Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The sound of bittersweet memories

February 20, 2002

Leslie Green - 35
Lees Summit, MO
4 Children - (19), (8), (6) and (22 months)

On this particular night emotions were high and voices were being carried over banisters, down stairs wells and seeping through the slightest cracks in the drywall. The argument we were having was suddenly blindsided by my fourteen year old daughters’ blunt request to live with her father who was still residing in Los Angeles. We’d settled in Kansas after I graduated from a small Christian college several years earlier in an effort to create a sound, structured and safe environment for both of us. The foundation I had so proudly built was being shaken to its core. Harsh and unforgettably cruel insults and accusations were being hurled back and forth between the two of us. My intentions were to remain firm and stand my ground but my feelings were hurt. Not only was my pride in jeopardy but I felt as if the endless sacrifices I’d made on our behalf were being mocked. Wounded, I began to rage fiercely, so much so that the initial reason for the argument was no longer in view. My focus was shattered as I began to drown in my own fears.

The possibility that one day our daughter would choose to leave the nest I fought hard to
create for her, and fly into the arms of the man she first knew and loved, was always present. The sense of rejection was all I could manage to hear and the struggle continued into the early morning. Before it would end, a telephone call needed to be made to my former husband who would have the last word in this battle. I was relieved when I realized that he was in support of my disciplinary actions. She was chastised for her disrespectful and defiant behavior and once the dust settled, informed that she would not come to live with him under the circumstances at present. As her feelings settled, he spoke calmly to her. She said she understood and yet the tears she shed told a different story. When the telephone call was finished I slowly (almost with hesitation) walked up to her - steam still emanating from both of us - and positioned myself in a way that offered a truce. I reached out to her, one hand at a time, situated them around her small body and squeezed tightly. Her resistance only provoked a firmer squeeze. But as a tree will flutter when the wind blows, the connection and years of love between a mother and her child are more profound than anger or disappointment. Once I felt the pitter pat of her hands on the small of my back I knew that I was falling in love with her all over again; as deeply and intensely as I had fallen for her fourteen years earlier when I was just a teenager.

Her bedroom door was left slightly ajar when she finally settled into her bed. I knew that she needed to be left alone with her thoughts. It had been an emotionally draining night. When I finally reached my own bedroom the chill in the air was reminiscent of the emptiness I felt after she was delivered. As I prepared for bed I remained unsettled, so I opened my journal and wrote this poem:

Teenage Mom.

Now it is summer…
Time & again I thought of you
& imagined your presence healing my soul
& I cried out for you
Tears of pain
& loss
& letting go of love
& flowers that bloom
& die
The decision was made
The beginning of the new

Seeds being planted too early in spring
Then I saw you,
Your face
In the reflection of myself
& I opened my arms
& my legs
& I felt your breath, for a moment, upon my inner thighs
& I knew that I had emptied the most special part of me; you
I lay in silence of creation
Of life
Of letting go the girl-child in me
Now a woman without answers
I go on though 'cause it’s a day to go on
& lessons to learn
& then years of lessons
& questions unanswered
Now me with ideas and an expression of identity
Taken some from me, but mostly you
Pushing and pulling against or towards depending on the day
The moon
The sun
Fighting the evolution of discovery
Questioning the questions I once asked in search of a life
Opposite of what is

Like the vision I did not have
The emptiness I could not foresee
The story of separation I did not know was to be told


Anonymous jasai said...

I know this feeling; when you try to pull things together so tightly that any loose thread feels like bruising, crushing blows, threatening to smash it apart.

It is good to be reminded that we make it through and love prevails.


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Answerless. What an honest word. Sometimes it the question we are really after. Thanks to you and your daughter for sharing some of your love.

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