brick wall made of ash –
if i said “it has been hard, lately,” what would you see? a wall of rocks; brick, mortar, a definitive dead-end? something sharp, unyielding and stuck, hard like diamond but with none of the sparkle and glint? a scream, red and thrashing, rising up from deep depths of hurt? a fist?
it has been hard, lately.
i sit here, staring at this blinking cursor, wondering what i want to say about that reaching, vining kid of mine, and my chest gets so tight it’s hard to breathe without crying. he just seems so angry, lately. angry and disengaged and hurting and full of fury and fists and flailing and an utter refusal to sit and breathe and process. with me. his mama. me.
it hurts so much,
and the hurt, it climbs up from the very marrow of my ribs, rooting itself in confusion and doubt. watered by my tears. it sprouts; the way he will cut his eyes away from my face, close them and sigh. say, “it’s over, mama. just – stop talking.” the way i can feel his spirit pull back, pull up and away, somewhere high and elusive, somewhere i cannot reach. it buds; the stories he weaves inside his mind, stories that i can find no beginning or end to, no loop or stitch to snag onto – goddamn it, it blooms; because I Know the way the stories we write can end up writing our entire lives and i am left, spiraling and scared, writing my own tale of a child penning himself into a corner of his mind that he will Never Leave and the world will pass him by.
he is three.
he is three, he is three, he is three. is “if you do not divv me tandy, i will punch you” normal for three? because it takes my breath away when he speaks like that, to me. his mama. me. and i am left wondering, “is this effective, somewhere, in yer life? when has this worked for you? why are you doing this and who are you, what happened to my bear?” i am left thinking, “i do not like this. —you.— i do not like this or you.” and it breaks my Fucking Heart because he is my child, and generally so very very likeable.
q: when yer child is only with you for half of the time, yer half counts doubly, right?
a: <cricket. cricket.>
someone check my math.
add, on top of that, a parenting style which
relies heavily is completely dependent upon intentional choices, minute-by-minute assessment and decision making, growth, open-endedness, patience and always being, as the parent, the bigger fucking person and you have a struggling, part-time mama who feels like her whole.fucking.world is swallowed up by all of the reactive, rote and completely uninspired parenting happening on the other side of her child’s life – it leaves this mama feeling like there is no fighting it.
i wish i didn’t love him so much, (parenting goddesses, strike me down). i wish…succumbing was somehow an option, that i could just let go of that need for closeness and trust and meaning between us. could just sit, ok, somehow, in my gut with a kid i don’t know at all, who does what i say when i say it and i wouldn’t have to look at him – the very inside, him-ness of him – at all, which is to say;
i wouldn’t have to look at me – the very inside, me-ness of me – at all,
which is to say; inauthentic is easier in every single way, but it is easy like fast-food is easy – greasy and thick, processed and heavy, with a lingering aftertaste of cheapness and regret, which is to say;
i know better.
i know better. because when i finally stack up the sense and the bravery to pin that kid in my arms, da looking on, steady and present, as the child screams “WEAVE ME AWONE, MAMA. WEAVE ME AWONE!” – when i finally have a moment where i get it, really get it, that he is craving witness and validation and unconditionality – that he doesn’t mean it when he’s pushing me away so hard, i feel like i might break – when i breathe deep and fall inside, find the faith in myself and my love for him to say, “i love you too much to leave you alone,” tell him, “i care too much to leave you alone,” hold him tight and call out, “we are sitting with these feelings, child. we are Here. in these feelings. we are Right Here and i am with you.” – those screams, that flailing, the kicking and the biting, the bright red intensity of it all s l o w l y fades – dissipates – into a deep plum bruise of heaving and sobs, and family discussions that go:
child: i don’t wuv you.
mama: you don’t have to love me. i will always love you.
c: but i will be mean to you.
m: doesn’t matter. we’ll still love you
da: always, always, bear.
c: i will be weally weally WEALLY mean to you.
m: even if you are the meanest one, the Very Meanest One, we will still love you fiercely and forever, child.
and those discussions, their words, they scatter on the wind of ragged breaths, and we all become still. quiet. caught in the tide of our own thoughts, the reverberations of alla those feelings. until that child leans in. wraps small arms around my neck and buries his soft, sweet face in my shoulder and wails. and i, me, his mama, place a mama-hand on his back, right where ribs burst forth from spine, and i hum. and my lover, his da, wraps his arms around us both, cheek to cheek with this child, places his warm, wide palm on my back, right where ribs burst forth from spine, and the three of us we sit. and we sit. and we sit. and the wall that was before us, between us, simply crumbles around my feet.