It was beautiful yesterday. I woke with this idea that the day was a blank slate and that my mind a tabula rasa, it was a day of such great potential. I felt deep hope, and joy at the day. I hung my laundry on the line, a soft breeze was blowing and the sun was brilliant in a bright blue sky. My “other daughter” Tia texted me several times and then called. I told her I really wanted to spend the day alone but on a whim invited her to go to Clark Reservation with me. Tia is a certified city girl, born and raised and deeply ensconced in this dreary place. She asked me as I parked the car why do I hike. It makes me feel centered and whole I said. Of course this is before the mosquitoes hiding in the woods took about half of my blood. I begin to laugh, I say I think vampires would be more like mosquitoes than sexy hot. Just pestering the hell out of you trying to steal your blood and leaving itchy red bumps on your neck and ears. As I drop her off at her house Tia says that I am an inspiration to her that I make her feel like she is loved.
I saw that the price of the Kindle and the NOOK has gone down about 100 dollars in the last year. And on a whim I start thinking about my birthday. I think how fun it would be to have one, how much less wasteful it is in the long run to have an electronic device to read from rather than a dusty shelf overflowing with books. Many years ago, when my daughter was young, and my Mom had long since stopped buying me birthday gifts, and my husband didn’t believe in birthdays, as I sat at my friend Bill’s house eating the carrot cake he had made me, I thought to myself, in a dejected way that the only person who ever would surprise me with a special gift out of nowhere was myself. So now and ever since then I have been buying myself a birthday gift every year. I was looking into buying one, but now I am not so sure. Maybe I am just living in a state of illusion, birthdays are just another day, and in the end my life has taught me that I am really not that important. Just a body on this earth, just a dust mote in the solar system, and atom’s atom in the great universe. I feel the life energy dissipating and my inspiration floats away, why must this despair come after me again and again. I was just looking but something stopped me in my tracks. Perhaps I am just wasting my time, perhaps I am just wasting my life, perhaps I should just get up in the mornings five days a week and work, and come home and take care of my house and my child, work really hard to please absolutely everyone but myself. I feel the desire to be alone come at me like a train, and I am standing on the tracks. I want to stand here and let it hit me full force. Lately it feels like when I get inspired and feel hopeful and joyful, something begins to bite at my neck and my ears, trying to pull me down. It is exhausting – this ugly vampire mosquito on my shoulder.
My daughter calls and is sick, I drive to pick her up. I take care of her for a while and after she falls asleep I begin to write more pages on the story I have been writing. I am afraid to speak of it, for fear of it too being thrown in the muddy basement of despair. Why are you wasting your time on that the prison guard will say, I thought you were an artist, I thought you were ever so busy, I thought I thought I thought…..
I go to sleep. And wake in the chilly morning. The grey clouds in the cold air goosebumps on my arm. I make pancakes for me and the dog. And I go and sit on the sofa with my daughter who is watching episodes of Sex and the City. She tells me that I need to stop giving her hell for bugging me to buy her stuff, for bugging her about being Taxi Mom, for bugging her about not taking care of herself. I tell her honey I want you to be independent, I am just trying to encourage you to step out and begin to make a life of your own. I want you to be strong and fierce and able to care for yourself. I think that I need to begin to measure my words, advise her as I do Tia but temper it with love and hope. Instead of a few minutes I end up snuggling with her, both in our PJ’s for a couple of hours. We decide to spend the day together, work together to tidy the clutter and dust mop the dust bunnies from the corners of the room. Just last week I told her in an angry voice that she needed to be away from her boyfriend sometimes, that it was the only way she would ever grow. Looking now I see that maybe sometimes I am like prison guard heaping despair on her too. I don’t want to be that Mom, I want to be the Mom that is opening the French Doors onto the day letting in the light, the air and the rain and the wind and the snow, embracing all aspects of this life with hope and with joy. It is grey and cold in the world today, and yet still somehow the day has potential, and I am filled with hope.