Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sweaty Head




When he went seeking my hand, Dr. Gooch was warned by my father of my strength masked by a certain tender heart.  To a fault, I add here.  In fact, I can dish it out but can't take it.  What good is strength when the weakness is stronger.  Choose the right words in the right order and say them all at the wrong time and I'm like a heartbroken Amelie splashing to the ground.

A few weeks back I was picking up a few things at Trader Joe's and had the three girls with me.  As we were checking out I sent Hazel to return her child-sized buggy to the front of the store.  I paid for the groceries then glanced up to check on Haze.  She was out of my sight.  So I rushed the other two and our groceries out the door.  Hazel had rounded the corner sidewalk with her cart instead of stopping to deposit it at the front of the store.  I yelled for her to come back, which she did.  No harm done.

In the midst of the whole scenario which transpired in seconds, an elderly gentleman confirmed that the little wandering rascal (my words, not his) was mine then turned to walk away gripping his groceries, and before he was out of hearing distance, announced:

"Wake up, Lady!"

My cheeks burned but the fire was quickly put out by tears I saved for the safety of the car.  All day I couldn't shake his words ringing in my head.  So I lent them to Dr. Gooch to take them off my hands for a bit.  Dr. Gooch's cheeks didn't burn.  He got in the car, went straight to Trader Joes and staked the place out until the man of my description returned.

No, he didn't do any such thing.  But I bet he wanted to.

It's taken me awhile--two weeks--but I've forgiven the offender.  For, maybe he's onto something.  Maybe I need less falling to the floor in a reactive splash of too-tender collapse and...more...well, wakefulness.  Maybe, I'm snoozing through this part.  The part where my children are super young and super loud.  Only twitching under my quilt at the really intense parts that disturb my repose.  Maybe I am a Lady who needs to Wake Up.

At breakfast this morning, Seth, six, and my oldest, paused mid bite to ask, "Mom, why do you put your head under your pillow in bed sometimes?"

Like a child myself, caught red-handed, I gathered my courage to respond with what Seth needed to know without elaborating on my daily struggle to face the Splendid Inconvenience of motherhood in the morning,

"To block out the noise and the light", I offered.

"Oh. But what if your head gets sweaty."

I barely heard his reply.  The words light and noise snagged my brain and the pain of it nearly took my breath.  I stared at him eyes wide as I could hold them because that spreads out the tears and keeps them from shedding.  I stared at him with these eyes and his three sisters calmly finishing off the oatmeal and bananas and there it was.  There they were.


These four: my noise and my light.

*photo by Dr. Gooch

23 comments:

Amy said...

This really hit home for me today. Thank you for wording it all so beautifully.

Keri said...

Ditto.

I read an article about Stephanie Nielson months ago and one quote from her father stuck in my head.

"Act like a mother and you will become on. Find the positive and you will...something, something."

Okay, so not an exact quote. But I find it so true. I may be exhausted and grouchy in the morning, but if I fake my way through it I am so rewarded.

Thanks for your lovely post. I enjoy your blog so much.

LJ said...

I love this. I so want to lead a wake-awake life, but find that I often want to bury my head in my pillow, too. That's the paradox of motherhood, I guess.
p.s. you look beautiful in that picture

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for sharing. SUch wonderful insight!

The Comeaux Family said...

love this post. your words are inspiring.

Maria said...

My goodness, you put tears in my eyes. I recently felt the same way. Thank you for the wake up call. Now I'm going to go hug & kiss my little girl!

Brookeanne said...

As a girlfriend with 3 kids of her own once said to me, "A man does not experience his paperwork coming to life and joining him in the bathroom whilst he is on the toilet, or in the shower. Nor does it join him in his bed or sit with him at every meal. It does not, trail a mess of bread crumbs and sticky fingers in it's wake... and it rarely ever talks back with the fortitude of a young child." Obviously, the older man has no idea what a responsibility being a mother of multiple children is like. I, too, would have felt disheartned, but please remember we all have those moments at one time or another.

Oh, and I have incredibly quiet, easy-going children and I still hide under the covers throughout the week ;).

Jason Acosta said...

nothing wrong with a good cry, and no shame in being the owner of a tender heart i say. heck, i WISH i could still cry. i probably haven't had a decent cry since i was a kid. years of training to be a 'real' man have left me without the ability to really let loose-the most i can manage now is weird choking sounds and a few tears, plus boo-nevermind. i mean, sniffles.
i say, be proud that you can feel deeply and care so much. would that we all could, including mr. all-knowing-old-guy-shopper, it would make us more sensitive to each other's needs and we could obey the golden rule much better, i'm sure.

Michelle said...

I've run into scenarios like this before and react the same way. What hurts is that at least for me usually comments like that are partially true but as mothers we can't help but be vulnerable in a situation like that. I've also done the wide eye thing- works like a charm.

Trainer Momma said...

I have had similar situations like this. You are a queen of a mother, Jordan. So aware of those little ones and willing to share your joy in motherhood with all of us. I love this post. Noise and light.

Jennifer said...

I am always amazed at people who think it's okay to publicly criticize others; especially mothers.

I am sure that man has never had an off day in his life. Sheesh. :)

Kurt Knudsen said...

Your words made me cry.
I'll be there in a few months and I will monitor the parking lot of TJ's looking for the lout.

Ingrid said...

This breaks my heart! You just keep hugging those sweet rascals, Jordan. They are in good hands.

The Baker's Goods said...

Jordan, quit making everyone cry, including me! Can't wait to join you and the rascals!

The Original Mangums said...

It happened to me a time or two; it hurt so badly and I was so embarrassed -- to be thought, by others, an incompetent Mother of my most valued Treasures! How I love them! You are a great Mother! Keep smiling and enjoying your "Light and Noise"!

Rebecca said...

Oh how simple words misused can cut! Yes, I cried, too. I, with your father, will patrol TJs! I love your light and noise.

Ann said...

That man does not know my sister Jordan like I do! You're a saint of a mother! Love you.

madsta said...

you have a really beautiful way with words, and i can sense all the way from england that that man was (and is) a twit.

olivia said...

I can so relate, and Jason's comment makes me feel better too. You are more and more a role model every day! Love you!

Rebekah V. said...

noise and light. perfect. thanks for waking me up today.

Arbon Family said...

You need to write a book! I loved this post! Thanks for sharing it and so good to see you the other day. We need to do that more often!

shawna b. said...

Jordan, if only that man really knew you ... he'd find a person with such a deep, thoughtful, kind heart that he would never, ever think to say what he did.

Once again, I have to say that THIS one, this post, is my favorite. For now.

Jordan, really do write that book. And sign mine, will you, please? Such a talented writer you are.

Ashley Thalman said...

I have been thinking on this post for a few days now and Jordan, the fact that you are aware of any moments where you are less aware than you want is beautiful and should serve as an indication to you of your loyalty to your family and sacred feminine beauty.