The Wink is a labor of love, occasional source of ire and constantly influenced by the toddlywinks in my life- my daughters. There's also the HunkyWink. You'll read all about them as The Wink unfolds. Please feel free to wink back!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Belle Down Below
It's a tough life here for a doll. Why just this afternoon Ave walked up to me and said:
"Uh, mom, Belle's got a problem."
Sure enough, Belle went and got herself knocked up in some sort of self-impregnating disaster.
And so I did what any good mama of 3, privy to the tearing of childbirth and doll abuse would do, I yanked as hard as I could crossing my fingers nothing break.
I am still reeling a bit from the news. I keep thinking, "How long did they know?"
"Did they know when I was giving my presentation?"
"Did they know when he sent me that email?"
"Did they know in the days that followed?"
And then it twists and my pondering gets ugly. Angry.
"Did they listen down the hall?"
"Did they know before me?"
"Do they feel bad?"
I mean it's ridiculous. The decision was made based on certain immutable facts. I have no business feeling resentment toward people that were not involved, or who at least had no say in the matter. But then the wicked side of me chirps, "Are you sure? Are you sure they didn't throw your name out to save their own hides?"
I want to shake it. I don't want to be angry, don't want to be afraid. And yet here I sit, angry and afraid. The emotional pendulum rages and I find myself weary from the force of it all. The truth is I would do it all for free. I want to help and be of service. I want to belong to this place that I have known for five years, but I don't. I am no longer a part of the team and my way of mourning that seems to be through spite.
I cannot see my way past what feels like betrayal. I am numb. I am waiting and hoping that this fury and despair will fade.
I refuse to end this without light, for despite the clamorous emotions over what has happened, I am surrounded by good. Sean takes my anger, weathers my inexplicable melt-downs about this thing or that as I struggle to come to grips with having something be beyond my control.
The girls are here, demanding and delighting. My temper can run short, but I have found new depths for just tethering myself to their joyous will— bubbles, gardening, walking, reading, spinning til we fall.
Tomorrow Ave will be three. I've been sitting here trying to find just the right picture to represent what she's been and who she's been and the ways she has changed me. I can't.
I've had fun going back and reliving the ride that has been the last three years. Watching video of how she used to approach Briar, try to engage her, play with her, only to literally be pushed down with an emphatic, "Ay-ree, guh-way!" from a toddler Briar. I wish I had understood more clearly than who she was. She'd pop back up, let loose a raspy chortle and continue on her way, pursuing Briar with unflagging exuberance.
I worried so much, from whether or not I could love her like I did Briar to how she would fit into the family and whether or not she'd be as pretty as her sister. That sounds so awful, but the truth is, when you go from one to two you worry, about everything. Of course I worried, everyone said, "Briar is so beautiful!" I wanted to love them equally and have them be equals in beauty, athleticism, intelligence and popularity. I wanted perfection, not from Ave, but for her.
Looking back I see how perfect the mix of acceptance and resistance was. Avery has become a part of Briar as much as she has become her own person, introducing an entirely different kind of beauty and magnetism. She is everything I hoped for and more than I ever dreamed possible.
I watch her in awe, knowing that she possesses certain things I always pined for, specifically a sense of self so potent that she will never follow—speaking as the mom that can be tough, speaking as a woman, it makes my heart roar. Avery is going to be just fine. She is going to have the kind of cool that cannot be created, she will do things her way and in the doing she will delight, confound, entrance and confuse. I am grateful that as she moves through life she'll have Briar on one side, by-the-books and sweet and on the other side she'll have Fin, willful, but with a lightness of being that soothes.
This is the eve of Ave's 3rd birthday, but as she was on the day she was born, she is far beyond anything you would expect. She is magic through and through. Three years that have passed like minutes and yet I feel as if she's been with me my whole life.
Happiest of birthdays to my Ave. My middlest. My silliest. My strongest. My Avery.
"This is the hardest conversation I've had to have since 2003," he said.
I set my notebook down as I realized what I'd been summoned to hear.
"It's ok," I said, though behind my bright smile, every part of me was howling, "Nooooo. Nooo, this isn't happening!"
I am officially a statistic, a victim of the economy. My position is being eliminated. My health insurance is gone.
I have the option for Cobra, maybe even some federal plan for those that are laid off. I just don't have what I've had anymore.
I know that we'll be ok, but I know something else now too. When it is not your decision, when you have done your job, when you have to wait ten minutes for them to get to the point, to finally say, "It's not you, it's just, well, I really don't want to, but I have no choice..." it kills. There is nothing to be done but to preserve dignity. It is an excruciating feeling, a kind of naked fear, shame and embarassment feeling and I know but a sliver of what some people do.
I deleted a post earlier. It was jumbled, unclear, like the pieces I was trying to sort. It's later now. I took a walk with my family. Counted 1, 2, 3 for sister arm wrestling. Twisted braids and brushed teeth. Allowed myself to be hugged. I am still scared, still stinging, but a little less numb.
Today is Mother's Day. I was searching for a way to encapsulate what that means, striking just the right chord to make people exclaim, "Oh that! Yes, that is it! Me too!" It's funny, whenever you try to do something perfect you are almost certain to fail. Sure enough the keys stared back at me, "Well, you gonna type something?" they seemed to mock. The girls didn't nap. The coffee didn't satisfy. And the words, oh how the words wouldn't come.
I guess it really boils down to this— I think Mother's Day is bogus. Don't get me wrong, I think there are a lot of things I do that deserve recognition, but they don't have a whole lot to do with mothering, maintaining maybe. Thank me for the laundry, yes. For remembering the ticky-tack little shit details like which day Briar has to bring snack or which day Sean won't have time to sneak out for lunch. Be amazed that I can find an undershirt, the Crystal Light and a last-minute-perfect-for-the-occasion-gift. Sure, that'd be great, but recognition for loving? No, thanks.
I am an unapologetic momaddict. I can gush for hours on breastfeeding, middle of the night babbling or shape spotting in clouds. I am absolutely certain that the person I am today is better than the person I was before having kids. I stand behind the decisions I make, the life that I am leading and the way in which I prioritize. The things is that's all just instinct, hard coding within the mom that I am.
This "special day" meant to honor that feels very strange. I like making breakfast. I take a sick delight in the chaos and weight of it all. It's why we went on a hike last year, the injuries from Finley's birth still raw and unhealed. I wanted to be doing, loving, experiencing.
The girls are upstairs right now, the writing on the wall is clear— there will be NO nap. Sean is out mowing the lawn. Instead of music the loud roar of the lawnmower, the thunderous clomping of Avery's attempts to tiptoe and the non-stop banter between Briar and Fin are my playlist.
I am a mom and exactly who I was meant to be. Every day. I suppose the only thing really different about today is how heightened my awareness of other moms is and for that I am quite thankful. I think the things we are doing every day, whether it involves an office outside of the home, a gaggle of kids in side the home or any variation on that theme in between, are amazing. Maybe thinking about it as a day for all the mothers to be recognized as one incredible part of society than I kind of dig that.
Today for those that are moms, are about-to-be-moms, trying-to-become-moms or remembering-moms-that-are-gone, I wish you a happy day.
Sean can tell the story better, but as he doggedly pursued me in the summer of '99, taut abs rippling beneath a worn, white t-shirt, I spat something to the effect of, "Why don't you go find yourself another crush, an apprentice or something." At the Williamstown Theatre Festival many of the apprentices were indeed something, often in perky, little packages that made my not-so-tiny, not-so-perky self ever so insecure.
This is not to disrespect those women at all, they were great. Seriously. I was just very taken aback by someone so easy on the eyes being so unabashedly into me. Fast forward 10 years and here we are, a little less taut, inexplicably perkier and together. Unabashedly. It took me a while, but three kids and a thriving business later demonstrate the rightness of it all.
Today we are wrapping up a project that takes me back to North Adams in the early spring of 2000, to a lush backyard in Pownal later that summer, and to the stretch of 2001 that saw me living in NYC and then signing my first lease in Boston. It is amazing how much a little bit of theatre can take me back. I had to share this because this has been where I've scribed some of my most precious memories, from welcoming Ave and waiting for Fin, to rediscovering joy and hope.
Tonight into tomorrow we'll be promoting the creation of a new mark for the Adirondack Theatre Festival, literally rolling it out on their Facebook page. It isn't where we met, but it's where we love. It will be the place we go for dates this summer, the place we thrill our girls with the magic of the lights going down and make believe surpassing reality, and the place where ten years from now I hope I'll be celebrating the difference we made way back when.
So many of you here have made me feel exception, through your comments and emails to packages for my girls. As I reach deep for whatever I can find to make this roll out a success, I find myself turning to my go-to team. I hope that you'll visit the ATF Facebook page and see the logo we've created, maybe even become a fan if you feel so inclined. This has been such an incredible experience for us and, like most of my life, I wanted to share it with you.
The Wink is a labor of love,
occasional source of ire and
often influenced by the loves of my life: Briar, Avery, Finley and Sean. Writing, laughing, parenting, flirting with my husband and blogging...that's me in a nutshell.