October 27, 2020
This was written during the WWKC workshop, hosted by Poet Jen Harris.
Prompt: “What does the break you need, look like?”
My feet are dangling just above the sand from a hammock swing. My body can’t handle swinging like I did when I was a child so this little sway is all I can take. It’s as though the movements of motherhood have made me motion sick enough that the rise and fall of a playground swing is all the swell my body needs to heave like I were bouncing on the sea.
I need a break. I reach out my hand and touch whatever land I can reach. A blade of grass I can look at closely, fold in half and split open. I can see exactly how these pieces fit together.
I wish I could do that with me.
I close my eyes. Focus. My pen and paper are in my lap. Two gifts sit in front of me: a journal with worn gold lettering reminding me to “write what should not be forgotten.” The second is the gift of a moment to be, here. I need a break to even remember what should not be forgotten. Like the moment, last month, during a car ride conversation when my daughter found out my in laws had not wanted me when her dad and I went to get married.
She eventually connected the dots that it was because they didn’t think I was good enough, she asked me, “what did you say to them?” Lots of things, but also nothing. I’m pretty sure I said nothing. I just let them reject me. I answered this in my head as she continued aloud: “I would tell them, “I AM GOOD ENOUGH!” because you are, and because I am. And YOU are the one who taught me that,” this nine year old of mine said, emphatically… and when I write that word, emphatically, I always want to write empathetically, since they’re so close to each other linguistically. And in this case, both would hold true. When I had only silence in response to her brilliance, she read the back of my head and somehow saw the tears forming in my eyes. She asked me why. I could only tell her, “I must be doing a better job as a Mom than I think I am.”
Without missing a beat, she said,
“Mom, you are always doing a better job than you think you are.”
If I can split myself open to break on the page, I think I’ll get just what I need:
taking the time to write and remember what should not be forgotten, like those words from my daughter. I never, ever want to forget them.