Our community came together one day in June to raise the frame of our home–along with 3-year-old Aidan who spent the day hammering nails into the floorboards of what would be our kitchen; and 8-year-old Lloyd who knelt beside his preschool & primary teachers laying down the floor to what would become his bedroom; and Casey, age 38, who lifted beams with friends & family (and even strangers) to realize a dream come true; and me, age 40, who never had the chance to live in one place very long and who climbed the frame at the end of the day and tapped an evergreen branch to its peak while everyone cheered below.
14 years have passed.
14 wedding anniversaries.
14 winters & springs.
Over the years, Casey spoke of needing an addition—the living room was always too small; but I countered that the boys would be gone someday and the house was already too large for two.
“Someday” has somehow arrived.
What was “raised” to be a home for 4, becomes a home for 2 at the end of summer—which is almost as unfathomable as building this home for ur family once was.
I’m not sure if it’s #45 or #metoo or Menopause, but suddenly I have access to something I never had before and it’s something which I expend too easily like the first paycheck in my kid’s pocket.
“Don’t be a fucking idiot!”
A few weeks back, I spewed this at him.
(This, in a household, where I’ve long drawn a fierce line at: Shut up.)
Actually, a stream of sentences with fuck (highlighted in various forms) came out of my 54-year-old mouth, one after the other, none of which I could entirely recollect afterward–a sure sign of trance–but not one I’d so fully occupied before.
Not just at the behavior at hand, or the accumulated attitude of his adolescent years or that combined with his older brother’s (and even their father’s) but all the ways that all women/mothers/wives are maligned for the same things for which we are relied upon.
“I’m sorry that I put that all on you,” I said to my son when he returned from hitting the speed bag in the basement.
But what I didn’t regret was the line that I had drawn, and that I will now draw forevermore, and which I appreciate that he also drew for me:
“We don’t talk to each other that way, Mom.”
i pulled the socks from his feet and rubbed peppermint cream into his soles, while his father went in search of tylenol. and as i rubbed, i said to myself, whose feet are these? they’re so huge! even the toes! and i wondered, was I wrapped in his feverish delusions too? and later, when we brought him into our bed, and he tucked his shivering body against mine, and i wrapped my arms around him like i had when he was a boy, i was surprised to find a broad back and big boned shoulders, and i reached further still to be sure i wasn’t touching my husband; while my baby, at 16 & a half to the day, oblivious to his child-to-giant transformation, went on tossing and turning and sweating, between us, until we brought him to the shower, and his father, seeing his body, as if for the first time, said to me: how have we missed this?
1 month remains between me & the Motherhood Archetype on this 365 Day Journey toward Menopause.
As a gesture of release & acknowledgement, I empty my drawers of tampons (while still keeping some in my purse)–certified organic, chlorine-dye-synthetic-plastic-additive-free, 100% cotton–noticing how foreign they’ve become in my hand after 11 months without employment.
I began this journey of The Mother with my first bleed–at exactly 13 and a half (like my mother before me and my sister after me)–and in the absence of a u-turn on the immediate horizon, I’ll finish this journey at age 53.
Forty & a half years later.
(October 23, 2017.)
My little, almost 17 yr old, scientist, still trips over himself–from the dinner table to the front porch–calling to the rest of us–Come see! A rainbow!
to be embodied. together. in the water. in the sun. in the shade. on a blanket. their skin. his chestnut eyes. his ocean blues. my babies grown. their parents greyed. this family. once forever. now moments. like this. as deep as all of us in the same bed. didn’t he twirl my hair as we nursed in the blue chair. didn’t he cry to sleep in the stars & moon sling against his father’s chest. i must take a photo! but no. i can’t bear to capture that which is only now. this breath. my head. his chest.