Saturday, March 31, 2007

Secrets and Heroes

Dear Baby Girl and Lady Bug:

I have a secret. Once a week, after you have been lulled into sleep by the caresses of my fingers down the sides of your faces, after I softly brush my hand down your arms to your fingertips and then gently place your blankets over you, I high tail it out of the house.
Yes, dear girls, I do leave you once a week.
You see, when you’re sleeping, I try to do something, anything really, to remind me of the woman I used to be – the one who had the energy to climb mountains instead of the one who can only look at pictures of them.
Usually, my escapes from the house are to the grocery store to pick up more fruit and yogurt or to one of those Big Box Stores for diapers since we always need lots of those.
But, once a week, I head eight blocks west to our local library to write.
You see, besides being Mama, I long to be a writer. Sure, I write, professionally, for newspapers, but I want to write.
So, this class I’m taking while you are sound asleep in your cribs – Baby Girl probably nestled on your side-back and Lady Bug on your belly, with your feet tucked under your butt – is about letting go of the day’s worries, letting go of what holds us back from really writing.
It’s called contemplative writing, but since you don’t utter any words, yet, I won’t bore you with those details. All you need to know is that it is a place where I go to meditate, take a breather and try to write. We’re supposed to write whatever comes to mind, without thought, without intellect.
But, for some reason, I have trouble with this. I cannot relax enough in this class to write. Most of what ends up on my notebook pages is literally the words, “This is crap.”
And, despite my efforts to be away from you for two hours a week, all I can “not think about” is you.
So, last week, when the instructor had us write a self-portrait of a hero, I wasn’t sure what to write. Of course, the instructor would say, don’t think, just write.
After a few – well, several -- lines of “I’m not a hero,” I ended up with this:

My heroic efforts began today as I fixed peanut butter toast and banana slices for my twin toddlers. I could have yelled as they methodically – watching me with one eye and their sister with their other – dropped piece after piece of their toast onto my freshly cleaned floors.

Instead, I stooped to pick it all up, again and again. “Was that a shoe that just kicked my head?”

I breathed. I smiled. I took their plates away.

I saved you, floor.

By lunch, my heroic duties doubled. A short stint on our front stoop could have easily led to mass consumption of tiny bits of twigs, crushed over the last few winter months.

As each small hand slowly lifted a miniscule branch to their drool-covered lips, I gave them my “I’m a hero” look, and said, “No eat.” And, after a mere eight or nine times, we went inside.

There you go, twigs. I saved your lives.

With the rush of bedtime in my head, I did it yet again. Crying had begun; fists were rubbing eyes. Tantrums over little things, like getting a diaper on or staying still long enough for an arm to go through a sleeve, had begun.

I stroked their little foreheads, brushed their hair with my hand and softly brushed my hand down their arms to their fingertips and then gently placed their blankets over them.

Thank me later, world, for bringing these two little girls here.

1 comment:

Em said...

Hey fellow twinstuff member - I love your blog and love the idea of writing letters like this to your babies! So sweet and humorous. It's a very touching way to remember all those little details about this wonderful stage!! Kudos!
I have a blog, too...not quite as eloquently written, but a blog none the less. Blessings!