Dear Writing Mama's,
Thank you again for another week of discovery.
I appreciate the efforts you all have made to be with your own selves and not to comment on each other's work. I ask you to continue this practice and allow yourselves to deepen in this exploration.
In answer to a few questions that continue to come up;
new members are always welcome. I do ask that new members go back and read all the previous weeks assignments and my original "writing tips" so that we are all moving forward with the same sense of understanding and intention. In terms of editing, it is acceptable to change spelling and grammer before you post something on this site. My purpose in saying "no editing" is not to prevent you from changing simple technical errors, but to give yourself permission to write from a connected internal place without interrupting that process to edit. In terms of more complex editing, we will have time for that in the future. But, for now I really want to support you in letting go of outcomes and put aside any need to be "productive" or finish a "piece". I want you to write, for now, for yourself. I'm asking you to trust this process. It is my experience that the more you allow yourself to write with no thought of anyone else, the more authentic a voice has the possibility of emerging.
This week, I would like you to be open to surprising yourself. Try to resist the urge to read the topics that I assign until the moment before you're ready to write on them. No planning. No thinking. Just you and the blank page. Then, ready, set, go.........
Let youself move beyond all the ideas you have about your life. There are hidden corners within us all. They are waiting for you. Allow yourself to find them.
Continue to stay true to who you are. There is no need for cleverness here. Your own voice is enough. Let that be your affirmation this week.
Write in the full knowing of who you are.
Topics for Week 3
Write for ten-fifteen minutes on the following three topics this week:
1. Tiny hands..................
2. Birthday party.......................
3. Brown eyes.........................
Write for twenty minutes on the following two topics this week:
1. What I know now...................................
2. If I could do it again...............................
1.Light a candle. Sit in silence for five minutes. Let whatever thoughts come and go. Breathe. Let everything go. When the twenty minutes are up, pick up your journal and begin writing on "The most essential thing I want to say............."
2. Begin an ongoing lists of topics that you feel inspired to write on. Start the list with your passions and obsessions. Be as specific as possible.
Go Deep. Love. Accept. Breathe. Write!
When I hold your little hands now, I try not to imagine the day when you'll grasp mine any less. Your brother, at three, still clasps my hands in his as he drifts asleep. But your grasp will weaken; although not immediately I'll eventually be sickly sorry that you will even rarely hold my hand--you will have to find a reason to. It won't always be so uninhibited as it is now, when you need me as much as I need your touch.
cup my cheeks as she says
with such heartfelt enthusiasm
"I weally yuv you!"
so like my own
tangled in my hair
tugging until chills run down my spine
Tiny hands clinging
to the hem of my skirt
that there are more important things
than cooking dinner
or talking on the phone
drawing endless pictures
in the steam on the shower door
Tiny hands in my own
wanting to keep them this tiny
"The best things in life aren't things."
tiny hands touch to know and squeeze nipples hard as if to say this is mine, reminding my body and me who's in control of estrogen flow.
tiny hands trust every one not to hurt them. tiny hands trust especially me.
tiny hands grow to small hands that want to hammer and saw and build, small hands that want to hold a wooden knife or a wooden gun or a baby doll.
tiny hands learn how to crawl, pull up, and hold.
tiny hands test their strength by pinching and hitting. they learn the power of "no." then one day they are looking for worms, drawing, playing with clay, and holding up three fingers with skill and determination.
tiny hands control me, shape me, scult me into the person that is me changing, molding, cutting away the ego.
mommy hands hope to let go and watch them grow to manly big hardened hands holding their tiny soft baby hands.
Tiny hands ...
knead my breast, like a newborn kitten. Come on little thing, the milk is over here. See this bottle? This bottle here with this could be worse organic formula, and a few drops of breasmilk I've managed to pump. This bottle the doctor says you need in order to get to the right weight. On the bright clear morning of September 11 you lie on his scale, a glowing squirming happy baby. And he tells me you are headed for trouble. I walk past the televison screens in the lobby of his office, I barely notice the burning buildings. I have work to do. Please take this bottle the lacation consultant agreed you needed, when I hoped she'd tell me breast is best.
You took a few gulps, when you were really really hungry, and now, with ounces to go, you knead, you prod, you mouth at my breasts. I hold my arms tight against myself, telling you there's nothing here for you. I'm sorry. I rub your lip with the bottle's rigid silicone nipple, and you turn your face away, burying your nose in my breast, nipping frantically at my shirt.
Come on little thing, drink. This is the first bottle of the day and we're already behind. I've resigned myself to your needing this thing, this stuff. A mother's job is to give her baby milk. I'm doing that. By any means I can. What is all this I heard about babies who get bottles not wanting the breast. We've been at this for days, and every feeding is agony because you don't want the bottle.
Every time I mix that formula, fill or wash a bottle, I feel like I've failed you. You turn from the bottle, and after you take something from it, you spit up what seems like all of it. Especially if the supplement was mostly formula. I thought that once you got this generous bottle, you'd reject my breast. But stubborn little thing that you are, you loved nursing in those early days when things seemed so perfect, and now you don't want to give it up. And I just don't have what it would take to make it work for you. I'm sorry baby, so sorry, so sorry.
Come on little thing. Drink. No wonder I have hardly any milk. I'm losing all my vital humors in tears.
I feel like I'm done and let out a huge sigh, go join Dh for late night kitchen clean up. But I know I haven't done my full time. Kitchen all done, my fingers pull me back, you didn't give us our full time...
Tiny hands are persistent. I do everything I can to make more milk. I think she does better than the pump, but the difference still isn't enough. I'm feeling so hopeless I haven't sought any more help. But Dh says, why does it have to be one or the other. She loved to nurse. Let her back.
Tonight Dh and I laugh at how you say no how you say no to everything the swimming teacher suggests, even when he tries and tries and tries to get you to do what he thinks you should. You know what you want. Dh looked at me knowingly as we emerged from the locker room, you, the only child without a coat. You know what you need. I applaud your contrariness, it's because you said no to that bottle that we are happily nursing today. You know what you love
They've gotten me many a treat.
And I wonder
oh, yes, I wonder
how many are they gonna get for you?
If indeed those are brown eyes
looking back at me.
Wide and reflecting everything they see.
Someone once told me that
I had a gift and if it's true
when you look into my eyes
what you see reflected is
All of these people stopping
amidst their shopping
to gaze at you
and to smile.
What do they see?
I keep tilting and turning your little face
trying to get the light
Oh brown, yes, brown
but then it
My new name,
my new game,
all right there in you.
But beneath my confident answers I still wondered. After the lively debate, the doubters got to me. And I started to believe them. I couldn't do it. It wasn't meant for me. I was just one of those women that need intervention. I DO have big babies. Should I ignore my desire? Is it just a dream?
Weeks turned into months and I waited, waited for the answer. Wanting to be sure I could do it. Wanting to know they were wrong. Finally, a woman speaking through the phone told me, "Angie, I know you are going to have a beautiful birth." A single statement of confidence and hope that came to me as indisputable truth. That moment I knew she was right. It wasn't just a dream. No matter how this child came forth, her birth would be beautiful.
So I went back to the begining and studied the facts. My body conceived this child. My body grew this child. Inside my body alone was this child nourished, protected, and comforted. Through my body alone would this child be born.
What I know now is that she wasn't too big. What I know now is that it wasn't unsafe. What I know now is that pain preceeds unimaginable ecstasy. For the first time I see within myself a catalouge of personal strengths and am sure of my place among the legacy of my sex. What I know now is: I am a mother.
Angie, mama to Anna '01, Mia '04, and Leif '08 and '03 '07 '12.Expecting someone new in 7/13!
It's scary to write into space, where you know someone else will read your words, but you'll never know who or if it will make sense to them. It's a brave thing ya'll are doing. Thanks for letting me join.
Crossed upon his chest
A little boy once bursting
And now is lain to rest.
Be still my hungry memory
Be calm my smashing blood
For now the lid is leveled
My eyes take in the wood.
God, steel my resolution
Steal this ice pick from my self
My hands slide down the craftsmanship
My soul slides down to hell.
Beneath this pretty glory box
Sleeps one small lifeless heart
Four short years of beauty
Then from breath – ripped apart
Sorry, that was really morbid, but it just sort of came to me that way.
that will one day grow big
reaches up to my lips
for a kiss
well she nurses
that used to smell
that now smell like dirt
that hold a spoon
put on shoes
try to put a key in a lock
that i will hold forever
will someday be the size
of my big hands
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.
she had huge brown eyes like a deers
She wrote fluffy poetry, wore thrift store clothes
and had a slightly troubled look about her
we had the same haircut and once we kissed
We were really good together
my earthiness grounded her
and she helped me to see the clouds
it's sort of funny that
she has earth colored eyes
well mine are the color of the sky.
I haven't seen her in awhile
I hear she lives near me
I'm hoping to run into her
in the bread aisle
at the supermarket down the street.
ok I'd just like to say it was very hard not to edit this. because it's going places.
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.
...touched my soul. I looked into the face of the young man. I saw kindness. The eyes spoke. I'm going to be your husband. Yes, I felt. I didn't say it, I didn't hear it, I just knew.
What was this place? A temple, but not ours. My father is here somewhere, in a cluster of men.*This man*shouldn't be looking at me, he shouldn't be talking to me. But he is going to be my husband.
He gives me a paper with square boxes on it, graph paper, and a pencil. He tells me his name. It rings through my body. Write my name, he says. I put a letter in each box. Remember, he says.
He is finely dressed. He carries an air of privilige. He is his mother's pride and joy. He stands tall, and his carriage is that of a man, but his face is that of a boy.
He is younger than I am. This does not matter. No, he is much younger than I am. A lot. Young enough to be my son. That's who he is, I misunderstood. He is my son from another life.
We are in another place. We are alone. We shouldn't be. I am not your son. He looks all the way into me. Remember. He puts his hands to my face and kisses me. I am your husband. I feel my heart and my body respond. Yes.
I am myself, but I am not me. I am looking at her life, through my eyes. He is talking to me, so that I can understand her. Her life starts to wash through me. Small currents, and then I am riding a turbulent ocean. He wears contact lenses. They didn't have contact lenses back then.
Dd is rolling*around the bed. Other side, mama. Dh's brilliant blue eyes are open, a silent good morning. The first time I looked into his eyes, I knew they were my place. But that first time I saw him, I was sure they were brown.
I had a dream, I said, all about her, with many exclamation points. Were you her husband? No, he said, but I think I know who was. Brown eyes with contact lenses. The contact lenses were an intentional*hint. I sighed. I knew he was right before I even asked the question.
Monday morning. Rounds in five minutes. The pockets of the white coat are as empty as I can keep them, and still the collar digs into my neck and shoulders.
I can hardly hear anything above the din of the nurses station, but I do hear the whisper in my head that always says, when can I lie down in bed and sleep, when will this year be over? My beeper is already going crazy and I head for the phone instead of my team.
I'm on the phone, the beeper is going again. I feel burning in my back. Two white lights on me. Whose eyes are those? Receiver to my ear, still talking, I turn. A new guy in a crisp, unstained white coat. Broad shoulders, square jaw, dark hair. Staring at me without apology. Heavy rimmed glasses hide whether he is attractive or not. Brown eyes just barely asking permission*to go on consuming me. One of the new medical students.
I dismiss him with an abrupt turn of my body back to the phone.
reaching out in the night
sweet baby smell
soft chins and cheeks
snuggled in our cocoon
whispering in your ear
how perfect you are
sweet sleepy smiles on your lips
this is all there is
the light in your eyes
when I wake
I thought EW's eyes would be brown. Nope, they have remained hazel. Like mine. Everyone says you look so much like your father. But when I look at you I see my eyes looking back at me.
Brown eyes. Little cups of coffee with a dash of cream. Just the way I like my coffee. Coffee that I love so much. That I'm addicted to. That is probably bad for me and makes me breakout. I look forward to my morning cup in the evenings. The ritual of grinding the beans. Starting the water. Letting it steep. The aroma of the coffee. So rich and unique. The first sip is my favorite part. Often I try it before it's cool enough burning my tongue for the first taste.
I quit drinking coffee when I was pregnant. At three months postpartum I had a small taste and slowly reintroduced it into my routine.
The coffee helps motivate me to get out of bed in the morning with the baby. As the days are getting shorter, you continue to get up at the same crack of dawn time. It is dark out when we crawl out of bed. By sunrise I've generally had my first cup. Which is more like two or three cups depending on the size of the mug I grab. I meet those brown eyes in the kitchen and recieve the look of "you've had quite a bit already haven't you?".
edited for spelling. I couldn't help myself.
I also share this special day with my mother. Which is a unique thing, I know. I do cherish the fact that we get to share this day. Growing up and having to share your special day with mom is not as exciting. If people were not already wiped out from the most overbearing holiday all ready, they really had a hard time buying two presents. One for you and one for your mom.
So I have the christmas/birthday combo and the you and your mom combo.
Another downfall about my birthday was that it never fell on a school day. I could bring cupcakes into class weeks before the actual date. That, however, took the fun out of it. Almost like celebrating my birthday in June. Which would also, by the way, not fall on a school day.
These days I care less about the presents. People also know in advance how much I detest the combo gift anyway. Instead my birthday is a wash of holiday get togethers. Since our family has grown up and expanded, Chirstmas is sometimes celebrated on the 26th. Luckily, I have matured and do not look forward to each passing year as enthusiatically.
My mother and I have grown accustomed to our fate. We both know that is not about the spotlight, fame or glory. I love the fact that she tells me that I was her best birthday present, ever.
edited for typos :>
If I could do it again I wouldn't look at the assignment until I was really ready to write. I had several fabulous ideas of what I wouldn't do the second time around and now I'm blank.
If I could do it again I would go to bed earlier. I would stay up later. I would take better care of your teeth. I would make sure I always took my multivitamin.
If I could do it again I would not have had sex with as many people. It wasn't any better and I didn't feel more experienced. I just felt more exposed and sometimes used.
If I could do it again I would have remembered to ask for your placenta. Your birth didn't happen in the safety and cozy confines of our home. I often feel if I had your placenta we could have given it a home in the ground. Not let it be burned with all the other babies placentas. Besides, I wanted to see it. I've seen lots of placentas and they are all different. I bet you had a big fat healthy one. The kind where the veins and the artery intertwined to form a beautiful and strong ringlet.
If I could do it again I would write more about what you did each day. Someone asked me what you liked to do at six months and I couldn't remember. How will I remember when you are ten or twenty? Will my memories be just a blur of drool and poopy diapers?
If I could do it again I would drink more water. I get so busy during the day I sometimes don't drink until I feel completely dehydrated and my lips are beginning to crack.
If I could do it again I would have never inhaled that first cigarette. It just began a lifetime struggle of quitting smoking and resisting the urge to just have one puff once I had quit.
If I could do it again I would have continued to do lots of yoga. That was such a good way to focus and relax. As I write, I realize that I can continue to do lots of yoga. I can drink more water. Take my multivitamin. Write down daily events and even take better care of your teeth. Some things are past and can not be changed. Others are just waiting for me to take hold.
I see the big hands and I capture them on my paper. It is the most amazing thing to recognize a pair of hands I have put on my wall. Hands grabbing, pushing. I always said hands were my favorite part. They are. I capture the hands. I grab them. My wrists are bruised. They have bruised wrists also I'm sure. I bend their hands in a kote-gaeshi and later I will lovingly paint them on the most beautiful paper.
I wonder what the kids' hand will look like someday. Will they still grab people and throw them lovingly on the floor? Will they hold weapons? Will they build houses? Will they feel the ins and outs of a woman's body? Or a man's? I try to let these thought be free but oh there are of course things we mothers and the fathers want but I must be open to all because someday the hands will fly off on their own and the only thing that is not open is closed and that, closed, I can never be.
Where will their hands live? will they stay on this continent? Will they be moist and supple and stay in damp country? Will they be exposed regularly to the harsh sun of the desert and look old before their time? My hands always looked old. I always called my hands “old lady hands” and was embarrassed of them. I would hide them, hate them, looking at the fat pink fingers and smooth skin of other girls, envious. Mine looked at age eight like I had already spent a lifetime washing dishes. And now, I've spent so much time scraping food bits into the hot soapy water and I have grown, my face is older to match my hands and my hands no longer seem the ugliest part of me. They have aged beautifully. They hold a pen, they glide a brush across the paper, they caress, they fidget when I'm nervous. They have built not a house but a home. They have made countless little things.
What will my babies' hands make? Art? War? As I watch them grow I hope they love their capable hands and made the world a better place with them. I hold their warm fingers, I guide them, I steer them. I kiss them, and occasionally we throw each other to the floor.
(The references to bruised wrists and throwing each other to the floor are because we study aikido.)
Now I am not so sure. Maybe I would need to go further back, maybe choose different parents, maybe to a previous lifetime.
If I could go back to any time, I would believe in myself more and not be scared of my father's angry yelling and not be intimidated by my sister's bossiness and name calling and not be heartbroken by my mom's disowning me. I would shut off the outside world more and trust myself more.
Even if I only went back to yesterday that is what I should do more.
About my marriage there is a lot I would do differently. After all the he saids and she saids I don't know if I would marry the same man. Maybe as long as we stay married I have to say yes to go forward. Maybe if we get divorced that would be me saying no.
I wouldn't try so hard to change myself to be more like my younger sister. My parents always bragging about her, living vicariously through her, getting so much joy from her energy and accomplishments.
If I could do it over there wouldn't be a part of me that finally became happy about her eyelids frozen shut, her tongue stiff against her teeth and me not daring to feel behind her head to convince myself that this was reality.
The sadness would be real and thorough and with no silver lining. If I could go back to another time I would go to visit her regardless of the inconveniences. And I would be on the back of the bike and cushion her fall. And we would lie looking up at the stars together in the dark summer night.
If I could do it again I don't know if I even believe in. Because who knows what those different choices would lead to. This might be my best life possible and if I did things different maybe things would be worse. Just even thinking if I could do it again seems false. But if I say I would change nothing it would seem I had not learned.
There are pivotal moments I would have chnaged. I would not live with my father and his depression. But then I would be with my mom and her new alcoholic husband and his lying cheating stealing children and would that have been better.
I would be less trusting and know when a too cute stray kitten suddenly appears on our doorstep that it was not fate but a mother's trying to make things a little better than reality.
And I would know that little fluffy furry rabbits do not die from being scared to death but instead are ripped from the cage by two angry dogs and torn to pieces and then the man beats the dogs to death and then the dead dogs are what really lie below that so innocent looking cross.
And when my parents put me in a vice and took turns turning the handle until I popped in half and we all looked to see if I had crystals inside, blue, violet, white sparkling, I would look more carefully so I would know the answer now before they each took a half and put it in their pocket and walked off in opposite directions.
And if I did that then I would not be writing this too clever writing now because I would be open to my soul with its bright soft glorious illuminating light and not stuck outside of the fortress. Of the mountain folded up impenetrable by the magma boiling and burning at the core.
And maybe if I poke deep enough the magma will spew out and burn and char all in its path and I have to believe somehow that such a horrific sight is better than the present. Because so much of what I now want to think is beautiful would be destroyed.
And I know and believe on a concious level that what would grow in the aftermath would be even more beautiful but I don't believe it to the magma core and so the mountains continue to be slowly imperceptibly lifted and folded and maybe sometime in the far distant future a curious explorer will find a way to penetrate, or maybe they will have been eroded by some yet unformed stream, and she will be able to read my history in the vertical strata.
If I could do it again my diary would be more full then This morning I got up and ate breakfast. Then I went to school. Then I came home and played. Then we had dinner. Then I went to bed.
I want to scream at her to wake up to not be scared to not care. To not put on a white lab coat and draw the blood over and over because small pox is not around anymore. And to tear the splints off and to scratch and leave scars and scream and don't stop screaming no matter what they do until you are truly warm and safe and comforted again.
If I could do it again I would know they were two and I would have spoke both their names for nine months and said hello is that you and hello is that you and I love you in there and I love you in there.
I would not try to be so hard like her because my parents thought I was not interesting enough but couldn't see and admit my depression so it became a moral failing to be changed. And I tried too hard and failed in much greater ways. And maybe my husband would not have loved me but maybe I also would not have hurt him. Trying to be bigger better faster because that is what he needs and that is what he thought I was because that is what I was trying to be.
If I could do it over again I would do my own thing and practice more than 15 minutes if that is what I wanted because what else is more precious in childhood then following your own interests. Though there is no such thing, because we always rely on parents to show us what is important in this life.
If I could do it again I would already be the strong soft rock on which my children could play and tumble and poke and prod and I would be steadfast and constant and they would learn no fear and not see my angry eyes and not hear my angry voice and not feel my angry touch. Because the next time they are a little more cautious and it is because of fear, not because of learning the resiliancey of constant steadfast love.
[And now I glance at my timer which I apparently did not start - deep sigh - so who knows how long I have rambled. My guess is about 25 minutes.]
How many bodies filled our space? While they were moving it seemed like a hundred; while they all had their mouths full of the cake I counted eleven. Nine boys and two girls. It was a party. Eyes bulging, smiles wide and sharing pulling each other and onto the next thing. Legos. Dance. Legos. Dance. The little one, poor little [Friend], two years old in all the madness sneaked off to play with the doll house. The rest were in the house and out of the house. Shoes on, shoes off. Running, tumbling, play with me! Build with me! I played, I built, I rolled on the hard basement floor. I sneaked to the kitchen for a second glass of wine. My cheeks hurt from laughing.
The parents came and stood around, breathing. Then he came. The icing on the cake was when Sensei showed up. What a gift to have your teacher at your party. Birthday Boy's eyes lit up and he greeted his overwhelmed teacher who looked around putting together the pieces of his various classes from various days of the week and he had some cake too. The boys were jammed into one corner building creations, wedged in a tightness, surrounded by Lego pieces, I'm surprised they didn't snap themselves together also. They would have if they could.
The two kids with the hunger for grown-up attention, the two I say I love the most, had me in the basement playing. I played hard. I ran, rolled, bruised my shoulders for him and we laughed and I was purposefully, guidedly goofy to make our enjoyment full and complete and they felt very authoritative and right at home. [Boy] was being my teacher. My heart was breaking every time [his sister] grabbed me, begged me to build clay with her, do this with me. We were the big girls. I wonder what she does at home.
The kids were fantastic. No tears, no fighting. It was a symphony played on kazoos and hammers. They were in rhythm. The quiet winding down time when everyone else had gone was when Sensei presented [Birthday Boy] with the hachimaki and tied it on him, explaining what it was and we joked about the kamikaze pilots wearing it over their eyes instead. Who enjoyed the party more? Birthday Boy or me? That is hard to say. Can I plan such a party for myself? It would feel silly, for sure, but maybe I should. I could grow younger with each year. My parties could get more and more fun. I could invite the kids, be a kid, stay a kid, and the kids could grow up instead.
Tiny hands on my arm
Tiny hands on my breast
Tiny hands everywhere
I wish I could keep those tiny hands
Forever on my neck
On my waist
On my back
I wish I could hold those tiny hands
In my hands a little longer
A little longer, a little more
Never felt so much love before
Never a love so pure, so real
So basic or simple as
On my face
On my arm
On my breast
We were going to have streamers, balloons and cute favors. We were going to have such a blast at the pool. My baby and his baby friends.
But he doesn’t care anyway. He’s one. As far as he’s concerned he’s always been here. It is I that keep thinking about that hollow day when I didn’t have my baby inside me anymore. When I saw two little eyes peering at me. When I felt his impossibly soft, abundant hair between my legs.
Birthday party. No birthday party. I mourn not ever having ever hosted one. Missing out with my son. But next year it will be different. Next year we’ll go to the zoo, and we’ll see the animals, and everything will be jungle themed, and..
Last night as I lay in bed, Jordyn tucked in the cozy nook of my right arm,Taylor cozy in the nook of my left. We fit so perfectly. I laid there remembering as I held your almost 4 y.o. hands.
Sweet memories danced arcoss my mind,and laid lightly on my heart so as if to make my heart flutter.
The very first time I touched my sweet precious babies, it was 12 hours after your entrance into this world. The epidural did not work with this pregnant body. I froze all the way up to my nose, and could not keep water down. The doctor kept me away from you for too long. I can remember going to the NICU with earnst like nothing was going to keep this Mama Bear away from her babies a moment longer. You were tucked into your tiny isolettes. Naked. Wires attatched to you everywhere. Tubes where tubes should not be. So tiny. So very very tiny. Your isolettes were sidexside. I sat there in my wheelchair, right in the middle. The middle where you want me to sit when we eat our meals. The middle where I am when I nurse you both. The middle where I hold your hands to safely get you across the street.
I opened the little windows to each isolette to hold you both for the first time. I reached in,and could only hold your tiny hands. Hands so small I could fit my wedding band over them.
As I sat there, in the middle, arms reached out as far as they can go each way. I felt your tiny hands squeeze my finger so tight. I knew we would never let one another go, and I tried to imagine the future...... Laying cozy in a bed, both my beautiful daughters nuzzled in each arm, and I holding thier almost 4, still tiny hands.
If I could do it again...
I'd have told you what was on my mind, really on my mind, when I left. Our relationship, I'm sure you would agree, had been in fizzle mode for a long time. Remember when we were really in love. We were. I tried to deny it later, but what kind of idiot would I have been to have spent nearly a decade with you, if there hadn't been love. I'm not an idiot. We loved each other. We, I'll say we, were weak perhaps, unable to deal with the rigors of life and sustain that love, but once we did love each other.
When it seemed like love faded, we were still friends. As we felt the relationship change though, we still knew it was special. And even though we were strangely phobic of any official commitment, we treated the relationship as an entity to itself. To which we were committed, even if we didn't call it that. But we knew it had value even when we were slipping away from what we had in the beginning.
Later, when we'd suffered to many unresolved diagreements, and there was too much anger for friendship to survive, we still had respect. What kept us together? I tried so many times to break up, to accuse you of inattention, lack of caring, neglect that was too mindless to even be callous. I'd get to your apartment, irate because you hadn't called for days, and I'd find you in bed, with a fever and chills. A highly esteemed professional with chronic recurrent mono, able to function fully when work needed you, but at many other times, you were struck with fatigue and fever. Every single time I took the elevator up, planning to break up, I'd find you prostrate.
Except for the time I was again, plotting the end of us, and I ended up in the emergency room, death standing just beyond the circle working around the table on which I lie. When I was recovering, you carried me to your bed and cared for me like a precious treasure. So again, I changed my plans, and decided to stay.
I guess I needed a good kick in the butt to end things. And finally, you came through. I said nothing when you did what you did. I knew then that the respect was gone, and the relationship was truly over. I had an early morning and a busy day to follow, and was leaving for a conference after that, so why would I stay up deconstructing, when the only purpose in deconstructing is to prepare for reconstruction. Besides, for the first time since I was 9 months old and spoke my first word, I was speechless with disbelief over what your betrayel. The malice hurt much more coming from someone I'd trusted years of my life to, than from a stranger. It was truly over, over, over. All I wanted to do was get away, and when I was there, I would figure out how to end it smoothly and definitively. Even though you hurt me deeply, I felt no need to hurt you back. All I wanted was the end.
When I got back from my trip, I called you and said I had to talk to you about something. That way, even if you were sick, you would know I had something to say. That also bound me in a way, to keep me from chickening out. I mentioned that several times as we talked over the week. I also found out your exact schedule for Friday, well, as exact as it could be considering they abused your work ethic and always kept you more hours rather than send someone to relieve you. We talked Friday afternoon, here we go again, “They think I have testicular torsion. I talked to a friend in urology, and he said, if I'm not better by later tonight, I should call him to meet me in the ER.”
Well, I figured, I'll go to the ER with him, but I'm breaking up with him first.
Evening came and I took a big bag onto the commuter train. I scheduled my arrival to be before you got back to your apartment, so that I could clean out the relatively few posessions I had there, considering we'd been together 9, yes nine, years. By the time you came home, my bag was packed and I'd been waiting awhile. You were almost doubled over, walking with a limp, hand to crotch. You looked so pitiful, not just the testicle thing, but your hair was uncombed and you were dressed sloppily, and I realized how much weight you'd gained of late, though your nordic track was quite busy – holding your clothes. This job is killing you, I'd have said if I wanted to get off track. Stand up to them. Leave! Take care of yourself. Get a life!
But I wasn't there to rehabilitate. So I got to business. I have to tell you something. When my brief statement was over, he looked at me, and said, sounding disappointed, “I thought you were going to tell me you were sick.”
I was incensed, how could he sound like he was hoping I was sick?? That I should be sick rather than for him to lose his good time girl.
I suceeded in being succinct and I was heading for the door, big bag over my shoulder. “I'll walk you out,” No thanks, I'm fine. “Tell me what you want, and I'll do it.” I kept walking. As if it was that simple, and if it was, yeah, for about 5 minutes until you have me back. Now that I'd really had the fire lit under my butt, it took me 9 minutes to end 9 years.
Why didn't I say what was on my mind? Why didn't I tell him what the last straw was on the back of the feeble camel that had been our relationship. Because it was pointless to discuss it, it was done, and it wasn't like I wanted to work it out. Because I didn't want to give anything that faintly resembled a signal this was negotiable. I didn't want to give him any loose ends he might try to call me to pick up. I didn't give him credit to understand what I was feeling, and it was pointless to end up trying to explain. I didn't want another minute in his company.
Years later, after I'd long forgiven him, forgiven myself, I wonder if I'd have healed faster if I'd at least vented to him. Then, even if he hadn't gotten it then, it might have hit him later.
Maybe, in one of the many nights that has passed in the 12 years since this happened he has, on his own. I've only been feeling that way since my recent revelations. I'd thought him angry with me, angry with our lack of communication, angry at my independence, angry at where the years had taken us, and I felt he lashed out at me in anger he could no longer hide in detachment. Now I know that may well have been true, but underneath his anger there may have lay grief over what was, and an unconscious desperation to push our relationship another way.
He didn't think I was going to tell him I was sick. He thought I was going to tell him I was pregnant.
Just weeks ago, dreams in the safe place of my husband's arms brought me to a time long before. Now I realize that I was very caught up in your not understanding what I would say. But the truth was, I didn't understand what to say. Had I said any more than I did, my words would only have fallen on the the angry man, not the spirit within.
Now I would know to speak to both, though the angry man would argue with me on technicalities. He would say that I completely misconstrue his motives, and grossly distort his actions. But perhaps the spirit would have heard me.
I would not have cringed at sitting close to you. I would have truly reached for you from the heart, instead of out of ceremony. I would have said ...
... and it would have fallen on incredelous ears. You'd have thought me delusional. I was right to do as I did.
But I can say it now. The spirit can still hear me. And maybe your spirit will tell it to you in a way better than I ever could, so that you will understand and begin to find the peace that escaped you.
I remember our fierce love. It slipped away so slowly, we didn't notice. One day it was just gone, and we never told it goodbye. So slowly, I began to turn from you. I am so, so sorry that life failed to deliver what seemed to be glorious promises - again. And that made everything for you futile. I know you reel with anger at the injustice. I also know you have unfathomable grief at what you've lost, and lost again. Inside, you were dying, and you made a desparate grasp for life. You weren't acting out of malice, you were doing the only thing possible, within your humanity, to take your family back.
Now I feel that I could have held you one last time as I said goodbye, close enough to let our tears mix before they fell from our faces.
Then I move back from him. My voice turns hard.
But none of that, none of that, and I am screaming now, I am in his face, pointing an accusing finger, none of that, gave you the right to rape.
I like my life. I've had a good share of joy & happiness, struggle & pain. I have a good family & good friends. I like who I am and where I've come from to get here.
If I looked at things as if I could do it over, I'd be living in the past, looking behind & focusing on something other than the moment that is happening right now.
I have found, upon reflection, that the struggles & difficulties I have experienced have all been gifts. I can see the ways I have learned & gron from each struggle. I can see that they were incredible gifts that contributed to my growth. Sometimes it's taken me awhile to see the blessing, but I usually find it.
Life is about change, growth & experience. To think that I could go back & make it better by changing, adding or deleting something would be to think that somehow a different something would be better. I accept who I am, where I am and continue to face what will be in the future. How could I know what would be better? It's like the part in that Garth Brooks song, "The Dance", he says, "I'm glad I didn't know the way it all would end, the way it all would go. Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance."
If I looked back and eliminated the painful events or struggles, I'd also miss the huge opportunities for growth that went along with those struggles, or the incredible people I have met along the way & have learned from them. These are things I would not have watned to miss.
The past few years especially gave me so many diffricult events & yet through it all I've probably grown by leaps and bounds. I got so many life lessons that have all led me to today where I feel so much more peaceful and content than ever before in my life. This places where I am comfortable with myself, where I truly like who I am and the life I am living. Where I am moving forward in a way that serves a greater good, cares more about others & strives for peace within, in my relationships and globally. I feel like I am finally coming into myself and starting to really contribute something positive to the world.
I feel like getting to this point has been such an intricate & delicate balance. To remove, add, or change any part would have a ripple affect that I would not want to unravel. My enire life would be different and for that reason alone, I would not go back and do anything differently.
My life, thus far, has been perfect, in that everything has had a reason or purpose. I believe the rest of my life will be perfect too with it's own balance and purpose. So, I will continue to live my life in the present, moving forward to face whatever challenges & opportunities come my way.
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