Monday, June 29, 2009

Needing backup

I backed out of the driveway at 5:45 p.m. The 15-year-old was riding his bike to football practice. The 13-year-old was just getting started on the dishes she should have done 8 hours ago. The 9-year-old was sitting quietly in the back seat as we pulled out to go to her soccer game, which was supposed to start in 15 minutes. I was late and harried and grouchy and worn thin by a day of the angst of others.

Halfway down the road, her voice piped up quietly from the back seat, "Mom, it's pictures today."

Crap. Yep. It sure is. And pictures start about 40 minutes before the game starts. I was a liberal arts major, but let's look at this for a minute: 6 p.m. minus 40 minutes equals 25 minutes before I left the house. "I'm sorry, honey, we're gonna miss pictures," I said. Her face got that blank look. I said I was sorry again. She cried. So I cried too, guilt and weariness entwining into a knot in my chest.

The evening has a happy ending, as I was mistaken, by an hour, about the time for the game AND pictures. In this instance, I was thankful for my inability to keep all the balls in the air. I screwed up the time. Good thing, or she would have missed pictures.

It isn't always that way, though. Sometimes I drop the balls and then some. It is just as likely that, despite all my calendars and alarms and attempts to keep four schedules, a household, a career and volunteer activities, that I would completely miss something important. Usually I can maintain perspective and push forward. But today, seeing my daughter's face fall in the mirror, the tears on her face, was just too much. All I could do was feel overwhelmed and guilty and realize that no matter how hard I try, I will never be as effective as two parents. Just like the mathematics of making a 5:20 photo shoot when you leave the house at 5:45, one is not two. Never has been. Never will be. And when you are one, that reality is a jagged pill.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Going to the penalty box

OK, time to feel shame, or at least the blogger's equivalent. I was informed that I was (again) slacking in the post department. Profundity to follow soon, or at least the late-night-at-the-Korean-restaurant-get-me-more-booze-and-fire-up-the-karaoke version.

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Out of the mouths of ...

My 9-year-old was peering over my shoulder at my Facebook feed when she noticed someone's posted picture of Michael Jackson:

"Mom, who IS that woman?"

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Xanax cocktail?

We had some serious weeping from the little one this evening, about, in no particular order, the fact that she cannot have an early birthday, that I have not yet sewed the two-millimeter hole in her stuffed bear, about going to bed and about wanting "my own pet, a bunny pet, I've always wanted my own pet." Oh yeah, and pants, I believe there was some crying about pants. Summer school starts tomorrow. A little anxiety anyone?

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gentle surrender

From the beginning, I walked with you with my eyes open. I saw your soul, the parts with diamond-like perfection so brilliant it burned, the rotten and gnarled parts, putrid in their ugliness. And I loved you, in a way so simple that I cannot seem to make anyone else understand. I grasp for the words and they slip away. It just is. It always was.

So I stood before you, our hands twined and my face uplifted, seeing every familiar line, the smell of your soap and skin bringing me home. And you say that you loved me, that you still do, but you cannot stay. It was right, but right is not what you know. You know misery and pain, so you retreat to the darkness, always back to that blackness that brings you to your knees. I offer my wish for you: that you find your way to a place were you can love and be loved. You assure me you are not gone forever. I hope you are right, but I fear you will never escape the monster that keeps you in sadness. I fear that, no matter how much you are loved, it will never be enough. I know what awaits you in the darkness you have chosen, and it breaks my heart to know how much you will hurt, that you will be alone there.

I know I have to let you go now, but I drop my head to your chest once more, that place where I fit so perfectly beneath your chin, and sob, your arms circling around me. I wonder if I will ever belong this way again. I silently scream in protest at how wrong it is, at how unfair, that you are too broken to stay in this peaceful place we found in each other. I pray to every power in the universe that you find your way home.

Then I cut the ropes and drift on gentle surrender. I did all I could. The rest is up to you.

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