Monday, November 26, 2012

Suddenly I See

See that kid? Yeah. That is exactly how I feel sometimes. Exactly. Sometimes, it's just (((clang!!!). Sometimes, it's Suddenly I See, and the curtain goes up and the music starts, and ... kapow! Lights!! All at once, a thing that was in shadow is completely, clearly, crisply right in front of me.

That's what I got this morning when I was trying and trying to find words for why Recollected Life isn't what I'm writing anymore. Gradually (the work part is never "suddenly"), I remembered the dependable path. What does this feel like in my body? When did I feel like this before? Oooooh, yeah!! This is the moment when the kids are done with school work, and they burst out of the house and leave me in the quiet and slight disorder of the end of the school work time. This is the moment at night when they're finally asleep, or the moment of rare oddness when someone else has them for the day and the car drives away from me with them inside of it, and I go back indoors and look around and see the things they've left behind and feel ... feel ... this. That. There. Then. Recollected Life was that thing.

Funny, how every painful and wonderful moment after the era of babies is always compared to that era. Once, when I was a teenager, my mom was in the hospital. On the way back to the car after visiting her, my dad said (to himself, mostly, but out loud), "All this trouble, and we don't even get to take home a baby." Now I know what he meant. Babies aren't easy, but the reward is right there, crying or laughing in your arms, and you know what you're supposed to do next. It's obvious. It's imperative. It's a baby. And that, there, then ... it's not my life anymore. They drove away, those babies - in their own cars!, and here I am.

This is the quiet I soak up like a dried out houseplant someone put near the sink for watering and then forgot. I love this quiet. I exhale into this quiet. This is some of the lasting nostalgia and still, a little, of the sharp, bittersweet pang of no more babies. This is bereavement without loss, this is a mourning conclusion and a welcoming openness. This is the party for the weaning of the child, and I am sometimes, still, the weeping mother, smiling at the well wishers, knowing that the other mothers' looks are full of sympathy for me, even while the congratulations are in their mouths. Or ... I was that mother. That's not this. Hardly ever, anymore. That's not here or now. That's what Recollected Life was. That's why I needed a new blog. That moment (which lasted, apparently, for five years! Labor goes a lot slower when you're giving birth to yourself!) - it's over. Recollected Life was that moment, and now I'm done with that one. I'm through. I'm here. Now. And - those shoes somebody left in the way? Nobody's going to carry those shoes back upstairs but me, and this is only fair. They're my shoes.

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