Today I observed as my fish swam around individually in their separate glass bowls. They are positioned close together – close enough that the bowls even touch. One of the fish has been swimming quite lethargically lately and often sinks to the bottom of the bowl. She doesn’t come to the surface much anymore and sometimes it takes her a long time to eat. It is almost as if she has to make herself eat…she is merely surviving these days.
These two fish encapsulated in their own tiny environments, swim around and around all day – watching, waiting and looking at the other. One will swim up as close as she can get to the bowl on the other side. She waits and waits – forever waiting – for even a glimpse of the other fish; a shimmer of his tail, a movement of his fin, a wisp of an air bubble – anything tangible to see that she is not alone. And so, all day…she waits. Hoping that the other will be waiting for her. Waiting…waiting…always waiting.
But she is most certainly alone. This isn’t an ordinary alone…it is a tortuous loneliness because one can see the other. They can almost enjoy each other, almost spend time, almost be together…but they will never really be together. They are merely pretending. Is this agony for them? I will never know, but surely it is worse to know that the other is there, to understand there is someone out there like them and yet neither can do anything about it. Ignorance would most certainly be their bliss, wouldn’t it? It is quite cruel to place their habitats excruciatingly close to one another. I may move them soon. It would make me feel better, at least.
A pair so close – close enough to touch – yet in two completely different spaces. They are, in fact indelibly meant for the other but they cannot – are not – supposed to be together…and that is just the way it is meant to be.
Is it any wonder that one of them is dying?
This is why I write…
I write because I like to feel the words as they fall from my mind, flow through my veins and slowly seep out from under my skin…making their way to my eager fingertips and onto the page. The rush is extraordinary.
I write because I get deep cravings to see words form sentences and then watch as those sentences start to create meaning that is bigger than me, that is beyond even what I know and understand. They bind together and help me to grasp – even in some minuscule way – the mess and beauty that life can be.
When I write, my scrambled thoughts unravel mysteries in my soul – I can acknowledge these findings, mark them and file them away for those days when I need to remind myself in case I forget…because Oh, how I forget!
I write to learn who I am, why I am on this earth at this time and place. I pull ideas from the ground, give new life to the joy and make some kind of sense from the tragedies and the pain.
I write for myself. Sometimes it is a purely selfish, cathartic need to bleed my thoughts and feelings out of my soul. This spiritual and mental purge is needed like water and air is needed for my body. Afterwards, I no longer have to think about it anymore…until I need to again.
I write to feed a hunger within me to tell a story – my story, a story that gives life to an abstract idea or even someone else’s story who may not have a voice. I want my words to cause another soul to think a new thought, feel deeper, sigh a heavy sigh or maybe even begin to believe in something (or someone) that they stopped believing in long ago.
My prayer is that God will somehow use the words I haphazardly string together to cause a stirring in someone’s soul, a goose-bump on an arm, tingling on the spine or a spark in a dead heart – maybe even long after my bones have been buried beneath the ground.
And…hopefully, my words will continue a certain transcendent life on their own without me.
This is why I write.
Dear Little C…
It is almost here. I’ve been avoiding it as long as I possibly can but it is inevitable and you have to grow up, I suppose. I have four days left with you before you start Kindergarten and I have slowly been falling apart all summer.
You are my joy and my laughter. You carry my heart inside your small frame. You are an amazing gift from God and I am in awe that God chose me to be your mother. I really don’t want to share you for eight hours every day, five days a week. I’ve gotten quite attached to our cuddle time in the mornings as you sneak sips of my coffee when you think I am not looking. I will miss our afternoon nature walks and spontaneous dance parties during the day for no reason at all. Watching you watch the Olympics this year, I saw a sparkle in your eyes that gave me goosebumps. After running with the sprinters, doing perfect cartwheels and round-off flip flops with the gymnasts and your own floor routines, you stated in a very matter of fact tone that you will win a gold medal in the Olympics someday. As you said this, I realized that you probably will. You have a fire in your heart for all things athletic and I’m afraid you inherited my extreme competitive spirit. Even if it’s not the Olympics, baby – you will win the gold in whatever you put your heart into.
You have been so patient with me during this season of sickness. You have developed an understanding and empathy that I have never seen in someone so young. I’m sorry you have had to endure this by my side for so long but I know that God will use it in your life to develop you into who you are called to be. You have a deeply caring heart for others that is evident in everything you do. Your gentle sweetness has lifted my spirit on the days when I couldn’t do much more than hold you – and you were always okay with that. Thank you for all the hugs and the beautiful sweet prayers whispered in my ear. Your happiness is so infectious everywhere you go and school will be no different.
This picture of you dancing on the ocean’s edge captures your personality better than words ever could. You light up from the inside. You have danced with delight through these five years of life and I can’t wait to see how you dance through the coming years. I have started and stopped this letter several hundred times but had to stop because of the tears. I am so excited for you to begin this next chapter in life but oh, how I will miss my little attachment! I know the first few weeks at least, we will both feel like we are missing a limb and it’s going to be really hard. When you need me, remember the words of the song I have sung to you every night since you were born. . .
Baby mine, don’t you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine
Little one when you play
Don’t you mind what they say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear, baby of mine
If they knew sweet little you
They’d end up loving you too
All those same people who scold you
What they’d give just for
The right to hold you
From your head to your toes
You’re not much, goodness knows
But you’re so precious to me
Cute as can be, baby you’re mine
Motherhood is a roller coaster of emotions and I know there have been days when I have not been the best mother I could have been, but one thing will stay the same no matter what…you will always be my baby. I love you more than pumpkin spice latte’s in the fall.
Happy Kindergarten, baby girl!!