Monday, June 27, 2005

bringing up baby

From the day my first child was born, I began grieving the loss of her.

I am not a mother who embraces the firsts (although I celebrate them). I am not a mother who looks onward with anticipation to the next exciting stage. I am not a mother who can’t wait until ________. I am a mother who mourns the “lasts.” I am a mother who clings to every moment as if my life depended on it. I am a mother who wishes desperately and fruitlessly that time would stop.

I am a nutcase. I realize that.

But you must understand. My baby is two and a half, and there will be no more babies.

There will be no more snuglis, no more suckling, no more sweet baby-smelling heads to breathe in deeply. There will be no more nestling on the couch, each breath matching my own as my chest rises and falls with a soft, fragile life atop it. There will be no more exciting photographs and phone calls about first smiles, first words, first steps. There will be no more babies.

And so each day I live with them, I am acutely aware that my children take yet another step farther away from me. Their world is expanding, and I will move farther and farther from the center of it. Some days I can release them, albeit with some effort. It is good and right for them to grow into their own fascinating little people. But some days, each step feels like a ripping and tearing—as if flesh is being torn from bone. Some days, I am overwhelmed with the sadness of it all.

The latest struggle arises as I prepare for an upcoming surgery, after which I will not be allowed to lift my two and a half year old son for six weeks. Preparation includes discussion about whether or not to transition to a “big boy bed,” building him up to handle steps on his own, and dealing with tantrums that involve lots of slack flesh flailing on the floor of wherever we happen to be at the time. We will work for the next month on becoming more "independent."

But I don’t want to. It is training that must come with time, but it is training I don’t wish to do YET. For now, I WANT him to turn to me with those deep, dark cow-eyes and raise his arms into the air and implore me, “Up please, Momma,” and then bury his sweaty, curly little head into my shoulder as his arms wrap around me with all of his sweet sticky smelliness.

That is a habit I do not wish to break. Not yet. This is a “last” I am not yet ready for…

The time will come for big boy beds and big boy pants. But for now, he is still my baby.

© 2005

Sissy at the Rose Festival

losing my voice...finding my self

This is my introduction to the blogging world--I tread tentatively and with great insecurity. In the world of hip 20-somethings which I live, I sincerely question what an almost 35-year old hopelessly not-hip mother of two with entirely too much on her plate has to say that could possibly be of consequence.

But I "lost" my voice, five years ago, after 30 years of singing, and there is "music" within me that swells up to the point of aching in need of being released. I pray that you will bear with me, as I rediscover my voice. The timbre has changed, the range is much less comfortable. The tone is different with age, and breath support is sometimes lacking. But for the sake of all that lives within me, I will sing.

This poem was begun in December of 2003, at my husband's Christmas concert. After 12 years of singing together, he now sings alone. I try to be okay with this. Really. It was my choice to take a hiatus for the sake of our children. It was my choice to "allow" Tom to continue to have this outlet. But that doesn't mean it is easy. This was the first and only concert I have attended, I am ashamed to say. But as you read, you will hopefully, as my husband so graciously does, understand why. This blog is my attempt to find my voice...

Losing My Voice

Glorious sound rises and swells—
harmonies rich and compelling
blending in the dark, bitter-cold night.
Delicate white lights shimmer softly
in the background,
warming the soul, if nothing else.
So much the same and
yet so much different.
Lines of melody dear to my
heart but not
on my lips—
how did it come to pass that
joyful voices are raised in song and
mine is not among them?

Tears flow unbidden as I
choke back my own voice
in bitter restraint;
one is not welcome to sing from
where I sit.
And yet “Sing!” is what my
entire being screams—
all passion and
joy and
trapped within—
welling up like a stomach ailment
and aching much the same.

I do not know if I can bear this
so torturous is this stretch of silence,
nearly overwhelming me with grief.
I find no joy in the listening—

It is not enough for my heart to sing;
my voice must be
in duet.

© 2004