Find something small.
Stay with it.
Give it your heart.
Resonate with it.
Tell it your secrets.
Feel the urge to leave.
Trace its grooves with your fingertip.
Find its secret scent of earth and salt.
Allow your tear to drip onto its surface.
Laugh, but do not leave, not just yet.
Realize the terror in adoring something tiny and tender.
Whisper to it that which you know is certain.
Pull your hand back and continue to find the energy pulsating.
Find something small.
Give it your heart.
Do it again.
Do it over.
Over the weekend, I took my six year old daughter to the Museum of Fine Art. She wanted to go on a mother/daughter outing and who was I to argue when she suggested one of my happy places.
I allowed her to lead me through the galleries. She pulled me along at just under breakneck speed, and I surrendered to the experience of viewing the museum from her perspective.
Paintings and photographs swirled past us, everything melding into a sort of impressionistic blur.
Every once in a while she would stop to admire something. A portrait of a baby. A painting of a sunset. A sculpture of a dog.
We found ourselves in a replica of a 14th century chapel. My child stopped short and gasped at the enormous cross on the wall, and the strange sensation of being in a small room of its own within the giant museum.
We are not religious people and my kids have almost never been to church. But my daughter has a weird fascination with Jesus, maybe because he’s like a celebrity baby and she loves babies. Anyway, there was a serene and sacred vibe in the chapel. We whispered to one another to look at this and look at that.
There were some relics in a glass case. My daughter pointed to a small statue of the Virgin Mary nursing baby Jesus. “Look Mama!”
It was indeed a sweet little artifact and we spent a moment admiring the tenderness of the mother and child bond. I snapped a pic with my phone at Emily’s command. As we wandered through the rest of that particular gallery, I noticed several portraits of the Blessed Mother nursing Jesus. I pointed these out to Emily who found them charming. She also enjoyed the bare butts. In one, Jesus was full frontal and she gasped, “OMG Mama, I just saw the private!”
“Yes, Dear,” I said indulgently. “There are a lot of butts and privates in art. It’s sort of a thing.” So for the rest of our visit, she pointed and laughed at butts and privates. I felt like I had sort of done my part at educating her on art, reinforcing the normalcy of breastfeeding in everyday culture, and joyfully normalizing all different body types (including their privates) without any shame.
Either that or I was totally irreverent and set a really bad example.
Could go either way I suppose.
As we got into the car to drive home, I asked Em if she had a good day. “Oh Mama, it was the best day ever,” she replied. I was somewhat surprised that our little jaunt to an art museum was her best day ever, but that’s cool.
I asked her what she had learned about art. “I learned that there are lots of butts and privates in art,” she stated. Gotta hand it to my kid, she pays attention. I guess our next lesson will be about the reasons behind all the nudity in art (pun intended).
i watch from a distance.
the winter waves
are cold, hypnotic
and though small,
i am quite sure they
could tug me out
to a place very far away,
to a place from which i could
not swim back,
as my body grew numb and sank.
i wish it frightened me,
imagining how i’d whisper
into icy water
all the words i want to say
in the dark against your lips.
i watch from a distance
that seems safe,
still and dry,
but wonder if
maybe i haven’t been
my shadow scared me
but the stars felt nice,
a bird flew out of nowhere
through city twilight.
these are just some facts
maybe you could use, or not,
as you formulate
your assessment of me.
i drove past the hospital
and started to cry;
all the feathers
were ripped from my breast
by the simple act
of weeping under the weight
of that monument– at least
i believe you’d understand the
messy tears and sense of coming
then perhaps you could help
explain to me why
driving home can so much
seem sometimes like
if i make myself
a lowercase letter
curled tight, unassuming;
if i fold up parts
of me that are
long and large,
that flap and billow
hard and angry in the wind;
if i make my footprint
that of a sparrow;
if i suck in my gut
and allow the ocean to dry
into a teaspoon of salt, maybe
in my vanishing act,
love will atone
as i become inconspicuous,
pedestrian as a blink,
eyelash brushing cheek
but for a moment.
i’ll tuck chin to neck
and knees to chest,
furl fingers to fists,
become tiny, scarce.
if i make myself
i will fit
written as part of the wordpress daily prompt, “Vanish”
I’m not your average soccer mom, mainly because my kids don’t do soccer. My nine year old does karate, and he recently brought home a trumpet which I have vowed will not make me crazy at all.
Is there such a thing as a karate and trumpet mom?
Emily is almost five (oh man how it hurts to say that, as opposed to saying she is four and a half) and she thinks she would like to do dance. But being the crunchy and neurotic freak that I am, I am too scared to sign her up for any old dance class, because I am fairly certain it will give her the same self-loathing and body issues that I had as a dancer for about 20 years before succumbing to a pudgy middle age of motherhood and sedentary work.
So I haven’t signed her up for anything yet because I can’t bear to think that the joy she feels for moving her body will ever be squashed or warped into something it shouldn’t be.
And I can’t lie to you. The trumpet is in fact driving me crazy.
It’s a slip shod style of motherhood I try to embrace, and for which I cannot find a label. It also bears zero resemblance to the perfect mother I thought I was before squeezing these two critters out of my now unrecognizable lady bits.
Meanwhile, I can’t decide if we should spend a third night eating leftovers so they don’t go to waste, or if I should cook up the tortellini Trader Joe made for me. . . It’s humid here and I really do not feel like cooking, so I’m thinking it will be leftovers for me and the hubs and Lunchables or English Muffin pizzas for the kids.
Yes. I feed my kids Lunchables.
And also yes, I make them separate dinners than what I make for me and the hubs. I know, I know. I’m breaking all kinds of “rules” here, but as a working mom, I would rather we all sit down and enjoy each other’s company than endure tantrums at dinner time.
Also, we don’t always eat dinner together, even when we are all home together. But usually we are all eating at a vaguely similar time, just in different rooms. We call it parallel eating. I like to think of it as an ingenious parenting hack as opposed to a ginormous parenting fail.
Although it still makes me nervous.
But it doesn’t take much to make me nervous. I’ve been prone to anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. Add to my already neurotic disposition that I am a social worker, and you can pretty much guarantee that I’ve diagnosed everyone in my family with just about anything possible.
A lot of people don’t get it.
Like my perfect Coworker who grew up in an intact family and has probably never worried about the sky falling in her life. She made a crack that she had never met someone as anxious as me. I think she meant it in a tender and friendly way, but do you know what it did?
If you guessed that the comment made me more anxious about being anxious in front of people, then you win the cookie. But it is a keebler elf cookie. I do not have time to make cookies from scratch.
One of the biggest compliments I ever got in my life was when a colleague said, “I always forget that you are actually anxious, because you always seem to have it all together.”
I try to channel this compliment on my darker days, and it makes me feel quite ravishing, but in a photoshopped kind of way, because if one thing is for certain it is this: I do not have it all together. Not by a long shot. And it makes me crazy.
It makes me cringe when I hear mommy labels passed around. . . Tiger Mom. Helicopter Mom. Bad Mom. Attachment Mom. Drill Sergeant Mom.
I mean, is anyone really just one label?
Sometimes I wish I could be just one label. It would be so much easier.
I suppose that the label “Good Enough Mom” comes close enough to describing me, but like Dorothy said to the Wizzard, “I’m afraid there isn’t a label for me in that bag of yours.” I’m paraphrasing. We actually have not watched the Wizzard of Oz in recent years because it terrifies my daughter and then none of us sleep for weeks.
Oh, and apparently “Wizard” only has one “Z”. Who knew?
Probably that Drill Sergeant Mom. She knows everything. (Cue exaggerated eye roll.)
How about “Mixed Bag of Contradictions Intense Love and Inconsistent Energy”? Is that a title worthy of me?
I love my kids. Hopefully that counts for something, if not everything. And hopefully we will all laugh about all the times I’ve yelled and stomped off because I am so frigging overwhelmed by how much I love them and by how much pressure I am under from all conceivable angles to get it all right. Motherhood. Marriage. Work. Laundry.
And no I don’t sort my laundry.
And I think I’ve decided to do the leftovers. I don’t feel like cooking and we have karate tonight after all.
Still with me? Congratulations. You have just taken a hike through the meandering mind of an overwhelmed working mom whose life feels almost perpetually in a state of careening chaos, if not lurking danger.
In short, I don’t really know who I am, other than to say I’m not your average soccer mom.
Or rather, that I’m not a soccer mom at all.
Posted as part of the WordPress Daily Prompt
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