I like to look at new year’s eve pass by and feel time breathe slow puffs of air at me. If I think too much I become a tiny puddle of liquid and begin to almost like the scratchy feeling of my sweater. A peppermint in my mouth might help. Its concentrated coolness could find me some thoughts to put together.
I have quite the common life, extraordinary only in moments forgotten in the haste of living each day. It is much, too much to gather into a straining , struggling evening a year’s worth of life. So, I refrain.
It is like finding a flower in a book. Carefully kept, now all smooshed and dried,beautiful still.A forgotten existence found, a bloom vaguely remembered, the book closed upon it. To be found in some other time, some other time.
Just not tonight. Not this night. I get down on my hands and knees with a bucket of soapy water and a rag, Cinderella-like, dreading midnight. I let this evening be. I do not load it with another list.
I don’t make resolutions.
I whisper,” Thank you.”
For having me. For giving me this space. For lending me time. For letting me bend it in my own little way. For new-found friendships. For all I call my own. For all who call me theirs.
I didn’t know what else to do, so I made this little calendar. January of the freshness and warmth that bread brings and of the memories and the fondness, a spray of forget-me-not symbolizes. Download for your phone here.
While I let a mouthful of buttered toast further slow me down.
P.S : Dear reader from Brazil, whoever you are, I know you come here almost everyday. Maybe you are lonely at home with your child. Maybe you seek company.I get lonely too. I thank you for being here. I hope to hear your voice this year.
Bed is delicious these days. Toffee-like. Fudge. Yummy to roll around. Stick-y. It has become difficult to dislodge.
I understand. I too have the urge.
Yet, every morning I give up, not without grudge, the delicious fudge. I get up and I budge the dawdler. In Batman pajamas.
Getting up is easy, getting moving is not. Somewhere in that space between ‘up ‘ and ‘about’ exists my eight year old,wandering every which way ,going here, there, following every rabbit trail to nowhere in particular. It is a winter morning but he belongs to someplace in midsummer.
I must push if we have to make it to school. I wear gravity, put on a blank face and begin to startle him into activity.
” Did you pack your backpack?”
” Did you sharpen your pencils?”
” Go on ,then,” I say by way of a gentle nudge.
” Hand cleanser?”
How slow is molasses ,really? Not as tardy as molasses going uphill. Not as slow as the dawdler. In Batman pajamas getting ready for school.
What is so happy about a careless bundle of clothes on the floor?, you may ask. An illusion of urgent haste, a disappearing act, we have made it to the bathroom at last! I have already put out his toothbrush. As he rubs his eyes, pulling himself away from his Gotham , I see his stare dissolving into a picture he has made up . I find him ransacking his vast vocabulary. I try hard not to let a smile escape because if I am found, the dawdler will get fixed again. Instantly thread a story and babble away with speed.
How fast is instantaneous , really? Quick as a blink? Not as nimble as the dawdler’s brain with its impromptu flashes of witty irrelevance.
I move fast with a whooshing noise, folding away sudden day dreams and checking lunch boxes. It is time to go finally. Big Bear takes him to school. I smile and kiss. He smiles back mostly. I close the door and wait right there lest,
‘Knock , knock!
Xavier breath, I am not leaving yet.’
Goodness, child I love you. I’ll see you in the afternoon.
It is quiet in the house and I feel like giving a primal scream. I stop myself and take a deep breath instead.
There are NO startling truths! No premeditated prudence is precaution enough!! No manual for all its precision will warrant smooth sailing. These are turbulent seas. Sometimes all you do is HOLD ON.
Now that you have set sail or are just about to, chances are most of your assumptions about the kind of mother you are going to be will be proven wrong! Mine are. At the end of a very long day ( you know the kind!) it doesn’t ask you, ” Do you want to save the changes?” Oh no! you must begin again. ALL OVER AGAIN and love it too. Ah yes! motherhood.
” Expect the unexpected,” they tell you.
Once you expect the unexpected, it becomes expected and can not therefore be expected anymore! Better have no expectations at all. To err is human. Sure thing! It is a serious cognitive overload. My center of gravity has stayed lopsided even after giving birth (twice). I wouldn’t know where to place my center but I definitely exert more gravitational force than before. Finding balance is an everyday struggle. A lost cause.
All knackered and daft and vulnerable have you bared your heart to a ‘friend’ only to meet with affected civility? A nod seemingly agreeing but silently judging? Have you been handed advice tinged with ever so slightly perceptible scorn? Yes ? Me too. Met that on-top -of her-game mamma at the park? Or the one that stares you down at the doctor’s office? Right there with you!
Motherhood is lonely as it is.
And then last week I came across another friend. A book really. Books are friends , aren’t they? Especially a book that celebrates not raising by the book.
This one is called , ‘Lose the cape : Never will I ever (and then I had kids)edited by Alexa Bigwarfe & Kerry Rivera . It is an anthology and has thirty two diverse voices!! I love that. There can not be , should not be one authoritative voice on parenting. Who needs a treatise? NO ONE!!
But thirty two almost funny almost sad essays from moms (and a dad) who are in the middle of the sea too? Yes, comrade. I say almost because for me they struck home and I prefer almost to perfect. A wicked mix of wacky embarrassments and pool ‘drip’ accidents , of tardy reactions and endless waiting, of pickers of boogers and persnickety food choosers, of what you thought, what you were taught and what it turned out to be. It is a delicious mix and for once, at random – life as is, is beautiful.
The essays are short which is highly convenient. Now that we can’t have a wet Sunday afternoon all to ourselves and if we are on the beach then we are building castles, they can be read in five minute sessions and consumed as a little brain food. I always say yes to brain food !!
If you suffer from mommy guilt( if you are a mommy you sure do) and keep feeding your inadequacies, try to do it all and like me, are obsessed with putting things back in their right places, then this book is for you. You need no preaching.
” it began destroying me, and destroying us.It took away my desire to hold her, and reduced it to a chore, a rote and resentful behavior followed.” -Kimberly Zapata
“Thus, catering to picky eaters is how we roll in this house. And bending backwards for naptimes and bedtime schedules is the norm.”- Julia Arnold
” If I could eliminate that frustration from our day by putting a movie in to watch , why wouldn’t I ?”- Megan Woolsey
“Oh ,yeah! winner ,winner; Mom’s not makin’ dinner!”- Andrea Isiminger
You need glimpses into honest motherhood. And maybe an essay by grandma Sasha Gray that reads much like a short story. Or let Julia Arnold tell you how she is eating her words with two picky eaters in the house. Or maybe know why Michelin Rose uses the full box of crayons.
On days when your family has sworn non-cooperation, this little book may be company. For it is a journey after all and wearing a supermom cape at all times can get very uncomfortable.
Travel light, I say. Lose the cape!
Here are two bookmarks, download them for free !! Print on A4 size card stock, cut and pop it into your book. There’s hardly time to look for where you left!