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Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category

when my words and my mind were spinning madly, on the brink of a collision with reality, i wanted to share stories and jokes and all the intimate details of the lives we were living.
… and then
it happened. the inevitable collision that i had spent a lifetime ignoring was now, unavoidable. the spinning thrashed around my mind like an orca beating its kill on the ocean top.
slap
slam
… and then
my head burst open and everything escaped, oozing out of those darkened crevasses so fast that to grasp them, to contain them, was an impossible feat. i crawled out from beneath, prostrated myself, hated myself.
i hated me
… and then

i looked at all the pieces lying around, scattered, unrecognizable, knowing the reassembly process was impossible. i couldn’t decifer which piece fit where and if some of the pieces had been altered.

all the pieces had been altered
… and then
the altered pieces looked so beautiful, so magnificent in their new imperfect shapes. i saw that, you see? i saw it. i saw the love inside. i saw the beauty that was forming and growing and busting through a wall to shout at the world.
shout at you
… and then
the porous pieces of myself, those imperfect and all too occasionally fucked up pieces of myself took on a magnificent shape. they looked like me. a crooked smile. a blemish. a lonely dimple.
me
me
i stood upright and strong and dared to move.
dared to love
dared to love me
i took the onus for me

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When my son was in the sixth grade, he had a girlfriend. Like most romances that take place in the sixth grade, it was short-lived… it ended when his “I want to break up” note got to her before her “I want to break up” note got to him.

In the sixth grade, that’s the way the world spins — sometimes predictable and rotating calming, sometimes spinning wildly and madly.

A few days after the “break up”, he came to me upset. The grandmother of the young girl had sent him a private message on Facebook, in it she wrote that she was disappointed in him, she expected better from him, she couldn’t believe he had broken her grand-daughters heart. As I read this message from her, that I doubt would have ever come to life had it not been for this feeling of anonymity that we get typing from our keyboards — we say things through our computers that we would never imagine saying face to face, we behave differently… the computer lends itself to an air of “make-believe”, but that’s another story for another day, as I read this message to my son, in the sixth grade, from a little girls grandmother, my blood boiled with an anger that, I believe, only erupts in a few people on a few occasions — this was my occasion.

I was angry.

I was livid.

I was ready to gnash my teeth and bear my claws.

But, I paused and looked at him, his round sixth grade boyish face, frightened and upset that this adult, who he didn’t know, was now disappointed in him. It’s easy to see confusion racing through the mind of a sixth grade boy, they don’t cloak their feelings, it’s there, in their eyes. I told him that this woman was upset and it had nothing to do with him. I told him to forward me any other messages he got from her. I told him I would take care of it. Of course, to him, this meant I was going to track this grandmother down and drop her with a quick and decisive punch to the kidneys (in my mind, this is what I did and it was spectacular) — I assured him, everything would be fine.

I sent the grandmother a reply and let her know that what she had done was not okay. I reminded her that these were sixth graders, I reminded her my son was a real person and not some imaginary being she could chastise from the safety of her keyboard — I made my point and she apologized, repeatedly.

It wasn’t Mother’s Day when this happened, it was just a day — maybe it was a Tuesday or Saturday, maybe it was January or maybe May. It was a day, a day when I was not necessarily a mother, but a caring person, a caring woman.

Mother’s Day is a time when I find myself in an emotional limbo — I don’t fit in with the daughters who are mourning the memories of their mothers, I don’t fit in with the daughters who are celebrating with their mothers. I don’t know where I belong on this continuum of mourning and happiness. I hope to fit in with all the women who provide nurturing and caring, kindness and strength, the women who listen and who respond — you don’t have to give birth to someone to care and respect and show compassion for them.

My children see me triumph and fail, they see me laugh and cry, they see me angry and compassionate — and from that they grow, we grow. Not just one day a year, but every day. I hope that my children never find confusion in Mother’s Day, that they never feel the loss or the burden of this day that comes around just once a year. Every day our battles are fought and sometimes won, every day we choose to hold someone’s heart, gently — as we spin wildly, and madly.

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Last week on twitter, when hearing the news of Roger Eberts death, I tweeted this:

If cancer has blown your world apart, every time you hear of another death, a piece of you is cut out and trampled on.

It must have struck a chord with many others, it was “retweeted” and “favorited” and passed around many times.
It was what I was feeling, I didn’t know Roger Ebert. I used to watch Siskel and Ebert on Saturday mornings to see what movies they were bashing and sometimes praising and often I’d argue with the TV screen. But hearing of his death, like hearing of the death of Nora Ephron, or that girl I went to high school with, or the grocery checker who was always so nice… it affected me, they all affected me.

Cancer has blown my world apart, so often that I’m not sure if it was all one big explosion or several smaller ones linked together, like a mega roll of firecrackers rolled out and lit… the bangs go on forever — I hate firecrackers.

The aftermath of cancer, the picking up of the pieces, the stringing reality back together, the return to a normal existence… those are the things that take longer than it did for the cancer to take over a body and destroy it — cancer lingers. When someone dies of cancer, it doesn’t end there, because cancer has invaded you, your life, your world is now a world that contains cancer. It has you in its grips forever, you are never free of it — death does not destroy cancer.

It is the constant background noise to your life, the ceaseless ringing in your ears. I am not brave before it, I cower, I lower my head, I try not to be seen by it. But, it makes sure I know it sees me, there is no corner dark enough to conceal me from it.

I forget, briefly, in those periods in between hearing how its taken over another persons body. I forget. But, never for long. The periods of forgetfulness become shorter each day. Each day I hear of a friend who has been diagnosed, a spouse of a co-worker, a favorite professor, a screenwriter who made me laugh. When cancer has blown your world apart, every time you hear of another death, a piece of you is cut out and trampled on.

Pieces of me are scattered around — pieces from my father, pieces from my mother, pieces from my brother-in-law, pieces from my dog, pieces from friends and co-workers and friends of friends and complete strangers… I have been trampled on by cancer.

I wish I could tie these thoughts up like a beautiful package under the tree on Christmas morning — when you open it, out pops bravery and triumph and fearlessness. But, that’s not the case. There are no ornate pink bows big enough to cover up cancer… it’s ugly and ruthless and cunning.

Often now, my fear and cowering is accompanied by an over-bearing hatred. Maybe that’s what we should hope for, that we become so pissed off at this monster that we are moved to action, not just reaction.
After all, if you believe they put a man on the moon, the ability to stop this creature shouldn’t be far off.

Please visit the following sites:
Lisa Bonchek Adams Giving Page
Lisa Adams
Lisa Bonchek Adams Blog
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

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Stair poetry! I painted this on the stairs in my house!

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… and don’t forget to visit my Etsy shop. ~~~>

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the shape I take
watching you navigate this weary world,
jumping over blocked paths,
cartwheeling around a sea of naysayers.

an old tree in the backyard,
once it was second base and now

it stretches out for you…
twisting and distorting its extended branches
reaching for you…

but never grabbing hold.

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the moon is bloated with the thoughts being cast its direction tonight,
so many people staring up at the same sky,
we’re alone,
until that moment we realize we’re not,
that moment we see the moon hovering above with all the thoughts of complicated beings just like us.

we think a touch can’t heal a broken heart,
a glance can’t fill an empty soul,
a laugh can’t scare away the lingering darkness of nightmares.
we think we are useless.
we listen to our lies.

the moon hangs in the sky daring us to stare and be cradled in its glow,
it creates a path out of darkness,
we follow,
it leads us deeper into the night,
shining on the brokenness of the others gathered there.

we can’t mend the torn stories in our mind,
playing doctor with each thought before we let it loose,
we crave wholeness,
clinging to the pieces we should have thrown away,
we listen to our lies.

the moon slips behind a lingering cloud,
we hold the fading light in our open hand,
we are still,
hoping the glow will brush back the night,
all of us staring at the same sky.

we pause.
we listen.
we offer silence and hope and understanding.
we gather the broken pieces and the scattered truths and the hushed epiphanies.
we stare at the bloated moon.
we listen to each others lies.
we brush them away.
we leave them behind.
we grab our complicated stories.
we ignore the lies we tell ourselves.

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look across the open distance
a light
glowing
leading us to where it is
showing us everything in our path we have no worry from the things we can not see because the light is always there never fading bringing us back on course when we sway too far but even the light knows we have to walk in the darkness, alone, sometimes

… and yet
when we are standing under the light we can only see what is close and we are afraid to look past into the unknown of that darkness because there are things waiting for us out there

underneath the light it looks different
faint
small
the light only reaches those few feet in front of us
we squint and make our eyes small to see just a little further we force our eyes wide open hoping we can see past the barrier the light has created with the darkness so careful to stay in the boundary of that light because the darkness overpowers us and strips us of the want to move rooting our feet in the ground below we are powerless to move beyond

… and yet
from this distance we can see there is nothing to be afraid of and the things that frighten us stay away from the courage that leads us forward, always forward

the beauty of the distant light
calming
drawing us near
we navigate the obstacles in the path leaving the barriers behind we are not moths drawn to a flame we are strong complicated beings moving forward through the often darkened path sometimes afraid but courage is born from the fear that so often halted us now we will soar to the distant light, alone, sometimes

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Thank you Hyde Park Poetry Rally!

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