He liked broken things.
Except the things he broke…
He liked broken things.
Except the things he broke…
Hello my little man,
It’s been some time since I last wrote you a letter. A year and some months, to be more precise. I wish I was better at writing down these little thoughts for you to read when you are older, as you are now while reading this one.
You were 10 1/2 and growing like a weed when you finally flew by yourself for the first time. It was a tough decision and one we didn’t make lightly. But the trips to your dad and stepmom’s for the holiday visit twice a year were becoming tough on all of us. 8 or so hours of driving in one day were putting more than just miles on our cars.
After years of putting it off, we finally booked you your own tickets and flew you to your dad. He greeted you with warm hugs and lots of love. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to hear that you touched down safely.
Even though you were in good hands and probably having the best time ever, I always worried. Every hour of every day that you were apart from me.
It didn’t matter that we would speak on the phone or send messages to each other while you were gone. The moment you left my side, the worry set in.
And when I started to settled down to sleep each night after worrying about you all day long, my brain would wander and I would begin to have bad thoughts. Much like dreams but without the being asleep bit.
I am the reason you had (and probably still have) an overactive imagination. In those brief moments of quiet awake-dreaming, my mind would drift to dark corners where you were no longer with us and I had to find a way to live without you.
In those moments, I would lose control of my thoughts and fear the worst, as silly as it could be. And I would hurt from my head to my toes. Tears would trickle down my cheeks quietly. Life without you would not be worth living because YOU, my son, give me purpose.
Those nights without you still haunt me. The realization that someone on this planet could mean so much to me that a life without them would be meaningless, was devastating. My world felt like it was being torn apart just at the thought of something bad happening to you. Thankfully, it never did.
As always, you’d come home, chattering away about how great things were and how much you loved sleeping in and staying up late, watching movies and playing video games while you grew closer to your dad and stepmom. Together you all made memories that would never fade.
While it was great to hear you so excited, my one thought each time I took you back into my arms after a long trip away was that I could start living again. My bad dreams had been nothing but just that: dreams.
And my purpose had returned to me and, it was you.
With all my heart,
I took the pictures down
frame by frame,
leaving behind nothing but a bare wall.
Like peeling a bandage back,
revealing a healed wound,
still raw and sore,
I spied my forgotten injury.
the skin is still healing,
I then remember.
So many scrapes and bumps
covered and hidden.
Tears cried and hearts broken.
Now dug up and exposed.
Through the pain(deep breath)
I strip away my protection(closed eyes)
and move forward(exhale)
The walls are bare and the future bright.
No more history crucified to the wall.
No more dark and concealed past.
Just faded memories.
Last night I learned of the passing of Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, and The Wildabouts. The news didn’t sink in right away. If anything, in these days of technology and instant media coverage, I worried about this being a hoax or a mistake. But soon we learned the truth; Scott had passed away in his sleep.
I was instantly saddened by the loss of a creative life but also the loss of a part of my childhood. You see, I was a teenage in the midst of the 90’s and as most teenagers do, I found myself in the music that radiated through the radio. We sat by the speakers of our boom boxes and stereos with a cassette tape cued up so we could quickly begin recording our favorite songs. So many songs with the missing first few seconds due to our fingers not being fast enough to punch record when we heard the song we had been waiting anxiously to catch. Then, slowly, CDs made their way into our hands and we played them relentlessly on our skiddish, chunky CD players that we handled with extreme care to avoid any skipping.
His death is an instant reminder that, while my teenage years will always be a part of me and who I am, the past is stretching farther and farther from me. It’s now a distant memory to be retrieved and reminisced about when a part of it dies. My teenage years wearing flannel mixed with sunflowers and listening to alternative rock on KROQ is fading and only comes to mind when I hold a memorial for another piece that has passed away.
So in honor of Scott and STP and my angsty, teenage self, I’ll listen to his sultry voice and remember all the times I sang with him. I’ll remember the all lyrics that felt personal to me then and still have an impact on me today. I’ll uncover those dusty memories and hang the pictures in my mind once again as if they are fresh and new. I’ll live like I was 14 again and I’ll try not to dwell on the fact that in a day or two all of these pieces will again fade into the storage deep in my heart and mind to be forgotten again until another part dies and we are forced to hold another wake for our past.
It’s a rare day that I get a chunk of time to myself without feeling guilty or like I’m hiding from my responsibilities.
This week the little one has theater camp so I get 3 hours of time to myself. I’ve been looking forward to it, thinking of things I want to do while I have this unadulterated time. I could read, podcast, sew, or even write.
And yet here I sit in a gorgeous park with some coffee and a book. The shade laps at my skin, brushing lightly as the breeze pushes the leaves above me. Shadows dance around my feet as the delicious feeling of warmth and summer kiss my shoulders.
And yet, I’m restless. I can’t focus on one thing. I read a bit of my book then flip through my phone to read a message or spy a picture on Instagram. I can’t seem to relish this freedom and instead I’m fighting to keep focused.
I feel the need to move. To find another place to rest while I wait for my son to finish class.
When did my life become nothing but moments I spend waiting for someone or something else? Have I lost myself so completely? Is this the fallout of marriage and parenting, the keep and utter loss of a sense of self?
I’ll continue to contemplate this in my free time. Contemplate who I am and what I stand for while I wait for everyone else.
Ten years ago, I was pregnant with you. Barely showing but feeling pretty strange dealing with the early stages of being newly pregnant. That could be counted as our first summer together. The first warm months living with the knowledge of your existence and my new role as a mom.
Then you were born in February, a rainy cold month and for the next few months I would bundle you and cuddle you as much as I could. Soon the rain dried up and the summer humidity hit and we spent your first summer keeping cool as much as possible. You wore very little those days, sometimes simply gurgling and rolling around in just diapers.
This was our first summer but in reality it was not truly spent together. I worked through it, keeping us afloat. We spent some time together when I wasn’t teaching or tutoring but for the most part, you were in the care of your grandmother.
In your 9th summer, my job had changed and I was home with you for the first time. After years of spending summer with your grandmother or in a day care or day camp, I was finally getting to be your stay at home mom.
I saw this as an opportunity to share with you new adventures and for us to bond again.
Little did I know this would be the summer I’d let you go. This would be the first summer I’d get to see you and all your abilities, independence, and confidence. I’d see your strengths and know you wouldn’t need me much longer.
We went to the beach together one day to spend some time with our toes in ocean and building castles in the sand like we had when you were little. I had these big ideas for us, that we’d chat and share and build together, never foreseeing that instead I would watch you walk into the bigger waves and play without fear.
Without needing me.
I’m not sad to say this nor am I sad to have seen it happen. All mothers know they will have to let go and let their little ones fly at some point but knowing when is the big secret. Try as we might to hold on as long as we can, there is no fighting the feeling when the time comes to release you.
When you weren’t battling the onslaught of waves, you played in the sand and chatted with others around you, never once reaching into the bag of beach toys you so lovingly played with as a child. I saw those bright plastic toys and battered miniature trucks sitting forgotten next to me.
Together we watched you blossom in front of our eyes. You no longer need either of us. Your toys were now memories tucked into a bag, covered in dust and sand from trips to beach all the times before.
It was then that I felt a little sadness creep up on me, sitting next to your forgotten toys. I felt my breath catch and my heart stutter a step as you ran headlong into the waves, abandoning the hole you were digging, and smiled back at me with joy. You were free and in charge. You were growing up so fast.
You stood up in the water, jumped through waves and ducked under others. You sensed when a wave was too big and you would judge each appropriately, all the while smiling and laughing.
Like life, the waves came at you from many different angles and at so many different speeds. Some were big, some were small. Yet you faced each wave with determination and confidence. As I watched you jump and play and swim, a part of me wanted to keep you back on the shore, hold you close and keep you safe from the unknown lurking beneath the surface.
And yet, as you turned to wave at me before you ducked beneath another wave, I realized you are doing alright on your own. You knew you could swim back to me if you needed something, your anchor on the shore. For the most part, you just swam and gave in to that joyous feeling of weighing nothing in the big, blue expanse that is the ocean. You went into each wave with confidence.
As the water washed in and erased your digging spot, covering it up with new sand and burying your past works, my sadness washed away with it, replacing it with pride and peace.
You will always be mine. From your smile to your stubbornness and your over active imagination, you will always be my son.
I can only hope from here on out that you’ll continue to want me around. The anchor on your shore. The smile that glances back at you as you take on each wave of life.
Your anchor always,
It’s late at night and I can’t sleep. I’m sitting in the living room, lights off and only my laptop to keep my company.
I should be tired. We didn’t sleep well last night and I had nightmares to boot so logically that would make me exhausted.
Except I’m not. I’m wide awake and when I lay down to try to sleep I just stare out into nothing, toss and turn, or just get all twisted and sweaty in my sheets trying to find a cool spot to rest on.
I want my brain just to stop. This is exactly what we’ve been teaching our son to do, to distract himself from the bad thoughts, from the scary ideas and his wild imagination when it threatens to keep him up all night. And he does it.
Yet here I am, not taking my own advice.
To be really honest what I want to do is go for a run. I’ve lately struggled with some stomach issues and haven’t been running. But now, at 11:45 pm, I really want to lace up my sneakers and take off on a jog. There is no difference between 11 at night and 5 in the morning, right? I used to do early morning jogs all the time…
I won’t go out, though. I’ll stay home where it is safe and sound. Where my husband snores lightly upstairs, our sweetheart pets run their nocturnal race, and where my son sleep soundly.
I’ll just stay right here trying to distract my mind and get some rest.