Sunday, August 3, 2014

In The Middle Of It

It’s easy (well, easier) to write when the story has a beginning, middle, and end. Writing flows naturally when it’s leading to a conclusion or insight.

In the middle with no clear end, things are foggy. There’s no tidiness or satisfaction. Language is stilted. Words don’t come. Specifics, the cornerstone of connection between writer and reader, seem too risky.
I’m in the middle of it.

Eden just turned 6, but really it feels like she turned 16. She tells me in anger that we’re not her real family; her real mom lives in Canada. I know she doesn’t mean it, but it still stings. She is brave and goes to soccer camp by herself, one of the youngest players there, knowing nothing about soccer. She smiles with excitement and bites her nails in nervousness. She dreams that week that she has a neck injury at soccer camp and the coach doesn’t know how to call 911 and no one has my phone number. I write my phone number next to my name the next day when we sign her in, just in case. She tells me that she wants to make her own decisions, wants to live in her own house so she can do everything she wants to do. Later that week she tells me that she still might want me to lay with her at bedtime when she’s 10, and is that okay? Will I still lay with her when she’s 10?

She’s in the middle of it. I am pulled along by her towards independence, my heart unready but my mind willing, and my spirit cheering her on. I am stung by her declarations, but hold her feelings along with my own. She needs me to see that in the end, she will be okay.

Isaac just turned 4, and he seems sad. He feels things big. I think it feels physically painful to him when his feelings are hurt; he tells me that a boy punched him when I know the boy didn’t. But he feels left out, and what really happened, the truth, objectivity, doesn’t matter. He feels punched. And I feel punched along with him. He moves to shame quickly, can’t sustain the smallest amount of frustration in my voice. I steady my voice, try not to fall under the weight of his need for me to stay calm, try to carry his feelings along with my own.

He’s in the middle of it. I feel buried by the pain that a little soul can feel. But I remember feeling things strong, feeling big pain, at a young age. He needs me to know that in the end, he will be okay.

I don’t feel okay. I feel tired, stretched, disturbed, and I feel love so big it could swallow them and me whole. I don’t see the ending. Parenting, mothering, loving…they are murky waters.   


picturingtheordinary said...

Your words brought tears to my eyes. This stage is full of so many strong emotions. I admire you.

Jamie said...

Sierra, it is, isn't it? I've been taken completely off guard.