Saturday, June 27, 2009

mother image.

deep childhood sadness's and misunderstandings and memories flood through me this night.
i have a mix of ambivalence, sympathy, and anger towards my mother and as she sits and reads on the couch that we made into a bed for her in the living room, i type this and take deep, gulping breaths that fill my lungs with memories.
my three year old drifted off to sleep and curled up behind me like a sea shell, her sticky little hand patting my belly, softly, pat pat pat as her eyes grew heavy.
my baby nursed on the other side, and her rhythmic breathing was gently flowing in between the sleeping breath of her sister. the window opened to my right with the green of the trees swaying, talking to me in tree-speak, the sunlight still mottled and bright at 9pm. i had a symphony of baby breath surrounding me, it rose up and became its own thing, a separate entity that came through me, that is of me, but not owned by me, and it was like God himself came down and blew breath into my heart.
my husband tries with my mom, to be good and right and jovial, but her ineptitude at depth and her inability to listen frustrate him- he does not have the context or nuance that i have, her being my mother, and so as a man, it is an impossibility to have a relationship with her.
but, as everyone knows, a relationship with ones mother is complex beyond complexity and there are more ways of justifying and explaining it then stars in the sky.

my tears came so swiftly i had to hold my breath for a second to keep them from escaping.
i ache with wanting a mother to help and show me, guide and teach me, cook for me and brush my hair and hold my babies and baby me.
i bring that to my daughters, a deep rooted maternal care giving that my mother was not able to bestow- it is like roots that filter down in search of water and minerals- instinct guided.

in marriage, sometimes there are things that cannot be worked out, solved, discussed, resolved. sometimes you let the unspoken linger and it fills your head but it sways into something different entirely, and that is no matter how many days are spent with another, in pain or joy or otherwise, really you can never really know anyone and the quest to know oneself takes lifetimes- every minute can provide life changing instances where many years can provide nothing at all.
i find that, on this night, with my mother in the other room reading and completely unaware of what she triggers in my life, that my deep life lessons from childhood are often so painful to recall i have a physical reaction to certain memories.
but it is different then when i was 19 and recalling them- i no longer have the luxury (time, or inclination) to suffer for days with bottles of wine or endless phone calls to girlfriends or thirty pages of journaling- i simply observe them like an experiment (the experiment being my life) and i taste the painful parts like a snowflake on my tongue- an instant cold sensation that dissolves before it can be dissected for flavor.

because now i know pain is so much a part of life that a joyful thing can often bring pain along with it, like a summer storm that brings hail- unexpected and extraordinary because of it. a relationship that deepened your knowledge of love but you knew would not last, an illness that reshaped your perspective, a death of a beloved family member.

someone asked "when i was due today". this is the third time someone has asked me this since my baby girl was born 4 months ago.
she, literally, had tufts of hair growing out of humongous moles on her face, and a full moustache.
i still felt tears spring behind my eyelids and seriously wanted to tell her to fuck off.
but i didn't.
i sipped ice coffee instead and my husband and i looked at each other over my mothers obliviousness and wondered how in the hell we could be so good at pretending.

i TRY to tell myself that i need to be big and soft and round to nurse my daughter. that i am beautiful at any size, that i am rubenesque, and voluptuous, etc.
but when my mother picked at her food the day she flew in, and then told me she lost 15 pounds by eating only vegetables for lunch every day for two months and then i noticed that every meal i prepared was met with an "I'm not that hungry" or that the two cookies she ate with my daughter must have had "200 calories" i realized just how deep my need to be accepted and loved and nurtured by her, really is.

i love my mother. i want her to love me the way she is unable to , and so i meet her with compassion and love, because what other choice do i have?

i sift through my sadness tonight and as my husband goes out with a friend to hear music i can practically feel the oppressive energy that is running him out of his own house.

but i cannot leave, not tonight and not for a while. i must offer my body as food and drink to nourish my child, i must give water for my older daughter to sip, i must take my hands and smooth hair from foreheads and press my lips to cheeks soft as rose petals.

tonight i must mother my babies and tonight i must also mother my mother.

i try to love through the sadness tonight. i try to see the night for what it is- i am no longer the tow headed little girl with a teenage mama filled with her own brand of sadness living at the beach with sand in her sheets.

i am in the pacific northwest with a husband and a baby girl and a bigger baby girl and their eyes fill me with hope and purpose because they look to me to be what my mother wasn't. powerful beyond words to have that much power- my daughters have given me the greatest honor. little Devi's, with stars in their smiles and whole universes orbiting their heads like halos, mini-goddesses, ocean hands and mermaid lips. two beautiful little girls who will one day be women with daughters of their own.

tonight, i breathe the air of sadness and sip at the sweetness of mothering. i want to fill my babies up with love so that they balloon into their womanhood whole and happy.

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