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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

What is ‘died’?

In the car.

Mama: I had four cats when I was a little girl! My favorite was Puffy.

Avi: I like Puffy. I want to meet Puffy.

Mama: I’m sorry, honey.  They’re not around anymore; they died when I was a kid.

Avi: What is died?

Mama: Well, animals and people only live for a while.  When they’re done living their life, they die. We say goodbye and tell them we love them.  And I believe, not everyone does, but I believe their spirit turns into a new animal or person. Every animal and person has a spirit.

A couple days later, cuddling in bed.

Avi: I want this…I want this to be always…

Mama: You want to cuddle forever?

Avi: I want this to be forever.  I don’t want us to be spirits.

Mama: Oh, honey, don’t worry.  You have plenty of life ahead of you.  Mama’s not going anywhere.  We won’t be spirits for a long time.

And it was with saying this to my child that I finally believed it myself.

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Happy Birthday, Child of My Heart

Today, on this day, at 9:16pm, your piercing cry of anger filled my ears.  They placed your slippery self on my belly and all I could do was laugh at your intense spirit.  Your eyes looked black.

Today marks your third year.

You are more than I possibly could have imagined.

You are fiercely independent even when you get frustrated and then we talk about a new solution.

You complete each task in detail (like taking an hour and a half to unwrap your gifts today).

You are generous and kind and like to take care of me just as much as I like to take care of you.

If one of us threatens a grouchy day we just remind each other “Let’s have a nice day, okay?”  And then we smile at each other and I wait until we have to be reminded again.

You can count and identify letters, if you choose.

You can jump from impossibly tall things and land in a graceful two-footed crouch.

You like to moon us.

You love going fast and swinging high.

Carol is still your favorite, but you have a growing collection of puppies and a small group of animals (usually a bunny, a llama, a unicorn, and Vanilla Lambi) whom you refer to as “The Guys.”

You make everyone talk all your toys for you in a high-pitched voice.  It’s both endearing and irritating.

Mouse and Mouse’s Sister still come to play almost every day.

Your simple  questions of “why? why? why?” have progressed to complex thoughts like “Why is the sky blue?” “How do babies get out of their mommy’s tummies?”  “What is under the floor of the tub?” and “Why does there need to be a little hole in the top of the sippy cup to let air in when I drink?”

You are in preschool five afternoons a week.

You are spirited, can carry a tune, can twirl a crazy twirl and dance a crazy dance, and I love getting to know you.

Happy Birthday.

I can’t wait to see you fly.

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There was a time when you flew in circles about the room, flapping your wee wings and laughing in delight.

There was a time when the cries ushering from your mouth were only true tears of sadness or hunger.

A hug, a nurse, a kiss, a tickle, cheered all.

Where have you gone, my little fae?  And who is this peskie pixie that has come in your place?

Who screams with a banshie howl, shattering glass with her spoiled desires.

Who refuses to listen to reason and instead throws herself on the ground–a heap of thrashing limbs.

Who screams and screams and screams and screams.

And then screams some more.

Where did she come from and why?

But, of most importance, how do I get you back, child of my heart?

I see glimpses of you as she gasps for a new breath.  I see you underneath it as she whimpers, ‘I want a hug.’  But I cannot give in while she is still here.  That would make her stronger.  Some how I must resist her caterwauling and still find you beneath it all.

I don’t know how to do that.

I miss you, child of my heart.  I miss the mama I was to you.

But, most of all, I miss you.  My little faery child.  I miss you.  I hope you find your way home soon.

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hellfire

We all have that one thing we fear above all else.

When we confront it, we find ourselves in our own personal Hell.

And so I found myself last night.

Sitting on a toilet.

Bile lifting its way up through my impassible esophagus, acid searing into the delicate folds of tissue, tears and snot streaming down my face.

By 2am, I learned to stop trying to swallow as it gathered: just drop my shoulders, duck over the bucket and cry.

It was when I sat panting over the bucket for the last time that I smelled something suspicious.  No, not my own bile sludge.  Something smokey.

I tottered my way downstairs, clutching my cleaned out bucket, to discover the forgotten candle in the bathroom.

It had burned down to the cardboard wrapper, which now burned and smoked.  It had dripped over the edge of the counter, igniting the toilet paper roll which was smoking heavily.  The plastic holder melted and pooled on the floor.

I atleast had the forsight to fill up a cup of water before entering the bathroom which I promptly dumped on everything before shoving it all in the sink and turning on the faucet.

My own personal hell had fire in it.

Life doesn’t get more oddly symbolic than this.

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Chocolate Champagne

My neighbor told me yesterday that my new car is sexy.

“Really?!”

It’s a 2007 Honda Accord. I’m proud of it (and my awesome haggling skills to get it), but I couldn’t be picky about the colors because it’s used, and it’s wide to accommodate kid-life, so it feels like a mom-car to me.

But, she thinks it’s sexy.

She likes the color.

I replied, “The inside is brown.”

She said, “It’s sexy” Again.

So, I’m going to embrace this new label.  Because, if my car is sexy, then so am I.  It only stands to reason.  I’m officially calling her C.C. for Chocolate Champagne.   You can’t get any sexier than that.

But, in my heart of hearts, I will always call her by her original name: the name I gave her as I drove away…

Ka Ka.  Because she’s the color of Ka Ka.

Or, to make the initials match: Cah Cah.

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Awkward Zumba

The ladies around me having been throwing this word around for a while now.

Zumba.

I keep picturing a Zebra in a sweatband doing step aerobics.

Some girls in my moms group have gotten together and put their dvd in a wii, or something, for the evening.  I just couldn’t dig the thought of getting all sweaty in someone else’s living room for exercise. If I’m going to do a crazy dance in a crowded room, it may as well be in a club.

I caught an official class at the gym tonight.

And by caught, I mean I watched it through the window for a couple of minutes while I was catching my breath from my not-quite-a-mile run.  I found it astounding, and embarrassing to watch.  Not embarrassing for myself, but for the women in the class.  It’s supposed to be FUN, but they all looked so miserable.  The instructor was up there shaking her ass and forcing an ear-to-ear grin and all of her followers were red-faced, blotchy, mildly awkward, and (from the looks on their faces) suffering.

I caught one younger woman almost enjoying herself, but she appeared to be concentrating on not smiling.  Like, if she got caught smiling the rest of the class would hate her for actually enjoying herself.

Dancing doesn’t come easy to everyone, nor does exercise.  Personally, I hate group fitness classes and treadmills.  But put me in a club or on a soccer field and I’m golden.  People keep creating all these zany classes to get folks moving and they keep on coming back for more and they stay miserable.  So, world out there creating all these funky classes like Zumba, trampoline-y things, and pole-dancing for ab-flattening….cover up the mirrors!

That’s all you need to do to get some smiles going.  We don’t need to stare at our red-faced, blotchy awkwardness while we’re trying to follow your confusing steps.  We just need to hear the music, see you, and swing our arms around without hitting anyone else.  So, for crying out loud, get rid of the mirrors and maybe our narcissistic need for exercise will morph into a healthy love of moving.

One can always dream anyways.

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Beauty is truth, truth beauty.

My child has just been kicked out of daycare because I refuse to pay a $25 late fee that I don’t owe.

This is not the first time that my daycare provider has been inconsistent in her communication.  It is the first time I’ve called her on it, and as a result, she’s kicking us out.

It’s a long story–actually it’s rather short since this all happened so quickly–but I get so angry talking about it that I have a killer stress headache and just about puked several times, so I’m not going to lay it out for you.

Sure, $25 may not seem like much money.  But, at the moment, it represents a significant chunk of my checking account.  And, even more importantly, it has come to symbolize something far greater: trust and honor.

I am sick of people who claim to be honorable but don’t really know what that means.

When honorable people speak, the words that issue forth have absolute meaning.  They are promises without using the word promises.  It might as well be the origin of the phrase, “I give my word.”   My words are truth.  My words have moral value.  This, in turn, engenders trust.  I trust that you are speaking the truth; I trust that you will honor your statements.

I am angry that so many people in my life believe that speaking words of honor have no meaning, even when they speak at length about “family values” and “looking beyond the corporate response.”  I am angry that my daycare provider spoke word after word, and I took her on her truthful word, and she turned around and threw them in my face, using phrases like “occasional courtesy.”

So, I’m not budging over this $25.

And, someday, I will tell my child, “You were kicked out of your first daycare because your mama believes in honoring a person’s word as truth.  And when you go back on that truth, or only consider it an occasional truth, it is no longer a truth and you no longer have honor.  Tell the truth and stick to your word and expect others to do the same.”

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i love teaching high school actors.

together, they are a group of inherently cool people.  and in every group of students there is at least one, often two or three, of the following:

- the chic i wish was my friend

- the dorky boy who will grow up to change the world

- the political activist who has done more in 15 years than i have in 30

- the forgotten child who fell into acting by chance and it has changed her world

- the one i want to party with

- the gay boy who doesn’t know it yet, or does but doesn’t announce it

- the gay boy who boldly announces it

- the movie starlet

- the shy one with a big soul and a louder voice (when she or he finally uses it)

- the one who gives me hugs

- the one who writes me such a beautiful thank you card that it makes me cry

- the unexpected jock

- the one who gets the least attention because she works the hardest and goes so far and needs only the smallest of nudges from me.  and, in the end, she reveals herself to have talent far beyond what i expected.

- the one i cannot budge.  he is seemingly talentless.  until, one day, something miraculous happens.  i never know what it is.  but it happens.  and then he is a changed child.  perhaps he is even a changed man.  and i wonder if i made a difference in his world, or if he did it all on his own after all.

they all make my heart soar.

due to creations like facebook, i get to see many of their shiny faces pretty much every day.  i respect the boundaries of children and adults.  i rarely look at their ‘party’ photos.  it’s none of my business.  but i love seeing them fly.

and, sometimes, i’m blessed with things like seeing two of them seriously lip-sync to the most absurd video ever.

this one.

it was pure silly high school.  and i told them so.  i told them i missed high school.

they responded by posting a video to my wall that made me laugh so hard that i cried.  four of them stared into the camera at me while the aural melodrama of Electra played in the background: screams of horror and mourning co-mingled with these very serious young faces trying very hard not to laugh at the silliness of their own ingenuity.

and it reminded me that my life is more than just feeling ill and learning to love my child.  my life is full of all these young souls that i love to work with.

all of these young souls blossoming with art.

all of these young souls with the minds and bodies of grown-ups but with a toddler’s ability to create and enjoy the most ridiculous pieces of art.  and life.

this is to you, kids.

thanks for being in my life.

may your years continue to delight you.

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Dream Lost

I used to be an actress.

A very talented actress.

I got cast in good roles; I got good reviews.

I was young and excited and brave and going places.

But I was unhappy.  I dreaded rehearsals.  I dragged my feet to shows.

Once on stage, I was perfectly fine–indeed, I was glory incarnate.  But, getting there, that was another story.

So, slowly but surely, I left acting behind.  I focused on teaching, on administration, on directing, on producing.  But I still find myself missing being an actress.  I find myself missing what I could have been.

I stare at bios, pictures, and websites of the women and men I know who have continued to live their bohemian actor lives and a knot rises in my chest.

I wish I was that.  I wish I could have been that simply because I was good at it.  I could have been something.  Actually, I was something.  I was talented.  Now, the thought of auditioning leaves me shaking in my boots.

In the darkest, smallest room in my heart, there is a promise to myself that I will act full-time again, when I’m fifty.  I will retire early and go back to the theatre.  And then I will play the great roles.  But, for now, it is a dream lost to life, time, circumstances, and choices.

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I am thankful for friends who can hide their displeasure, disgust, revulsion and horror behind masks of concern, calm, and gentleness…

We sat in the dining room enjoying ourselves.  Half way through the grand repast.

She trundled back in from the living room and announced, “Mama, Avi has poop on her leg.”  I figured she’d spring a little leak so I leaned around the table for a closer look.  This wasn’t a little leak, this was Niagara falls, sludge-colored and smelling of bile, gushing down my child’s leg.

I had to make her stay exactly where she stood while I first cleaned up her trail.  Then I air-lifted her into the bathroom for a diaper overhaul.

I had three lovely grown-ups making “aw” sounds, fetching towels and sprays, telling me not to worry, and offering me ginger ale when I emerged, green around the gills.

It was truly revolting.  These are the times when I regret using cloth diapers.

And you thought I was done with the poo tales.

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