F is for Flagging, Fatigued and Finished

F

F is for Flagging, Fatigued and Finished.

Today is day 6 of the AtoZ blogging challenge and it is a day that has kicked my butt. I am exhausted, so for today please accept my apologies for no new story. I can’t believe I’m missing the opportunity to use “fetish”..I really am done.

As a thought let me put this forth, F is also for Family and Friend, but what if they are one in the same? I have frequently lamented the lack of language to denote the importance of found family. Many people I know have people they consider family that share no blood, but there are no words that I know of to get that across. Friendship is often dismissed when confronted with the idea of “family”, they are not on par with one another when it comes to triageing time spent and obligations . I have run into this issue, because my partners have had family that always took precedence, and I have had friendships questioned over bad over because somehow that was allowable. I would never question someones loyalty to a loved one, and I have never understood this idea.

How do you define the indefinable? What do you call the Aunts and Uncles to your children,  that are your sisters and brothers by heart, if not blood? I bet there is a German word for this, there is always a German word…

Just a thought. I hope all of ya’ll are having a great time with this challenge. When I can keep my eyes ope, I love doing it. Have any of you made friends and connections from it?

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PS Recently I have been able to refer clients to one of my oldest friend’s law practice and she has done right by each one. That’s all great and stuff, but the point is we are grown-ups and have been friends since age 10 and every time we do some grown-ass shit, I feel like we’re gonna get caught out and someone will call us out for playing at this whole grown-up thing. When I have to send her official legal documents, I try to put Winnie the Poo stickers on the envelopes because i know it will make her smile. Most days I am still surprised I’m an adult.

 

 

 

 

 

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Eli

E

 

Eli surreptitiously checked himself out, in the reflection of the glass before he went into the restaurant. Nothing seemed glaringly out-of-place but the surface was not a perfect mirror, so how could he really be sure. He couldn’t of course. He had done all the usual things, a mint for his breath, no spinach or other foods that might lead to teeth snafus and gone over the dating sites Top Ten First Date Mistakes. He had at least 10 conversation starters if there was a lull, plus questions he prepared if he got nervous and couldn’t think of anything off the cuff.  Was that normal? Did he remember antiperspirant?

He followed the large woman with the proportionately large gold bag into the restaurant, remembering to shift his shoulders back to give an impression of confidence and self-esteem.  He was early of course, he was always early. He had to create diversions at home so he wouldn’t be too early, but he was still there 15 minutes before the meet-up time of 7pm. He waited behind the large gold bag lady as she spoke to the hostess and was then lead to her party’s table int he back left corner. He watched as she was greeted by a tall thin man who stood up as she arrived. He kissed her on the cheek and gave her a hug. Both fo them were beaming. Eli saw the woman’s face for the first time and noticed that she was attractive int he way some women of a certain weight can be, they could carry it well, or maybe they were just comfortable in their flesh, he never knew. She had round cheeks that were blushing at the words the tall man was saying, a smile stretched across her face, suddenly making her pretty. They laughed and sat down across from one another

“Sir?”

” I’m sorry” Eli started and came back to himself, realizing that it was probably not the first time the young hostess had tried to get his attention while he stared at strangers. Pretty, too much eye make-up, too young, his brain quickly categorized the girl and then followed her. Nice to look upon, but probably barely out of her diapers.

She led him to a table that was at an angle from the older couple he had been so intent upon. He thanked the girl, sat down and pulled out his tablet to check work emails, but couldn’t resist checking the couple out again. He could tell they were on a date. They were flirting, laughing and arguing over menu choices in the way people did just for the joy of trading soft barbs. Eli wondered if he would still be dating when he was their age, which looked to be at least a decade beyond his mid-thirty vantage point. Neither of them seemed awkward, their conversation seemed to flow like water and each of them had some part of them touch the other; a finger, hand or knee constantly found its way to brush or bump into the other. Eli recognized the dance, he could sing the lyrics, but somehow the two never got together and made the perfect kind of moment he was witnessing, where everything was as it should be and neither party was conscious of every syllable and body language cue. He often felt as if he was following all the directions to the letter yet was always a few steps behind, stepping on toes and confused about what just happened.

“..and never the twain shall meet..” he heard the words come out of his mouth just was the noticed the hostess heading his way, another guest trailing behind her.

From behind the young hostess emerged a woman he recognized from her pictures online. In the pictures she looked different, but he Vital_Partners_dating_etiquette2supposed he did too.  She was curvy in the way that men loved but women often doubted on themselves. She had dark hair that  hung straight and shining to just below her shoulders, which she was nervously pushing behind her ears.  She wore what he had identified as “date” clothes, a skirt and blouse with a cardigan and paired with a nice looking medium height heel, that wasn’t too dressy or too revealing or too conservative. He recognized it because he wore the male version of the same uniform as advised  by various dating articles. What was good research without reading the corresponding data from the other side?

 

At first he couldn’t see her face, until she seemed to remember the same rules he had read and lifted her face as she too, straightened her shoulders and raised her head to greet him with an almost certain smile.

Her round eyes were that nebulous shade of hazel that never seemed to make a decision between green and brown.  He noticed a small collection of freckles dusted the bridge of her nose as a mouth that was just slightly too wide and full to fall within he median, smiled and turned her plain yet pretty enough face into a thing of beauty.

Eli reached out and grasped her outstretched hand in a not to firm grip to find the same barely there clamminess that is own nervousness often produced.

“Hi, Eli? I’m Olive, it’s nice to meet you”

The sat down, perused menus, chatted and her hand brushed his. He looked over and saw the older couple leaning in to one another, oblivious to the rest of the world and smiled.

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Dance

D

Lucy liked to sing in the store while she shopped, and enjoyed the odd looks when she broke into a little booty shaking in the aisles.  With Pandora on shuffle, a list in hand and a plan of attack, this had become a weekly ritual right along with laundry and picking her daughter up and getting ice cream on Fridays after school.

She liked the smiles she got and outright laughter when she was a little too loud and slightly off-key or doing a little dance to music only she could hear, though this wasn’t always the case. She had been taught to be quieter, because she was always too loud, to laugh softly when she brayed like a donkey and to just tone all of “this” down. She was too abrasive, too passionate, too everything. From her childhood to her marriage, she had been told to be a little less than herself, or a lot less really.

It took Lucy much too long to realize she had let people tell her these things and it had been her choice to change for them. That look in the mirror had been rough, but she had decided changes must be made, quickly. She started small, and this act of song and dance, this small act of inappropriate behavior was one of her first acts of bravery. What did people think of her? What would they say about her? She didn’t want people o look at her and think she was strange, that she wasn’t normal.  Why couldn’t she just be normal??

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Yet Lucy hated stores and shopping but she loved music and dancing, so she decided to try the latter to negate the former as an experiment and tiny act of rebellion.

At first it was hard and she stopped moving if someone joined her in the  aisle and  started whispering under her breath if they were within earshot. Sometimes she completely failed and became silent and still like everyone else around her, like a normal girl, but she kept at it. Soon, she realized she was making more people smile than frown and she caught them singing along, winking or trying to catch her when she passed them. She realized that they were laughing with her and not at her and the perception she had of herself and the the world she lived in, shifted on its axis just enough to let more light through.

As she sang and helped an older man get a collection of bottled water into his cart, he thanked her and smiled with her.

Much larger changes came after, many were still in process now, but this small thing that most wouldn’t consider an act of the utmost bravery, made her heart sing along with her voice every time she did it.

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The Abyss (Trauma Warning: proceed with caution)

A

I liked the jagged edges of the broken mirror and how it reflected pieces of me back. It seemed fitting.

Blood splattered my cheeks, small flecks decorated my skin like gory confetti. I licked my lip and tasted the metallic iron truth of the fluids I was showered in. My smile twisted in the broken reflection but I let myself sink into the peace I felt despite being surrounded by destruction and chaos. Perhaps the peace was due to those things?

Turning on the water in the sink I began the process of cleaning up the blood that had snuck into the crack between covered skin and gloves and of course the blood splashed Pollock like across her face. I was so damn cheerful that I caught myself thanatomorphose-bathtub-blood-guts-slime-pushumming a happy little tune. Some stupid song I had heard on the radio, the type that you professed to hate but still knew all the words too. Singing to myself,  I scrubbed my skin and thought about what to pick up at Trader Joe’s for dinner on the way home. I loved their beef jerky but I didn’t think my roommate would approve that as a dinner choice. It was my turn to cook but I didn’t feel like actually making anything. Maybe pot stickers?

I carefully examined the small amount of  exposed skin around the cuff of the suit an dmy gloves, making sure any blood was cleaned up. The rest of her was covered in a full bodysuit, the type you’d wear to a crime scene so you didn’t contaminate it. I had been careful and made sure to use the cleaning solution she had brought along in a spray bottle and cleaned off the sink and anything I might have touched, compulsively pockets the few small things I had come into contact with, like souvenirs. This was all excessive precaution, I knew I had been very careful not to leave anything of myself behind.

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by saratheresee on Deviant Art

Until this point I had avoided looking at the bathtub filled with blood, water and Mary’s quickly cooling earthly remains. It was not due to any revulsion, it was because I had found myself giggling like a madwoman, fighting the desire to pull apart the flesh that was now opened up from Mary’s wrist to halfway up her forearm. I liked seeing all the layers of fat and muscle, so pretty.  I knew I couldn’t touch her, that would be stupid after all the careful planning I had done.

I could still feel Mary’s hand, warm and alive, as I helped her cut open those delicate veins. Down the block, not across the street. Any job worth doing , was worth doing well..

When Mary opened the door to see me on the small tidy porch, she hadn’t recognized me. I would have been surprised if she had and my plan would have been shot to shit, so it was for the best. She hadn’t seen the last few hours of her life in my smiling face  when I greeted her and offered condolences on the recent death of her husband.  Mary had graciously accepted the story of travel and only finding out about the death now. I told her that I hadn’t seen her husband in years but my father had been a friend before he retired from the utility company they had both spent their lives working for.

” My parents retired down South to get away from the cold, but when my father knew I was going to be in the area he asked me to come by personally, to send his condolences. I’m sorry to bother you, at this difficult time but would you mind if I came in a for a few minutes? I brought a few small gifts, they aren’t much but I know my dad would appreciate knowing I had done this for him.” I said this all in the apologetic tones of a loving but slightly put upon child of pushy parents.

” Of course dear, it’s okay, I understand. He had a lot of friends that cared” said  the women that I barely recognized almost 30 years later. She let  me into the neat home that matched the tidy porch. She was smaller than I remembered, her hair a faded grey instead of the brassy auburn that came from her favorite Clairol bottle in her youth.

After taking my big puffy coat and hanging it up in the hall closet, Mary lead me  into the kitchen, asking me if I’d like a cup of coffee or tea?

“Oh, thank you, tea would be wonderful, it was just so cold this winter and a warm drink always seemed to hit the spot on these kind of blustery days, didn’t it? Actually, I brought a pie for you from  this tiny bakery my dad said your husband loved from the old neighborhood, and some tea from this shop I found around the block. Do you like tea?” I asked as I handed her a beautifully wrapped bakery box from bakery many miles away and tea from yet another nondescript location nowhere near where they sat.

tumblr_l6x248IPi81qcdeua” I do enjoy tea, I have always preferred it over coffee” Mary explained as I watched as she went about the process of making each of them a cup of strong tea on a cold wintry day, filled with the weight of things she didn’t know were to come.

“Pecan pie is one of my very favorite pies though it’s been years since  I’ve had it. My sons never liked it and my husband always though tit was too sweet,  but this looks wonderful and some days you need to have a treat. Thank you,  this was very kind of you. Please make sure you thank your father for me. You’ll have a cup and slice with me before you go?”  Mary asked s she unwrapped the box and placed the pie on the counter.

I had remembered that Mary loved pecan pie, it was the biggest reason I could never stomach the stuff despite my deep and abiding love of most things pie. I smiled and looked pleasantly pleased at Mary’s seemingly, kind smiling face.

“Of course I will. Thank you for letting me barge in without any notice. My dad will be real happy I got chance to chat with you and that you liked the pie”

“Don’t you want to take off your gloves? ” Mary inquired

“No, I have a condition called Raynaud’s. Have you heard of it? ” Mary shook her head ” Oh, well most people haven’t heard of it. My circulation is terrible, it just takes some time for my fingers and toes to get warm. Sometimes they even turned blue.  It’s no fun in the winter but what can you do? I’m sorry, just give me  a little while, and I’ll be able to take them off. I know it’s strange, but hopefully you’ll excuse this small eccentricity? ”

“Of course, you take your time”

The air filled with the small words of people that are generations and worlds apart. The weather, the traffic, a shared hobby of knitting and questions about marriages and children. Her son was on his honeymoon in the Bahamas, had she ever been there? No she hadn’t but she heard it was a wonderful place to spend a honeymoon.  What type of wedding had they had? This subject filled the space with the joy of a proud mother watching her son at the altar and all the work that went into making it such a perfect event.  While she had done her research and had a tale to tell, Mary didn’t seem in any hurry to get down to the business of messages for the dead. I knew about the wedding. The younger son she spoke of was my half-brother, and we never had much in common but there was no way to predict how things would have been with everything that had happened between them. Yet I knew the reason I would never know the answers and that I was never going to be invited to a family event sat  from me.

The kettle began to whistle.

“Let me get that!” I exclaimed and jumped up quickly, in exactly the helpful, polite way I should and poured hot water into the waiting cups, all the while keeping up chatter about dresses and floral arrangements. Yes, I loved orchids, they were so elegant.  I carefully placed the hot cups in front of each of their places at the circular kitchen table that had one of those thick table clothes that was plastic on one side but slightly fuzzy on the underside. The pattern was  a horrible collection of roses and foliage in shades of faded oranges and reds.  I placed a small slice of pie on each plate Mary had left out and brought that over as well.

Mary took a tentative sip, her eyebrows rising in a small show of surprise.

“This is spicy!” she exclaimed

“Yes, it’s a chia tea made in a small shop I like to visit when I was in town. Do you like it?”

“It surprised me but yes, I do, thank you.”

I smiled and continued to blow on the surface of my own cup.

“I’m glad you like it! I wasn’t sure about the choice but it was a lucky risk. Wasn’t it nice how these things sometimes just worked out?”

The sedative I had slipped into her tea worked quickly in exactly the way it was meant to. It was a strong dose, in the liquid form, of the same type, meant to be in the empty bottle I would leave beside her later. I didn’t think it would be looked at too closely, these things happened with the elderly and recently widowed. I knew Mary had a history of depression and so it all made a perfectly tragic, neat type of sense, which suited my needs. I had been afraid she might completely pass out, but she just became groggy and limp, slumping back against her chair. She didn’t quite know what was going on, but I thought I saw unease in her eyes. The drugs made it almost impossible to work up any real emotional reaction but I think fear can always find a way to slip through.

I took off the leather gloves I wore to reveal latex beneath and began to clean up all signs of our little tea party. A pie on the counter would not be remarked upon. As she watched, unable to react, I told her who I was and that is when I knew with certainty she was afraid. I was a ghost from a long distant past, possibly one not thought of in many years.

I washed cups and asked ” Do you remember the corner under the stirs int he old house? You would lever me there for hours, until I learned to sleep upright.  When I sat or slumped in exhaustion you had me kneel on rice,do you remember?”

I dried everything I washed and calmly listed, in detail, the abuses her son perpetrated upon me with her consent”

I told her that while she had tried to beat it out of me with that rod against my legs, I still walked upon my toes.

All of the little chores done that erased my visit, I came back tot he table

“Do you remember the little table and chair you had me sit at, while you, your son, my half brother and his father sat at the dinner table?”

I had not been worthy, good or clean enough to share a table with them, I knew because she had told me many times.

She struggled to talk, but I ignored her incoherent mumbling. She still couldn’t move very well but she tried too, succeeding only in a very ungraceful fall from her chair. Her head made a satisfying sound on the tile. It made me giggle.

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I let her lie there, squirming, gurgling and trying to get away from this place she found herself where all of her power was stripped away and she was at the mercy of another’s hand.  As I pulled the bio-hazard suit from the little pouch in my bag and put it on, her struggles became more pronounced.

I thought that I could smell her fear and the thought kept me smiling as I told her about how it felt to be denounced in front of a church congregation at the age of 7.
“In need of cleansing I think you said, tainted by the sin of my mother, unclean..had she said demon possessed? Or had I just added that part? Did she remember? My memory was always a little shaky on these things, but my therapist says that’s normal.”
She was wiggling away, like a pale corpulent maggot. I didn’t think she was going to answer me. Rude.

” You didn’t let me say goodbye to my mom, you didn’t let me see her when she was dying alone int hat terrible hospital by herself. I could get over the rest of the stuff you did to me, it wasn’t even as bad as some of the stuff that came before or went on after, but that one thing, I just couldn’t forgive. I thought I’d get over it, you know? I told myself that I would wait and if I couldn’t let it go, I’d come find you and make things right.”

I went to her as she tried to get away. I petted her grey course hair then forced her jaws open with my fingers and closed her nose as I poured more of the concentrated liquid into her mouth.  I kept her mouth closed as she was forced to swallow. I held her gently until she went limp in my arms.  Old and frail, she was a shadow of the monster in my head but this was a loose end that had to be cut.

When she came too, Mary was in the tub with tepid water around her. I had been sitting on the toilet lid beside her, killing time with the crossword at the back of the New York magazine I had brought along in my bag.  I needed her to be awake for this part.

Tears poured down her wrinkled cheeks as we made the cuts together, our hands intimately entwined as her flesh parted beneath one of the broken mirror pieces I had retrieved for her use. I felt tears flowing down my own face but I couldn’t say how much of each drop was of pain, relief or joy.

I left the small neat house, as neat as I had come to it, other than the quickly cooling body of the only one still left from the years when I was the weak, powerless one.  In the cold windy day, I was just another thickly bundled, anonymous human, briskly getting to where they needed to go.

I realized I ahd made no plan for what I would do after,  my tasks were complete. Across the street or down the block? I didn’t look back as I laughed into the wind, the sound and  a cloud of  foggy breath engulfing me as I kept moving. I didn’t know where I was headed, my body felt empty and light, as if I might blow away before I could make a decision.

I would just keep moving forward, there was no reason to look back anymore.

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Z is for Zany

Z

za·ny
zānē/
adjective
1. amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic
noun
2. an erratic or eccentric person


As I mentioned before, I have been a lifelong lover of NPR and a devotee of WNYC, and that means I get my news, entertainment and conversation starters via that medium. One of my weekly listens includes something called The Moth, a storytelling podcast. I had been hearing strangers stories on,  for years and at the beginning and end of every one, there is an entreaty for more. You can call the pitch line, give a short summary of your tale and hope for the best.

Have you ever had a moment when it all seemed to make sense, as if you stood outside of yourself and could see beyond your own internal dialog? At my daughters 4th birthday, that is what happened for me, as I watched everyone enjoying the sunny day and good company.  I was momentarily overcome by seeing the proof of what we had built, this shining thing that was something I never thought I would have.

During this moment of internal jubilant peace, I decided to call and pitch the story of my journey between one child and the next. It had all spiralcome together for me, in one hippy dippy moment, becoming a perfect circle. I called, I pitched and hung up in a panic. I called Robyn and told her I had done this incredibly idiotic thing.

A week or so later, I got a call, they liked my story, they wanted me to put it on stage.

What follows can be read elsewhere in this blog, but I can not articulate strongly enough, how amazing this experience was.  If you read back you can find out more about it here and here. It has put me in the company of people I admire greatly and shifted my perspective yet again. I found a new fight/drug/meditation to make the world shiny.

I didn’t find space to talk about my job in this month, so here’s the short explanation; I run an office that focuses on Transgender health, we provide the counseling and medical care for the transition process. I started working there because another adopted family member Dr. Lisa, asked me to run her office and I have been there for the past 6 years. I tell you this only to provide some background.

I get to help people everyday, through some of their hardest moments, I have a beautiful, weird, safe and healthy family and on top of that, I got to share my story with the world on a show I have been a fan of for years. It’s been a pretty zany, lovely, heart-growing ride.

I told my story in The Boys city, with all of his clan in the audience. I think that moment will be in my personal jewel box until the day I leave this world.thestory

I told my story because it is hard to say these things over the kitchen table during a weekend visit. I told my story so that my children would always have it, which is a pretty big thing for a kid without anyone to remember her childhood story. I told my story for me too, so I never forget my blessings.

~~~~~ 5660_148666960751_609560751_3493031_2062122_n

I did this as part of a larger project, both personally and professionally, but even if some of that doesn’t come to fruition, I really enjoyed the challenge.  I found a lot of new stories while I explored the other people participating in  the A to Z Challenge, which has been awesome. I also learned a lot about the habit of writing and myself.  So, thank you for reading this and thank you for being a part of this process with me!

 

Y is for Yearn

Y

yearn
yərn/
verb
1. have an intense feeling of longing for something, typically something that one has lost or been separated from.
2. be filled with compassion or warm feeling.


When I was a kid there were no parties, there were no presents. The first gift I remember getting was a 12 pack of Play-Doh for Christmas, that I shared with my brother, and that was it. Later (from age 9 to 13) I lived with my mother’s parents and they did give gifts, in fact they were the giftsole expression of interest and love. During a therapy session I had told my therapist that my grandparents never told me they loved me or showed affection, she insisted that I tell my grandmother.  I assume she thought it would be helpful. I told her, and her response? “ We provide for you, we buy you gifts at the appropriate times.” That’s it, that was her response, except to add that I did not react properly to said gifts and perhaps I should address THAT with my therapist.  So lets just go forward with the knowledge that I have some issues, big, cringey. pathetic issues when it comes to gifts and celebrations. 

6180_138001065751_6851742_nWhen my daughter turned 1, I made it, a big deal. My kid would always know how precious I thought she was, she would always know how celebrated her life was. Once a year, she would have an awesome party with everyone that loved her. Around 60 people attended her first birthday party, I took out a small park to accommodate it. I know this is more about me, all of my insecurities, and perceived failings, but sometimes self-awareness doesn’t even slow me down. Rented tables, crafted projects, tulle, costumes and full menus are all part of my yearly homage to the life of my daughter and she knows she is the princess of her own little tale.3oncouch

Soon after Asha turned 1, I finally kissed Robyn, who had been one of my best friends for years and secret crush for some time. She (literally) ran away, or as she says “walked briskly”, but she returned and kissed me back. We got married and she legally adopted Asha, bringing her official momma count up to, 2.

AquabatsAfter the first year, that party evolved to be both a celebration of Asha and a greeting of Spring. It’s the one time we have a big party and see everyone, especially the people we rarely get to see during the rest of the year. The Boy and Gretchen came the first year and the third, but Gwynnie was still teaching classes and couldn’t come. When Asha was turning 4, I made sure it would work for Gwynnie and they were all able to drive down. Gwynns sister and partner drove out from Brooklyn too. Asha and her cousins were into The Aquabats, so they were also making an appearance, in the form of one doting mother, and assorted Uncles and Aunt.

We had just moved to a sleepy little town on the Delaware River. The kind of place that is filled with walking and cycling paths. The weekends fill the main drag with antique hunters, bikers in leathers, cyclists in spandex and families strolling with sticky-fingered children. It was the first time since I gave The Boy up, that Gwynnie would be in my house; also the first time I was proud of where I had made a home. It even had a garden and tiny porch!

Everyone came, everyone talked, laughed, and ate well. As Gretchen sat on the porch talking music with my broth-in-law, Gwynnie chatted with her sister in the backyard and The Boy chased his sister around while she squealed, I realized some deep shit.

 I could, maybe, let up on all of the heartfelt yearning, because..here it comes.. I had a family.

It was filled with people who didn’t have any blood connecting them, and there wasn’t a language to easily explain it to outsiders, but it was strong and fierce and mine. More importantly, it was my daughters’ and her brothers’ and they would both be okay, neither of them was ever going to be alone.kisses4yrs

X is for Chemical X

Chemical X
Sugar. Spice. And everything nice. These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little girl. But Professor Utonium accidentally added an EXTRA INGREDIENT to the concoction…. CHEMICAL X. Thus, the POWERPUFF GIRLS WERE BORN

In April 2008 my daughter was born. She was exactly 8lbs, had all of her fingers and toes, she was perfect. A c-section helped.Asha42508_zps40ff6b64

 

A small note about c-sections, I don’t understand why anyone would get one voluntarily. I’d choose the pain over and over again. My daughter was breach despite every effort to shift her. I was strapped down and I couldn’t hold this baby that I was getting to keep, it broke my heart. Thankfully it was a sad whisper among a joyful noise.

My room was filled with people and gifts and smiles. I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome for this new life.  Spring, sprung in during the time I was in the hospital and everything seemed to of flowered to welcome this child destined for sunshine and warmth. It was  a stark difference from how alone I was the first time, or how very sad I was then. Instead of loss and heartbreak, this was all about love and life.

5660_148663340751_3041154_nI named her Asha which means “Hope” in Sanskrit and “Life” in Swahili. It seemed apt. I think names are important, they are one of a mothers’ first gifts afetr life and I hope hers’ shapes her well.

When I spoke with The Boy after she was born, he asked how much she weighed (he was 8.6) and he was quick to point out he was bigger. I brought her up to see them when she was 4 months old. It was probably one of the easiest visits I had ever had, as the dynamic began to shift.

I was only a few years older than their oldest niece and nephew, yet I was not a peer for those kids or for the adults, it had always been an 1113_51130610751_8253_nunsettled place to find footing, along with all of the rest. Now, a decade later,  I was a mother in the true sense, and it was new unblemished ground.

4503_110684995751_3927311_nI still don’t know if it’s accurate to say that Gretch and Gwynn started speaking to me differently or if I just started listening better. The shift felt massive to me, but again, who knows? I spoke to them about baby stuff and they happily shared their experiences. I didn’t have this anywhere else, there was no mother, Auntie or grandmother to call with questions. I don’t want to give the impression that they were my go-to, because I was never that comfortable (which is on me) but they were a touchstone that I didn’t have anywhere else. I’m sure they would of answered had I been willing to reach out.

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I was the first of my friends to have a child, and they assumed I’d just figure it out, I had always been that type of person. I do not know what parents did before Google.  I was at a loss and in the ER, for diaper rash, more often than I would like to admit. My daughters first year, like the rest of my life was a lot of trial and error.

When I had left the hospital with her, I remember thinking “What is wrong with these people? Why are they letting me leave?? I have no idea how to take care of this tiny person!”.

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Most days, I still feel that way.