I’ll be Different

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I’ve failed you once.

I forced my views and when you didn’t conform, I piled on judgement in my need for you to be okay.

Most times, I was too busy keeping score to know when you needed help. I felt you spinning out of control and I wanted to protect you from your niave adolescent self. My expectations came before your hurt and pain, before your desires and interests. I leashed you with my domineering, mothering way, like you leash a dog to keep it from running away, and called that love.

But this time will be different.

Even though I can barely suppress my what ifs, locking them down tight, to keep them from feeding the fears of failing you again, still,  I know this time will be better. I know what it feels like to see you go. I know what it feels like to not know where you are, if you’re eating, if you’re warm, if you’re safe. 

It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen you, held you in my arms, kissed you until you were grossed out, smelled you, I know how much you hated that and secretly loved it at the same time. 

This time, I want so badly to love you with a love that leaves room for you. I want to be as quiet as a feather falling from a birds wing, so that your voice is heard loud and clear, no longer altered or muffled. I want to be as strong as Samson, so that you can make mistakes and not feel like the whole world will come down on you.

And I will, be different for you. This time, I’ll accept you without needing you to be anything more than who you are, ’cause that’s always been enough.

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Love You…always & no matter what

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I’ve loved you with my kisses and hugs, my good night sweet dreams, and lullaby songs.
I’ve loved you with midnight visits to the hospital, bandages and ice packs. I’ve loved you with hours of studying at the kitchen table, and cooked favorites like hot chicken sandwiches.
I’ve loved you on freezing cold bleachers and cheering from sidelines. I’ve loved you with cuddle time on the couch, watching poetry slam on YouTube and on icecream dates,
and tonight

at 2a.m.

I am loving you with a ten hour drive to pick you up, after receiving your phone call today saying,
“Mom,  I’m ready to come home”.

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Where is God

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Where in the pain is God found?
In the answer?
But no answer.
Then no God?

I find him in my heart beating,
lungs breathing,
eyes seeing.

God can be found in me,
Not what I think should happen.

In my pain, I seek him with all my
heart and I find him there, close enough to feel the pain right along with me.

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Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Baroque Perfection

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I am your Mom. How does that not mean anything when once it meant everything? Your memory of my mistakes is that of an elephant, but instead of in your mind, they have been burnt into your heart, making numb your ability to feel my love. They are the demons in my closet that keep me up at night, they are the walls built around you, keeping us separate.

As your mother, I know your worth and your worth is worthy of perfection, but this is above me. I know, Son, because I tried. As a sixteen year old mother of two, daughter of an alcoholic and drug addict mother and a child molester as a father, perfection was as unattainable as turning back the hands of time. If I could but keep from becoming my parents, then surely I would uncover perfection, as easily as one uncovers a pearl by prying open an oyster. I truly believed this to be true, until you looked at me like I looked at my mother, the day you left and never looked back.

No one told me it would take a certain environment to produce this rarity, an environment of fresh water or salt water, clean, healthy…all I had was that of contamination. If only the irritation that comes from a foreign substance was enough, because I was made completely of irritations, irritations of abuse and neglect, foreign substances to some but all too common to me.

They say not all pearls are perfectly round, but the round ones are the most beautiful, less than the baroque pearls, uneven in shape. I wished you could see my love and desire to be enough for you, my baroque of perfection, as sufficient. Then maybe you would overlook my convoluted flaws, see them for the will behind them. Just as a runner, hurt and in pain, still able to complete the race, all spectators cheering, not because of victory but because of shear determination to not quit.

I am sorry I could not give that which you deserved, perfection. Not even in my mind do I allow myself to compress your hurt with my excuses. My only source of comfort, even this I do not deserve, but still the truth remains, I am comforted knowing I tried my best.

Your memories keep you from having compassion and empathy for me. They keep you from missing me, like an underground shelter protects during a storm, so do your memories of me. But my memories, mine, keep me from healing. Like cancer in the bones with no hope for a cure, are my memories of you; your laugh, your need for me to rub your forehead, your love for music, your love for food, your spontaneity, you, all of you.

God says forgiveness is free. He said he paid for all of our wrongs, and yet, you and I are paying for my wrongs still. I pray God’s promise comes true for us. I pray for a willingness to accept this free gift, not because I deserve it but because you do my son. I love you.

Waiting to be Noticed

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Who is this young girl, with her haughty attitude and unwillingness to listen? Where does this anger and offensiveness come from? Have I done something to push her to her limits, in my awkwardness of mothering and expression of my love?

I have lost the road map to her heart and oh how I have searched high and low, but cannot seem to find it. A once well trotted path has become a vast new world all between me and her.

Her.

How can someone close become a stranger? Strangers are warned against, they are not supposed to be daughters. What are her likes? What is she thinking? Did she have a good day? Did she laugh or did she cry? And those allowed to share in her day, were they aware of how blessed they were?

As invisible as the wind blowing through my hair, as invisible as the oxygen that fills my lungs, as invisible as the God who created me, is as invisible as I have become to her. As I kiss her, as I smile, as I speak to her, my efforts hit her wall of frustration and go no further. She doesn’t seem to notice my existence past the resemblance of a pesky fly. If she did I am sure she would feel my overwhelming need to be welcomed into her world. And she would…welcome me.

Today, I may not know her and she may not see me, but I rest in the fact that, once, she lived within me, just below my heart, a being within my being, feeding from me. She is of me and I will find her again.

Forever Transplant

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Will I ever know, without a shadow of a doubt, that he loves me completely and with no reserve? Will fear of him no longer loving me cease to exist?

It’s been eight and a half years since he ripped out the part of him that had grown within me. And although he did give it back, mustering up all the courage he had, he cut me open with his spoken truth and acknowledgment of his wrongs. Lovingly placed it there, his forever, back inside of me, where the gaping hole had been, just above my lungs, within my ribs, in my heart.

It’s there, I can feel it, but the glue of promises, the stitches of his daily actions of conformation to remain as one, is just that, glue and stitches. They are not roots, they only go so deep and I am left with episodes.

Without warning, an episode,
I search within my heart for him, his forever. I am not open, gentle, loving.
I am closed tight, dead bolted in, fearful of what he will try to take this time.

Not one episode goes unnoticed. He reaches for me, his eyes tell me what I need to hear, “You have it, my forever, I love you, I need you”. His reminders hold me, protecting me from myself.

When will this no longer be a part of me? When will I accept the fact that I am not working off of half a heart? I am safe, I can live, and laugh, and be free, without fear of being ripped open again.

He proves that to me every day with his overflow of I love yous, his protection of my vulnerabilities, his willingness to see my need to be reassured, over and over again, never tiring. I look into his eyes and I tell him, “I’m sorry” with my mouth, but with my eyes, I tell him, “You broke me and I am still broken, and I don’t know how to be anything more than half a woman, with my second guessing and awkward sexuality”.

And just like that, a knife goes into his heart, just like that I cut him, wounding him, like he did me. He can’t handle being reminded that the love of his life was broken by the same hands that are used to make her better.

Dear God without you we know not what love is. Help us to become like you, more and more each day.
Ephesians 4:2 NIV
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

Love in the Form of Dirt on the Kitchen Floor

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Not long ago, his absence was what filled every minute of my day. I was forced to fight through obstacles of memories and incompleteness with each daily task, whether great or small. And with each obstacle there were promises made, promises to never go to sleep angry, never waste a minute arguing, never question his authority, never cut him with my words. When he got back home, I would take advantage of every moment given. The emptiness of him not being there was painful enough, but the regrets of taking him for granted, now that was what suffocated me at night when I would lay down to sleep, and when I woke for the day.

Only two short weeks later, his presence is no longer new. The shyness and over-pardoning that newness brought forth, is wearing off like the scent of a cheap perfume. As I wash the dishes I see him sweep from the corner of my eye, I want so badly to grab the broom from his hands and show him how to get under the fridge and stove, and up under the cabinets. We have had two weeks of falling asleep in each other’s arms, intertwined one to another, paying no mind to the pins and needles being jabbed in our limbs, hell-bent on not moving indefinitely. And when awake, oh the acts of love that have filled our days, living up to my many promises and I’m sure, his too. I, hanging up the dreaded wet towel left on the side of the bed instead of honoring it with an argument, for it has been one of my most coveted annoyances; he, replacing his short fuses and dominance with patience and gentleness, and I have made sure he knew I noticed with my no “no-s” behind shut doors. But now, the fact that there is dirt about to be left on the floor is threatening to take me back to the place I swore not to go, the place of ungratefulness, the place where I seize to honor and he seizes to be my head.

The interconnection that had been buried among the seven months of his absence lives among our yesterdays, and he sees me now, reads me like a familiar book and I him. Our seventeen long years of marriage birthed beautiful gems such as oneness, and I feed from this oneness as a babe to his mother’s breast. Being someone that felt much like an alien for the part of my life not being with him, does go far to honor such a rear gem as this. My heart is overwhelmed with gratefulness to have all my fears put to sleep once more, fears that he would not love me as he did before he left, that loving completely and generously would be a bygone, that we would have met the end of our love story. Yes, as wild and off the top as they are, these are my secret fears, each and every time he leaves. They are only hushed by his lustful gaze my way in midday, his obscured “need-to-have” grabs here and there, and his “I love you”s. When he is gone, I do not have this to hush my fears to sleep, and they wake, and they play, within my thoughts, like ill-mannered toddlers that never quiet.

He is home now, and he is not sweeping correctly, and I am struggling. The newness has been replaced with normalcy and I fight to not become complacent. Surprisingly, it is not the promises I made, nor my love for him, not even the pain of missing him that keeps my tongue tamed when voicing annoyances, it is the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit within me when I feel myself rise like a tide, ready to burst through the shoreline of demarcation, reminding me, simply, he is here. He’s not gone. He’s not in danger. He is here and it… it is just dirt.