Dear Ava,

running away letter

DEAR AVA,

I hope
This
Finds
You well and
The kids
And Jack
Are safe
And happy
And set
To swimming
In the beautifully
Blue pool.
The picture
Was lovely.
It looks
Like a long
Shard of glass
And that bird
Reflected,
Hovering up high
Reminded me of the one
That swooped
And ate your
Newborn butterflies
That hatched
From that kit
I bought you.
I should have
Paid more attention
But butterflies
Are a nasty thing
To own.
How’s the cat
And that gerbil
That I’m always
Afraid the cat
Will eat?
Is Lucille
Still eating
Her fingernails
Like you always used
To do and might still?
Funny, the dedication
taken
To shredding
And imbibing ourselves.
I’m well.
The postman
Asked the other
Day
About your father
And I said, “Still Dead,”
But no smile on his face.
What a waste because
He looks a little
Like
Dicaprio in Gatsby
And a smile
Would do him good.
Me, too, I guess.
But not to get down
And out.
Have to keep the spirits
Up.
Have to keep on keeping on.

Sometimes, I talk to God
And dare him to listen.

I have to get on
Now
And I know
You’re busy with the
Glass shard pool
And Jack and the kids
And all the minutes
That feel
Like hours
Until your glass has
Spilled
And all you see
Is your damp
Eye hovering
From
above.

Super Girl

Super girl, girl, daughter
SUPER GIRL

She flew

Into all forms,

A pecking order

That started with

My

Mother’s coiled heart

And ended in her unraveled

One.

And all my time has been

Spent braiding

And knotting

What’s come

Loose

And only

When I look down

Do I realize

The world has

Removed

My fingers. -e.c.

Art

  

“I saw our lives like a flash bulb light…”

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DAUGHTER

When we were on

The bridge

I saw our lives

Like a flash bulb

Light

And God’s

Great hands nowhere

To be seen.

Your scream was

Set to the tune of

My angry fingers

Seeking revenge on

A wheel that could

Rip us infinite,

Scraps of metal

And concrete

Like a beautiful cosmos

Built by no maker.

“Take her away” was

Written on my mind.

But I ask you now,

Who else was there

Elbowing out that inky

Phantom

And its silk-strung voice

And the bursting nebula

That lit my pupils

Like your smile

Lights my heart?

How to Parent a Child

dog in a sombrero
See, Mr. McFluffycakes? This is how you pull of a sombrero you non-sombrero wearing son-of-a-bitch!!

Listen, I know I’m really great at a lot of things like wearing shirts and making my neighbor’s dog feel inferior because he can’t walk on two feet like me, a very smart human being (You hear that, Mr. McFluffycakes?  Huh?  You hear that?  I’m the smart one you sickeningly adorable son of a bitch!), but what I’m really great at is parenting.

Parenting is by far the best thing I’ve ever done because 1) I’ve never lost my child.

So there’s that.

But there’s also the fact that she’s developing into a very not scary person proven by the hilarious non-scary things she says.  Usually in public:

  • “Let’s pretend we’re all at a wedding and don’t know each other. Hi! I’m Tilly, I’m six, and I live alone.”
  • Me: How was the Humane Society presentation at school?  Ava: Well, the dog didn’t have any eyes and the cat died so they brought us a bag of fur to pet.
  • “It smells like eyeballs and helicopters in here.”
  • Ava: Maybe my new friend can be my boyfriend.  Me: Aren’t you a little young to have a boyfriend?  Ava: Don’t judge me!!
  • Me: Ava, guess what! We sold the house!  Ava: I know. I made a few emails on my iPad so you’re welcome.
  • Me: What are you doing?  Ava: Watching a video about Dropbox. It’s relaxing.
  • Me: Why is it you never listen?  Ava (with wide “innocent” eyes): Well, because I’m a little girl and little girls just don’t know how to listen.
  • Me: How did gym camp go?  Ava (laughing): Great! Told some guy I was twenty-five!
  • Me: It’s time to take your bath.  Ava: Okay, give me just one second.  Me: Nope, it’s time now.   Ava (in her best first grade teacher tone): Remember when we talked about patience?
  • “I’m in charge of the world.”
  • Ava: What are these?  Me: Onions.   Ava: Oh, I’m so sorry, but my doctor says I can’t have these.
  • Ava: Want to play Oprah and Gayle?  Me: Sure.  Ava: I’m Oprah.  Me: Okay, hi Oprah.  Ava: Get out of my office Gayle!!
  • Me: Why are you acting like a crazy person?  Ava: Because Jesus made me this way!!!

See?  Parenting isn’t hard.  You just have to be willing to dress up like the best friend of a multi-billionaire and be screamed at from time to time.

And in the end, just realize Jesus made them that way, so really, it’s all his fault.

I Write For Her

I’m over at Project Hermosa today, talking about how “show, don’t tell” applies to motherhood as much as it does writing.  And I happened to have stumbled on this post I wrote three years ago and think it’s pretty relevant considering today’s guest post…

Being a mother?  It’s hard.  Being a mother and a writer?  It’s swallowing a bottle of guilty pills and asking that creepy puppet from the Saw movies to dance.  It’s a mind fuck, to put it pleasantly.

I’ve existed in all kinds of worlds and as of late, I’m existing in the world of motherhood.  And each time I put my ear up to the door, I’m hearing the resounding message that if you’re a mom then, well, you’re a mom.  That’s that, put a bow on it.  Call it a day.

But I’m more than a mom.  Shocker, I know.  I love Ava more than the world will allow, but I didn’t go to college to discuss the intricacies of butt paste all the live long day.  I went to college to waste my parents’ money and get black out drunk on the weekends like a normal person.  Oh, and to obtain a Creative Writing degree (with honors.  What what) so I could live my passion.  But once I grabbed my diploma, got married and moved to a new city, I didn’t have the direction I needed to make my talents worthwhile.  So instead of writing the next Great American Novel, I constantly watched The Office on Hulu and drank wine like it was my job because, in a way, it was.  At least writing sure as hell wasn’t.

But then?  Ava.  Ava came and so did hope.  There are mornings I go into her room and she’s ready, arms open, smile wide and I know this thing isn’t about me anymore.  Writing is no longer writing.  It’s responsibility.  I’m responsible for showing her a woman can be a loving mother, a smart woman, a person with a passion.  I’m responsible for curving my fingers to the cadence of words, knowing doing so just might give her a better future.  I’m responsible for her image of me.

And even though I’m plagued with long days, an aching back and more Mickey Mouse Clubhouse than a person should be forced to tolerate, I know my passions wouldn’t be realized without her.

So here’s to writing.  Here’s to motherhood.  Here’s to taking life by the balls one word at a time.

Writing and Motherhood

My mom was a good mom.  A phenomenal mom.  An overprotective loon of a mom who would cut out newspaper clippings of the latest rape, murder, twenty car pile up to remind her only child that the world is not a cushiony pillow where you can rest your head and close your eyes.

My mother taught me to never close my eyes.

And I haven’t.  I don’t.  Writing is an eye opening experience in and of itself, and frankly, so is motherhood.  Combining the two is frozen yogurt, man.  A sweet swirl of vanilla and chocolate.  But sometimes the milk goes bad and everything tastes abysmally sour.

{Side Note: I told Matt the other day that we should start a frozen yogurt shop called YOLO, you know, just to be douches and what not, and on our recent road trip we found a YOLO FROYO shop.  I know.  I still have chills.}

When it’s good, it’s just like icecream with half the calories.  When it’s bad, it’s like digging your spoon into mud.

Nobody talks about the bad parts of being a mom.  Or maybe they do, but I just haven’t paid attention because, well, books.  Books take up a lot of my fabulous time which means I spend my days with eyes open, staring at paper.  But if they do talk about the bad parts about rearing forty odd pounds of blonde-headed psycho, then maybe this is what they say:

  • Words hurt.  The words your child says to  you.  The words you say to your child.  You can be sweet as pie, but the second midnight comes rolling around and you have an endless ball of emotion screaming at your face and wanting to kick you the rest of the night in your bed, the jagged edged words are vomited up, are tumbled out of you, and you become the person you try to shove day in, day out into the back closet of your mind.
  • There is no “you” anymore.  “You” is for those people that still sleep on the weekends.  “You” is for people who still sleep in general.
  • Everyone’s a critic.  If you think you’re doing “mothering” wrong, just ask the lady in front of you at the grocery store that keeps sneering at you.  She’s in charge of everything.  Ever.
  • Clothes shall be named “stain canvases” from now on.  Your child is an artist.  Let them express themselves, and if your boss doesn’t understand, key your emotions into the side of his ‘vette.
  • If you think you’re doing it wrong, you are and you aren’t.  That’s the thing about this game.  There are no rules.

She’s clothed, she’s fed, she’s beautiful.  The page is blank.  She’s cranky, she’s lost a sock, she needs a snack.  The page is filled.

It will be like this forever you know.  You’re a writer and mother which means balance confounds you.  Everything is sticky and unwashed unless it’s the day you play catch up and your novel, rooted in your gut, kicks at your intestines and causes you pain.

But the messy things in life, the painful things are most often the most beautiful ones.  So deep breath, hugs and kisses, story before bedtime, right after the bath and thank whatever deity you enjoy thanking for every day you get to open your eyes, see your child’s face, and mend letters into words.