Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The dance

My last post only went an inch deep into what I was feeling. For the past month, I have been struggling mightily with the sucking vortex of depression. It has been hanging like a leaden cloud over me, and I have been trying to espcape it. I have been two steps ahead of it, if that. Wily Coyote and the Roadrunner have nothing on me and my depression. Beep beep.

Last week, my body started showing signs of this marathon of psychological running I was doing. Stomachaches, headaches, a general feeling of fatigue. Being able to lie down and sleep at any moment of the day. Being awakened at night and not being able to return to sleep. Thoughts that are running, running, running.

This is not new. I have always battled depression. I have always been Eyeore. I have tried with herculean effort to push the dark away and let in the light. And for the past few years, it has worked.

But this last month has been hard. If I had to pinpoint a reason, I could not. My father's hospitialization began it all, yes, but then along with the anger from that situation comes the spiral of thoughts...all too maudlin and melancoly to record here.

And the past two weeks, the longing for someone to care for me has been wrenching. The need for a mother, for memories of a mother, for a tangible hand to hold or somebody who is biologically chained to me, and therefore HAS to listen to my trouble has been overwhelming. I don't ask for help with my sadness or pain, because I want to be neither pitied or to burden anyone else with this mess I am.

Getting off the plane here in StMaarten, I heard a voice clear as a bell speak in my mind. "Let it all go, now. Be HERE, in this place. Put pain behind you. Enjoy."

And I felt that voice into my toes. This has always been difficult for me. I go through life with a running list in my head of what needs to be done. I am always on the hunt for what it is in me that needs to be fixed or uprooted. My most profound prayer to God, te one indured with the most meaning and emotion, is "Fix me, please."

So to just be? Mightaswell ask Michaelangelo to fingerpaint. I have made busy-ness and self improvement my Sistine Chapel, friends. A monument that screams "HEY WORLD, I AM TOTALLY EFFED UP."

But here I am. As I write this, Sam lies net to me on a big king sized bed. His lips move, nuring in his sleep, or as my in-laws say "eating rice with the angels". I can see the bay with it's splendid colors right outside the doorway. The light flashes silver, turqiouse, blue, green. Boats lie moored, swinging back and forth together like lovers. Palm trees graze just the bottom of our balcony. I can hear children calling, laughing, from the pool below.

The first night we were here, my mother in law made me bascilla and roz (peas and rice), just because I love it. She served it to me without a word. No boasting. No calling attention to it. Just put it on my plate with a smile. And in my mind the voice whispered "THIS is love." And I FELT it. I ate, and was nourished, body and soul.

My mother in law makes me tea, because she knows I love it. She asks me, everytime, how much milk and how much sugar. She wants me to know that she WANTS to do this for me, to give this to me. She wants me to be nourished. She wants me to be peaceful and know that I am cared for. And in my mind the voice says "You have a mother."

My daughter will only know one grandfather in her life. The idea used to upset me- but just now, as I watched Lily sit on her Gidu's lap and talk to him, taking his hat off, putting it on, again and again...the voice said "It is enough for her. This one man, this one grandfather. It is enough".

And so here it is- God chose every aspect of my life. He chose my childhood, and he chose my adulthood. He chose my pain and he chose my joy. He had laid it out before me. I need only walk through it, relying on Him to know more than I know. I need to remeber what was before, because it is important. I need to remember the valley, and the darkness, the tears and the lonliness...because they are vital to who I am. But I also need to open my eyes to the joy. To the people He has placed, lovingly and with great care, into my life.

I am like the water here. I am changing. The tide comes in, and pulls out what is no longer useful. The tide returns, bring new life and vitality.

I may dance with depression again one day- after all, biology is biology. But in those times I can remember THIS time, when my eyes were open, when I saw clearly.

I have a family. I have a mother, and a father. I was not born to them, I was brought to them. They were a gift to me. There is no darkness that can diminish this blessing.

Friday, June 25, 2010


The pool is full of children, adults perched on the side, sitting in chairs. Everyone is laughing and enjoying their friday night. My daughter is throwing herself off the side with abandon, opening her mouth wide to laugh.

I am nursing Sam. I look down into his big brown eyes, I stroke his hair. Across the pool a woman I have met only a few times crouches near the stair and calls to somebody out of my eyeline. As I watch, her mother brings her a towel, wrapping her in it and rubbing her arms. She then pushes her hair off of her face. They both smile. The tenderness can only be between a mother and her child- even is said child is in her 30's with children of her own.

And it punches me in the gut.

Why did I get left behind in this, God? Why did you choose to hobble me? Why is my mother not here to bring me a towel, to play with my children?

Yes, I know there is a reason. I was chosen for this life. God knows why...and most of the time that is enough. Most of the time my heart is guarded, and I can look away from a scene like that before it gets to me.

But sometimes it hurts. And sometimes it has to hurt, or I wouldn't be human. And tonight, it hurts.

Yes, I know. I have 2 great kids. I have a good life. I have great friends.

But sometimes it just doesn't matter.

I want my mother. Not who she was, but the idea of who she could have been. I want her here, healthy. I want my kids to see her and to love her. I want, I want, I want.

I know this was chosen for me. Maybe I needed to live through my childhood to be a good mother to my kids. Maybe it created in me some essential quality that will help my children be better people. Maybe it was essential to make me who I am. Great suffering creates great character. But sometimes, I want to wish it all away. I want to change it all. Sometimes I wish it could all be different.

I wish somebody would wrap me up, look at me, and stroke my hair. I wish to be mothered. It's not something I have ever known. I still mourn for it.

But here it is. I am 33. My time to be mothered is over. My time to be a mother is here. And I love my kids. And I want so much to be whole for them. I am not. I will always be hobbled and wounded, and I will always want beyond what I have.

But I keep trying. I keep moving forward. Even now, in the moments when the pain overflows my ability to keep it at bay.

So here's to tomorrow...when I will wake up. I will take my children to the bathtub. We will play. And when I lift them out I will wrap them up. I will look into their eyes. And I will show them the love I am wishing for tonight.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An open letter to myself

Dear Me@17,

Stop worrying so much about what you look like. You are curvy and beautiful. Stop tugging your shirts down to hide your hips. Stop wearing jeans in the heat of summer to hide your legs. Love yourself.

Dear Me@18,

Don't marry him.

Dear Me@19,

I told you not to marry him.

Dear Me@21,

So, now look at yourself. Miserable. Fat. Hurting. You really should have listened to your instincts. Put down the pasta and cake and figure stuff out. And, go to college for goodness sake- you are too smart to be doing what you are doing.

Dear Me@23,

You never listen.

Dear Me@26,

Good for you. You finally left him. Packed up a truck and bolted. Now your life can begin. Go on a diet, clean up your act and your mind. Talk to God.

Oh, and wear sunblock and moisturize. Trust me.

Dear Me@28,

Yes, those are crows feet and wrinkles. See letter to 26 yr old self.

Dear Me@29,

Yes, you can trust him. Marry him. Love him. Change your world and yourself. Give God a big high-5 for the blessings. Keep going to therapy. Keep working on casting light into the darkness.

Dear Me@30,
Hold tight. She's due any day. No, you won't blow up. Stop whining.

Dear Me@31,

Didn't I tell you to moisturize? Sheesh.

Dear Me@33,

Right now it is as it should be. Completion of dreams. Love in abundance. Dark clouds scattered, umbrella in hand. You are so strong. You are so good. God loves you. You love God. Go and LIVE.

Oh, and don't forget to moisturize.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Da Moxie

I have a shameful secret.

My kids are hooked, addicted, and strung out on prescription meds.

The tall one opens the fridge, and the small one squalls for the goods.

The tall junkie then proceeds to find a spoon and try to dose them both.

Yes, it's pink...and yes, it tastes like bubblegum. And sure, their ears don't hurt anymore and their noses no longer flig snot two feet...But it's still drugs people.

My kids are on da juice.

Around here, we call it the "Moxi".

Watch your children folks. Teach them well. Just say no. This is your brain on drugs. All that kinda stuff.

Or these could be YOUR children:

*hangs head in shame*

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Two feet

Lily and I have been pool rats lately. It is hot as hades here, and the only relief to be found is next to something blue and cool. She plays while I lay like a beached whale in the shallow end. Sam sits on my lap, floats, or snoozes in the stroller.

The other day she had friends to the pool. She watched as her friend took flying leaps from the side of the pool, arms outstretched like a bird. Her eyes took in the freedom. She smiled and laughed.

Then she decided to try it herself.

I watched as she approached the edge. She looked to me, her eyes filled with trepidation. I stood directly in front of her and looked her in the eyes.

"Don't be scared Lily. I will catch you."

"Ummmm, mama?" She bites her lip.

"Seriously, don't be scared. I'm here. Just jump. I'll catch you."

She inches away from the edge, shaking her head.

"Okay, Lily. Do you want to hold my hand while you jump?"

"Okay mama!!!"

Hilarity and splashing ensues. Over and over again she jumps, until she is just holding my finger.

"Now, just jump to me!" I yell excitedly, clapping my hands.

And instantly she is filled with worry again. Rather than jump, she sits on the edge and hesitantly pushes herself in.

I shook my head, confused. Why is jumping while holding my hand better than jumping into my arms? Why can she not trust me to catch her?

And into my still mind God whispered "This is just how you trust me."

And I felt it like a punch in the gut, because it is true. I would rather have a hand to hold than to take the leap. I would rather be safe than free.

But in that space, that delicious arm waving and feet kicking space, when you are braced against the deep blue sky and the deep blue water...that is where faith is.

Faith that you will be caught, held, and your victory celebrated. Faith that something bigger is waiting beyond your belief in yourself. Faith that beyond your own reach, and beyond your fear, is one that knows better.

I have been in love with God a long long time. But I still am not free. I am in bondage to my thoughts, to my habits. I am constricted by this human skin I live in, pulled tight against my own thinking. I don't believe in the two feet between me and God. I don't believe I will be caught. My faith stops when the hand lets go.

But in those two feet, in that space and that uncertainty lies a freedom that tastes of heaven. In that space is freedom from anyone else's judgement. In that space is the existence of living for God, not paying lip service to it. In that space, my insecurities about myself, about my body and my face...all of it empties out into the depths. It floats away like ether. It drains away. I am not longer my own creature, but a creation. I am new.

In those two feet, I am His.

And I can choose it. I can set my toes on the edge, I can open my arms, I can close my eyes...and I can leap.

So I am living now in the space between. But soon....

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I remember
the walk along the sand
your toes
curling into the warm grains
pink against white
the water, blue and bluer
stretches all the way until tomorrow
and you
with your curls
your grin bright as the sun
collecting rocks
watching the tide turn
and I watched
and I thought
about who you are
and how you saved me.
I look at the pictures
and I see
you, and more
I feel
love and more
I feel the crazy dizziness of knowing
you are mine
I feel the sadness
the past brings forward, even in the best times
I think of her
my own mother
and wonder...
and then stop,
because it is pointless.
I remember the rocks you collected
piles like cairns all over the beach.
And I watched
as you wandered
your soul open to the world
your smile like a flower
blooming, blooming.
I sat, and I watched, and I knew you.
I let you teach me.
Your feet left such small prints there
on that beach
at that time
Washed away by the sea.
But I will never forget the imprint.

(header photo- St. Maarten, 2008)