Sunday, January 10, 2016

rowboats on the water

 A tiny wooden rowboat on a dark lake: That is the picture that flashed through my mind the second I heard my mom's voice on the other end of the receiver.

Now if there was a pageant of goodness and kindness my mom would be the Winner; Mother Teresa the Runner-Up, Jesus, Miss Congeniality. But all that doesn't change that my mom, my parents for that matter, doesn’t understand me. Differing religious views, opposite politics, ways of life, of school & education, economics, and tax brackets. Then you add the whole gym thing in and I am living in a foreign country.

I am out on a lake in a tiny rowboat trying to talk to someone standing on the shore.

The reason my mom called at a very bad time, (and the only reason I answered the phone because I too am a mom and it might have been one of the nearly-growns needing money something) was she just realized that 'Beach might have had a game today'.  

I balanced the phone and the kid’s injured foot, a pot of ice water, a plate of toast, and a way to tell her that yes, Beach had a game today. It was over.  She had fun. She did well. But she was hurt.


I must not have done it well because I was immediately put on speaker phone so my father he could hear too and I had to start over.


 I do try my best to bridge the gap for them because what we do have in common is not trivial; we are family. I can own the distance between us. I am the one who sailed away and I can’t expect them to have followed my course. 

And yet, I can feel the way the little boat bounces on the choppy water; me over here and them all the way over there. It seems impossibly far and leaves room for the ache of missing my sister to set in.  Her absence settles like fog. 

When we hung up I promised them a follow-up call regarding the injury and times for her next in town game so they might come and be miserable but be present.  To them, it must feel like Church does for me. Long, uncomfortable, going nowhere, and a little morally off-setting. 

I wish a lot of things. I wish they would support her a little more without having to understand or agree. I wish her older siblings would make an effort on her behalf. I wish the drive home didn’t include BC picking a fight about the validity of the big travel meet to Florida because he heard 1 or 2 other kids are not going; he wants us to back out. It will cause a standing wave for the next few months; Tsunami warnings each time Beach & pack to travel.   

The meet [yesterday] was crowded. Excuse my spoiledness but the gym crappy and old. At times, it was standing room only. At times, when I collect all my tiny hours & efforts in trade for all of this just for her I feel alone. I feel singular. I feel adrift.


I can’t justify this choice.  I can’t explain it. It is her and she is it. And I am her mom. Moms answer the phone when their children are calling. That’s what we do. Beach is here calling for this thing. Holding fast the line. Standing her ground even when she is muted in static.

Out on the dark lake, there are a thousand boats of various sizes floating around. This crazy course is what we all have in common.  We ride the same wind. Together our lanterns light the water a most brilliant blue.  A depth of color one simply can't view or appreciate from the safety of shore. 

It is a tiny rowboat but it holds a lot of people.

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