Monday, January 27, 2014
How We Do It, Part XXXIX
I don't really want to write about the messy part of caring for a disabled individual -- the grind of soiled linens, how difficult it is to pull a mattress away from a wall and pull the fitted sheet off, the stains, the smells. I busy myself. I am efficient, my hands deft, my back strong. In my mind, I play with words, how I'll write it. Why will you write it, The Other asks, what's your point? I'll flinch, snap the sheet off the near corner, position Sophie on the floor, away from the wet and the smell. No one likes a confessional, I concede, but I can't help myself. I've cleaned her up, sprinkled powder, pulled up the soft pants, handed her the beads, the jingle bells and walked down the hall with the laundry and the diaper in the bag, my head turned. She probably notices when you grimace, The Other says, and I wince, again. Are you going to write that? As I open the window in the room, I let in air, the words in my mind, then out, sweet motes of tangerine trees. The Other's words scrabble, hoarse, pipe down, go silent, and I busy myself with a match from the box, a tidily decorated matchbox, a whale, a mermaid, la sirena, a house for a stick with a black tip that I strike just so and light to Vetiver and Cardamon, Elysian Garden, Snow Gardenia, Hesperides Grapefruit, Driftwood and Stargazer Lily.
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Not a confessional. A part of your life. A very real part of your life. What would you be confessing to? That part of your life is very hard and something most of us don't experience once our children are no longer toddlers?ReplyDelete
Where does it say that we can only write about the good and sweet things? Where does it say that we can't write about the truth of our lives, even when it is not pretty?
Tell The Other to go fuck off. Tell The Other that this is your life. Tell The Other that we who read and love and cherish your words don't need to be protected from the holy chores you perform with your hands in service to your beloved daughter whom we also love and cherish in our way.
This is life. Your life. And as such, it is beautiful.
How can you confess to that?
Love always smells sweet.ReplyDelete
Mary's comment was perfect. I feel exactly the same. Nothing more to say.ReplyDelete
Love to you, Liv
This is beautiful Elizabeth… tell the Other that I said so. Thanks for sharing how you do it, which is the beautiful part we as moms relate to anyway.,ReplyDelete
Reading, and echo Mary's thoughts. xoReplyDelete
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This could be my post (though not as well written). It is a mirror image of my life. Those very moments. And, oddly enough... we have 2 of those little dolls in the photo (the green on the left and the pink with blond hair on the right.) They are for holding secrets... on the little slip of paper in that slit in the bottom, you write a secret. They keep it safe.ReplyDelete
(PS i had to delete my first post bc i had a stupid TYPO that made the sentence make no sense LOL!)
What Ms. Moon said so beautifully.ReplyDelete
I actually do like confessionals unless they're whiny which yours never are. You write what's true, and where you are,which is why people read you. Also, I have my own kind of grind, so I relate to many of your feelings, although our grinds are different.ReplyDelete
Your truthfulness is what I like most about your writing.ReplyDelete
I could not say it any better than Mary said it. I am glad you write it all.ReplyDelete
Bravo Ms. Moon.ReplyDelete
I wrestle with the Other all the time, not on the same issue obviously, but we all have things we struggle to write (or not write). You said no one likes a confessional, but on the contrary, I think most readers appreciate candor (and yes, even a confessional, when appropriate).
so awful. so beautiful.ReplyDelete
It was the laundry that used to get to me as well. Katie always woke up soaked but she liked to paint with poop as well. One time stands out in my mind. My son was 16 so Katie would have been 8. I went upstairs to check on her in the evening and she was covered in shit, so was the carpet, the bed, the walls and all the bedding. I started crying and couldn't stop. My 16 year old son took his little sister, covered in shit and bathed her while I cleaned and cried. I have never forgotten that night. Even when my son was at his worst, when he disappeared, when he was dealing drugs, I knew that deep inside was that 16 year old boy who cared so tenderly for his sister and mother. And then that boy came back.ReplyDelete
Anyway, I'm rambling. It is the laundry that kills. The everyday, the sameness, the neverending. Sending hugs.
You can confess it all. It is all the truth, and it's not your job to edit yourself. Tell that editor voice to go away. It's not your job to make it nice.ReplyDelete
I think there is grace found when someone cares for others. In your posts, somehow you show not only your own grace, but Sophie's beautiful spirit, too. Agree with Mary-this is your life and you can write about it as you please. I will keep reading.ReplyDelete
in this vast world of fakery, your posts are a meaningful reminder of all that is LIFE.ReplyDelete
maybe the debates with the other are good, and project you into your writing and help you get through the laundry.ReplyDelete
Exactly what Ms. Moon said. Your writing, no matter what you chose to write about, blesses my day.ReplyDelete
I not infrequently bless the washing machine, the water, the electricity, the water heater. And sometimes conjure from the film adaptation of Beloved the scene in which soiled bedding is being stirred clean in a boiling pot over a fire, outdoors,ReplyDelete
I don't read your words as confessional. I read them as process, a way of handling your days, your moments - turning them, thinking, processing, standing-under (understanding) them, seeing them in a different light than this very moment's light. Your life is sacred, your work is sacred, your voice is sacred. It deserves to be used - speak your mind! - and it deserves to be heard, if you choose to share. If you choose to write only for the sake of self-expression, then do it for yourself. You deserve the time and space to get it out of your mind and onto the page. Words help some of us deal with our reality. Your writing encourages others. Please don't let anyone silence you. xoxoReplyDelete
You write with much grace. Do you know that?ReplyDelete