Mom, you just need to “drop into” what makes you happy when you need to, my skateboarding son told me today. I was complaining about how I hadn’t even attempted to write a poem, or even a line of one in a week.
Earlier I was at the store picking out Mother’s Day cards. (Insert heat and tension into body here.) One for my mom, and one for Sam’s first mom. We haven’t heard from her for almost two years. One day, I trust we will again. In the meantime, I am working my way towards a little more of the truth as I care to remember it surrounding our meeting. Surrounding her son. He was not my son yet.
Each poem is another attempt at (un)wrapping that baby blanket more honestly this time.
This poem I started a few weeks ago. It is in process. It is not finished. (Are they ever?) A much earlier version was originally crafted during a period of extreme struggle and conflict at home. Marcel was around two and Sam was closer to six. I had sought out support from a counseling professional with a background in adoption. We were a collective hot mess.
If I were a child, the therapist said,
I would want to hear how I was adored,
and grabbed up
the moment my mother first laid eyes on me.
You mean the the moment
the terror struck-I-am-not-ready-to-mother-
mother first laid eyes on you?
Eyes too flooded with grief for
your last last nine months
to even see you.
You, our most beautiful boy in the world.
But those lines will stay locked inside
my body. Hidden from me for years.
I just shake my head
and listen as carefully as I can.
Retell the story, she says
and let him know that he was not
in your arms gently.
But grabbed up and into your heart.
Erase the doubt?
Like how your mother’s name was erased
from your birth certificate?
Erased so my name could take a load off
and lay down to get all cuddle cozy next to yours
on your certificate of live birth.
Retell the story of our knowing as an eager and brightly lit me
bursting into her room,
and scooping you up,
tight to my heart in a whirlwind
with no distance between between us.
So I did.
Today, simply a moment to hold space for the tremendous gift of my final day of writing on day seven, the residency reading that night, and the mystery and grace in the leaving.
On the forty five minute ferry back from Martha’s Vineyard, I pictured a whale, hundreds of cool dark feet below me, getting ready to birth her first calf. I can sense the two of them in the emerging light of this Monday morning calm before it all begins again. The bold, exhausted exhilaration of the mother, knowing what she has accomplished. The semi altered state of the young calf, in her completely new environs, water rushing over her, milk flowing in her. Her mother’s heartbeat familiar but slightly and always just out of reach.
It is raining. Thank God. I am ensconced at the dining room table, sipping my way too strong coffee from the ACME mug. I have an ambitious goal to accomplish in the next ten hours, before my final meal in community and our group reading.
The thought of leaving here is (just a blinking cursor on the page after the word is).
Catherine, you can bring this framework, this poise that radiates from a center of possibility from here to home, from one place to the next, as long as you believe it is indeed waiting for you there. Catherine you are bringing all of these magnificent connections home with you, because they have already altered your course. You may not have any idea how, but that you trust that it is so, is enough. Hold that in your heart through the wobbly good-byes.
Little bunny rabbit on the lawn just outside-you are the sweetest reminder, that my children are nearer than I think. Shrek I can not wait to have this hovering longing for your embrace quenched. It is so exciting to know that you are waiting to welcome all of me back, and eager to remind me that all of you is there too. You have given me this week without a momentary worry about the one of you. OK, there was that one moment, but it was all part of the journey…Really, how do I begin to thank you?
“Time to hit the decks,” as the novelist next to me would say. The world needs your voice, your art, your pictures, your songs, your smile, your belief in what you have to say is uniquely yours and wildly worthy of all the space it takes.
I am delighted to say that yesterday I experienced what some might call flow. It started from a dream I had where I was defending the legitimacy of my newest book to a friend. I woke up and recorded all the details I remembered. For the next three hours the project unfolded on the page. I literally was just holding the pen, and watching it go.
I was not only writing, creating, and in harmony with my reason for being on the planet, but I had the sense that such an alignment with the universe and my creative pursuits is indeed possible. This lasted for at least forty five seconds.
Then, for the next three hours, I wrestled through, and am content enough with the outcome. I’m a little afraid to dip back in there again, what if I can’t find that flow again? What if it was an imagined ease? Hogwash.
Richard Blanco’s poems, and the little potted plant (Bellis P. Rominette for those who wonder such things) I picked up at the green house the day before (to bring home and transplant in my garden to remind me that I too can flourish when I return) were my witnesses.
I’m at the little library in town today doing a little housekeeping (procrastinating) before returning to the, dare I say it, flow. I had the glorious good fortune to enjoy a walk on the beach before the library opened with one of the amazing residents here, Deborah, who I have connected with in such an easy and reassuring way. She is guide, mentor, and friend. We have that immeasurably sweet-I’ve known you before dear friend-ease. She showed me how to dance on the beach and let it go.
From this photo, I believe it is quite obvious that flow is good for the soul. Let me reassure all of you, that the hours prior to said epiphany were spent wondering if anyone would notice if I crawled out the window and stole home on the next ferry, as I felt so daunted by expectation, and self doubt. Clearly, all that was a necessary part of the process. Tonight I am in charge of cooking the meal for nine! My gourmet skills as a grilled cheese chef will dazzle for sure. Back to it then, or is time for another inspiring nap?