Friday, August 31, 2012

When Inspiration Comes

 It taunts us. It lurks in the corners, hides in the shadows, quivers quietly in the corner, until it decides to come out and seize us.
Photo courtesey of Photobucket
 Sometimes, my inspiration comes in the middle of the night, and I need to get out of bed and write something down. Other times, inspiration taps on my shoulder, just when I need two more minutes to finish drying my hair. I have to put down my brush and go to the keyboard, because I know in those two minutes, my words could be gone. Inspiration does not wait. This I have learned the hard way, often not being able to take the moment to write something down that broke into my mind, words that bubbled up from my soul. Now I write my words down whenever I can.

Sometimes I beg inspiration to come to me when I need her the most. She doesn’t always listen, and then I need to try something new. Like the one time, for my Momoir Project writing course, my final essay was not coming together. I read my words out loud; and re read them over and over again. I hated what I had written; it seemed like such a chronological story, dry, boring, unfeeling. And unfeeling is the last thing my story should have been, because it is a story about something that made me feel every single day. Working with a deadline freaks me out sometimes! This was one of those times.

I decided to leave, the hours could count themselves down, I was not going to do it, and that was that. Inspiration was not listening to my begging, she would have no part of it, and I was frustrated with her! So I took myself to my friendly neighborhood Starbucks for a latte!

 This one is inside a book store, and you have no idea how many times I have gone without my pen and paper, or one of the 10 journals I have made for myself, only to find myself asking someone for paper, or going to the bookstore to buy yet another blank book! Today though, I was in search of something else, a photo book of my favorite musical artist, Prince. I found it, 21 Nights, a photo book from a 21 night tour in London. When I got home, I put in the Indigo Night CD that came with the book, and you know what happened, Inspiration, she came at me like a gale force wind, ripped through my insides, took up residence in my heart, and my pen hit my paper with a fury and out came my story. My Final Essay was written, yes, but so were the words in my heart that needed to just come out. I listened to Prince play his guitar, sing his beautifully written words, and he touched me. The gift of his music, gave me the gift of my written word. This day, Inspiration, she came to me through his music.

Today, I woke up brave. Today, thanks to my bravery, I decided to share my final essay. I hope you like it!


I was visiting a friend of mine who had just had her second baby, a beautiful girl, now little sister to her big brother Andy. For most of our visit, baby was snuggled next to her momma, in a wrap. Once she started to squirm, we knew our visit would be interrupted by feeding time. But all of us moms understand that it just happens that way and we have to be okay with that.
Once my friend was done with the feeding, she held out her new, bundled, warm and glowing baby girl to me, seemingly knowing that I would want to hold her. Perhaps any other day I would, but today I am caught off guard, overtaken with sadness and sorrow that has come out of nowhere and hit me in the gut like a baseball bat swung at full speed. Because I know I can’t be rude, indifferent uncaring, I take her swaddled baby girl in my arms and I try not to look at her. I distance my heart and close my mind and I fake it. I become that master of disguise I know so well. And after what I hope is an acceptable period of time, I hand her back to her momma and I speak my regrets, but I must go, time has moved so quickly!
As I linger at the door, to say farewell, speaking my genuine heartfelt thanks for the visit, oh it’s always good to see them, I can see in the distance, Andy totally entranced by his new baby sister. I cannot help but see the glimmer in his eyes, the pride, the joy, and I am taken aback.
I start up my vehicle and pull away, not even a few houses away and the tears swell in my eyes. A memory comes to me, so clear in my mind at that moment, as tears blur my vision. My memory goes like this...While driving home from tutor a few months earlier an exchange happened between me and my daughter.
“Mom, I can’t wait to be a big sister!” she says, a big smile on her face as she looks over at me.
“Mom, did you hear me?” she prods. She thinks that every statement she makes requires an instant reply, as though she asked a question. She never gives me more than a few seconds to say something in return, and a simple “uh huh” is never good enough, her pre teen mouth would say something like “you don’t even care!”
She had only given me a few seconds to respond to a statement in which I had no idea how to reply, and we were only minutes away from home, I had to be quick.
“Honey, I know you really want to be a big sister, but I don’t think that it’s going to happen. Sweetie, I just don’t think I will be having a baby now. In fact I definitely won’t be having a baby. I’m so sorry.”
As I looked at her, I could see the tears in her eyes. They sprang up in a hot second. I had never really said it to her so adamantly before, and I made a point of doing it this time, because frankly she has been asking since she could speak, even when I was alone, with no one to have a baby with! My heart just couldn’t handle her asking this of me again. I couldn’t lie to her again. I knew I was in trouble because I was turning down the street that was going to lead us to our house, and she needed more time. We parked in front of the house, she was crying now and this is the first time she has cried about this.

She asks me why, and my head sinks down. If I say I don’t know, it will not be good enough, it will not be the right way to handle it, but I don’t know what to say. I don’t want her to place blame, but I know in my heart that I do. I just don’t want her to. My internal struggle is so immense that I want to just lie and tell her I will think about it. How will she ever understand that he just doesn’t feel that a baby will fit perfectly into our lives? How can she ever forgive him for changing his mind, for thinking he is too old? How can I possibly help her understand it all, when I don’t, when I am still working on forgiveness and acceptance myself? How can I tell her how sorry I am that I was unable to give her what I promised her we would one day have? 
Instead I try to explain that Mommy is getting older (a lie I can’t even make myself believe), it is harder to have a baby when you get older, and our time has just passed. She is thinking now of the baby I miscarried 2 years ago, and I can see the hurt scrunching up her face, causing her lips to quiver. I let her cry a bit more, as I hold her hand, and then I hug her. We have been outside the house for a while now, and I tell her we should go in and I wipe her face. I kiss her cheek.
My mind is back to the present now, of sitting at the side of the road, tears stinging my eyes, causing my head to pound. This scene goes through my mind like I am re living it and the emotions take over me in a sweeping moment and I need to get home fast. I try to push it all from my mind, the softness of the blanket wrapped around my friends baby, the sweet smell of milk on her breath, the warm, wrinkled hands, nails just a bit too long, the tugging at my heart, the lump in my throat.
Once I am at home, I succumb to my sorrow, I want to feel this, I need to feel this, and I need to get it over with. I need to grieve. I want another baby so badly that I can feel my breasts swell, my belly expand, the warmth of breath on my neck, the strain in my arms from holding and rocking a little one longer than most would say is healthy. It is true what you see in the movies, sometimes your sorrow and sadness are so powerful that your legs cannot hold you and you crumble, you drop, you become a rubber mess and you collapse to the ground.
I bring forth to my mind, an evening like most that I could not fall asleep and when I did, I was awaken a short time later to a feeling that startled me. I could feel a leg, entwined with mine, and in a haze wondered what the hell? Then I realized, it was my daughter, she still likes to sleep with me sometimes. It is comforting for her, to be in my cozy bed with me, and I indulge her, because I like it just as much. But in this moment, I am startled awake and then shocked when I realize her leg is nearly as long as mine. She is sleeping on her back, her leg over mine, her hands above her head, her face tilted to one side, just like when she was a baby. I am awake now, and I listen to her breath, I touch the soft skin on her face, I move her mass of knotted curls away from her face. I remember a time when friends would tell me not to rock her to sleep, don’t lay down with her at bedtime, it will never end, she will never go to sleep on her own, don’t hold her too much. I listened to none of them. I rocked her as long as I wanted, I sang her to sleep in my rocking chair every night of her baby life and when she was big enough to be in a bed, I lay down with her every night to talk to her until I could hear her breath, slow and steady, into a sleep. Bedtime has always been our connection time, a review of our day, our time to be together in stillness. They were all wrong.
I am hit with the reality this night that she is growing up so fast. She is no longer even a little girl; she is a pre teen, consumed with thoughts of herself, raw emotions and so many questions. I will no longer rock her, cup her whole body against mine in one swoop as we snuggle together. This night, as I remember her as a baby, look at her in the dark, as I listen to her breathing in and out, I cry. I ache with the awareness, that there will only ever be one.

Thank you for stopping by.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Is This Morbid, Weird, or Thoughtful?

Have you ever gone on a trip and wondered ``what if I die``? ``What will happen to my kids, and my animals``? I don`t mean the things you would leave in a will. Have you ever wondered if you died, would the people you love know how you felt about them?  Have you wondered if you are leaving a legacy for your kids and family to be proud of? Would your children know your story?
I realize that this is not the most normal of thoughts for someone to have, and I don’t have them often, but it would be a lie if I told you I never wondered. In fact, I will admit to leaving an unknown letter once when taking a trip. I must have had a bad feeling or something, and I justified in my mind, that was the reason I left it. Of course, there never was a plane crash and the letter never did get read, just thrown in the trash.
What is this all about, you ask? I just came back from a small vacation. I was camping and when I am out in the wilderness, I tend to think a bit too much by the crackle of the fire, the mesmerizing lap of the lake water, the weightlessness I feel as my body glides under the water and waves splash over my body. A good book always helps and I am currently reading a good book, full of thought provoking chapters!
Things I Want My Daughters to Know, by Elizabeth Noble. In this book, the main character has 4 daughters, and has had 2 husbands. She has died of cancer. One day before she deteriorated too much, she decided to keep a notebook, not so much a journal, and record various accounts of her life for her daughters. In her notebook, she tells them stories that weave the fabric of her life, she gives them advice, admits some large secrets, shares with them her memories of their lives, and decisions she has made. I like the book. I like it enough, that just like a recipe that I find appealing, I decided to try it and make it my own, reworking the ingredients.

It could be that my mom is turning 80 this year, and I am seeing her weak and miserable and defeated, that I have begun to think of my life and the way I have chosen to live it. I don`t know my mom’s story, the hardships she endured before I came along, the reasons for her decisions. I don`t know why she married the men she did, why she stayed so long, what dreams she had, and what she gave up to be our mom. I know she has always been independent, stubborn, and a hard worker. I know she has a heart of gold. I also know, that if you ask her about her life, her memory fails her; or she chooses to not remember and share.

I have started to keep a book for my daughter, that is only for her, to read when I am old, or when I am gone. I will record memories I have of her as a baby, a child, a teenager and so on. I will tell her about her dad, and my decision to marry him and my reasons for not staying with him. I will tell her about my life, things I have done, places I have been, people I have loved. I have to say, with the stories floating in my mind, I don`t think it`s morbid, I think it is exciting! I wish my mom had done the same, so that my siblings and I could read her thoughts, her memories, know her story. It is exciting to know, that when I am gone, my daughter will have a very important piece of me! She will have those conversations that mother and daughter should have!

Tell me, honestly, is this something you would ever do. Is it too much, too stupid, too time consuming?