I CAN’T ignore it. It is too BIG. Too distracting.
It follows my mind, sneers at me, makes me shorter than I am. Comes after, goes behind. With its appearance (decidedly handsome ) and its manners (truly appalling) , it puts me down.
My toddler doesn’t trouble me as much as the ELEPHANT in the room. Cool as the summer sea, it smirks as it watches my tea get cold. It humphs a cold, demure ,”No” as I catch myself in the mirror. It makes me give up , tells me ” let go.”
Does it sleep? I think not. Does it eat? A LOT! I feed it. I have fed it for years now. I can’t remember when we met but we did and it has never since left my side.
I remember though , the day when a teacher read aloud to the class a story I wrote while I looked down at a dancing sunbeam. I remember the chill. It was there, worthlessness. I had brought it to school. From home, in my bag, in my heart. For a little girl, that is big weight but I did alright. Kind teachers always did spot me from behind other tall girls , pushed me on stage, worked on me, gave me lead roles, put me on the debate team with boys whose newly gruff voices scared me greatly. Gravelly voices coming from headless shoulders for I couldn’t look up beyond.
I kept running away from any applause, collapsing with every word of kindness spoken to me. Undone with every little ‘thank you ‘, I felt apologetic for my very existence. All the while feeding the Elephant in the room. I thought my daddy would save me but I think he forgot.
Now, An Elephant is big. An Elephantine thought even bigger . I am learning to say ” excuse me ” to the Elephant in the room just like my children find their way around me even when I say no. I want to set it free. And I am failing. Too big. Too distracting. I am working on annoying it so much , it would get anngry at me and LEAVE.
It is hot. It could distort-a- thought hot. Melting like morning butter on toast. There is no more coaxing our little pine. It is a goodbye. The babies get sad when I try to explain.
The wind has sat down. You’d think it will move again but it won’t. It just sits getting heavier. A loss of free will. You’d think evening would bring relief but by twilight , free will is thickened jam. Store in a jar and refrigerate.
Pour yet another glass of a chilled something for the children, worry what if even watermelons will evaporate. Check again and be positive that the window panes are starting to swell. Go look once more and be positive it is only an illusion.
Be hot-headed. Forget to drink. A rag doll be. Don’t stop that unsavory lament of how no one cares. Don’t feel like eating. Skip that lunch. A permanent temporary solution. Allow hurtful words to play in your head. Fight for why no one stands for you. Why no one understands. Tired you, tire yourself some more.
Bear with me, cheer is nigh.
Sit yourself down. Drink something. Eat something. Replenish before you can give again. Get that jar out. Sweet free will. Wash down that hurt. Butterfly float. There is second wind.
Next time, when someone unkind, says you stay home and do nothing. Don’t you wait for someone else to jump in and save you.
Up you stand and say ,” I am a mother of young children, the center of our home, I am the lover , the nurse, the laughter, the art. The heart. The hearth. I am the sum of our everyday and I am the difference our little ones will make.”
When downward bound again, repeat, ” love myself, despite.”
There is one thing I do truly well – asking for hugs. My kids hug me innumerable times a day, unasked. It is my pursuit of being in a long embrace with Big Bear that I am so especially good at I have made an extreme sport of it. Now before you get me wrong it is not the marital hug I talk about. That one is sparkling and full of magical beans. I get quite chirpy when I think of it but will refrain from any further elaboration.
It is the tender, the mushy , the idyllic kind of hug that I am chasing. Yes, the classic one with loopy arms , beating hearts, I know clichéd, with the magnetic force of which my swirling big toe can crush the ground. And in the process lift me up . From whatever it is that holds me down. It is not just the hug that is critical to my quest, it is the choreographed dance of my limbs , the blissful squeezing of my eyes, the explosive ticking in my chest wanting to be held that has made me such an enthusiast. It is incurable, involuntary, persistent and complicated. Simple , all the same, I need a hug. Right when I need it. Or I can go on asking.
I like a bit of demonstrative love. My childhood mostly bereft of it, I may have asked for one too many hugs from Big bear. I take this crusade very seriously, often think I am good at it, but not quite. I continue to stay vulnerable but refuse to waver.
I hug my children, we have lots of cuddling time everyday. It brings me peace like no other, but the little girl in me wants a hug to hide. That only the tree like Big bear can provide, but needs and moods hardly do coincide.
A giant , magnificent hug , unasked , a surprise, I keep thinking of it. I can feel its tight squeeze . At least my boys wouldn’t grow up to be needy as I am. And I know they will intuit the need for one.
My big bear hug will be. It better be sooner than later though. I can barely function. I am serious.
No, winter wouldn’t come. Not yet, I am still hoping though. I need my yearly shiver, the quiver in my back and the hush that only very cold can bring. It wouldn’t even snow in the hills. It makes me sad.
I judge how chilly it is not by the papers or by what the weather man has to say but by how cold the water is in the taps. It wasn’t a good day, yesterday. Someone very close commented on my hands. A decidedly underhanded comment on how rough, how undone and what a rude shade of red they had become. I am quite used to such small talk, but then as I scrubbed the dirt off the potatoes in hardly cold water , I gave up. It hurt. Nothing meant anything for a while.
I thought of a pair of antique shears, the ones I do not possess , and thought how I used to imagine myself in a wind-catching floral dress calmly trimming leaves in my garden. Maybe add a floppy hat to that vision and then one look at my hands made me cry. Weirdly I thought of soft jersey fabric and cried some more. I cried enough to make my eight year old come tell me, “mamma I like your hands” and to make my two-year old start his very own meltdown.Wonder how your children know just what will make you stop crying.
And No, I don’t hide my tears from my children. I would like my boys to be familiar with the strange whims of a woman, who starts to cry while scrubbing potatoes. I don’t have a daughter and my boys need to know. So, yes it wasn’t a good day ,yesterday but then a lesson still. A blessing in disguise. Though I would really appreciate a blessing that doesn’t disguise.
Poor Big Bear tried hard too, telling me how beautiful he finds me, how my hands are lovely to him but then a remark from a woman(who I have always secretly hoped would be proud of me) isn’t easily erased. It swells and blisters and pains and takes it own sweet time to pop. Time is really dumb sometimes.Maybe I have been spreading myself too thin and breaking down was long overdue.
My hands are really awkward, quite un-lady-like , thin fingers with swollen knuckles, sort of arthritic , nimble despite all of that. From forever moisturised and buffed they have turned into bony , slightly hard, nails cut a bit too deep working hands. They have stayed sensitive to touch and to love. They can unscrew a tight jar and hold a baby too. Strong enough to be mommy’s hands and gentle enough to be mommy’s hands. They don’t falter where I do and most of all Big bear will occasionally keep them in his while we walk.
The girl in me refuses to understand that sometimes. She craves to stroll through farmer’s markets with flower bouquets in pretty baskets or have unbroken hours of window shopping smelling hand soaps and scented candles and be on a squeaky high. Ha! the madness needs to be tamed.
A slow down will be nice. A nice smelling bath even better, not to forget the Norwegian fishermen formula hand cream Big Bear found for me in the drugstore.
PS: Winter , can you please come? I don’t want to jump into spring.Please.
PPS: Note to the family: Boys, you are in good hands. Remember.
Some days in our house demonstrate this aphorism so well, I can’t help believe it’s true.
Today morning started (?) after a very wakeful night. What with the toddler waking and the putting him back to sleep.Then finding myself wide awake and hungry and munching an apple while the boys slept like rocks. And then my brain got greedy and I sat in bed reading on my phone. It must have been nine minutes of shut-eye when I heard the toddler say,”wake up now.”
1. Yawn and up. Up in a trance, I walked into the kitchen , tripped on the one step that leads me there. Tried to take the trash out and the bag tore obviously. After I picked up scraps and managed to keep the toddler from digging into refuse, this bad boy put on a passionate show of fury. I really wanted to go into hibernation.
2. I did the dishes and made lemon juice for Big bear and me. And I picked up my glass and put it into the sink. How did I miss the drinking?Is that even possible? I felt dumb.YAWN.I didn’t bother making more and no fresh lemon juice makes my mood awful.
42. The spinach I was going to cook into a gravy with cottage cheese proved to be non-existent. I really don’t know how its absence yawwwn got undetected while I did all the prep. Am I sleep deprived? You bet.
409. I managed breakfast and packed lunches. And found Mr. Bear having a cross morning too.
6. The monsoon has arrived here in Delhi. And it is mostly muggy and tropical (not the pineapple coconut kind) but the mosquito menace high humidity uncomfortable sort of. I am forever putting the clothes out and getting them in.’A sunshiny shower that doesn’t last half an hour’ but makes sure some or the other drain is clogged. And I spent some real quality time with the balcony drain today.
8. I have been meaning to do something educational with the big boy. Yesterday we found no pencils. And today the books went missing. That delighted the boy I am sure for he rolled his eyes in feigned surprise and muttered something under his breath. Not tomorrow young man.
5645. The toddler tantrums are reaching new heights. All my empty threats are bouncing back. Today I got to hear, ” Naughty mommy making ears hurt.”” yes me naughty yes” ” yes me cry” and from the seven-year old ,” I’ ll go away to the mountains and invent some new plane and will not let you see it.” I am ruining quite a few lives here. The guilt the guilt the guilt.
3. Mild yelling. I had to.
9. I have lost my butter brain. My boys are spelling out everything they have to say. ” I am looking for w -a-t-e-r”” I am looking for d-g-t-p-k” ” h-e h-i-t m-e” . My thought is in the slowest motion possible.
10.I deserve some chocolate or some spiced crisps. There is none.
Maybe good sleep will resolve everything but the prospects of it are really bad. Maybe someday I ll come up with a post on how to override Murphy’s law. For now I am so clumsy I could be upside down and not know it.