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