“Etta fall down. At da zoo. Hurt knees. Hurt hands. Etta cry.” It happened in October, but she still tells me this story of her epic zoo fall at least once a day.
“Claire Bear fall down. At da wi-berry. I bonked my head on a shelf. I screamed. Then Mama had me.” This fall at the library, too, happened in October. This story, as well, is told as frequently and reverently as a great epic from the oral tradition, with all the solemnity a toddler can muster.
Usually we sigh, the way we all tend to do when someone tells us something we’ve heard before a hundred times, and say something like, “I know baby, you fell down and hurt yourself, but that was weeks ago, and you’re ok now! Your owies are all gone!” The repetition seems to us a little silly– why keep telling the story of such little hurts? Childhood is practically made of skinned hands and knees, of knots on foreheads and bruises that fade slowly, like sunsets that last weeks.
But to our girls, they are the biggest falls they’ve had yet. Their most significant injuries. Big events in the life of small people who lead otherwise routine little lives. To them, they are big stories worth telling.
Most days, as I drive her to preschool, I hear Claire’s sweet little voice giving herself a pep talk in the back seat. It goes something like this:
“Claire Bear be OK. Mommy come right back. Daddy come right back. Etta come right back. Claire Bear be OK. Claire Bear see friends. Claire Bear see Miss Freddie. Claire Bear eat snacks. Claire Bear go outside. Mommy come right back. Claire Bear go outside. Mommy come right back. Mommy always come right back.”
By the time we get to school, she’s psyched up like a player for the big game. She waves bye bye to her sister and me. She walks happily into her classroom, where she will see her friends and beloved teachers, eat snacks, play with toys, sing songs, read books, work hard with her therapists, and then, at the end of the day, where her mommy will come right back to her. Continue reading “little talks”
On Mother’s Day, I had the amazing experience of reading part of my story in the Listen To Your Mother Show here in Little Rock. Now, even if you weren’t there, you can see my story and the rest of the amazing stories from around the country, thanks to the magic of the internet and You Tube. Today, I’m posting my story here, but I encourage you to watch some of the other videos too, from Little Rock and around the country. And, coming soon, for the first time, my husband will share his version of this story, both from the perspective of the man who was holding our baby girl next to my bed when I went into heart failure, and from the perspective of a doctor, who probably would have intubated me himself while we waited for the code team to arrive, if there had been a crash cart nearby. Luckily, he didn’t have to. Blessedly, all was well.
Here’s the story of how I discovered I have the heart of a mother:
Yesterday, I had an amazing experience not even an utter deluge of underarm perspiration could dampen. Let me back up…
I joined a cast of 14 women and 1 man to stand on a stage and tell stories about motherhood. In 32 other cities this month, other casts did the same. And as someone who truly believes in the power of stories to change the world, it was akin to a holy experience. Continue reading “listen to some mothers”
On Mother’s Day, I’m doing something that scares me a little: joining a cast of unbelievable women and one brave man to stand up in front of hundreds of live people and countless folks on the Interwebs and tell a piece of my story. A piece of my heart. I’m worried about what I’m going to wear. I’m worried about doing awkward things with my hands. I’m worried about maybe crying while I’m trying to read a very vulnerable piece (that I will absolutely share here later). But I’m not worried about telling my story. Because my story is about how becoming a mother has made me fierce and free and strong and maybe even a little bit crazy. Continue reading “Mother’s Day and telling stories”