Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I was confessing to my close friend, my true reason for putting off decluttering.
It's because of what I find, I told her.
Letters in crayon hieroglyphics, love notes on torn construction paper, broken macaroni necklaces, hot wheels stashed away after being wrapped in Kleenex as a secret gift to me.
In my jam packed dresser drawers, I have pictures. They're a heartbreaking toss up every which way, photos that I would linger over and didn't want kept on a shelf in a photo album. The one here, I found Saturday afternoon. It's my last baby who is 12 now. He was so small, I could hold him cradled in one arm.
These treasures from my life do me in. I guess you could consider it torture I mean, to keep them. Why keep them. It's nostalgia, absolutely, it's something in my hand today from my life yesterday, like the 6 inch sword made from crossing craft sticks together and foil wrap. When it's in my palm, I'm transformed back into what my three children made me from the minute they were born. Their very own Ripley. I was untouchable, unbeatable and nothing stood in my way -- they gave me that role as if they came to this world knowing.
It became the meaning to my days. And I rose to that title, without question, I met it. I would sense them, the moment before their cries, and swoop into their room, lifting them from their crib. It felt like I was rescuing them from a tower.
Only mommy, they used to say.
Life continues in this way, the days the kind that fool you into thinking they will always be like this for you. You, their rider coming in on a steed, armed, ready, capable. Able to save in one deft move.
Spiders, balls caught in trees, knees needing bandages, bullies at the park, a fray in the favorite blue blanket. Nothing was impossible and you flew to them before they even knew they needed you.
Then, overnight ... you're not the only heroine they've always known.
One day, you look at the newest holiday pictures, and you gaze at the short woman lost amidst others taller.
Or you call them to you, because even when you squint, you still can't make out the fine print on the computer screen.
Or you ask them to the basement to lift boxes into the crawl space -- a job you once did before your knees turned to gravel.
When we walk at night, I have to take their arm in the darkness.
I can't stand to declutter, I tell my friend, because of all that I find.
The Umbilical Cord
Oh, Doctor, are you sure....
the day he was born and you cut the cord-
that cord that connects child to mother-
did you make it a clean cut? complete?
Because sometimes I wonder
when the sound of his cry would cause
the strange pain, prickly pins,
"letting down" the milk to meet his need.
And when, as he advanced to solids and fed with a spoon
my mouth popped open
with every attempt to spoon food into his;
my tongue licked the corners of my mouth
when the baby food spilled out on his face.
If the cord was cleanly cut, complete
why the sinking sick stomach in me
at the sight of his blood after a fall?
Why is my mouth dry
when he is the one on stage to say the lines?
Why are my palms sweating
when he is the pitcher on the mound?
Why does my heart ache
when his is broken?
Doctor, could you check?
I think the cord is still intact.