Wednesday, February 10, 2016

sailing on open water

It's a soft ache, the kind that lets you know you are alive- and that there is a price tag attached to loving.

I felt it that late January afternoon as I slipped unnoticed out of the gym.  For 2 days it had been so important that I be there. I had half a dozen people pulling at me at the same time. But when all the stray cups of coffee & cans of soda were thrown out, and the mats mopped, and the crowds cleared, I was gone.

No one noticed me as I walked passed them towards the door. No one said goodbye. No one saw me go.

What I am missing is the bridge from the "There"s & "Here"s. It is as if I step into nothingness when I am between "jobs".

Maybe I need one of those guys at the airport with the long flashing wands of lights to guide me home.  A tower to talk me down.  A pilot to ground me. A crew to check me over, kick the tires and clear the windshield.

I probably could have all that but it's me that tends the idea of needing a "crew" on one side of my heart and the need of isolation & peace on the other. Me, who called 2 people a group and 3 a committee. I've done this. I choose to stand in the land of nothingness, wallow in the silence and blue. It is comfortable here.  It's safe.  And it's slow. I picked to be mostly bridge-less over open water.

It can be lonely (hence the opening paragraph). And there are people who manage to slip through. There are those who can weave the 2 parts of my heart together and use them to walk dry across the waves... like little Sophie has.

My love of her (& responsibility for) mimics that of a step-parent. But even saying that makes me cringe, my experience step-parenting is stinging & still raw. It is one of the worst and greatest rolls anyone could be dumb enough to fall into.

Love this child, care for, pay for, invest in, live beside, laugh with, cry for, and never forget you are theirs but they are not yours.

You must defer, step aside, fall back, stay quiet, be the bad guy for no reason at all, but please, raise them as yours and mind your own business while doing it.

The undercurrent is you are disposable, replaceable, in the way, & easily forgotten.

With Sophie, it is much softer. Kinder in so many ways. I really chose her and no one seemed to mind.  I chose to be here for her. She wasn't a package deal, a trophy, or a set of baggage to trip over. In fact, I think I had to prove to both her & her parents that I was worth trusting, worth letting me trespass on their ground.

Okay, maybe I didn't choose to love her that just happened sort of by accident. Much like the way she started accidentally calling me mom.        

And yes, I felt that soft ache last night when I heard Sophie had fallen on Bars and was possibly injured. I felt the room shrink watching from my little corner while I stepped on my own saying.  The one that is meant to remind you of your place and how to check drama at the door. "This is not my broken arm." She is not my child. This should not hurt me. But it was hard to pull the fact & reason from the emotions. A little tough to stand outside the circle and be reminded that I am just an extra hand in this kid's life. No one asked me to be here.

What was easy was knowing she didn't need me. She was in good hands and because I know her heart like a mother knows her daughter's, I also knew she was exactly where she would always choose to be, right between both of her parents.  

I hear she is going to be fine. Sore and 'butt hurt'. Stressed about the next meet and whether or not she can trust herself to rally through the pain & doubt to compete. A few roughed up muscles in her back nothing more.... "not my broken arm" but because life has a twisted sense of humor part of the dull aching price of love on part was compounded by some tangible pain. See I threw out my lower back yesterday boxing.  So in a tiny way, I can totally justify her pain kind of does really hurt me.

And as I sit back I can hear her dad's voice talking down a long narrow hallway, "Yeah, I suppose so, all the people who had to love me are gone and the ones who didn't have to are left."

1 comment:

  1. tears stinging. thank you for stepping into a role for which no other woman on the planet was made. you are vital not only to Sophie but to me an organic and baffling way, we are all raising each other.


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