mama’s here

.

.

sometimes it’s the smallest things

that jar my system

that bring me right back

to a different place and time

that fill my eyes

with recycled emotion

.

i run my fingers along the cover of the tattered book

i open it slowly, carefully

remembering

BEAR ON A BIKE / AS HAPPY AS CAN BE / WHERE ARE YOU GOING BEAR / PLEASE WAIT FOR ME

the old blue nursing chair

sat in the corner of brooke’s room back then

the soft blue chambray on its cushions

already worn and tired

I’M GOING TO A MARKET / WHERE FRUIT AND FLOWERS ARE SOLD / WHERE PEOPLE BUY FRESH ORANGES AND POTS OF MARIGOLD

every night i’d read to her under the soft light of her painted lamp

my heart aches with the memory

not with melancholy

nor nostalgia

no, i don’t really miss those days

at least not much

is that horrible to say?

but i don’t

those days of not knowing

of not understanding

of feeling helpless

all

the

time

brooke, what do you see? i’d ask, pointing at the page

she’d cry out

as though i’d poked her with a branding iron

her entire body tense

and rigid

i was so confused

isn’t this what parents do?

we engage our children in books, right?

we point, we ask, they tell us what they see

right?

right?

i’d point at the blue sky on the page –  she knew her colors

i knew she knew her colors

what color is the sky, baby?

she’d recoil again

i didn’t know what to do

i didn’t know why it was so hard

it’s just a god damned color

you know your colors

why is this so hard?

i’d come to the end the book

defeated

exhausted

if i’d pushed it – if i’d asked just one more question – she’d be in tears

i’d hold her, rock her, try to comfort her

between sobs, she would say, ‘it’s ok, mama’s here. mama’s here, it’s ok.’

yes, SHE would say it

the words she’d heard so many times

in her little lifetime

because they were all i had

all i could give her then

was my love and my presence

i was there

sometimes, it’s still all i have

.

all these years later, as i hold that book in my hands i can hear it

that tiny voice repeating my words over and over again

‘it’s ok, mama’s here. mama’s here, it’s ok.’

.

katie glances down to look at what i’m holding

‘oh, i love that book,’ she says

i muster a smile, but she sees the sadness

‘you ok, mama?’ she asks

i nod

she leans in closer and we read the last page together

BEAR ON A ROCKET SHIP / FLYING THROUGH THE NIGHT / WHEREVER YOU ARE GOING BEAR / GOODBYE / AND GOODNIGHT

.

i reach over to brooke

pull her into a too-tight hug

the kind she likes

and i say

mama’s here

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32 thoughts on “mama’s here

  1. You’re doing all you can do, Jess–and it’s working. Go with it! Be with it! My little granddaughters are thriving.

    Love,
    Grammy

  2. It’s amazing. You write my life. And for the record- I don’t miss those days either. The not knowing WHY was the worst time in my life. Well, ok, not exactly the ‘ not knowing’ – because I knew. I KNEW. I felt it in my core where all of our mommy instincts live. I knew. But everyone else ( doctors included) told me I was wrong. That was the worst time. So it’s ok to not miss those times. Guilt free.
    And thanks again- to you and to your wonderful posters. Hope it’s ok if I stay a while. I like it here. :o)

  3. Jess, honestly – how do you do it? You speak my thoughts better than I ever could.

    I should know better than to check your blog before work and have ruined my makeup once again. Please know that it IS ok, and we are all here for you too! You are the best!

    You seriously need to publish this stuff “Chicken Soup for the Special Mom’s Soul” Really.

  4. As someone said yesterday, it’s that combination of the bitter and the sweet…and sometimes it really packs a punch when you least expect it. We have an old, worn Blue’s Clues book that I can’t bear to look at because it immediately transports me to that bewildering time it was so hard to break through and connect with E.

    On another note, I thought of your Lexicon post again last night as I started reading the book Parallel Play: Growing Up With Undiagnosed Asperger’s by Tim Page. He opens with a beautiful quote that I think perfectly captures the difficulties our kids face: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

    • Likely not, but I do believe that (like the old woman in the Buddist parable of the mustard seed) we would all be hard pressed to find a home (or a parent’s heart) without its own brand of suffering.

      Audra’s quote above captures it beautifully.

  5. I see that others feel it too, and that makes me stronger… but I wonder how you manage to write about my life when we haven’t met?

    I cry as I remember the creeping fear that needing to be cuddled to sleep under the soft baby lamp wasn’t just about loving Mummy a lot.

    I cry when I feel the familiar weight of those circular, heartfelt, nonsense and yet every-sense conversations.

    Thank you so much for your heart, and for your words.

  6. i can’t possibly find the words to tell you all how very much i appreciate your comments. every time you say that i write what you experience too – well, just as you walk away feeling like you’re not alone, SO DO I.

    i am so grateful for and blessed by this incredible community.

    thank you. a million times – thank you.

  7. Could have written this one! Somehow we got from there to here; somehow THEY crossed that bridge. I stop what I’m doing every time my son picks up a book or starts reading a label.. I don’t want to miss it!!

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