A Mother’s Lament

Where do I begin?  You may notice I haven’t posted on my blog in some time.  I’m posting today because I have to tell something and this is the only place I may be heard.

When my children were babies mothers had so much responsibility and often little help from our mates.  I’m so happy that today’s fathers, at least in my family, are so much more involved in the care of their infant children.  What happened to me so many years ago was perhaps partly because of the times.

Did you know that a baby who is not held and cuddled often refuse later attempts to be cuddled, holding themselves rigid as if made out of wood?  Did you know some babies are even “allergic” to their moms?  Pushing her away when she held them?

One of my babies spent her first three weeks in an incubator and though I visited to look through the window, I was not allowed to hold her (today health professionals know better). When I brought her home she also had a feeding problem they warned me about.  She put her tongue over the nipple and the formula ran out the side of her mouth.  They told me to just jerk the nipple out and replace it until she finally got it right. It took me a long time to feed her.

Combine this with the fact I had three other children under four years of age and I was one tired Mom.  My husband (the father) never helped, not even to give a bottle or change a diaper (and in those days we used cloth diapers).   For her refusal to be cuddled I searched for an answer.  We had no Internet back then but I found an article in Psychology Today about “institutionalized babies” who stiffened up when you tried to hold them, because they weren’t held in those first crucial weeks.

So, obviously we didn’t bond.  She also developed an attitude of resentment toward me.  I couldn’t win.  She was only about three years old when I heard her tell a little friend: “My mommy’s stupid.”  A word I never used and I don’t know where she heard it but even at that young age she sounded hateful.

As I’ve often done I tried to understand the problem by writing about it, discussing pros and cons.  In something I wrote during this time my daughter found what I had written about her refusal to be cuddled and decided I didn’t love her.  I didn’t know this until years later.  At our ages it’s too late to “fix” the problem.  We’ve been estranged (her choice) for some time.  And to tell the truth, I’m resentful, because she treated me badly growing up, cutting me out of her life.  And that of her children.

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An Old Concept: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

After posting the following in a comment on Facebook,  I feel motivated to repeat it here..

“If the “pro-life” people are really serious, if they really believe all life is precious (human lives, that is) why do they not build communities where single mothers-to-be can birth and rear their children. Providing them with medical care, nutrition, education, all the needs of the growing child. The world could be a different, and better, place.”

I hope the thought will appeal to others who are conflicted by the desire to save unborn babies and yet, at the same time, realize the disadvantages most of those unfortunate babies are born into.  Talk is cheap, as the old saying goes, so let’s put our money where our mouth is.  Truly save the children instead of just talking about it long enough to get them born and then deserting them.  Why do their lives cease to be precious after birth?

Gypsies on the Mountain

Mama and I sit on the front porch in the growing dark, watching a string of lights move along the side of the mountain.  I ask her what they are.  “It’s the Gypsies,” she says, “they always come back this time of year.”

“Where do they go off to?”

Mama tilts her head and pauses for a moment. “Someplace on the other side of the mountain, I reckon.”

A storybook picture fills my mind, of a tall covered wagon with pots and pans banging against its sides, drawn by large dark horses and led by dark-skin people in brightly colored clothes, barefoot children with tangled hair dancing along behind.

I see myself, one of those dark-skinned children, not the coming but the going, to that mysterious place on the other side of the mountain, in a Gypsy caravan with twinkling lights.  I wonder if I am really a Gypsy child.

“Why do they come back,” I say.

“Why, to steal our eggs.”

Did they leave me here?  I wonder.  Maybe they traded me for the eggs.

The house is small and dark; we go to bed early to make the lamp oil last longer.

Lying beside Mama in the growing dark I force my eyes to stay open to keep away the monsters that hover in the darkest corner of the room, waiting for me to go to sleep.  When they will invade my dreams and chase me through the terrifying night …..

 

The Changing Tide

I haven’t had the heart to announce on this blog that my darling little Winston passed away in April. He was twelve and a half years old and had developed diabetes, type one, of course. Insulin shots could possibly have prolonged his life for awhile but he was terrified of needles and there was no way I could administer them. His passing left such a hole in my heart that I relented in June and found a Bichon puppy to love. I thank God for the years I had my sweet Winston. I will always miss him.

I’ve also made a decision to begin an astrology service and put all those years of study and experimentation to use. I’ve come to feel I may finally have something to contribute during this time of earthly turmoil. We shall see. I will soon begin my new blog, Astrology Revolution. My fiction writing has been stuck in limbo for some time so I’m leaving it here for now to see if it speaks to me again.

Waiting for Uranus

Did you know there’s a place in the back of your mind
That’s gathering dust?
A place where you’ve stored things
Over the years
Just for awhile, you said
Until you have more time
Until you have more money
Until, until….
Sometimes a small beam of light flickers from this dark place
In the back of your mind
And you wonder, briefly, what it was
But then it goes out and you forget to wonder….
They still wait there, you know, beneath the dust on the shelf in the dark place in the back of your mind
For something
To trigger your memory
And bring back your future

The Chicken or the Egg?

As far as I know the question of which came first has never been decided, but I’ll vote for the chicken who laid the first egg. Imagine her shock when, exhausted, she rested upon the mysterious result of her labor. Perhaps she waited, curious as to what would happen next.

Warmth, a mysterious movement. The thing beneath her cracked! The chicken rose to see a tiny being emerge. Cheep Cheep! And she was never the same after that. She paraded around the barnyard, the tiny thing wobbling after her. They passed the rooster, who crowed. The chicken ignored the arrogant fellow. And then briefly wondered why he was passing out cigars.

The End

Sorry, but I couldn’t resist posting this. I ran across it in some of my old writings and it made me laugh so I thought maybe it would make you laugh too.

A Ghost Story

Have you noticed all those ghosts walking around? They used to be mothers, full of life, full of warm, nurturing love. Babies snuggled up in the curve of their necks, their soft sweet skin smelling of Johnson’s baby powder. The babies grew and grew and learned to walk and talk and make their mommas proud when they said her name. As they began to explore, they outgrew their infant needs, becoming self-propelled. They began to learn grownup things. Like who to love and who to hate and some even learnt who to blame when things go wrong. Be it their teachers, the government or their mothers.

They used to be ordinary people like you and me before the miracle of motherhood changed them into bright shooting stars that lit the heavens with happiness for an all-too-brief moment that continues to warm their memory as they grow old.

Have you noticed all those ghosts walking around? The ones with their failing eyesight and tender smiles who fade into the background, soft-spoken and undemanding? They had their moment in the Sun and are content to watch the seasons change and the years fly by.

I hate to say it but they are not me.

Oh, how I loved my time of shooting stars, yet I refuse to be a ghost.