Motherhood. Motherhood blankets around me like a familiar fragrance. The scent of low self esteem mixed with over confidence, the uncertainties of direction and vocation flood my mind with images and sentences, while my arms struggle to carry the large paper bag full of groceries, I purchased as if with a blindfold on. What am I to make with all of this? How am I to prepare with these tiny tinctures, questionable edibles, and elegant fixings? Oh there are days, hours, and weeks in which I travel through the day as if on cruise control. Am I enjoying the scenery? Do we ever? Instead, I am fussing and fixing. I am planning and signing. I am answering and demanding. I am apologizing and excusing. I am showering and I am bathing. I am feeding and I am wiping. I am referring and I am wheeling and dealing. I am not a gambler, but I am taking risks beyond measure. There are choices, voices, and stirrings to prevent burnings. For me to sit back and relax seems so far from my reach. My eyes fail to stay alert, they are closing without my knowledge. When they open, it is a new day, but the scenery behind me will once again be a chaotic blur like a drunken stupor, but it’s not. It is motherhood at her finest. It is me in the refiner’s fire. It is me in the lions den with three little kids. It is me in the greatest chronicle of my life.
Ever catch yourself saying something over and over again? I am not so much meaning profanity when things aren’t going accordingly to plan or plans, but I have said at least 4 times in the last couple of days to 1, “Well, that’s just how the cookie crumbles.” Where on earth did this quote emerge from within the many random facets of my subconscious?
There is never a dull, a quite for too long moment in motherhood. I know. I understand. Three little ones never stopping for air just causes me to become beside myself. There are moments when I no longer recognize me. Am I laughing at a Disney show with Vin Diesel? Wait Vin Diesel is in a Disney movie-when did this happen?
Despite the crazy stresses of life, finances, lack of groceries, clothes with holes, stained carpets, chipped glasses, broken drawers, and not enough spoons for everyone, this is just the how the cookie is crumbling these days. When I feel stressed, I bake. When I bake, I eat. Let’s just say there has been a lot of baking and eating and observing the unrealistic amount of crumbs on the table.
The perfect storm, could it be coming to its final end? I am not sure. It still remains poking its ugly face here and there, but yesterday important discoveries have began to wash up from the shores. Are there causalities of innocence being taken down by a recess oppressor? I keep praying for more understanding. More revelation. More assurance as this storm remains steadfast against the windows of our house, I diligently try to remain focus. I am looking through this storm for the face of truth which sets free.
Wheat Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Inspired by Post Punk Kitchen)
1 ¾ cups almond flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cups coconut sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 Tablespoon flax meal
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
How To Play:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flax meal and almond milk. Add sugar and stir, add oil and vanilla and whisk vigorously until all ingredients are emulsified (about a minute).Mix wet ingredients into dry, fold in chocolate chips. Drop batter by the tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet, leaving and 1 1/2 inches of space in-between cookies. Bake for 10 -12 minutes.
This betrayal hit me in the face. I could taste the blood in my mouth as I drove away from the tennis court. You standing- defeated and caught, with your shoulders weighed down by the hopeless guilt. The “not wanting to hurt me”, but knowing very well it was going to be a painful road to recovery. The charcoal tennis racket in your hand was a symbol of the anger and hatred of this situation. Staring back through the reviewer mirror, I made my escape from the humiliation and from the Emo girl with the fake English accent. Her blood rush, head rush, hush –hush, next crush, crushed me against the wall. A wall I thought no longer existed, resurfaced itself as a bridge. A bridge like the patriarchal artifact destroyed in Remagen, no longer to be in the shadows of the Rhein, but to be exposed as a sign of hope, hope that comes after a cruel battle. I drove stunned. I was lied to. Deceit the wicked foe! I shouted. There were so many questions left open for me that September day. A 9-11, however the answers were written underneath the bridge, as fragments and debris washed about my ankles. Pain is a puzzle to solve and a puzzle to step over. A ghost, a figure from your past, was what I became that day. You said you knew me, because I was so much like you. But if you really knew me, how could you lie right to my face?
Image Credit: Max Liebermann
My heart weighs heavy as I wait in the line; the line that crosses the border between right and the undetermined wrong. What defines fair? Gravity, a law within its own, can’t defend the accusations, the shakiness I have standing over the bridge we’ve made together. I’m praying, screaming, and refusing to let gravity push me into the troubled currents of torment below. Is nothing really as it seems? Can a trust really live up to the responsibility it proclaims to possess? If I search the depths, if I search the questions, which are mutating in my hands, if I search the quest of true repentance like a gentle nobleman, a gentle physician, a gentle inquirer, will I eventually see my Lover’s eyes? My Beloved‘s face? My Admirer’s heart? A heart that beats for only me?
When I prayed for a husband, I prayed. I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed. Gracie and I would cry together wondering how we were twenty -something years old with no potentials in the forecast. She lived in a cedar bungalow in the backyard of a well groomed house. The magnolia I would pass under, each visit would continue to greet me, as it changed with the season. The grass, without fail, faithfully would dampen my feet, as if to say, “You can’t control us, we will dampen your feet one way or another, whether it be dew or rain”.
Gracie’s place was like a fort; a fort amidst the Fort. It was a meeting place. It was a safe place, a place in which we could lay our burdens down. It was a framed structure of antique eloquence; a stain glass mirage of spoken wishes with fairy tale kisses. The ambiance was home. The music was fine elements of mood and classical savory. Fondu, song writing, and Elderflower Presse, these times were fond and life forming.
With the glow from candlelight and with the softness of wine induced splendor, jealousies would at times rise up like the incense burning on the stove. Was one favored? Was one more beautiful? Perhaps one desired more attention, while the other demanded it. Said to be the center of attention, I didn’t ask for it. I longed to be loved and appreciated. Deep down, I know I was, but misunderstood was a party favor I was often given. Outside of this life of familiarity and simple commonness, was another life of spirituality. My life friends these were, but on the other side of the Valley’s hills was the birthplace of my spiritual family. The family that would shape me, challenge me, and display for me; over and over again, the grace of God.
[Image credit: Ginette Callaway]
Again, I am reminded of Georgie. She had sparkled cold blue eyes. She was winter and wore it well. She embraced the season with purity and integrity. Her friendship meant well, I know it did, but 25 held a dark place in her heart. She needed to leave this scene. To get away. She had been too long and too many began to see her and her colors. They weren’t all put together like a promise, but a broken child, unleashed against the weasels, stoats, and ferrets. When she left, her books and memories stayed behind; all of them, tucked away unharmed, in a box in the attic. They are pieces of her in words, her words, her sayings, written by her favorites: Tolkien, Lewis, and Montgomery. Sadness belonged to my dear friend, but there was hopefulness, as well. A vessel lost at sea, lost in transition, lost in process. Community and communion, a longing and desire, she taught this well. In her heart, she could not rest. She could find no contentment. She could find no home.
I am not bitter. I used to be, but through time, bitterness has become a forgotten person, an old story, a vintage headline. Today I am in a continual process of learning and accepting. I am embracing, and yes, let’s be honest, sometimes rejecting the ongoing whirlwinds and twisters of an identity, a destiny, an image, and a stereotype, and all the misconceptions and misunderstandings that go along with that of MOTHERHOOD. I am the mama in the hood. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine life before all this, before life became so practical and inconvenient, so easy, but yet so complicated. I like to watch people. I am fascinated. What compels or leads, influences or helps-whether past or present- to choose the choices we choose to make for the day? Is it an image we are aspiring to be?- Or not to be? Some folks appear gravely lost in thought, while others are engaged in silent conversation through iphones, smartphones,blackberries-oh my! While others carry the weight of their world on their faces.
For myself, I cannot escape the thought that each one of us has come from somewhere. As I am a pioneer for this life, I am paving a path for my children. Those before me, like great grandmothers and grandfathers, did so with such limitations. They had limited resources and linear dimensions. Our 3-D omniscient society has become the big brother it fought so hard not to be. George Orwell was right. 1984 has come and is not going anywhere, anytime soon. There are times I want to escape and build a cabin in the woods, like Thoreau. How inviting it would be to live off the land, to bake fresh wholesome bread, hearty stew, and paint autumn skies with fallen leaves with the resources at bay. To have the heat from the fire soothe the dampness from the children’s faces as they lay on their multicolor earth-tone oval wool rug, drawing their favorite things. My love would be outside in the mass of solitude cutting wood and carving pieces of it to make furniture for our quaint little life. But life isn’t quaint. There are meetings and deadlines, agendas and commitments, interruptions and phone calls. There are places to go as well as places to be. It is history repeating itself in full force. Nothing is new, this has all been done before and this will all be done, once again. However, how wonderful it is I am doing this- this life, this journey, this age in year, with the people I have grown to know and to love so deeply. My busy life may not be the cabin in the woods, but in my heart there is a solitude unquenchable.
As I drive through the somber streets within my mind, I am reminded of the 11th week. The October air was crisp and cool. Breathing the air was as strict as wintergreen, blasting into my lungs. I enjoyed this, though. Running was my favorite. Air forced into the vulnerable air pockets that encouraged me to keep going, keep breathing and keep living. I wasn’t running today, but sharing this hour with three of my favorite people. Once a month we celebrated our love with a breaking of bread, a pouring of wine, and a moment of stillness. It was communion with each other. It was communion with our Maker. We decided, linked in arms, to head to the pier and lay our backs to the water with our faces towards the sky. It was almost 11 pm. It was the 11th hour, an hour before the break of a new day. It was the moment the stars became ours as we named them.
Mysteries, confusions, and fantasies would stir as we tried to envision what our lives would be, where life would take us, and how we would turn out. A mother, victim to mental illness, a mother hard to read, a mother on a mission, and a mother not allowing the unfailing distance to interfere with her deep longings.
Were we just walking the paths engraved or more so welcomed by our own mothers? Were we to follow in their footsteps? Was that our fate? Were their lives the blueprint for our very own? We just didn’t know, but what we did know, it was getting colder and there was more wine to drink. Sometimes to not think was a blessing, but for some of us, it was the daily challenge we faced and continued to face.
As the candle gave warmth and glow, an invitation for us to speak candidly and openly, we did. Crossing lines only bosom buddies, kindred spirits do, we joined our hearts together and acknowledged life as a philosophical debate in which no one has an answer for; only an opinion, something we unsurprisingly are all unrestricted to.
I imagined as I grew up, well, like in my thirties, I would have the brain of a 30 year old. However, as I converse with others, I realize our brain can sometimes remain stopped at a certain age. It just stands still and observes the process of aging from afar. It is as though mine has dissociated from reality; the reality of age. My brain says it is 28. The funny thing is, it has been saying this for the last 6 years. My eyes tell a different story, though. They have not stopped. They continue to go from right to left, up and down, checking out people here and there, reading, watching, imagining, and visualizing. They have pressed through the inconceivable and have seen the births of the impossible. My eyes have witnessed the unspoken, and have seen the cries from relationship disparity. Even when there was nothing to be seen, my eyes could see their wailing screams. They refuse to ignore and stand in denial. They have seen truth and can’t go back. Sometimes it is a war inside. My eyes reveal what is real, yet my brain tries to justify, downplay, pretend, generalize, and even at times, tries to shut herself off to the outside world. It is pain. She just can’t handle the pain. She can’t handle the disbelief. It hurts too much. Perhaps this is why my eyes are in relationship with my heart. They have an understanding, a commonality. They aren’t afraid or influenced by thought. Ideas, doubts, or the need to try to figure things out. These don’t intimidate what my eyes can see and what my heart can understand.
When Georgie said she rear-ended someone, the first thought that came across my mind was, “Again? Didn’t she just rear-end the girl with the porcelain skin just 2 weeks ago?” There was a heaviness about her, in more ways than one. She carried drama around her like her favorite shoulder bag. Annoying? Yes. Time consuming? Of course. Ridiculous? Always. But I loved her. She was my friend, my archetype, and the one that saved me from the glares and whispers that creeped about my 5”7 complicated frame which went hand in hand with my complex emotional state of mind.
We had known each other only a few days, but our friendship was instant. Timing was everything. It was the life preserver before the perfect storm struck. The love of my fractured life was disintegrating before my eyes and at the time he was the only thing I knew. I didn’t know love could feel so good, taste so real, and capture me wholly. Time seemed to not exist; however, it was everywhere, but nowhere to be found, especially when it ended. If only time could have stopped or ease the pain somehow, anything before the darkness hit, but it just didn’t work that way and nor will it ever.
Meeting Georgie, though, time came through in a positive. But here she was again, the result of another situation; another, only to be followed by a few many. Her mother was a concern, her father and step mom were a concern, there were concerns everywhere, and everywhere Georgie went, she took with her all the concerns of those around her.