Remembered days #2

Endless hours of pain suddenly subside.

I wait for the cry but when it comes it’s more of a shout; loud and determined.

She is whisked away from me and a moment of worry passes before a smiling nurse hands me a bundle of cloth. Nestled within is a bruised but perfect face. Here is her father’s hair and my own chin. I say “hello”.

Our eyes meet and the world stops around me. I am lost in two beautiful pools of sapphire blue.

I see everything she can do and could become.

I see all of the joy and the hurt that we will bring each other.

I see the raw vulnerability and the immense strength of the both of us.

And then, in that tiny moment, something else happened. I felt myself connect to something sacred and ancient, a thing much greater than the two of us alone in that room. I felt my mother. I felt my grandmothers. I felt the soul of every mother who had ever lived. They were all there. They were all staring down on us just as they had once stared down into the eyes of their first-born child. In that moment I was changed forever.

It was the strangest feeling. A sensation that lasted so briefly and yet, of all the other things I endured that day, that is the memory that has never dulled.

The moment I became a mum.

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What’s it like?

It’s guilt mostly.

Endless reams of guilt.

It’s the apology you give as you leave a tired, grumpy burden with strangers.

It’s the not being there to mediate or medicate.

It’s dropping off the only one in uniform on the fancy dress day.

It’s missing out on words and firsts and learning because you have to be someone else today.

And it’s the not always feeling so bad about that.

Because you enjoy those meetings; the planning, the organising, the graft for deeply important things that mean fuck all. It’s those figures and deadlines and schedules and conversations over hot cups of coffee. Moments of adultness.

It’s feeling like you’ve let people down because someone is sick and you cannot come in today.

It’s wishing you were there and not at home covered in human excrement at 2:30am.

And when you get there, the constant feeling that you’ve left your heart somewhere else today.

It’s the excuses and make and compromises you offer so that you can be cheering at the finish line.

It’s afterschool childcare and missed performances.

It’s another beige meal from under the grill because you’re too damn exhausted to cook actual food today.

It’s the pile of dishes and the argument over who had the hardest day.

It’s falling asleep instead of making love.

It’s having to prove yourself, over and over again, to everyone you meet.

It’s having to prove yourself to yourself.

It’s that weight around your neck that constantly tells you that you should be somewhere else.

And it’s the still being hungry for more.

Of course, there are many other things too.

But your constant companion, the only one that never goes away, is  guilt.

Daydream

Really enjoyed sharing this, and the challenge of a 100 word limit 🙂

woman-coffee-cup-mugBy Kazz

For the next hour I am just me.

I sip coffee and watch the people.

A young man hooks my gaze. He is writing. You don’t often see that these days.

He is young but … attractive. I wonder if he would glance at me and see past the shell of motherhood. We would talk of art and of writing and of how it could never work. Then have a delicious affair.

He looks up. I quickly look away and think of groceries.

As I leave I catch the eyes of an elderly man. He averts his gaze. He looks uncomfortable.

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Moment

She is busy today. Her mind churns and her mouth babbles away as she plays with paper, soft toys and random bits of plastic treasure.

In the midst of her game she asks me a question.

“What happens when you die?”

I feel the weight of it; one of those oddly important moments that pops up in the middle of an otherwise bland afternoon. I choose my words carefully.

“I don’t think anyone really knows for sure but there are lot of ideas. Some people say you go to heaven and perhaps you get to meet all your friends and family who are already there. Other people think you become a ghost and go floating about the place. Some people think that you just get put into the ground and your body helps the flowers grow. Some people even believe that you come back to life all over again, as a new person or maybe even an animal.”

She is quiet. She goes back to her game.

A few hours later, she is sucking spaghetti off a fork. In-between the slurping she responds to my reply.

“Mum. I’m coming back as a badger”.

Unspoken

I’m fine.

I’m not fine.

I’m OK.

I’m not OK.

Either way, it all happened. That much is true.

And now, we sit on our respective horizons looking back on our own view of all that has happened. One life. Two people. Two views. Lots of “stuff” in the middle.

It is actually fine though.

It didn’t need to have been perfect.

Really it didn’t.

As a child I always felt as though someone was missing from my life, although I only worked out who it was when I got older. Now there are two people who are missing.

It’s not nice.

But it’s fine.

I know you don’t believe me but I didn’t ever want this. I didn’t mean for things to turn out this way. In fact, I remember when I thought that it was me who could keep everyone together. I thought I would be the wise sage who would bridge the gaps. I thought I would be the hero to ‘unite the clans!’

I was so naïve in my twenties. Of course I couldn’t do that.

And now here we are. Well here I am anyway. You? You are far away. And you are never here for me. You are never here for yourself either. You are missing out on so much. Then again, that’s not really anything new is it?

But it’s fine.

I am beyond sad now. I’m dealing with it. If anything it’s just weird, like an odd sort of grief where nobody died. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic.

And I get it, you know? I really do get it. That’s one good thing I have from you, although you seem to have lost it; I still get it. I understand it now. I get what life is.

There was a time when you were all I had. When you starved so I could eat, when you put yourself in harm’s way to protect me, when you fought for me, when you were everything you should be.

But then I grew up.

And you grew up.

And all around us life was happening.

I get it.

We are all the sum of what has happened to us. What we see in the mirror right now is the result of all the love and the hurt and the success and the failure and the good things and all the shit stuff that we have stomped along through since the day we were born.

And that’s us. That’s people.

We are life in a bowl.

We are “shit” soup.

I think my soup came out better than yours.

I know you would disagree.

I often wonder, why does the bad stuff sting more than the good stuff feels good? Is it some sort of Darwinist survival thing that eventually stops you doing that again and again, because it hurts so bad. It doesn’t work very well does it?

Human beings are so dumb.

Or, perhaps we’re not. Perhaps one day we will become omniscient beings who forgive and understand and explain and have endless patience and pools of love for everyone we meet.

Perhaps.

But not today.

I have no anger. I have no regret. I no longer have tears either, because for you and me this is simply how it has to be. This is how it needed to be.

And it’s OK.

I’m fine.