Posted by: alegra22 | August 25, 2012

fully formed

You’ve been working on your blanket fort all day and now you’ve gathered all of the essentials; a change of clothes, your tea set, a bowl of popcorn, a flashlight, pillows and blankets, and Sally, shoved into a pillowcase, meowing. You sling her over your shoulder and slip through the ‘doorway’, whispering to her, “Stop it, Sally. That’s enough now, come on.”
Your whispers continue. There is the rustle of blankets, Sally protesting. You inform her ‘this is going to be a problem’, this complaining of hers. She needs to settle down.

“Keep humming, Mommy,” you say to me, “it’s okay, I’m handling this.”

I sit outside your small castle made of four chairs and a queen sheet. Its held together by hair bands and a broken cat perch, and I take a breath. My arms wrapped around my knees. It’s just us tonight. You’ve been so patient with me, knowing that is part of the deal of this weekend; there are things Mommy needs to get done. We need to find new people to move in to the apartment downstairs. Mommy needs to paint and clean…

…but when you leap and twirl around the house, when you beckon me on to the trampoline, “Just one game, just one bounce!” I take a breath and think that for five minutes, just five minutes, I can allow myself to be loved by you. I bounce on hands and knees after you. I dance. I curl myself into an unbreakable egg that you attempt to break. I bounce higher and higher until I’m breathless…

…when you pull the pamphlets and newspapers and advertisements from the mailbox and they overfill your small arms, you are so determined to do it yourself. I stand watching. I don’t know if I will ever understand where you emerged from. Was it really my body? Could anything so beautiful and fierce begin as something dividing again and again inside of me?

You take the few steps to the gate and faced with the limitation of arms and hands that can only do so much, you begin to throw the mail over the gate, letters and papers spilling everywhere. You tell me, “It’s okay, Mommy. We can get all this stuff later.”

I thank you for making such a fine effort. I follow you into the house. Later, when you aren’t paying attention, I return to the mail and I gather it in my arms that are so much bigger than yours, but somehow, they seem timid in comparison. If you caught me, you’d insist on doing this job yourself…

…like you did this morning.

I asked you to help me carry the scraps out to the chickens. There were two bowls. Potato peels, bread, pasta, green onions, half-eaten apples, mince pies that are now nothing but pastry shells – these things were threatening to fall out of the bowls, but you refused to let me help you. “No, I can handle this,” you told me.

“But can I wear your shoes?”

Your eyes and my eyes, they met and anything I’ve ever been and ever will be was right there, in the way you trusted me. That trust erased me and reinvented me as something made of sunlight and crashing waves.

“Yes,” I said.

I allowed myself this kindness: your love.

I didn’t worry about the day that I might lose it, or when  I might step out of its light.

I let myself believe it will always be there, following me around through my days and beyond my days.

You took a few steps and then dropped one of the bowls.

“Oh no, this isn’t good,” you called out to me, “this isn’t going to work.”
“Don’t worry, it was a mighty effort,” I told you.

I picked up the scraps of the things that have fed us.

I listened to you as you cooed to the chickens, informing each one of them, “Here you go, sweets. Here is your food. Now, don’t fight…there’s enough.”

The day passed. I did most of what needed to be done.

At dusk, we piled into the car and Belicia followed us to the car, eager and anxious.
I opened the door. She jumped in, ears down, eyes pleading.

As we drove, you had your feet on the dash and then beneath you, you were constantly in motion. You wanted to touch the things you knew you could touch. You informed me in advance that you would be hitting the automatic lock and you apologized for the moment I would try to open the door because I’d forgotten.

You rolled down the window. You rolled it down and stuck your arm out and screamed because you were quite certain that the homes, the cars, the young boys on the street were all too close for comfort as we sped along, the almost-spring wind tearing through the car.

Belicia panted in the backseat and you cooed, “Oh, you…you’re happy to be with us, aren’t you? You thought you were going to be locked in the bathroom and left alone and you don’t like that one bit, do you? Poor Belicia! You don’t like that at all…”

And, Zaviera, I was stunned at your insight. I was stunned at the mother and friend and big sister and well, YOU, that you already are.

In your presence, I’ve stopped worrying at the way I’m not so fully formed. It no longer matters.

Your voice snakes through the doorway of the castle you’ve built.
I stop humming. I loosen my grip on my knees.

“This isn’t really working with, Sally. I don’t know what to do. She won’t settle.”

And I have to tell you, for a moment, I want to believe that God is parting the veil. I’m being shown a version of you and me, me and you, in the future.
You, with your child, me at the entryway of the castle you’ve built, ready to hum, ready to stand guard, ready for when you say to me in the darkness, “Mommy, this isn’t working…”
And I can say, “Don’t worry, my love. Don’t worry, it will.”

I tell you to let Sally go. I tell you she’ll come back when she’s ready.
You trust me. You let Sally go.

And I begin to hum again.



  1. Once again an amazing piece of writing…you turn words into pictures! Beautiful!!

    • Thank you, my friend x

  2. Oh I so enjoyed that! I love the way you show her as so special too… As we all are in different ways – this is so much your way – love it!

    • Thank you!

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