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Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

The symbiosis between her and the young girl behind the counter is almost complete, again. They know each other far too well now. She watches the young girl count out the money, she see’s the dollar bills neatly in the drawer and realizes why the plexiglass separates them. It would be so easy to reach in and take what she needs, she could run, she could start her car and be gone within seconds, she feels her blood begin to warm in her veins and she understands impulse and how quickly impulse can take over the actions of your body.

The young girl finishes counting out the money and places it in the tiny hole cut out of the plexiglass separating the two. She takes the money and counts it again, there at the window before she leaves. It’s become her routine. The young girl smiles at her through her over-processed hair that lies disheveled across her face. She wonders how she got here, this place in her life. She thinks about how the young girl has no worries, yet. How she doesn’t have kids and only dates occasionally, how she lives with her parents and is saving up for her first car. She knows all of these things because they chat like that. She talks to the young girl like they are sorority sisters planning ahead to the evenings events — that makes it easier. Small talk surrounding them to mask the real reason she was there. Her son wants to go out with his friends. Her dog is hungry. Her water bill is late. Her car is out of gas.

They say goodbye… again.

She walks to her car gripping the cash tightly in her hand, eyes down so no one see’s her. She jumps in her car, slams the door shut and locks it in one quick move. She always parks far enough away from the door of the business so no one would suspect she was in there… it was a small town, she was sure someone would become suspicious if they recognized her car out front. So, she parks closer to the nail salon. She can say she is just getting a manicure — no one would doubt her. No one knows the symbiosis between her and the young girl behind the plexiglass.

She holds tight to the money for a few seconds and feels her stress leave, briefly. She counts out the twenty-dollar bills until she reaches $200.00, then she stares at it again… there, in her hands. She then begins separating it onto the passenger seat. She can make it last for two weeks, she knows she can, she’s done it before. One hundred dollars for the grocery store — she’ll stick with the store brand items, instant potatoes, a bag of potatoes… potatoes are cheap, at least 5 meals from them she thinks. She’ll get the eggs that are on sale… 3 meals out of those. Chicken legs are cheap too… 4 meals out of those. She goes over her list there in the car and reminds herself she can do it — $100.00 in the grocery pile. She puts $40.00 in a different pile… gas for the car. $20.00 in a pile all to itself — money for her oldest son to go to the movies. He has no idea… $20.00 for the movies once in a while will keep it that way. The rest, $40.00, she hides in the console of her car — for emergencies. Two weeks, she can do this, she’s done it before.

She looks at all the piles and takes a deep breath — still unsure of how she got to this place in her journey. Off in the distance she hears the whistle of the train, picking up the lunch time crowd, whisking them away to downtown to enjoy lunches on terraces and mid-day margaritas on decorated patios. As quickly as she imagined the ease at which her impulses would allow her to reach into the young girls drawer of money, she imagined taking her piles of cash and hopping on the train to enjoy a cold drink at her favorite spot, people watching with her friends, laughing, hugging, telling stories. The whistle blew again as she started her car, pulling away from her innocent parking spot near the nail salon, aiming the car toward the grocery store because that’s where her life is taking her right now, the symbiosis is complete, again — her dog is hungry.

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When I come back in my house after a long walk with my dogs, sometimes they poo… in the house. I say this because I think it’s important. I take them on a walk… they sniff, they pant, they pull, they sniff some more, they do their business, they sniff some more again and then we return to the house. And sometimes, when I least expect it, when I’m tired and in a mood and need to do other things, they decide to poo. Then my plans change. I clean poo and does anyone ever plan to clean poo? I spray the house. I open the windows. I scrub and I stand back to look and I scrub some more and I look again to see if the evidence is gone. Then I ask my kids if they can see anything… can they smell anything… have I removed all traces of the indiscretions of my dog?

I’ve been thinking lately, a lot. About lots of things that seem to be important to me right now, I keep thinking these weren’t quite as important to me last year, maybe they were… clarity wasn’t one of my greatest assets then. I’ve also been thinking about writing this post for a while. I’ve sat down to write these words on so many occasions and then something happens and my thoughts turn into a poem. I really love poetry — the metaphors, the subtle shifts, the undertones. It’s also fairly easy to hide in poetry. You say things and no one really knows where it comes from… that’s the point of poetry, I think anyway. You read it and you interpret it however you need to interpret it at the time — it’s different for each of us.

One of the things I’ve been trying to reach some clarity on is connection. Connection with each other. I’ve never really believed that everything happens for a reason… if I believed that I’d need a very good explanation as to why my dog’s poo in my house five minutes after we get back from a walk. People come into our lives, this too I think often defies the concept of  “everything happens for a reason”. I might go so far as to say we are more likely to attract people into our lives depending on where we are in our own personal evolution.

The people I’ve attracted over the years are a hodgepodge of sorts. In high school and college my close friends always said people enjoyed being around me because I acted the same with everyone, I welcomed people from all the “groups” and I never placed myself into a single category — I went to church but I hung out with the party group, I played sports but cheered on my friends who were cheerleaders, I acted in the theater, I played piano and trumpet and guitar. I sang in the chorus. I baked in contests. I snuck cigarettes. I drank too often. I dressed in toga’s and danced at fraternity party’s. I wrote poetry and read Willa Cather. My whole life has been gray and lovely.

And still, the people in my life are eclectic and beautiful — they are a part of me. I think we keep pieces of the people we have connected to with us, even when they are gone. They live in our hearts, if we’re lucky. Sometimes they live in the back of our mind and creep forward like a warning squeak coming off your brakes. I hope I’m in more hearts than I am the squeaking brakes you hear in your mind.

I’ve been messy. I’ve been apologetic. I’ve been wrong. I’ve been right. I’ve been learning. I’ve been teaching. I’ve been listening. I’ve been screaming. I’ve been messy.

Back to my dogs. Sometimes, when I think nothing else could go wrong and sometimes when I think everything is going right — there they are, just back from a walk, pooing on my floor, changing my plans, pushing me. Making me realize that things sometimes don’t happen the way we plan or want. But sometimes, when we need things to go right, when we can’t take another bend in the path, when every ounce of hope we’ve placed in something comes to fruition… we know our hearts are filled with love. So, here I am, moving forward in a messy eclectic beautiful discombobulated ball of confusion — and that’s a very comfortable fit for me.

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The lightning in the distance,

the sound of thunder getting closer,

the rain beating on the closed window.

The ocean churning past the breaker,

the waves gently falling on the beach,

the sand sifting my position.

If you could see what I feel,

I’m afraid you’d tell me.

I’m afraid you’d explain it to me,

in words that I understand.

If you could see what I feel,

I’d try to protect you from it,

I’d try to keep it in the distance.

A puzzle lying scattered on the floor,

the pieces strewn in a beautiful mess.

We are never broken.

I was wrong when I said I had missing pieces.

I was wrong when I thought I needed you.

We are never broken.

If you could see what I feel,

I’d cradle you in my arms.

I’d protect you from the hurt.

The clouds trying desperately to cover the orange moon,

the reflection it cast across your face.

The silhouette of your smile on the wet grass below.

The still water below that bridge,

beckoning me to jump.

The silent splashing water covering me as I descend.

Love never falls asleep.

It’ll wait out on the porch until you’re ready.

Roll that stone away from your heart.

Heartache will visit, but it isn’t lasting.

I’ll never let it stay there for long.

I’ll push, you pull.

Please see what I feel.

Please don’t make me say it again.

If you could see what I feel,

you’d open your arms.

If you could see what I feel,

you’d say, “it’s all okay”.

If you could see what I feel,

you’d believe what you say.

If you could see what I feel,

only kindness matters.

If you could see what I feel…

.

.

Offering up a poem for Thursday’s Poets Rally, check them out to read some awesome poems. Also, hopping into Poetry Potluck, you’ll be pleased with the poets over there. And finally, One Shot Wednesday over at One Stop Poetry, some amazing folks indeed.

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I don’t want to talk to you about it.

I’m not your open book.

I’m not waiting for someone to tell me it’s my turn.

I want to move, be normal, how beautiful would that be?

I want to live, today, forgetting about the rest.

I just want to be okay.

Where do you go to escape yourself?

I want to scream, “girls are mean!”

I want to hold you and whisper, “it’ll be okay.”

I want to stand next to you and repeat, “I’m not drowning, there’s no one here to save.”

I want to nudge you, toward the speeding train.

I want to throw my fist in the air…

I just want to be okay.

Where do you go to escape yourself?

“… you’re in my heart”, I tell her…

loudly, so she can always hear me,

often, so she never doubts,

silently, so she never relies on my voice.

I just want to be okay.

Where do you go to escape yourself?

The train is barreling down,

out of control,

filled with all the love that ever broke you apart.

Stay there, never be afraid.

Stand your ground on those tracks and let the hurt fill you up.

I just want to be okay.

Where do you go to escape yourself?

Have you ever been thrown away?

I just want to be okay.

I am fear and I am flight.

I am but when I’m not.

I am hope.

I am holding on.

I am an open book forgotten on the shelf.

I am waiting for you to rifle through my pages.

I just want to be okay.

I dare you to stay there, in the path of the train.

I dare you to stand up and wave your hands.

I dare you to move toward the people who question you.

I dare you to be silent.

Silence rushes over me,

hoping you can hear it.

I just want to be okay.

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I’m flooded but not drowning,

shifting my weight from side to side,

keeping my head steady so the small waves don’t pull me under.

The flood is fast approaching but me…

I stay level,

controlled,

bobbing and weaving.

But don’t look too close,

you’ll see the signs of the rising waters.

I’m flooded,

with these thoughts of hope.

These thoughts…

They live here, inside, all along.

Waiting for the right time to ease out from behind the levee.

But they never ease…

I’m flooded,

with these heart breaks that start small.

So small…

Then they grow and split and open wide up,

releasing the power of the still rising current.

But,

I’m not drowning.

I don’t need to be rescued,

Just a small piece of hope to cling to,

just a small piece of debris that broke free from the muck,

waiting for me to grab hold.

I’m flooded but not drowning,

I am my own hero,

There’s got to be some hero in me,

screaming to be heard above the rising of the waters,

“Bring my courage back!”

I’m tired of just clinging,

I want to swim in the churning waters,

I want to be swept away,

Because I know…

I’m not drowning.

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I was doing my yoga practice this morning. And, as has been a common occurence this summer, my youngest daughter had made her way to my bed when she awoke and was watching my TV. It is a bit difficult to concentrate on the yoga video playing on the laptop while hearing Phineas and Ferb scheme in the back ground — but still, it’s a nice time of my daughter asking questions about yoga and me trying to explain a feeling to her. She often joins in, as she did this morning.

She became very curious this morning when I had finished with my practice and was beginning my savasana. She asked if I was ok. Sometimes I find myself crying, only slightly, when I’m doing savasana. I’ve gotten so used to it I wipe my tears and sweat without thinking. But this morning, I had company. So she asked if I was ok. I was, actually. I was very ok, actually. I explained to her what savasana was and asked her if she wanted to try — she did. I positioned her next to me in the corpse pose and then resumed my own. And there we were, lost in our thoughts — together. After a couple of minutes I felt her soft warm hand making its way into mine — and there was my connection. Lying beside me, steadying my thoughts and nurturing my soul — her soft warm hand did all of that… and I wiped a tear from my cheek.

Later in the day, as my older children were off at a swimming party, my youngest and I set out to the movies and dinner together — I can’t imagine a more perfect date. We settled into our seats at the theater and were immediately captivated by the previews. When the movie started, it had some scenes at the beginning that were a bit sad. I reached over and held her soft warm hand in mine once again, there in the dark of the theater during the sad parts. And she smiled at me. And we were connected.

I was talking with a friend recently and told her of how my kids had spent their first night away from me and at their father’s house. She asked, in a very concerned voice, how I was. My reply was quick and sure because I was great. I told her it was nice to be alone with my thoughts and a book and this keyboard. I told her it was refreshing. Her distorted look let me know I had committed a “mommie crime”. So I immediately added that I was sure it would be difficult next time.

Well next time is here and still… I’m good. I’m here, in my room typing away on this keyboard uninterrupted and although I love my children more than words can describe, I am here, in this moment, content and happy and once again surrounded by a lovely silence.

I’ve never claimed to be the best mother, I’ve only claimed to not be the worst. I rarely ever left my kids to go out with friends. I have used a baby-sitter less than 5 times that I can think of — my oldest is 14. I used to think this meant I was better than most. I stayed home, I put off my life to ensure theirs. Now, I question many decisions. I read this post by a wonderful writer, mother, and friend. And I started to question. Questioning leads to improvement… I hope.

So, tonight, on the second night that my children are sleeping over at their dad’s house, I am content. I am profoundly content in my aloneness and in their awayness. I am here, in this moment, and I am resting comfortably.

Tomorrow night, when my kids are back here, I will read them stories and I will talk about boys and girls and video games and I will kiss them goodnight. And I will reach for that soft warm hand that nurtures my soul and I will be connected. But tonight, I will talk to my best friend on the phone, I will turn the TV off, I will read a few favorite blogs, I will eat a bowl of cereal for dinner. I am learning to be a better mother, a better person… a better me. It’s never too late to improve and it’s never too late to get back to basics.

Picture from Kind Over Matter

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Guilt Becomes Us

I’m a mother. By definition this means I have enough guilt in my being to keep the Las Vegas strip shining bright. Guilt becomes us.

I think because of this, others are able to use our guilt against us. They are able to sway our decisions based on what they need as opposed to our own needs and wants. I’m guilty of this as well — not proudly so, but guilty of spreading the guilt to those I knew would feel it… it’s a subconscious act I think. I would never overtly wish guilt on friends or family. But instinctually, I know where it lies.

I’ve been thinking recently about my role as a mother — the mistakes I’ve made, the things I’ve done right. I truly think the things I’ve done right outweigh the mistakes. My biggest mistake with my kids has been not letting them see that I am a person. Not just an organizer or a driver or a chef or a housekeeper — I am a person. I’ve recently started to help them to understand this. It has started small, really. I don’t go to every game they are playing — sometimes, I just can’t. And that’s ok. I don’t get them to every event at their schools — and that’s ok. I don’t fix all their problems — and that’s ok. I’m letting them be more independent, something I’ve needed to allow myself to be. And, strangely enough — they enjoy it. Strangely enough, I enjoy it.

Leap… and your net will appear.

Love… and the rest will take care of itself.

Breathe… and your world will come into focus.

Think… and your clarity will be revealed.

Letting go of guilt is essential in human growth. It is essential in motherly growth — it is essential. I think we, as humans, are predestined to believe that children, by nature, are self-absorbed little creatures. They’re not. We learn that untruth over time — just as we learn to be self-absorbed… just as we learn to hang on to guilt.

I’m correcting some parenting mistakes. I’m correcting some lessons learned the wrong way. I’m taking a do-over. My kids are neither self-absorbed or selfish. And mother’s are not meant to be riddled with guilt.

We are mothers. We are women. We are emotional creatures. We are people.


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