossible to really do with retyping), or is the worked over form acceptable?
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#38 of 76 Old 10-15-2004, 08:53 AM
 
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Okay, First time. LOL

The time of my life........


The time of my life is just beginning. I feel strange things happening and I am not sure why. How did this happen? Was I meant to be? Am I going to like what I become? As I patiently wait till myself develops I can't stop wondering what I am to look like. Something’s growing. A simple feeling of warm and comfort, a soft sound here and there. This is exciting.

What is this I can move? It looks funny. What are they for? I like them they are fun. I hear something so soft and sweet. It is like my own thoughts in my head but on the outside. Who is it? What is it? I don't know. I wish I could hear it more often than not. The peace it brings inside of me I just don’t want to let go.

I am tired of here, I have been here for a long time. I am too curious what’s out there to stay much longer. I am crowded and frustrated and it’s so dark. Is this what I am to be? Here forever in darkness. Now I am scared, what am I going to do. Where can I go? I know there is something more. But what?

Wait! There it is, that soft sound that makes me smile. I love to hear it, yes, I do. I wonder what makes that sound, I wish I could see it. It must be something beautiful. It has to be. A sound that can do so much to me.

Ouch that hurt. What is going on? I am moving. But where? I don't want to leave any more. I like it here. That sound, where is it? I need it now. Oh no.

It is no longer dark. It is no longer safe. It’s cold, and bright. So many noises, what does this mean? Have I become something different? I liked what I was, what I became. I am scared and tired. I have pain I never felt before. Oh I don't think I like this place very much.

Oh there it is that sound so sweet and soft. It is so close and clear. Here is my chance to see what makes this sound. Oh wow. I was right! It is beautiful. It is so warm. I am safe again. This isn't so bad here with this sound. As long as, this sound stays. I think I'll stay.
What should I call this sound? For all it makes me feel.
I know!
I 'll call it Mother.
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#39 of 76 Old 10-15-2004, 11:38 AM
 
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The last time I cried was when I was out running errands because I just couldn't take it anymore. To be trapped and wanting to be free. I know how to fix it but I don't. I don't really want to. I like the pain, I guess. I won't cry in front of him anymore because the pain then becomes unbearable. My pain must hurt him more than it hurts me. Why, then, would it cause him to push me away instead of pulling me close?

The last time I cried before that was when my cat, my beloved friend of 13 years, died. I had to make the decision to put her down. I cried the night before, as I had cried the night before that, and he had watched me with a sort of detached wondering. I cried that same day it happened as we walked in the open grassy fields searching for some kind of peace. I wrapped my long black sweater around my shaking and closed my eyes in the breeze. I felt as light and cold and gray as the clouds as I drifted down the trail with my eyes closed. I was a mess. I missed my gray friend. I wanted to blow away in the wind and meet her on the other side. The others were silent and they were there around me but I only now remember me feeling deeply alone, feeling unacceptably emotional. Feeling empty.

The days after were white and disturbing. I cried at odd moments. All this for a cat. Feeling so alone in my tears I hid around corners and stopped talking about it. I wished he'd cared. I wished for holding, for touch. I wished for connection. Now I cry alone. I can't cry only to be left alone, the alone will be of my choosing. I can cry while driving. I can cry in the shower. Nothing is worse than the alone you feel when there is someone right there beside you.
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#40 of 76 Old 10-15-2004, 02:29 PM
 
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When you become a motherthe world changes. But mostly your own mother changes. She is no longer just your mom. I always viewed my mom as a mom and nothing else. She was ALWAYS my mother, she had no other roll in the world except to be my mother. So when I became pregnant I realized that once upon a time my mother was not a mother she was Joan. I imagine from what I've heard that she was quiet, intelligant, troubled, hopeful, and a little rebellious.She had plans, and I still don't know what they were. When my mother was in elementary school, in High School I don't know who she was, or what she thought about.When you think about who you were before becoming a mother, , and then you think of how your own child will view you it really makes you want to KNOW your mother I know a few stories of my mother, but I wish I could know Joan.
When I call her to ask advice or resolve a problem I now know that she doesn't always know the right thing to do or say. She isn't All knowing as I have always thought, as I thought until I became a mother myself. Mothering doesn't come with an instruction book, but hopefully it comes with a good example, and a lot of support from someone who's already done it herself. My mother didn't have either, but somehow raised 5 great kids. Now I have the best example of motherhood and she's willing to take my calls 24 hours a day.

Courtney and Cree, baby made 3, added one more then there were 4, sakes alive, then we had 5, another in the mix now we have 6!

A Momma in love with her Little Women-Jewel Face, Jo Jo Bean, June Bug, and Sweet Coraline.

 

 

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#41 of 76 Old 10-15-2004, 02:37 PM
 
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The time of my life


The call that shook me to the core
Me falling down in tears
Waves of sadness never experienced before
My father has left the world


Two stripes appearing fast, together
Checking instructions.. two means no, right?
Head like mush.. feeling weightless as a feather
I’m pregnant


Staring at the needle stuck in my arm
Leading to the bag of red life
Please do my baby no harm
I’m sick


Under attack.. waves come crashing.. what do I see?
Moving, thrusting, splashing, resting.. here it comes again..
Pulling him carefully from the safety of me
My baby boy is born


Exhausted, spent.. do I have more to give?
One cough. Rich, red life-builder is out
Two little black eyes peering at me, my reason to live
My baby sucks on my breast
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#42 of 76 Old 10-15-2004, 06:38 PM
 
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The year when I was ten years old my father turned fifty. My mom threw a big Mexican party, with Mexican hats, trays of Mexican tortillas and chips, and of course, Mexican music. The whole house was colorful and warm and smelled welcoming. It was nice to have everybody there: aunts and uncles, cousins and other relatives. My father and I danced together to everyone’s delight. I think it’s still on the BETA cassette.

That was the last family gathering I truly remember feeling like I belonged, part of this great big family, united. After that, I remember my mother complaining a lot about injustice, about having to do all the entertaining, about other people not inviting her back. From then on, my parents, taking me with them, retreated into their shell and we lived our lives close-knit, but only the three of us.

I had friends, of course, but I guess I did miss my family, or the idea of an extended family. In all the years that followed I would hear my mother countless times saying that they were no good, that they shunned her, that they were very clannish or that that they were irresponsible, selfish, greedy, etc. etc. And I believed her. Until I saw them again, and I couldn’t believe that people who treated me so nicely could be all those bad things my mother used to talk about.

Today, as an adult, I think they were not bad at all. They were just human, making mistakes like everybody else. But I’m afraid to seek contact with them after so many years. It’s not only the fear if them shunning me. No, much worse is the fear of betraying my mother.
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#43 of 76 Old 10-16-2004, 01:33 AM
 
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This is a quick piece. The only one so far this week due to a little wiggly one. I am hoping to have time for more tomorrow. (as if all of a sudden at 6 months my son will start watching himself! LOL) I am impressed with everybody's work - it helps me make time for myself to write too.
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The last time I was here it was so dark. It was cold and I could smell the air around me turning itself to morning slowly. I sat on the edge breathing in the trees that loomed at the furthest reach of my vision. Seeping, soaking, slipping. I could feel myself disappearing into this starry night. I could feel myself as the roof towered above me and I exhaled the worry that had led me here. The smell of wood, damp and earthy, bit at my mind, forcing me to remember nights just like this, experienced a thousand times in a thousand places exactly the same. Different worries, different boys, different secrets.

A streetlight cast a shadow from far away and I saw myself running to its light, hoping to reach it before my heart stopped in fear. The woods to my right held so much terror in their darkness, their deepness. I had to run so fast; my legs always seemed too small to make the distance go away. Please, please let the light be on outside my mother’s door. Please let someone have remembered I was coming home late and it would be silent and scary. Little girl legs of ten, fifteen then twenty years scrambling out of the safety of the streetlight and back into the thick, molasses night. Heart pounding and legs churning, out of breath now with too many youthful cigarettes at coffee shops over boys.

Never once did I not make it back. I never was obscured by darkness or consumed by unknown terrors. Through the door I would step, pushing it behind me. Then treading quietly through the house, secretly hoping not to be the last one in for the night, I would make my way to the back. Feeling for the handle in the kitchen, I would slide the glass to the side and step back out. Newly confident, safe from my perch above the earth I could survey my accomplishment.

Now I feel the morning as it sneaks out from the layers of night and remember why I am here. I have given up the boys in favor of one special man. I have given up the cigarettes, the coffee and the safety of the streetlight. Filling my chest with cool, damp air, I hope that my lungs will filter out the past. I need my lungs, my liver, all my organs to work at full capacity for once and soften this body to make it safe for an apple seed of possibility. A teeny flicker on a screen that doesn’t even know I am not ready to be a Mother yet. After so much planning, so much trying... so much, so much. There is doubt in my heart and that doubt has led me here. The back porch at my mother’s house where I have misbehaved, prayed, kissed, slept and laughed. The darkness where I have sought refuge from my fears and basked in my glories. The night slipping into morning offers me safety and solitude and freedom. The night is like that streetlight. Safe for now. I offer you the same. Make it yours.
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#44 of 76 Old 10-16-2004, 03:33 AM
 
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The year when I was ten years old ended the day of my eleventh birthday. Behold! Has there ever been a truer truth than that? Tra la. What is the truth anyway? Can there be an ultimate truth – without an ultimate lie? When “you couldn’t be further from the truth”, where, exactly, would you be? Most importantly, will I ever stop asking questions? No? Yes? Oh will someone just slap me! My eleventh birthday party is over and here I am blocking the doorway so she won’t leave. My first real friend had come to my party. She has to go home now. I ached so for this, for a friend. You couldn’t even call it a party, a cousin was invited, there was a small cake, and her. I asked her to come, and she said yes! What went wrong? She even pulls spaghetti out of her nose and throws food at the wall to make it stick – just like me! Soul mates, oh yes, soul mates for sure. The only person who calls me weird like it’s a compliment. Oh, she’s just beautiful. She is much older than me. A month and five days older, and oh so much wiser. I used to say I wanted to be a tree when I grow up, now, I want to be just like her. She is getting angry now, “Let me go, get out of the way, I have to go home!” Trying coercion, I tell her about my secret picture collection – Michael Jackson pictures and Duran Duran, hidden under my bed – where no one would possibly think to look.
“There is something wrong with you!” she yells now.
I look at my feet, and make them move, while my hands unlock the door – my eyes refusing to watch her go. I stare at the empty space where she was standing only moments before. I close the door very slowly, and take terrible pains to carefully lock the many latches – one by one, with a mindfulness and attention to detail that I have usually reserved for my pasting books.

Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#45 of 76 Old 10-16-2004, 05:08 PM
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The year I was 10 years old, we moved. We'd been living in a dumpy 3 family in the city. The tiny, fenced-in, postage stamp of a dirt yard was for the landlords' dog. Between the apartment building and the garage next door was an alley so squeezed that I couldn't extend my arms to either side without bumping a wall. Our apartment was 5 rooms and my parents, grandmother, sister and I all lived there.

And then we moved! To a huge 10 room Halloween nightmare of a house. It's stucco outside had been painted (a color my jealous cousin called 'fairy pink') so many years before that it was hard to find any of those pink chips still clinging to the house. Bushes and saplings grew up and over the front stairs and spiders strung their spooky webs from side-to-side.

It had been 3 years since the grass had been cut, and it stood taller that my little sisters head. We played hide 'n seek in the grass; all I had to do was to sit down, anywhere, and I was hidden. We begged our parents not to cut that grass!

Inside the house was just as neglected. The pipes were bad, so there was no running water, 15 layers of worn and ripped linoleum covered the floors, storm windows hadn't been invented when the house was built and no one had ever bothered installing them.

We raced through the house, my sister and I, screaming to hear our voices echo and then screaming from fright as they echoed back. We stayed together, frightened that we'd get lost and be unable to find our way back to our mother.

An old upright piano, covered in dust and grime, long out of tune, sat in the corner of a living room nearly the size of our apartment and we banged out original versions of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Mary Had A Little Lamb. My sister, far more musically inclined than I, eventually was able to pick out songs on the old thing.

For the first two winters we lived mostly in the kitchen, the house being too hard to keep warm. There were 5 stairs and a landing with a door that blocked off the rest of the stairs and I remember sitting in the warm winter sunshine on those stairs, eating grilled cheese sandwiches and drinking warm cocoa.

We lived there until I got married at 19 and if I ever become a rich and successful author, I'm buying that house!
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#46 of 76 Old 10-16-2004, 07:11 PM
 
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The last time a stranger asked to hold my baby changed me forever. I was lying in a hospital bed with pancreatitis and loathing in self pity that I ended up this way after my c/s. A motherly looking nurse came in just as Darren had gotten there with Dylan one day and asked if she could hold our baby. He was only 12 days old or so at the time and we had already been seperated for days it seemed. I was feeling quite overprotective at the time of him. I was quite annoyed but something in me told me to let it go and I was just too sick to protest anyway. I really didn't say much and wished she'd just go away and leave us alone. Then as she was holding my baby and doting on him she got to telling us that we should enjoy him as long as possible, that he would grow up too fast..you know all typical the things people tell you when you have a newborn.then she told us she had just recently lost her son who was 18. In that moment something snapped deep inside myself and I knew how lucky I really was. even though I was sicker than I've ever been in my life with my milk drying up and the lost time with my new baby and husband as a new family. I could see how much it meant to her holding my son and remembering her own as the tears trickled down her cheeks. maybe it was all of my PP hormones raging but how selfish & humbled right then I felt that just moments earlier I had thought of sending her on her way in a less than nice way. it made me realize in a big way we have no way of knowing what will touch others or where compassion or healing will find you. now I will think twice and back to this experience when someone wants to hold my child, even a stranger.

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#47 of 76 Old 10-16-2004, 08:06 PM
 
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This exercise turned into 20 minutes for me. After writing it and doing the exercises for the week, I realized I'm simply writing about events and not exploring the depth of the emotions that go/went with it. That's my goal for next week...to get into the meat of it.


The last time I…

The last time I performed, I never felt so heavy and earthbound. I knew my career was coming to an end, but I was hoping to go out in a little better form. The show before that, I felt better than I ever had before and the piece was a showcase for me. But then I had a really rough summer with the exception of my wedding in August. In May, I was told that my ailing grandfather was taking a turn for the worse. I rented a car in New York City where I was living and drove all night to get to the life-care facility my grandparents were in in Maine. I arrived at 11 AM greeted by my Aunt, her partner and a family friend. Nothing they said really prepared me for what I was about to see. I nearly gasped aloud when I saw my Grandfather. He was alert and sitting up in bed with so much life still in his eyes, but he was skeletal. The series of strokes had left him barely able to talk. This is what was so hard because he was a man who loved the English language dearly. I was almost afraid to touch his frail body but I walked over and kissed him on his parched lips. The nurses were there, concerned about the raspy sound he was making. We stood around and talked while he mutely watched us. Though I had never heard it before, I knew it was the death rattle. My Aunt, her partner and our family friend left the room to go off and get lunch. I barely made it to the hallway when I broke down sobbing. The change in my Grandfather was difficult to handle. It was clear he was dying and I had never been this close to death.
We got back from lunch around 2:30. When we walked into the room, he was drinking a Heineken. I think the nurses knew the end was near and couldn’t say no. When we were out, I had bought some flowers to brighten the room. I put them on the dresser where he could see them, turned to him and told them they were for him. He smiled weakly at me. My Aunt, her partner and the family friend were talking with the nurses in the room. I looked over and saw my Grandfather staring at the flowers and it struck me how the look in his eyes changed. He looked at me and mouthed the words, “I love you” to me. He had waited for me to arrive so he could die. The rattle grew louder. I got scared and had to walk out of the room with our family friend to comfort me. Twenty minutes later, my Aunt came to the door and told us they thought this was it. We all gathered around his bed. My Aunt was by his head, her partner on the other side and I held his hand while our family friend comforted my Grandmother. The end for him was quite violent as his heart shut down. What struck me most in those moments was how my Aunt has encouraging him telling him over and over in a soothing voice, “You’re doing great Dad”. It was something I never imagined saying to a dying man, but thought it was brilliant – making it okay and safe for him to let go. My Grandmother who had Parkinson’s sat on her bed not understanding what was happening. Our friend tried to explain it to her but she didn’t get it. When he had passed, something happened and she became very lucid. She begged him to come back and she cried. For the next twenty-four hours she cried and mourned the loss of the man she loved so dearly. Before he died, every night, the nurses would push their beds together so they could hold hands and pray. The next day, my Grandmother cried with me and told me she wasn’t ready to go yet. I told her it was okay, she could stay her with us all for as long as she wanted. The next day she was back in the cloud of Parkinson’s.
I returned to New York but got a call four weeks later that I should come quickly, my Grandmother was dying. Once again I rented a car and drove through the night to Maine. I arrived at 5:30 Am. My Grandmother was so frail. My Aunt told me that she had been asking if I was coming. She told her I was on my way and then my Grandmother slipped into a coma. I still feel as though she knew I was there. At one point, I was holding her hand when her blind eyes opened wide, looking scared. I stroked her hand as I had as a child and told her we were all there and that everything was okay. She settled back into her coma and rested. Her passing was much quieter and more peaceful than my Grandfather’s was. We noticed her breathing becoming shallower and further apart until she stopped. We each took a private moment to say goodbye. I have never cried so hard in my life. I was mourning such tremendous loss in such a short period of time. My Grandmother died four weeks to the day from my Grandfather at almost the exact time of day.
A few days later I had to go back to perform in my last ballet. My heart just wasn’t there. I didn’t have the adrenaline rush I usually felt. It was the final sign I needed to show me it was time to retire. The last time I performed, I never felt so heavy and earthbound.
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#48 of 76 Old 10-16-2004, 08:07 PM
 
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The time of my life…

The time of my life was also the most destructive time of my life. I was young, too young to be living alone in New York City. And as usual, I found myself with friends that were not lifting me to a higher level, but were leading me down a destructive path. I partied and I partied hard! Underage drinking at bars, dancing and having the time of my life. There were nights that I partied so hard that I had alcohol related blackouts and couldn’t remember whole parts of evenings. Maybe I just thought I was having the time of my life. Deep down, I knew it was an unhealthy lifestyle. How could I not realize that? I was a lost soul, losing her direction and purpose in life. So maybe I was wrong. Maybe that wasn’t the time of my life? Maybe despite the sleepless nights and messy house, this is actually the time of my life? I have a husband whom I adore and who adores me, we have a great house and of course, the most wonderful baby girl anyone could ever ask for. So I correct myself. THIS is the time of my life.
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#49 of 76 Old 10-16-2004, 10:15 PM
 
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My Best Day

Is it possible to have a best day? Everyday could be my best. Today is the very best that I could make it.

My intellectual brain says that the "answer to the question" is something like, "my best days were the days my sons were born."

The two days my sons were born certainly stick out more than most. Despite being nearly divorced, I'd have to say that my wedding day was also a very special day. I felt especially proud when I graduate from university, especially since I was the first one in our family to achieve this. I've had amazing days throughout my life. Fun times with family and friends. Events. Trips. Days when I've won awards, been recognized, felt especially helpful.

Looking back, I can also see that some key moments that at the time seemed like nightmares, but were catalysts for major growth & change in my life. I'd have to include those times as best days too, for without them, I may not have become the amazing woman I am today.

Maybe the day I was born was my best day. The start of my Earth Journey, the first day alone in my newly formed body.

How can I pick a best day?

As I think and write I realize that to this point, I've had a series of best days that have lined up one after another, forming into weeks and then months and into years. Yes, when I really think about this I realize that each day has been the best day because each day holds its own mysteries, gifts, challenges, struggles & experiences. And really, that seems to me to be what life is all about. My best days all strung out in a row now, stretching over 34 years of my life.

I look forward to adding another one tomorrow.
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#50 of 76 Old 10-16-2004, 11:06 PM
 
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I'm not sure if new comers are even allowed, but I did the weekly assignment and I thought I would go ahead and post one... if it's too late to join, please let me know.

The time of my life

There is nothing quite like realizing your own worth. The world sings when we treat ourselves with the care and respect we so richly deserve... Two years after I stopped drinking and began facing my life and my actions, I found that magic sweet spot where I truly loved myself enough to act with conviction on my own behalf. During this time (or more likely, because of this transformation) I met my husband to be. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined such a man, with such a zest for living. We fell in love - within three months, I was leaving Seattle and my career and my friends to go live with him in Idaho. Three months after that, we were married. Together we have travelled around the world- South America, Europe, the States, and we have moved three times in the last year and a half- all the time gleaning the best of our surroundings. Sharing experiences, delighting in tastes, sounds and the nuances of each place - delighting most of all in one another. Now we are expecting our first child in a few short weeks and I am anticipating our relationship will change. However, I believe that our love for one another, for living fully and for our unborn child will ensure that we continue having the time our our lives.


I'm not sure that I tied back together the idea from the beginning to the ending- but for me, they are very intricately woven....

I am enjoying reading all of your essays. Thank you for posting.
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#51 of 76 Old 10-16-2004, 11:20 PM
 
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Greetings Ladies,
I would like to join in. And wouldl like to know how much of these assignments should be posted.
Jessica
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#52 of 76 Old 10-17-2004, 03:22 AM
 
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As far as I understand you should try to post at least one a week but more is fine. Tanya (the moderator) requested that we not comment on eachother's work for now so I think the purpose of posting is mostly accountability and catharsis. Welcome to the group!

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#53 of 76 Old 10-17-2004, 10:49 AM
 
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thank you tanya for caring enough to start this group. tears are filling my eyes with gratitude...thankyou ezrasmummy for the welcome...
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#54 of 76 Old 10-17-2004, 12:00 PM
 
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Mothering

I didn’t think my family was unhealthy until my mom stopped breathing. It happened almost two months ago. She’s breathing now, again, of course, but things are different. It’s the drama that had to happen to open all our eyes. Except no one is opening them.

One thing that makes me realize that we may not have always been a healthy family is that this is the third time my mom has stopped breathing. I didn’t know about the other two until now.

My mom stopped breathing and she went to the emergency room with my dad. They didn’t find anything wrong with her but she told me later that she didn’t “bounce back” like the previous times. So then she took the prescription for prednisone the ER doctor gave her.

And that’s when she got really sick. So sick, in fact, it was the first time I ever saw her in bed. The first time I ever brought her water, a sandwich, a pillow. The first time I ever mothered my mother – myself a new mother, my one-year-old between us, climbing over her on the bed.

The prednisone was a big mistake – a misdiagnosis to begin with (it was highly unlikely and never shown that her breathing problem was due to inflammation), plus my mom didn’t start it until ten days later, and it was a massive dose, especially for someone her size. My mom is small.

And it messed with her head, and her heart. Not the organ but her soul-heart. She’s sad and she’s scared. And now she’s sick.

The reason she stopped breathing, the doctor (not the ER doctor) has now said was likely because of anxiety. And now, when every other day or sometimes many times in a single day, she feels “shaky,” she doesn’t know if that is still the prednisone working itself out of her body or if she is having a panic attack.

She wishes they weren’t happening.

I want to take care of my mother. I want to mother her, in all that word implies – unconditional love, encouragement, practical support, hot tea and comfy pillows, gentle hands, warmth and food to eat – but I can’t and that’s because my mother is married to my father.

My mom told me once that she ties her shoes backwards. What did she mean? She told me that when she married my dad, she saw the way he tied his shoes, and it was different from the way she did it. She figured she had been wrong all this time and she relearned. But then later she learned that my dad actually tied his “wrong” – he is a lefty. But by then it was too late, she kept tying them backwards. When I was five years old and learning to tie my own shoes, she told me: “Don’t tie them like me. I do it backwards.”

Pretty early on I had a sense of my parents’ relationship…. that my mom did not “stand up” to my dad, that my dad was loud and angry sometimes, and unfair. As a teenager, I often silently urged her on, but nothing. Instead, I became the one who stood up to my dad, and I was promptly grounded, or sent to my room, or yelled at. I remember, just now, being yelled at as a child, and the act being terrifying enough to start me crying, immediately. It didn’t even matter what he was saying. My father is a terrific yeller, and he looks especially horrible doing it.

My mom didn’t stand up to my dad, I did, and then there was the long, hollow and silent time, when my mom was our go-between. I simply didn’t talk to my dad throughout my teens. That was okay, I suppose, though I always felt bad for my mom, recognizing even then how she was forced between us and unable to take sides. But I doubt I would have survived adolescence if my dad had not backed off. He was smart enough to realize that we were headed for a full-scale rebellion that could be potentially dangerous or even fatal. So I got to be me and we went along, me in my normal, “healthy” family.

I grew up, went away to college, and I found some respect and kind feelings for my dad. I kept growing up, and I got married and became a mother. My father retired and became a grandfather. And he became a tyrant – he lost his place of power outside the home and he went about reclaiming it, over and over, at home. Who was home? My mom. Though I think he knows, deep down, that the situation is hopeless, but it doesn’t stop him from trying.

And my mom became smaller. And now she’s really sick.

I had dreams when she got sick: a house full of light and I find myself inside, she is house-hunting; a baptism that my father is forcing us to attend, I tell my mom, “I don’t want to go,” and my mom says, “Do you think I do?” and I am shocked to hear it for I had seen no indication; I am picking berries with my mother, we’ve never seen such a color of blue, she wants to know are they edible?; I see my mother a phoenix rising, and then I don’t see her at all.

I try to tell my mom of the renewal of the opportunity she has for growth. She says nothing, not a thing, and I hear myself, my silent urging, Stand up, mom. Please, stand up. I can’t see you.

I can’t say it. I am always the one to say it. I can’t say it because we both know change is impossible under the circumstances. My dreams are desperation. My dreams are hopes I try to impart – but it remains clear they are my hopes, not hers.

All I read about mothering – the advice to create space for your child to be who they are and not who you want them to be… where is the parenting book for mothering my mother? How do I do this?

I am always the one – the only one – to stand up to my father. It doesn’t really get me anywhere, except frustrated. After our most recent argument, I exclaimed: “Well, god, if he’s going to be such an asshole, I wish he would at least be logical!” I also apologized to my mom, for my part of the fight (which happened in front of her). She said, “There wasn’t anything you could do. You could’ve said anything and it would have ended up the same.” Is this what she’s learned that I never have? At what cost? How many more times will she have to stop breathing before he wakes up before she wakes up and says Me.

When I Was Ten

When I was ten years old, I was still part boy. The boy part was still there in me and so on the surface that I was often mistaken for one. There is an entry in my journal, the black book with white pages and frog stickers, written by me: “Got called a boy today, again.”

I liked being part boy,
wearing my tough jeans and chasing each other
around the playground,
climbing trees and salting slugs and fishing,
building rafts, riding bikes,
picking berries, climbing logs,
crab-crawling down the sewer pipes (euw),
daring and double-daring, chewing gum, burying bees, skinned knees,

kickball, football, whiffle ball, spotlight,
capturing the flag, tumbling over fences, fulfilling
my duties as an honorary “Doobie Brother” (which consisted mainly of sitting around in the Frank’s open garage with the other Doobies),

tire swings, tall grass, ravines,
snowballs and snowfalls
leeches in lakes and tadpoles
pollywogs

jellyfish in the sea, anemones, flashes of light
baiting hooks and dangling legs
sea spray and sunburns, diamond waves and murky depths,

rock-cod dog-fish eagle of the sky
salmon flounder halibut
sea otter and seals, dolphins at play

brown bear, hot springs, fish heads and slime

two piece bathing suit
bare feet on hot tocks
moss, tiny worlds, lichen

rocks to skip, crabs to unearth
salmonberries, devil club, bear bread

huckleberry blueberry salmonberry strawberry
oh! raspberry too

The world was nature and nature was smelly and big and full of tiny other worlds.

The world was fourth grade, the very edge of becoming a girl for certain… before fifth and sixth grades, when I looked for breast buds, when I carried a comb in my back pocket, when boys wrote us notes appraising our bodies (Vanessa had “great tits” and my legs were “nice”). When I was ten, Mount St. Helen’s erupted and the hostages were released from Iran and we got a new president, Ronald Reagan. When I was ten, the world went from my back yard to “out there,” where things like politics happened, and the earth rearranged itself on catastrophic scale.

When I was ten, I was small, still narrow and straight. When I was ten, I wrote stories about butterflies and squirrels and trees and dollies. When I was ten, I stole matches from my mom and when I got caught, I ran away, to the old hiding place in the woods.

When I was ten, I watched my thirteen-year-old sister preen in the mirror and I played star wars with my brother, who was seven. When I was ten, I was in the middle, between them, between being a kid and being a teen.

When I was ten, I played hard and didn’t know I was headed for girldom, or that I would survive it. I knew I had fierceness, and I fiercely protected it, fighting with and then against the boys on the playground, until after a while I didn’t fight or run anymore, I walked into my girl’s life, and survived.

© 2004 by Stacy M. Lewis (just putting this here since this is posted on the WWW)
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#55 of 76 Old 10-17-2004, 12:15 PM
 
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The last time I was reading a book the darkness around me was palpable. Except for my little trusty book light, I couldn’t see much. But I could feel the crescendo and diminuendo of the baby’s breathing. I could hear the deeper breathing of my husband in I could make out a small form lying right next to me. Another large one loomed a little farther in the distance. As I peered a bit harder, I could make out one tiny foot touching my husband’s back and a tiny fist touching my shoulder. The fist all of a sudden opened up into a perfect hand, which started to shake a bit. I could hear a little squirm. The book light went out, the book put away. I turned around, and my little man helped himself to a midnight banquet.
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#56 of 76 Old 10-17-2004, 12:30 PM
 
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The year when I was ten years old...the year I returned from Fairbanks Alaska to Paducah, Kentucky and life with my poor, alcoholic, single, mother and my two younger brothers.

Before I left Paducah when I was eight life was decent with only the experience of then to relate to. My mother allowed me to leave her and my two baby brothers behind to be with Grandma Lou in the lands of frozen blueberries, forest for hiking, snowsuites, moonboots, new friends and frenemies and blessed stability.

I returned to a hot Kentucky summer. We worked on getting my room cleaned, making a place for me. I claimed a tom cat kitten named Tiger. He rode on my shoulder. I carried him around and felt the soft contented weight and purr of him. (Little did I know that I would carry my two infant boys around the house in the same manner. My shoulders are so strong now that I can carry the weight of the world with little or no problem.) My space in the house of my mother, Joy, and ex step father, Tom, was soon to be violated with noisy raucaus parties that scared me. I asked mama to go live with my great grandma Belle and she lovingly took me in and painted my room lavender per my request.

How wonderfully ironic and lovely it is that lavender continues to soothe me in the holy trinity of herb, flower, and color. In my lavender (lavendula) room, I could now concentrate on having best friends named Andrea and Lori, Being in the fifth grade class of Mrs. King, learning how to write haikus, looking at whose busts were budding, and wondering whose flows were beginning, playing teacher, and exploring my world in a safe place.
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#57 of 76 Old 10-17-2004, 01:17 PM
 
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Mothering

I must say goodbye
and go bake apple pie
and sweet potato pie
acorn and butternut
squash with cooked down
chicken and sheep's yogurt
mint sauce
till fill my man children
with love, warmth, sustenance
sustaining succinctly
to nurture them
(those two boys and one man, sometimes)
infuse them with warmth and light
and caring
so, i must go, and leave this computer
and this writing moment
this place in transcription
interrupted by activism, oxmorons, bad grammar,
and redundancy

goodby to this moment
go cook creatations
while making sure
gum is not stuck to carpet
to use positive phrases
heads are not bonking themselves

let my eyes linger longer
let my heart be calm
let my patience and love be forthcoming
O, God, I pray
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#58 of 76 Old 10-17-2004, 05:53 PM
 
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Twenty three years ago today, I was just nine and waiting for my tenth birthday two short days away. I wouldn't be one number any more. I would be two. Somehow, that would make me more here, more of a person. I would almost count.

"Yes," my mother had said, "and you'll never, ever be one number again." I became terrified. I cried. I clung to nine every last hour until I saw the clock tick tock away to October 19th, 3:42pm and I was ten.

An October birthday was full of uncertainty in south Texas. Hurricanes could still blow through, just as Allen had in May, knocking trees and lawn furniture into our pool, ripping off roof shingles, washing snakes, frogs and fish out of the bayou behind our house and into the driveway. My birthday fell on a Sunday that year. I was bored to tears, everything closed because of the blue laws, and nothing on T.V. except Hee Haw at 6:30.

I remember nothing of a tenth birthday party or any celebration. I only remember feeling like my childhood was slipping away. After turning ten, I climbed into bed next to my mother and sobbed.

"I'm not your little girl any more," I hiccuped, looking for reassurance that never came from my mother.

"No, you are not," she replied. Although she stroked my hair, she did so watching the Movie of the Week, imagining herself playing a lead role, living a better life than the one she had with me, my sister and her pathetic marriage. She made no secret of her misery.

I started imagining myself living a different life too. Sometimes a jar of ashes was all I had to dream about. Mount St. Helen's spewed so much ash that summer, I'd scraped off the residue from Dad's Caprice Classic and saw myself living somewhere in Seattle, being rescued by a fireman before the volcano swallowed me up.

I was also Princess Leia, brown buns on either side of my head and white bed sheet as a dress. I'd seen Star Wars three times and ached to see the Empire Strikes Back. It was seven years before I got that chance though.

If I couldn't go back to nine, I decided to grow up as fast as I could. Maybe I would finally feel happy.

I'm 33 and 363 days old today, and indeed I am happy. I do everything I can to give my precious son the gift of a peaceful and happy childhood. One day he may come to me in tears and say, "I'm not your little boy any more."

I'll reply, "You'll always be my little boy". And I will hold him tight.
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#59 of 76 Old 10-17-2004, 07:14 PM
 
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My best day to do laundry is any day of the week that ends in –day. I think they call that a suffix. You pick up the piles of clothes from your bed, couch, kitchen sink, and round them up on the floor. Then you decide which ones are dirtiest. Someone told me you have to look at colors too. Let your toddler do that. She will be thrilled to throw red with blue, white with black, and basically have a ball.

Next you pick up a big ball of clothes and walk to the machine with it. You open the lid (you plop the clothes on the floor in front of the machine first), and tell the machine to fill up with water.

After five minutes or so, rethink your strategy and turn a few dials first. Our home technology is not that advanced yet. Then the bowl with holes fills up magically with water. You grab some detergent, sprinkle to your liking, and dump the clothes around the cylinder in the middle.

What are you going to do now? Close the lid and look around.

It’s been too quiet. Where's your toddler?

There she is! She’s spilled paint all over the rest of the laundry!

Here we go again.
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#60 of 76 Old 10-17-2004, 09:18 PM
 
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Mothering was a term I wasn’t familiar with until I took Psychology courses in college. I also learned fathering was a term when I took a Psychology of Parenting class. Until then, I had no idea what it really entailed because I was far from starting my journey as a mother.

Almost six years later, I would gaze at my son’s oval-shaped mouth, gaping and crying. I remember thinking, “what a soft cry coming out of such an expressive little being.. my newborn son.” His arms were shaking and he was not pleased to have been taken out of the water. I instantly felt sorry for him, and I took him into my inexperienced arms as gently as I could. The birth video still shows me holding him in a lopsided, almost-slipping-off-my-arms kind of way. But I didn’t care. For the first time, and never again going back, I’d begun mothering.

Mothering since then has meant many things to me. It’s holding him when he needs comfort. It’s nursing him when he needs food and warmth. It’s kissing his head when he’s sitting in my lap, it’s teaching him, protecting him, standing up for him. It’s also vouching for him, guiding him, facilitating his transition into the world of other people and our society, and listening to him.

Mothering is playing with him, it’s giggles and wet kisses, two little arms around my neck. Mothering is a road to divinity, a road where the destination doesn’t matter as much as the learning that takes place on the way.
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