Posts Tagged ‘Hush Little Baby’

Emotional Attachment

June 12, 2018

I woke up a tiny bit off.

Not a lot, but just enough to notice.

I felt a little flat.

Sometimes when I feel this way it’s because I am trying to avoid feeling anything.

So I disassociate a little, go about my day, do my things, make my bed, get dressed and do my hair, make breakfast, get lunch ready for work, look at my calendar, make coffee.

You know.

Routine.

I can check out a little in my routine.

But.

It all came clear when I peeped social media.

Oh hi there.

I wasn’t expecting to see that.

But.

I should have.

I have been sensing it in the air.

I thought about it a couple of days ago.

There’s a birthday coming up, isn’t there?

And yes.

Thanks social media.

There it was on Facebook.

Hi papa.

Happy birthday.

Today you turned 69.

Sigh.

I haven’t seen my father since he was in a coma over four years ago.

I ceded responsibility for his health to the State of Alaska.

I sat by his side for four days and cried and talked and held his hand.

I wrote him a long card that I had bought at a gift shop in the Anchorage Museum a friend had taken me to one afternoon.

“Enough, you’ve had enough time in the hospital, come out, get some air, let’s do something not related to the hospital and the ICU.”

I found a really cool card with raven totems on it.

I bought it for my dad.

I left all my information in it.

My phone number.

My address.

My email.

I said I loved him and hoped he was going to get better and be safe and be happy and get healthy.

I told him I forgave him.

I’m actually not sure I wrote that in the letter, but I told him that.

And I asked him to forgive me.

He wasn’t always the best dad.

I wasn’t always the best daughter.

And I let him go.

My last  night there before getting on the plane the nurses encouraged me to talk to him more, that thought that he might wake up to my voice.

He never did.

I waited until I couldn’t wait any longer, I had to come back to San Francisco, I had to go back to work.

I had to take care of myself.

I kissed him on the cheek.

I was surprised by the warmth of his face and the softness of his skin under my lips.

My eyes welled up with tears and I left.

He woke up about a week later.

On my birthday of all days.

I saw it was the number of the hospital in Anchorage.

I answered.

It was one of my dad’s nurses, “your father’s awake and he wants to talk to you.”

“Hi ___________________ I said softly, I call my father by his first name.  A psychological defense of distancing that I learned at a very young age.  My father ceased being papa when I was six although there were a few scattered times in my adolescence that my father reclaimed the moniker, he’s always been known to me by his first name.

He said, “my balls itch and the nurse won’t let me scratch them.”

Sigh.

Happy birthday.

That really wasn’t what I wanted to hear from my dad, but then again he was awake and that was something else.

He’d been in the coma for two weeks.

Then he cawed at me.

“Caw! Caw!”

Like a crow.

Like a raven.

I teared up.

He’d gotten my letter and either he’d read it or someone read it to him.

He understood and he was letting me know that he’d gotten the message.

I felt big crashing waves of emotions.

And then.

The nurse had to get him off the phone, for he kept trying to take off the bandages around his skull where the craniotomy had happened to relieve the brain swelling he’d had as a result of the accident he was in.

And accident that was propelled and fueled by his alcoholism.

Those were the last words I got from my dad.

I wondered about him today.

I felt a similar feeling last year around this time.

An urge to reach out.

An urge to connect.

I tried a cell phone number that I thought might work.

It was disconnected.

Just like I was.

Detached.

Removed.

Far, far, far away.

I checked in with my person today, I told on myself about my father’s birthday and some guilt and shame that was coming up.

I got lovely perspective and calm soothing words and an invitation instead to get a candle for my father and light it and that it be a scented candle, a smell that I like.

And when I smelled it I would send a little prayer up to God for my father.

I lit that candle tonight when I got home.

Kona coffee scented.

Seems apropos.

My father was born in Hawaii.

I miss you papa and I hope you are well and happy and content.

I won’t reach out further.

There is too much illness and disease and dysfunction there for me to get involved in an emotional imbroglio.

Rather.

Today.

I reached out to those who are my chosen family, friends that have seen me through rough stuff with my parents, friends who love me.

I called an old friend from Wisconsin from my undergrad days.

I got a hold of a friend of mine from high school.

And I reached out to my two best girlfriends from my graduated school program.

Then I loved hard at work.

“I think we are all emotionally attached to you,” the mom said, so sweet, with such tenderness and vulnerability.

I am a soothing presence in their lives and that was sweet to hear and much appreciated.

I got to help put the baby down for a nap when he was super upset.

I got to hug the little lady and make her all sorts of her favorite foods.

And.

Oh.

The oldest boy just crawled right up into my lap today at the dinner table.

He wasn’t feeling well and he just wanted me to hold him and scratch his back.

He put his head on my chest and asked me to sing him a lullaby.

It was the most heartbreakingly sweet thing ever.

Having this eight year old boy curled up on me listening to me sing “Hush Little Baby.”

My family of origin may not be the family I wanted to have in my life.

And I’m ok with that.

They did the best they could.

Besides

I have such amazing family in my life.

My family of choice.

And for that I am beyond grateful.

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

 

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Write Your Own

February 1, 2017

Happy ending.

He told me yesterday after giving me a stupendous hug.

“You’re a writer, write your own story,” he added, then, “you’re going to help so many people, Carmen, you really are.”

I felt bowled over with his love and confidence in me.

It is so very nice to have friends.

It is amazing to have the fellowship and community I have.

“You’re going to be in Oakland Saturday night?” She asked on the phone today when I had a moment at the park while my charge was playing in the sand box. “Of course I’ll go, I’ll pick you up from the BART station, we can grab some food and catch up.”

Yes.

Oh yes please.

Community.

Love.

Friends.

All the things that I need to get me through the day and through the week.

And it’s been a good week.

I had a great day at work today.

I felt super helpful.

I got to run errands, pick up one of my charges from school while the mom was at the one month old check up for the baby at the doctors, my little ladybug charge went with mom and I got to pick up big brother at the school.

We had a wonderful chat, ended up running into a classmate on the way to the train, detoured and climbed the hill to Dolores Park.

My office with a spectacular view.

The boys ran around the park for an hour, then I got a text from the mom, and headed back to the house, stopping at the little organic market on the way back to the house.

I was greeted with much affection and hugs, I got loads of hugs today from my charges.

Such sweetness.

And.

Oh.

It happened.

It finally happened.

“Oh!  Can you take the burping machine,” the mom asked, handing me off the baby, to go help the little lady bug in the bathroom with a sudden need for mom.

It happened so fast and unexpectedly and it was just divine.

She passed me the sweet, warm, soft bundle of baby.

Oh.

Oh my.

The smell.

Oh, God.

My first thought, “I want one.”

So bad, God, I want a baby.

Tears welled up in my eyes and I breathed his scent in deeply.

All babies have that scent that milky, sweet, skin soft, bread baked with love and dusted with buttered pixie dust.

I can’t quite describe it, powdery, warm, human, I was lustful with the longing to have one of my own immediately, now, now, now and the tears, oh they held, hung up in the bottom lashes of my eyes, trembling just there, but never quite cresting to slide down the round tops of my cheeks.

I turned to the window, the huge, gigantic wall of glass with the entire skyline of the city spread out below, the sun spinning it’s last light a golden crust of fire illuminating the glass buildings and spraying red gold brilliance into the heavens, and shifted the baby up on my shoulder a little bit.

He sighed, gurgled, and settled.

I patted his back softly, I crooned my little song.

I have a lullaby that I always sing to my charges, it’s a version of Hush Little Baby Don’t Say A Word, that I have adapted for me, the nanny, not the mom, not the dad, to sing.

Hush little baby, don’t say a word/I’m going to buy you a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird won’t sing/I’m going to buy you a diamond ring.

And if that diamond ring turns brass/I’m going to buy you a looking class.

And if that looking glass should break/I’m going to bake you a chocolate cake.

So hush little baby, don’t say a world/I’m going to buy you a mockingbird.

Then.

I croon a hum.

Not a song, no words, just a soft repetetive hum, up and down, soft and low.

And I sway, foot to foot, a rocking motion that seems innate inside my body, so natural and comfortable I don’t even realize I’m doing it.

I remember once sitting next to someone while I was rocking a charge to sleep in my arms and sitting there, in a folding chair, listening to what I needed to hear and attending to the little boy child in my arms, an eighteen month old who was teething pretty hard, and just swaying in that chair, that warm lump of child draped across my breast, and the man sitting next to me whispered, “I think that little boy might be the luckiest male alive.”

“I wish someone would rock me in their arms until I fell asleep while singing me lullabies.”

It wasn’t until much later that I realized he was hitting on me, I was rather stupid at that point of my recovery.

Sometimes I have blinders on.

Anyway.

I stood there, swaying back and forth and crooning my little wordless tune and he sighed, and melted asleep.

Tears again, but not so heavy, just a misting on my face and the mom and daughter came out of the bathroom and mom said, “oh, he fell asleep!  Would you mind holding him while I finish up dinner?”

Would I mind?

“I obviously hate this,” I said and smiled, my heart so happy to be holding this little mite of a human being, this precious cargo entrusted to me, such simple delight.

Such a gift.

I held him for an hour, he slept high on my breast, held in the crook on my right arm, warm head nestled into the curve of my neck, tucked just there under my chin, soft and warm and perfumed with all things love.

And.

It got better.

I mean.

How it happened I could not have orchestrated.

I could not have directed, it just happened.

The family ate dinner, dad was late coming back from work, and they sat down.

They chatted and laughed and we shared the view.

The mom and the little girl ran off to a bedroom to hunt up a library book and the oldest brother approached me, “can you read me this story?”

We pulled out a big chair, I sat down gentle, with his baby brother still sleeping on my shoulder, then he crawled into my lap, I put my arm around him and he settled into my lap, curled up in a boy ball, his feet in stripe socks nestled on my knees.

I read him the story.

His brother slept on my right shoulder, he cuddled into my left.

Then his sister came by and leaned into the chair.

I reached up, stroked her corn silk hair and smiled.

I was completely surrounded with love and trust and sweetness and vulnerability.

It was amazing.

Then someone poked someone and someone else pulled someone else’s hair and I had to settle them down and point to the baby, but we settled back in and I read the story until it was time to go.

Magic.

It was extraordinary.

And I carried that magic with me, a bubble of gossamer love and light, the cusp of the new moon sailing off toward Venus, the midnight blue threads of clouds scudded  with white bottoms and grey satin shimmers.

I felt a sail, a sloop, a crooning slip of love sending me home on the rails of city lights.

Write your own happy ending.

Write your own fairy tale.

Tie it up with a black grosgrain ribbon and hang it from the star shining above the new moon.

Kiss it into being and tuck it under your pillow to dream upon.

Give it pumpkin colored tulips in a tall Mason jar.

Spin it colored pastel and light like a globe of hope and desire.

Overcome the old sad story you’ve told yourself all your life.

And write your own damn happy ending.

I mean it.

Just do it.

Right.

Fucking.

NOW.

 

 

 


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