Sunday, September 11, 2005


Ten o’clock and I’m sleepy-eyed, the kind of sleepiness that pulls you under while mid-sentence. When the boys were younger and demanding of stories while I lay beside them in the dark, I would begin one sentence and finish with another. J was always so in tune with my tales that he caught me right away, waking me, pointing out my out-of-sync words. A on the other hand never noticed. M doesn’t let me tell stories – we sort of tell them together, her little voice leading me along.

Me: Once upon a time there was a Princess—

M (in a scary, ghostly tone of voice): No, Mommy, there was a witch and she saw a dog named Sassy and she walked the dog in the woods.

Me: The witch—

M: (same scary, ghostly voice) Then Tinkerbell came and saved the dog from the witch.

Me: And they flew together—

M: (same scary voice) They walked to a castle with no locks or windows. Tinkerbell took the broomstick (pronounced “brum-stick”) from the witch and gave it to the dog.

Me: And they—

M: (excitedly) Theeee….end!

And so with M, I’m not given much opportunity to drift off into other-sentences.

Today, we celebrated J’s 12th birthday and I found myself desperately wishing for memories to flood me of when he was small and cuddled with me in my arms – how easy we forget those times even though while we were there, the hours, the days felt eternal, endless. How I wished for him to be just a little bit older, just a little more independent. How I wish now for him to be just a little less independent, how I wish he’d not shoo me away when I try to hug him.

Dinner was lively, at our local Chili’s. We opened gifts and had cake at home – J was thrilled to get all stuff for his drum set. A new crash cymbal, jazz drumsticks, a bag to carry his growing collection of drumsticks.

J’s feet are now bigger than mine.

I consoled myself by lying this night with M and hugging her close to me, memorizing the feel of her warmth and her easy acceptance of my cheek-kisses.

This morning though, J’s birthday seemed far away. I sat on the edge of my bed and watched HBO’s In Memoriam: New York City, 9-11-01. I found myself near-sobbing at the tragedy of it, at the limitless horror of the images. I felt almost as if I was seeing it for the first time because it’s been so long since I dared to watch anything on the event. In fact, when it happened, my mother was in a deep coma, one she would never wake from. I remember those 9-11 images on the television, I remember being shocked and saddened and afraid, but mostly I remember turning to my mother who lay silent on a hospital bed and weeping because I knew I’d never hear her stories again, I’d never lie with her again in her bed. I remember what felt like the most private, ignored grief as the country consoled the 9-11 victims.

Red-faced, swollen-eyed, I shook myself off when I shut off the television, burying the pain. I drifted into the kitchen were we put balloons and streamers up. I tidied the house, made the beds, kissed A on the top of his head as he played a video game. I watched him play – computerized cars zipping along a computerized track, speeding faster than any sort of reality.

“Look at the boost, Mom!”

“I see that…” Sassy whimpered at my feet, ready for a walk, ready for the day to get on. M cried for me to put her socks and shoes on, A ran from D, not wanting a much-needed bath.

I was glad to drop away from the scary tale to other-sentences, to today-ness, to a birthday.


Fromage de Merde said...

At least you have beautiful beings at home to lighten up those dreary bits that seep into all of our lives. Here in the throes of my neighborhood I sometimes can’t escape and there are few and many large spaces between beautiful moments and people from which to help me not dwell on the dark side of things to come and things that have past.

By the way: Independent kids are a good thing, after all, look how well I turned out…

Fromage de Merde said...

Ok, maybe that wasn’t the best example after all!

nappy40 said...

I was an independent kid, but I really wanted someone, something to cling to. Even now I'm independent, but there's something I'm looking for. I don't know what it is.

Oh that's sad!

Tell another story, Adriana.

Dana said...

I watched that HBO special on Sunday morning. I sat there with my 2 older boys and we all cried. I was 6 weeks pregnant and I remember thinking I'd probably never see that baby!
By the way, my oldest is only 11 and his feet passes mine in size L-O-N-G ago! He now wears a size 9! Yeah, he's got boats! Happy birthday to J!

Jim said...

I was not allowed to be independant, and I turned out very screwed up. However, my kids are given much lee-way and they are ... well perfect.

;) Tell J. Happy Birthday from a total stranger.

Fromage de Merde said...

Hmmmm, eight days and counting, and I guess that its just proof that a career, children and, well, a real life can keep bloggers away!

Adriana Bliss said...

I can't believe I've not responded to these comments...all I can offer is tearful, loud apologies.

Fromage, while there are certain aspects of your life I wouldn't wish on my children, there are some wonderful traits in you I hope to see some of in my kids as adults, your profound sense of self, sense of humor, and intelligence. And...oh thank you, thank you, for counting the days I'm not posting! I feel like that tree in the woods that falls without a soul hearing it.

Nappy, yeah...I wonder if early-life loss sort of instills a constant searching within a person? I feel the same, I understand what you're describing.

Dana! Thank you for the birthday wishes! These children grow too fast, as they say.

Butcher...thank you, and I agree, over-sheltering can create trouble.

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