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Mamma Mia

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When writers feel pain they either write or they cave.
I’m finding it hard to write today.
Yesterday I wanted to cave. I wanted to cancel my plans and hibernate, go quiet. I wanted to turn off the hurt and curl up on the couch with my dog. But I’d made a promise to be someplace with friends.
The show must go on, they say.
Let me back up.
My father called yesterday. He told me my mother reached out for the first time in years.My step-father died and she wanted to connect. I haven’t seen her in almost two decades.
My father told me my mother wanted to first inform me of the wrongs the world and I have cast upon her.
My instinct gave me false hope. Every child wants to feel loved by their parents, but reality came as a hard slap to the face.
She probably needed money.
The last time I saw my mother was during my daughter’s first birthday. Mom left in a huff, disgruntled because my ex and I wanted to hold our baby as we sang the birthday song, cut the cake, blew out candles.
When they told me mom left, I stared in disbelief but quickly rearranged my expression. I’d learned over the years how to hide “mom pain.”

Still, it haunted me. It wasn’t the first time my mother distanced herself. We were estranged for years before the party and only reconnected a few months prior.
I wanted her in my life, wanted a mom to tell me how to parent a baby, wanted my daughter to receive the love I’d received from my grandparents, but what I really wanted, mom wasn’t capable of.
I thought about this all afternoon
Was it selfish to hold my baby on such a momentous occasion?
Was I selfish to keep my mother from her grandkids?
It was my step-mother who threw me a baby shower.
It was my step-mother who came every Monday to babysit my child from the month she was born.
It was my step-mother who gave my ex and I a few hours to ourselves while my daughter had colic/was fussy.
My step-mother who took my daughter to tot shabot on Saturdays.
It was my mother and father-in-law who babysat my first born and took her on adventures with her cousins. It was my father and aunts and uncles and grandparents who helped nurture my child, my friends and extended family who helped out/gave parenting advice. My father, step-mother and in-laws were at the hospital the day my baby was born.
Thus, I realized, my mother didn’t deserve to hold my baby the day of her celebration.
It was the village who helped raise my daughter that deserved to hold her that day.
My sisters-in-law, surrogate mothers, aunties, friends, and family who were there for my little girl, who has now blossomed into an incredible young woman, that deserved to hold her.
My mother’s anger poisoned our relationship.
Anger is a poison I try not to drink, one I’m trying to keep away from my children.
Parenting isn’t easy. Some days your kids hate you or ignore you or think you’re clueless. Sometimes your kids laugh at your music, your silly jokes, your individuality.
But sometimes they’re wonderful. They snuggle with you and your dog on the couch, they help you put on winged eyeliner because some things should be left to the experts. They blast rap music and hand jive with you in the car. They share their hopes and dreams and listen to (some of) your advice. They tell you you’re beautiful when you’re not wearing makeup or fancy clothes.
It’s hard for me to imagine ever not loving my children. It’s hard to imagine a mother not loving her own flesh and blood. It’s hard for me to imagine not being a part of their lives or missing out on their accomplishments and failures.
Sometimes I screw up. Sometimes I say things I regret. Sometimes I hear my mother’s words slip out of my mouth. I’m far from perfect, but I’m doing my best, always striving to be better.
I hope my children realize how fortunate they are for having a large/silly/supportive family. I hope they never know the pain of not being loved by the people that share their bloodline.
I hope one day my mother can release her anger and see what she’s missed.
She doesn’t understand it’s not about holding the baby or showing off for photos. Parenting is about the sleepless nights, cleaning vomit/wet sheets, wiping away tears, being empathetic when their hearts break, comforting them when they’re scared. It’s a dirty, depleting, sometimes thankless job. And it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.
I’m glad I stayed out of the cave yesterday. I’m grateful for the friends that shared a night of music, bouncing, and laughter. I’m grateful I have this catharsis to share my feelings. I’m grateful for the friends who will read this. I hope anyone rejected by a parent knows they’re not alone, that they’re worthy of love and that they can still be a good parent.
I hope we all stay out of the cave.

 

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Cold Little Heart

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I heard the news today that a friend passed. Before you offer condolences, please refrain. I don’t deserve them.

I write this today for my friends that knew and liked her. She was colorful, eclectic, and had great taste in music. We were close in age, and she was about to embark on a new chapter in her life. A new home, her own, a place in Florida. Years back, she and I were friendly. Two things connected us. Our passion for music and our admiration for one man. The latter is what killed our friendship.

Let me back up.

When I was newly single and dating I met a great guy, but I had other interests and didn’t want to commit to anyone since I’d spent two decades with one person.

He was friends with that gal and she lived closer to him/had strong feelings for him. They shared friendship which I was okay with. Until the day I realized I was about to lose him. After some soul searching, I realized I needed to make a decision. I don’t know if I was ready but I knew she was.

Over the years they remained close. I encouraged the friendship but still vented my frustration. She’d badmouthed me to him and I was jealous. Insecure. Stupid.

Despite his constant affirmation I was the one and only, I still grit my teeth when she was mentioned.

I’d see her posts on a page we all were active members in. I’d mention her name with a sour face and drop an occasional joke that, in retrospect, wasn’t funny.

Like I said, I was stupid.

Last Friday I vented additional frustration about her to my friends. I don’t know why I did this. I usually like everyone. I go out of my way to see goodness in others. For some shallow reason, I couldn’t give this woman the forgiveness I offered strangers.

Maybe I found humor or positive reinforcement by having one nemesis. It was unfounded. She had tagged me in a song post, along with others, a few weeks prior. I didn’t respond. Or thank her. Or give her post a like.

It would’ve cost me nothing. It would’ve been a small effort toward forgiveness. It would’ve made me a better person. Taught my kids something.

Now she’s gone and today I’m wrecked. Because I was petty and will never have the opportunity to right my wrong.

I see her pictures on Facebook, read the comments and refrain from liking them. I don’t deserve to be a part of my mutual friends’ grieving.

My father advised me to write her a letter and apologize. It’s good advice but I haven’t been able to do so yet. I need to do that. Say sorry for being small. Be a better human. For my kids.

My daughter came by and I told her what happened. She is well aware of the animosity I held for the gal. Between tears, I told my daughter to forgive people. To not hold grudges. She understood.

If anyone reading this knew her, I offer you my condolences. It shouldn’t have happened. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sorry I wasn’t kinder.

My resolution is to be less petty. To not harbor coldness in my heart. To accept the olive branches. Remember her fondly.

It’s a beautiful day here in Florida. She would’ve loved it here.

 

 

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Better Than Sex and Chocolate . . .

chocolateIn my new series: “Better Than Sex and Chocolate,” I’ll offer my best (okay, sober) advice and ask you, the reader, to rate it using this scale:

1. Better than Sex – Whoa. Eyegasmic. Great stuff here. I’m taking notes as soon as I get off the couch and find a pen. Seriously life changing thoughts. I’m rethinking my ways, selling coveted possessions, and moving into a tiny house.
Sorry I called you ditzy (in my head.)

2. Better than Chocolate – Nice. I swear didn’t skip a single paragraph or scroll to the end. Okay, it’s not life changing enough to sell my Engelbert Humperdinck album collection and move into a tiny house but it was definitely thought-provoking.
Sorry I called you ditzy (in my head.)

3. Better than Sliced Bread – Meh. Who eats bread these days? Isn’t everyone allergic to gluten? I mean, it’s not awful, but I could’ve spent the past five minutes reading something more exciting, like my mother-in-law’s Facebook post or the ingredients listed on my hemorrhoid cream tube. Do you actually work for a living?
Not so sorry I called you ditzy (in my head.)

4. Better than NOTHING. This was horrible, sub-standard. I’m writing the provost at your university and demanding they revoke your MFA.
(This is a special category for any haters, ’cause there’s always someone out there who has to hate on you.)

Now that the scale is established, on to today’s writing advice—music and artsy/smartsy friends, stay with me, this applies to any level of creativity.

Seeing as how it’s TBT, I thought I’d start with some of the simplest and best writing advice I’ve received: “Write hot, edit sober.”
Shoot. That’s not right.
“Write drunk, edit later?”
Dang. Wrong again.
Anyway, It was something written by that Hemingway drunk, and basically means, once you have momentum/inspiration/creativity . . .run with it and don’t stop until you reach the finish line.

Write drunk edit sober

Last year I ran my second half-marathon. All races begin with good momentum. You’re pumped up from the EDM music they’re blaring on overhead speakers, The energy in the crowd is infectious, you’re hungry as heck, and there’s free food at the finish line.

Beginning a novel or starting any creative project is a lot like this. You’re jazzed up, ready to do the hard work. You visualize the picture of that cute baby curling his bicep, with the I CAN DO IT affirmation caption.

I can do it baby

Maybe you’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, that hellish online camp where coffee addicts commit to vomit 50,000 words onto paper. Crazy, eh?
You begin your magnum opus, fervent, committed. Using our half-marathon metaphor, this would be approximately mile marker 2-7.
At mile marker two, the sun hasn’t risen, you’re no longer cold, your lungs feel strong, no blisters, and you’ve barely broken a sweat.
By mile marker six, you’re checking your watch. Your bladder could use a rest because you stupidly drank the free Gatorade at mile marker four, but the line at the Port-a-Potty snakes around the block.
You keep writing/running. You still have momentum.
At mile marker seven, you key up faster music to increase your speed. Friends in the crowd are shouting/rooting for you. NOTE: this can also be compared to real life writing friends who usually ask, “So, when’s your book ever coming out?”
Your right toe is throbbing but you keep running. (You lost a week of writing due to the holiday, and a barrage of relatives decided to stay with you, and you wonder why the frick NaNoWriMo takes place during one of the busiest months of the year.)

At mile marker ten, you lose steam. Your right toe is throbbing, you’ve got a gas bubble that was the result of the free power gel pack you took from a guy wearing a pink tutu at the water station, not only is the sun is up, but it’s beaming down on top of your head and you left your sunglasses on your car’s dashboard. You start making deals with yourself: one more mile, and I’ll retie my laces. One more mile, and I’ll check the Port-a-Potty line. If I pee my pants, maybe people would think I just ran through a puddle. If I do finish this thing, I’ll never run again.

Run kill

In writing, mile marker twelve is like the month after January at a fitness club. You’re less committed to doing the hard work every day, you’re distracted by shiny objects, You spend your free time surfing Facebook. The ending seems too far. Too freaking far.

The two times I’ve ran half-marathons, mile marker twelve has been the defining moment. Both times I’ve slowed my pace and worried I wouldn’t finish. But the voice in my head, that imaginary coach reminded me of friends waiting at the finish line. It reminded me I was setting an example for my kids. I was proving to myself I wasn’t a quitter.

In writing life, mile marker twelve happens the day you have an epiphany. You’ve been struggling with your plot for weeks or months, and then one day, clarity kicks in. Writers’ block evaporates, and the fog that clouded your brain is lifted. The idea or ending for your story makes sense. Your battery is recharged. You race to your computer and vomit out the words while you still have momentum. You may or may not shower. Food consumption is optional. Sleep is optional. Coffee is mandatory.

Somehow you make it to the finish line.
In writing, you’ve typed: THE END.
For either scenario, you’re exhilarated.
For either scenario, you’re gross and sweaty.
For either scenario, you’re famished (I’m always hungry.)
You did it.

For whatever craft or endeavor you choose: writing, running, painting, knitting, remember to keep your eyes on the prize. Keep your momentum strong by running with a partner, or attending writer’s critique groups, finding a mentor and asking for constructive feedback.

Today I had the epiphany. I’ve been struggling with the ending for my latest manuscript for weeks. I tried long walks, baths, meditation—everything in my arsenal—but ideas failed me. Today, after talking to my father about his writing, clarity came. The key is to write it down and get off social media before it’s too late.

Stay with it. Just like you did through this blog.

is it over yet

Hope you thought this was helpful (or at least better than sliced bread.) Don’t forget to comment.

 

 

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Stripped

Burning ManI remember the day my French nieces came to my family’s home for a holiday dinner. It was warm and stuffy inside my parents’ townhome, and the girls, ages two and four at the time were bored. We took the girls out to the courtyard to release some of their pent-up energy. Free from their confines, the girls made a B-line to the center of the courtyard, stripped off their clothes, and shouted “Voila,” at the top of their lungs. My eyes grew wide. Each home faced inward, and the girls, I feared, had drawn some attention.

Giggling, they ran in circles while we, the parents and onlookers watched them from the sidelines.
“Should we bring them inside?” I asked.
“Let them be,” someone responded.
“Well, they are French,”  My step-mother joked.
I glanced at the small heap of clothing my nieces had abandoned and smiled.
Good for them. Let them play without fear or regret. Why shame them? Society, unfortunately, would do that eventually.

Shame of the naked form is taught early-on. Its roots stem from religion and sadly, females are sexualized from elementary years on. I remember the struggle I had finding a non-sexualized Halloween costume for my daughter. I noticed with horror her doctor Barbie doll wore stilettos.
I like to think of myself as a feminist, albeit a bad one. I embrace the sexual revolution but still dream of a world that will provide equal pay, respect, and opportunities for me, my daughter, and her female friends.

The other day, I was talking to a friend about a physically-challenged character in my latest novel, and that friend urged me to watch an episode on sexual healing in Lisa Ling’s This is Life, a highly-acclaimed series on CNN.
The show featured a few guests who had been sexually abused, but it was at the end of the show I felt the most empathy. The man with cerebral palsy had been working with a therapist to learn to love his body. As an adjustment exercise, both the therapist and the physically-challenged man took turns standing naked before a fill-length mirror. There, they mentioned what they liked most and least about themselves. They were vulnerable and honest. It was truly beautiful.
The guests invited Lisa Ling the host to have a turn. At first Lisa hesitated but she soon agreed.
Lisa confided that she was not enthralled with certain aspects of her body since she’d recently given birth. She also confided that she hadn’t let anyone—including her spouse—to see her naked. Her breasts weren’t as perky, she honed in on her cesarean scar.
Within moments, her self-criticism dissipated. She pointed out that her C-section scar was the result of her children. Her breasts were fine. She liked her legs. Love and a nurturing tone replaced criticism.
Nickel-sized tears rolled down my cheeks as I watched. Later, I ran to my full-length mirror, stripped down to my birthday suit, and focused on a positive body image. My toned runner legs, strong biceps, breasts that sag but nourished two infants once-upon-a-time. Belly swell that reminded me I am blessed with good nourishment and I never go hungry.
I made a mental note to no longer berate myself for not looking like an image in a magazine

 * * *

I’ve been troubled by a post I’d seen on a friend’s social media account. My friend, a hard-core feminist I once admired, was calling for a boycott against a proposed sculpture to be featured on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

The proposed statue had been previously seen at Burning Man in 2015, created by artist Marco Cochrane. The efforts to bring the statue to D.C. are headed by a group, called Catharsis on the Mall, who hope for the theme to be “nurturing the heart.”
In an interview with DCist, Cochrane’s creative partner Julia Whitelaw said, “Having that on the Mall in D.C., where she’s just standing there holding her own space—just being. It’s not aggressive. It’s just ‘I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. I have a right to be in this space. I have an equal right to be in this space.’ It’s an incredible message.”

Artist Marco Cochrane said the sculpture was conceived to “demand a change in perspective… intended to challenge the viewer to see past the sexual charge that has developed around the female body, to the person: to de-objectify women and inspire people across the world to take action to end violence against women, create space for women’s voices and demand equal rights for all, thus allowing everyone to live fully and thrive.”
Sadly, the artist’s vision seems to be lost on those who cannot look past the ugliness in the naked female form. Narrow-minded folks are unable to view this as empowerment. They equate naked as female suppression, which is the opposite of the artist’s intention.

Banning the sculpture is repression, not evolution. Viewing a naked human form as vulgar suppresses equality. It is art. Art is subjective. It is interpretation.
For me, I shall view it the way the artist intended:
As a work of empowerment.

Beautiful.

Naked.

Human.

Carefree, like my nieces running in the courtyard.

 

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Connecting the Dots…

 

CONNECTING the DOTS

 

 

 

      I didn’t want to write this. I’d shared what happened with certain individuals and thought that was enough, but apparently, it wasn’t. This is probably too long. It’s also embarrassing to write but I’d promised to be transparent and vulnerable in the hopes that it could help one person. Just one.  

 

     It wasn’t a near-death experience, though I worried I was suffocating at the time. In retrospect, I thought once the episode ended and called a few friends the story would be put to rest. But something kept nagging me. I didn’t see the relevance. Until today.

 

     Sometimes stories buzz in your ear like a gnat or a mosquito until you connect the dots and release words onto a keyboard. Until then, you cannot silence them. But some stories are meant to be shared.

 

     So, here’s what happened last Sunday.

 

     I’ve loved the singer Jack Johnson for decades. His music accompanied me through endless occasions. Happy songs sang in unison with my kids, mellow songs listened to in solitude while contemplating my marriage, and then the happy realization that someone close to me also adored his songs.

 

     For years we waited for jack to play locally, so I was thrilled when my beau scored tickets to see him. Not only were we going, but we’d be standing in the pit.

 

    

 

     The eve of the concert we arrived early and wormed our way as close to the stage as possible. Despite the blistering heat and tightly-packed bodies around us, I limited my water intake for fear of losing my coveted space. As the opening band played, the sun shone strongly and sweat streaked down my belly, stopping at the elastic waistband of my sundress.

 

     Dang, it’s hot, I thought. No breeze in the pit, no relief from the sun. The overhead fans weren’t providing a hint of comfort.

 

     The young gal in front of me that had been sitting on the dirty floor ended up fainting. I was thirsty but refused to ask for water.

 

     The opening act ended, and the crowd’s energy was infectious. As I glanced over my shoulder I saw nothing but bodies and smelled cannabis in the air.

 

     Sweat continued to drip down my belly, down the side of my face. I’m usually unnaturally cold, so this surprised me more than the man I stood beside.

 

     The crowd started to rumble and applaud.

 

    “There he is,” someone behind me said.

 

     I strained my neck to see Jack Johnson, and it happened.

 

     First came the “whooshing” sound. Then a wave of heat and a tingling sensation that ran from the base of my spine up to my head. My left leg started to shake and the sound in my left ear muffled.

 

      I felt a sickening wave of nausea, and my bowels threatened to open. I clenched my butt cheeks together and silently prayed to literally keep my shit together.

 

     I grabbed Eric’s arm, or his neck, and clung to his body. He was asking me if I was okay and I bobbed my head but I wasn’t okay. I repeated something he later told me was “hot.”

 

     The moments felt like they were playing in slow motion. I remember thinking don’t ruin this for him. Don’t poop your pants. Is this all the junk and lack of sleep from last week? I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

 

I. Can’t. Breathe.

 

I lifted my head and gasped for air which wasn’t enough and felt thick and soupy.

 

Jack Johnson had arrived and had played a few chords when I realized I couldn’t make it. Eric had been asking me if I needed medical attention, which I’d refused, but my pride and stubbornness were losing the battle.

 

“Can’t,” I whispered. “Hot… hot…too hot.”

 

I don’t remember getting out of the pit. I don’t remember walking up the stairs. What I remember is the lack of sufficient oxygen and finally seeing an empty row of chairs. I remember sitting down, slumping onto my date’s shoulder, my inability to focus. I heard music from my right ear, but my left side was still clogged. I remember thinking how awful I felt for ruining the concert for Eric. How close we’d been to the stage. The pictures I knew he’d hoped to take.

 

“Go take a picture,” I told Eric, “I’m fine now.”

 

“I’m not leaving you,” he said.

 

The significance didn’t hit me then. I knew I was lucky and grateful for having someone take care of me while I was under the weather, but I didn’t realize until today why this in particular meant so much.

 

                    ***

 

In 1991, I’d gone skiing with my boyfriend, my ex, and my ex’s girlfriend. We’d done long runs all day and I was past my limit but agreed to do a black diamond run before we left the slopes. My inner voice said no, but my boyfriend insisted.

 

I wiped out halfway down. My leg was twisted at an awkaward angle, but I was able to move it, so I doubted it was broken. Duke my verbally abusive an insanely jealous boyfriend taunted and teased me. While I asked for help he called me pathetic and mentioned something to the effect of “Ask B—-. Clearly you’re more in love with him than me.”

 

I was in too much pain to defend myself. Duke spit on me and skied away. I felt tears and shame but don’t remember a lot after that. My ex and his girlfriend came to my aid and the medics took me down the mountain on some kind of flatbed contraption. That was almost more humiliating than being spit on.

 

I never told anyone that part until now.

 

In California, Duke became physically abusive. The night he pushed me in the kitchen and grabbed a knife and stabbed a roll of paper towels I realized I’d hit rock bottom. I ran from my apartment and rode the streets of Santa Monica on my bike wondering what to do next.

 

The following day I called a hotline. They guided me to an anonymous meeting and encouraged me to get out of my apartment. I bought the book they recommended: “The Battered Woman” by Lenore E. Walker and sped-read through it.

 

I didn’t leave immediately, because I knew my boyfriend’s cycle. After abuse—mental or physical—they go through a honeymoon period. A super-attentive, loving phase. They become the boyfriend they should have been all along.

 

I confided what had happened to my closest California friend.

 

“We’re getting him out. Today,” my friend told me.

 

It didn’t happen overnight, but we did get Duke out. After that I vowed I wouldn’t speak of it. I’d never let it happen again. I’d reinvent myself. I wasn’t that girl.

 

I moved on and kept men at bay. I promised myself I’d never be vulnerable again. I’d never marry. I’d never let a man hurt me.

 

Time healed.

 

I loved again. I married. He was a good man. It worked for twenty plus years. Until love ran out.

 

 

          ***

While I leaned on Eric’s shoulder at the concert, I briefly remembered a few moments of being sick at clubs. Cheap wine and cigarettes had occasionally made me sick and others had come to my rescue. Two weeks before the concert I’d gone through a pseudo-breakup, and the friend I called on a moment’s notice arrive at my house without hesitation and offered a friendly ear.

 

There are good men out there. Good people who support you. Friends that show love through calls, texts, food, and laughter.

 

I didn’t realize the significance between the people in my life now and the man who degraded me on the ski slope decades ago.

 

Today I shared this ugly story with you because I don’t want anyone going through this to feel alone. Today I connected the dots. I don’t want anyone to feel weak or responsible for the poor treatment of another.

 

Find your strength to break the cycle.

 

Find a good person to stand beside you.

 

Be brave to leave.

 

Be brave to love again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Break the Cycle: A Mother’s Day Post

Mother and Child

BREAK THE CYCLE

 

      What I’ve learned is that you have to stop the cycle. I think I’ve done that, but each year on Mother’s Day, old familiar feelings stir, and I find myself falling into old patterns.

      I still cannot fathom how a mother could reject their child.

      She only physically hurt me once. I was just shy of ten and hadn’t come home immediately after school as was the norm.

      Mom scanned the neighborhood in a panic and finally heard from my schoolmate that he’d seen me on the bus but not since. He also told my mother I’d left my cigarettes behind.

What mom didn’t know was that I’d bought them for a friend, smoked one, and hated it.

      When I traipsed through the door hours later, I was greeted by my mother’s smoldering red cheeks, her long hair coiled around oversized pink plastic curlers high atop her head. She grabbed me by the throat and flung me across the room. I shook my head in disbelief. I wasn’t that late, and I hadn’t known about the kid who’d ratted me out about the smokes.

      Mom laughed whenever she retold that story to friends. I never saw the humor.

      During my adult years, mom was more of a sister than a parent. She was emotionally and financially unstable and never got her act together. She distanced herself from family members I adored: her parents, her brothers, my aunt who treated me like a mother . . . everyone. She kept in contact with my father, but it was usually to ask for money.

      I married and started a life. My ex and I gave mom money, but it was never enough and my success only seemed to fuel her anger. She wrote me scathing letters, banishing me for being a horrible child.

      I did my best to ignore the venom in her letters and cried on my ex’s shoulders.

     The day I learned I was pregnant I decided I’d break the cycle. My son would fill the void I’d carried, and I vowed I’d be the perfect mother to him.

      During the sonogram, the assistant told us I was carrying a girl. I felt the sensation of a trap door opening in my gut.

      Please, no. Not a girl.

      My daughter arrived the following July, and from the moment she looked up at me with her big baby browns, it was love at first sight.

      We were inseparable, and I finally understood the meaning of “unconditional love,” a phrase I’d heard but never fully understood.  

      Years later, I welcomed another child. A healthy baby boy.

      They say sons love their mothers, but my daughter and I shared a bond I’d nevber imagined possible. To this day, we fight, we disagree, but I feel connected to her like no other person. I often tell her, “I’m your mom, and sometimes I have to implement rules you won’t like, but if I were your age, I’d love to have a friend like you.”

      In the past, Mother’s Day had been difficult, but my ex and my kids understood my feeling and went out of their way to make my day joyous, make me feel cherished. My ex had lost his own mother—a remarkable woman who’d treated me like a daughter.

      I had surrogate mothers. My aunts, both mothers-in-law, girlfriends, women I’d admired. To this day, I tend to gravitate to older women in my writing groups. They, too, tend to treat me like surrogate daughters.

      I do not lack for love.

      Last night, while watching TV with my kids, I sat between them, my back resting against my daughter’s chest. The dog was nearby, and my kids and I shared a red fluffy blanket. I glanced at my son, and then squeezed my daughter’s hand.

      This is all I want. This is all I need, I thought.

      I broke the cycle.

      Life is good.

      Happy Mother’s Day, mom.

      I’ll be thinking about you this Sunday.

 

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Before the Storm

IMG_4440.JPGBefore the storm

Twisting leaves fall

And I strain to hear the wind’s aria,
Beneath the cacophony of

tree-trimming tools

the undertones of a running fountain
the jangle of my terrier’s tags
As he persues lizard tails.
In order to hear nature’s opera

one must listen with implicit clarity

block out the noise of
motor’s whirr

fountain fuss
and dog tag jangle

Only then will you hear

Nature sing

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Nature, reflection, short stories