Thursday, October 13, 2011

All the ways I love you

We don't have much money, so she thinks about special occasions all year long, watching for sales and carefully choosing gifts for the birthday three months from now.  She relishes the surge of excitement when she picks out a present she'd love to get herself.  Humming happily as she digs into her favourite chocolate cake, she doesn't notice me pushing it aside after I've blown out the candles.  I hate chocolate.

Her fingers tattoo boredom on the table as she stares blankly out the window.  She's given up so much to be here with me and now I'm gone most of the day.  I come home at lunch to pick at a turkey sandwich and snap at her before storming into my room.  She sticks with it, because this is what mothers do: spend time with their children.  She never hugs or kisses me, but look at all the thoughtful gifts she's given me, all the hours of quality time.  How could I not know I'm loved? 

My body tingles at his proximity, the tiny hairs reaching out greedily for the warmth pulsing just out of reach.  He steps forward and wraps me in his arms and I drink him in like rain in my dusty mouth.  He crawls in my skin and I hold on as tight as I can, imprinting the foreign sensations in my soul.  His mouth on mine fills me with oxygen, bringing life where I was drowning.  It's the first time anyone has shown affection to me, the first time anyone has cared enough to touch me at all.

We sit in awkward silence, drops of oil in water.  She pokes at her tea bag, wondering where she went wrong.  I flick idly at the crumbs on the table and pick up my purse with a sigh.  Sometimes I think I should just cut my ties, isolate the hurt to a small scarred area. 

But instead I choose to learn.  Reach out every day to cuddle my daughter and breathe love across her, so she'll always know.  I might not always remember to get her a Valentine's Day card and her birthday present might be a little late, but I never forget to hug her tight and tell her I love her.  She knows.  Doesn't she?

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For the Indie Ink writing challenge, Kevin Wilkes challenged me with "Motherless child" and I challenged Tobie with "Music means nothing to me."

13 comments:

  1. The constant silent wish/curse of parents to their children:

    'I hope you have children just like you someday.'

    The pleasure is in the pain, and vice versa. This is wonderfully written.

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  2. Very emotional. It tugged at me. Wonderfully done!

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  3. I agree with Tony, a very honest piece. I run a series of conflicted feelings daily with my daughter, followed immediately by fear that I'm not doing something right and that somehow she won't know enough just how much she is loved even in my mistakes. Whew...

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  4. You wrote this with a beautiful and poetic language. Very well done.

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  5. Hi - I'm popping in from Write On Edge weekend link-up.
    Sensitive, deep and provocative - your piece highlights the see-saw emotions often experienced in the mother-child relationship. Beautiful.

    http://writer-in-transit.co.za/bubble-bravado/

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  6. So beautiful. Touching and emotional. Well done.

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  7. Just lovely. And yes, she knows. Of course, she knows.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this so vulnerably and honestly. Your storytelling was fantastic.

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  9. Wow. This really hits home for me. The checked out mother and trying to figure it all out as a kid...I get it. You wrote some great sensual description into this piece.
    The greatest gift she gave you was the ability to string some words together so beautifully!

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  10. I feel like this deserves a better comment than "I'm speechless." But this is just such great writing, that I don't know what to say other than that. I really felt the pain of your unmet needs and even your Mom's confusion.

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  11. Ixy, this was so bittersweet. Your love for your daughter shines through.

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Lend me some sugar!