Posted by: alegra22 | June 6, 2013


blogTonight, I’ve been crumpling up old papers  and tossing them into the fire.

I’ve been writing lists and feeling the tide of my anxiety easing.
I know the lists mean nothing.

I’ve been dreaming of standing before classes — each word and action so vivid that I wake up believing the class has been taught –until Joaquin trails his fingers down my face, pulls my forehead to his and whispers, “Mine. Mommy is my mommy.”

I gather him to me and feel I should receive credit for the classes that were carved into my sleeping mind.

For the last few weeks Zaviera has been crawling into bed. One part of me is waiting for that moment when  she steals my arms from Joaquin to adjust to her small rib cage, her hip bones…it makes me feel like a mother.
Just when I start to sink into sleep, the two of them begin to kick one another, fighting for my warmth.

I feel loved.

Loved in a way that is permanent and fleeting.

I hate that I have to divide myself.

For my children, I want to be able to multiply. Expand. Not contract.

I fear that in a few more years, they will be kicking at me.

I hope I’ll be brave and mature and that we will have the financial stability to anchor all of us.

I’m not so sure that this future has anything to do with my willpower or vision. I think it is entirely built into a plan of grace.

I have to believe this.

Tonight I had to wrestle a matted tangle out of Zaviera’s hair.

All I could think was: her teachers must look at her messy hair, the stains on her uniform, and feel pity — her mother is not present, not able to bake cookies and comb her hair in the morning..

For the last few weeks I’ve let Zaviera take control of her hair. She has such a sensitive scalp. She screams and squirms and moans, “Make it stop!”
When I brush it, I feel I’m betraying her trust.


…tonight when I saw her matted hair, it made me hate my body and its poorly wired nervous system; I wanted to be all things for my family.

I need more energy. Physical energy. Mental energy. A new immune system.

I want to be able to teach classes during the day, come home in the afternoon and clean.
Be bright-smiling.


I brushed her hair and apologized.

I gave her the options: “Shorter hair or braided hair?”

I saw the red of her scalp and understood how painful being civilized is for her.

From the kitchen Sol yelled, “Why does she get a choice? I didn’t get a choice! I want long hair and I’d take care of it!

Sol had been talking since he arrived home. Telling me the things he wants. The things he needs. The ways I’m failing.

I’m waiting for the referral  to arrive in the mail. The one that will deliver us into the child psychologist, because Dan and I are tired.

This self-hatred surges in me like something I should have bought insurance against.

I take a deep breath.
I remember:
I am willing.
I breathe.
I count the victories.

I take extra care in french-braiding my only daughter’s hair.
I fail at all of this, of course.

But failure has no energy.
I need energy.

So, today, this is what I’ve  achieved: Joaquin curled his body into mine.

My husband loves me more today than he did eleven years ago.

I love him more than he will ever know.

I felt Joaquin’s breathing stabilize. It was a rhythm that translated into my flesh as prayer.

Let go.
Let go.
Let go.

He laced his fingers into mine. He made demands. He spoke words and sentences and made observations that I didn’t know he was capable of putting precise words to.

I took it all in.

I didn’t shatter.
I held his hands.
I listened.

Because for me?

My faith is built upon my family.

My existence is tangled up in their messy, raging, intimate, perfect imperfection…and I’m willing to lay myself down at the foot of it.

Signing on for this teacher training has pushed me; pushed me beyond the borders that motherhood had already erased.

Since I was a pre-teen, I’ve drawn lines in my own sand:
I’ll be okay.
…just don’t cross this line.

And then, always, I cross it.

I don’t know if I’m going to achieve these credentials.
But I know I’ve fallen in love with teaching.
I know that whatever I’ll gain and lose in this next year, I’m transformed.

My fears moving like a deep swell.

I’ve stopped dreaming that I’m back in high school as an adult – my entire life taken from me until I earn it back.

Now I dream I’m standing in front of the classroom and acutely aware of each student.
I wake up in conflict.
Afraid I’ll fail.

Afraid that I don’t know how to judge what is failure or success.
Willing, as Joaquin laces his fingers through mine…
Willing, as Dan looks at me and says, “I love you. We will get through. No matter what, we will get thorugh…”

Willing to trust that today I have failed and succeeded and it is not my day to judge.

It is my day to be thankful for: a husband who is my best friend.

A best friend that sees me as beautiful and worthy when all I can see is ugly.

Friends that have loved me more for my flaws and failings than my achievements.

A God that has kept me alive despite the pride of my own self-condemnation.

Tonight, I let it all go.



  1. Love this beautiful exposure of your insecurities. Every parent has doubts, but not all can articulate them as well as you do. Thanks for sharing.

  2. You are about the furthest thing from failure I can envision.

  3. Faith is what gets us through ALL of life’s challenges. Sometimes faith is all we have. Never give up on yourself. Never give up on your abilities to be a success in whatever you choose to do!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: