Monday, June 13, 2016

L'enfant

A note I wrote in my journal on May 24, 2016 at 10:44 pm:

I fell asleep earlier today and had such a vivid dream. In my dream, I had a little daughter with dark brown hair that was cut to her chin and her name was Luna V (I assume her middle name was V) because I kept singing, “Luna V, Luna V, you are all my eyes can see” and she laughed and laughed until she suddenly stopped and asked me, “How much do you love my dad?”

Her little sculpted features hardened into something serious. Her voice sounded like little bells.

And I said, “So much that it couldn’t even fit in this entire galaxy because without him, you wouldn’t have been possible.” And then I woke up and it felt so real, I woke up feeling scared. It was so beautiful and it felt more than a dream, almost like a vision and I have been carrying this with me all day.

--

Someone told me, 'Your heart is made for motherhood'. Is this true? What makes a heart made for motherhood? Is it a heart that doesn't know how to love in moderation?

--

We are at our favorite hotel bar. The bar of the hotel my father committed his infidelities years ago. Every time I step into the hotel lobby, I think of him. Sometimes I think of her but mostly him. The hotel has changed names a couple times since then but I realize I don't ever tell my mom that's where I'm meeting N for a drink. It makes me feel strangely disloyal to her and her story.

My head has been pounding since 1:30 in the afternoon. I woke up at almost 5 p.m, my skin sticking to the leather of my mom's couch. A blanket covering half of my body. I am hot, irritable and stiff. My mom runs her fingers through my hair, her face close to mine and asks, 'Are you a baby? All you do is eat and sleep. You're a little baby.' She says it lovingly. There is a glass of lemonade sitting on the coffee table. It's sweating and all the ice is mostly melted. I already know it's going to taste terrible but I drink it anyway. I decide right then I hate lemonade. My mom tries to run her hands through my hair again but in my irritability, I shrug her away.

We're sitting at the hotel bar. It's 10:30 pm and the bar closed at 10. It's completely empty. The bartender is cleaning up the bar, wiping glasses, putting saran wrap on the tips of the beer dispensers. There is a little boy two seats down from us, eating a bowl of cocoa puffs. I ask him, 'What kind of cereal are you eating? Cocoa puffs? My favorite!' He slurps up the milk. I tell him that's the best part. I say this even though I don't drink milk and if I eat cereal, I always drain the milk down the sink. But I guess I'm an adult now and that's what makes a difference. My head is still pounding but in little pulses. I tell N that I'm sorry but I need to go home. I tell her to finish my wine and she does. I stare at her while she talks and takes big sips of my Pinot. Her eyes look bright. I joked with her earlier and told her it's that post-cry glow. As we get up to leave, the little boy shoots Spiderman webs at me, his hands in motion and he makes little, 'pew pew' noises. I shoot a few back and laugh. N grabs her laptop and uses it as a shield against his Spiderman webs. She shoots some back at him and she blocks his back at her. Their interaction is brief but in that moment, I see her as a mom and my heart feels warm. I wish I could film this and show her and say, "See! Look! I can see the warmth in your heart. In this little moment, I can see what kind of mom you would be. I see it!' We laugh as we walk out the bar doors and we don't say a word about it.

---

My mom's new favorite thing to say is, "I cannot wait for you and Ethan to have kids. You worry about EVERYTHING! EVERY LITTLE THING!" She said this after I mentioned a boy I read about in the news who is now paralyzed from the neck down after diving into the shallow end of a pool, drunk.

---

I tell three different people the same exact thing.

I tell her, "I may not ever be someone's wife but I will be someone's mom." She repeats this line back to me whenever we get into a discussion about love, life, the future, heartbreak. She knows this as a fact about me. She knows this as a future truth.

I told him over text, without knowing how we got into this realm of conversation, "I may not ever be someone's wife but I will be someone's mom." I don't even think twice about sending it. I see the text bubbles. He's typing. He responds back, "But with a man is a preferable, right?" I can't deny that. I think I say, 'Well, of course'.

I tell my mom, "I may not ever be someone's wife but I will be someone's mom" and she gets instantly annoyed with me. The idea of adoption scares her. She tries to stay neutral but I can hear annoyance seeping in her words.

'No, you shouldn't have a child alone. No. You need to...' Both of her hands are on the steering wheel and she isn't looking at me. I don't remember the rest of what she says because I'm looking out the window, distracted by the number of cars on the expressway.

---

Sometimes I wonder if I have a daughter, what I would tell her. The things I would want her to know. What I would teach her, how I could ever possibly express how much her existence means to me. If there are enough words I could say for her to know how much I love her.

Maybe she’ll want to be friends with all the pretty girls at school. Especially the pretty girls. Maybe she’ll want to trust them, god will she want to trust them. Maybe she’ll give her heart to them and maybe somehow, something smashes it into a million little pieces. Maybe I’ll softly offer my own stories to her. Maybe she will listen. Maybe she won’t. Maybe one day she'll wake up in fear and think she isn't pretty enough. Maybe she will squeeze the skin around her stomach, or pinch the skin on the underside of her arm. Maybe she will scowl and frown at her own reflection, unhappy with what is staring at back at her. Maybe she will try to skip a meal or two in hopes of it being the answer to her insecurity. Maybe I will love myself enough to never let her believe she isn't a work of art. Maybe I will love myself enough to never mention anything negative about my body so she doesn't think there is something wrong with hers. Maybe I'll tell her that I am magic and since she came from me, she is even more magic. Maybe she will listen when I tell her there are things more important than just being pretty. Maybe she will believe me. Maybe she will know that she is the cosmos. She is unparalleled.

---

"What you put your parents through, your kids will give you ten times worse!"

She says this is a Korean proverb. I shudder at the thought.

---

It's not about playing house, it's not a game. It's knowing the capacity of love you have to give, without expecting anything back. It's the only relationship where love is enough.

---

A note I wrote in my journal on June 8, 2016 at 2:15 pm:

I’m just so ready to be a mom and take baths with my baby and listen to their tiny hands splash the water and hug them close to my body and whisper to them how their existence has filled me with so much love.

---

We're sitting in my car. I wiped away her tears with my thumb and rubbed her arm as she sat there. I told her she will be okay, I promised that. She told me she wouldn't be because this was it. This was the one. I believe it but I believe that she will be okay even more. We go back and forth. You'll be okay. No I won't. You'll be okay, I promise. No I won't. Until suddenly, I stop and tell her

"I love you but I feel like I'm talking to my future fifteen year old daughter."

I sit and apologize for the hurt she’s feeling because I have felt the same thing soar and course through my own body. I tell her over and over that she will be okay, that she will be fine and she thinks I am lying. When I touch her, we both feel the hurt that is electrifying through her.  I know she doesn't believe me when I tell her that one day it won’t hurt. Trust me, I want to shout, I know. But she just sits there. Her heart is raw and open. She sits and nods her head, wanting to believe me. I want her to trust I am telling the truth.

Suddenly, I am my mom.

---

Unconditional love.