twenty four may


 

Kind or Write?


I’ve been finding it challenging to encapsulate life with my daughter, Bink, lately. Hard to shape words for the page and even for casual conversation with friends, many of whom have their own experiences with parenting and/or caring for people they love who have special needs.

It’s not for lack of material. Bink continues to surprise me at times, wear me out at others. She delights while calling forth all my mental, emotional, sometimes physical resources, in almost equal measure. She’s growing incrementally towards greater confidence. She’s opening up, revisiting some foods she’d dropped from her odd gastronomic repertoire, talking of trying some activities like skiing; these are things that are, in my world, a very big deal.

There is so much I want to share, and yet I’ve been noticing more guard rails hugging the road I walk and ride while parenting her. Sometimes my own hands show the callouses that tell me I’m on the work crew, building those stout metal fences with what might be a thought of safekeeping. But what is there to keep safe? I’m aware of maintaining some privacy for her and for our family. That’s the why for the blog names I’ve given daughter and husband, and the way I don’t show many pictures of her.

Maybe that’s part of the tension. As she grows, so do her talents. I’m biased, but she has a range of them that almost beg to be shared. She sings beautifully, and has a huge memory vault of songs going back to even the little tunes I made up for her five or six months after she was born. I want to record her and share some of that melodious magic with you. She is developing into quite an artist, and as our walls that display some of her work
beg for mercy, the canvases stack up along the baseboards. She wants it all framed and hung, you see.

She has been horseback riding for over a year, an activity that Superguy and I shared some pessimism about when she began. Knowing her as we do, we figured the combination of a good bit verbal instruction (which can overwhelm her), the smell of the barn and paddocks, and the physical challenges of maintaining good posture and engaging core and leg muscles for thirty minutes would culminate in a short-lived equestrienne experience. Between us we probably gave it four weeks. I’m thrilled she has proven us wrong!

I’ve talked with Bink about recording some of her singing and sharing it, and she said that would be OK. I know she’d be fine with gaining a few more admirers for her paintings, too. And there is just so much life, so much that is funny and sad and fascinating in our day-to-day. It all wants to be written, whether read by fifty or by three. And yet.

I’m fortunate to have a few handfuls of writer friends, gained mostly from some fabulous online groups and communities. Our blocks are a common theme. There seem to be endless reasons to stop writing, or at least to stop posting what one writes. Sylvia Plath wrote that self-doubt is the worst enemy to creativity, and I’d have to concur that one ranks pretty high on the list. Not surprising, right? We all have an inner critic, and s/he can be very compelling, and nasty.

And then there’s the prickly issue of other people. I think most writers are introverts, and some of us are, umm, kind of sensitive. Working on thickening our skin, perhaps, but tender in places. A casual, well meant, and possibly quite constructive comment, or an innocent question, from a family member or close friend that reads our work, can send some of us into the claws of inner critic, the alpha bitch. “ See? Your writing sucks,” she’ll hiss. The effect? Shutdown.

There are, also, the other other people. The ones who have had a big impact in not-so-positive ways. For Bink,
some of these people and her interactions with them can take up a great deal of her headspace. Her mind seems to be full of what I can only describe as files. They go back to her infancy (and even before, but that’s a subject for another day).

Once a file from a certain part of her life is open, the things that happened during that time period get played out over and over. I mean this rather literally. Unfortunately, a lot of her recall involves unpleasant scenes and comments. She loves her old-fashioned tape recorder, and she can regurgitate the exact comments people made, in a good imitation of tone, volume and inflection the way she experienced them. She can even recall the date and day of the week these things were said, or done. She scrawls in her journal about these things, too, and creates lists of questions for me to answer the way I think the particular person would answer them.

Bink doesn’t record the sounds and events of her past for the benefit of an audience. Save the aforementioned lists of questions for me to answer, she doesn’t seek a reaction from me or Superguy. In fact, she seems a bit taken aback when we suggest that it may not be the best thing for her to perseverate endlessly on the things people did or said that upset her. She might respond with, “ I’m just trying to understand it.” Or, “ I like to hear the voices.” or even “ It’s important to me.”

As you might imagine, it can be jarring and also enlightening to hear the things a few certain people said to Bink, sometimes decades ago. She doesn’t know how to lie, so there is no doubt these things were actually said. Some of them are appalling. I can only hope they were not actually yelled, and that the loud volume she recalls and imitates is a result of her sensitive nervous system and wiring.

Bink opens new files every five or six months, and re-opens old, familiar ones more often. There is always more to learn from her well-organized memories. Mostly, the people who star in these spoken or written negative memories are not actively in her life anymore. That’s probably a good thing for them because I’d have questions and some sharp words for them.

What does this have to do with my difficulty writing about Bink of late? Well, it’s a delicate thing, to either include or extricate the parts about her obsessions with unpleasant ghosts. I think it’s very unlikely that any of them read my work, but one never knows.

I’m a big fan of Metta, the practice of loving kindness meditation. It has saved me, at times, from becoming entangled in sticky globs of anger or fear or bitterness towards a person or people or happenings that seem to have hurt or wronged me, or Bink. There is a process to the practice, a form and shape that starts and ends in the heart center. It begins by directing deeply loving attention first to the Self. Next, there is a gradually expanding circle of invitees, beginning with the loved ones, then the liked ones, then the neutral people, and finally the people (or circumstances) who challenge us the most. Yup, the practice is to open the doors to the most tender and loving place inside. Once the guests arrive, we make them comfortable, and then proceed with blessing them with happiness and peace. It’s not an easy practice, but it can shift the entire energetic relationship we have with life.

Therein lies my answer, I suppose. I can write about Bink’s thorny memories, or my own. I can poem about anything, include anyone. I just need to be willing to accept reactions, and remember to bless each person and circumstance, present or past, who have crossed paths with Bink, or with me. Thank them for the lessons and wish them an honest well-being. And, just maybe, Bink’s opened files, her very vocal recitations and hastily penned recounting of less than pleasant things, can serve as reminder that love can indeed be greater than fear, and the choice to forgive is the very best gift we could give ourselves and each other.

If you’ve read all the way to the end of this run-on piece, terrific! And if you haven’t, that’s fine, too. I’ve just written about not being able to write about Bink. Surely, that counts as writing about her, which means it’s time for tea.

“I write to discover what I know.”
–Flannery O’Connor

PS: Bless you. I forgive you. Be well.

 


~ Read More Posts ~

Kind or Write?

I’ve been finding it challenging to encapsulate life with my daughter, Bink, lately. Hard to shape words for the page ...
Read More

Temporal Tryst

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero, meaning “seize the day while trusting as little as possible on what tomorrow might ...
Read More

Perhaps his name is Three Dollar Bill

The Emissary To the man on Pleasant Street You pace the same stretch of sidewalk every morning, purposefully, in one ...
Read More

Hearing the Ocean in a Tea Cup ( again)

The Sea, the Sea I met the Pacific in 1982, she in her blue-green majesty, and I, in perpetual denim, ...
Read More

Pentimento

pentimento noun pen·ti·men·to | \ ˌpen-tə-ˈmen-(ˌ)tō Definition of pentimento A reappearance in a painting of an original drawn or painted ...
Read More

Tender

Tender. Unless I am speaking of meat, which I mostly don’t, the very word owns its ness, as in, what ...
Read More

Hmmm. I thought I put me down right there

Here is Where All day the wind blew the trees against the house, and my old ears heard the hearty ...
Read More

Dear Future Roadmaker

It's still April, still Autism Awareness month. I'm thinking, as I so often do, of all the people I have ...
Read More

Inch by Inch

Dear small band of loyal readers, I'm pleased to share that my poem, Reset, has placed second in the Light of ...
Read More

April is…

I'm truly grateful to be here to greet another April. It's such a hopeful month, with spring springing up everywhere ...
Read More

Our small eyes

Perchance Perhaps nothing begins or ends, not exactly. The field mouse knows the tall grass to be her world. We ...
Read More

To Sleep, Perchance to Wake and See the Stars

Bink does not sleep solidly through the night, ever. When she was younger it was especially challenging, because she'd wake ...
Read More

Love is a Rendering

Love is a Rendering Telling you how I love you is like trying to find things that haven’t been said ...
Read More

Daisy Bell

I'm showing my age, and proudly, when I ask this—do you remember the sweet old song called Daisy Bell? "Daisy, ...
Read More

There’s no write time

  BLOCKED This morning the mirrorcaught my eyes,and I locked gazewith the creature staring back at me, wondering, as I sometimes do,what ...
Read More

Dreamed some dreams

"A DREAM NOT INTERPRETED IS LIKE A LETTER NOT READ." -- The Talmud Last was a night of serial dreams, ...
Read More

In praise of song

SONG STORIES You open your mouth and out pours a river carrying the rhythms of fluids— blood and lymph, tears, ...
Read More

Receiving the darkness

The word solstice was born from the Latin sol ( sun) and sistere ( to stand still).  Solstice, winter This darker ...
Read More

Morning is mostly a prayer

It's been over a month since I last posted here. The reasons are many, but I guess it all whittles ...
Read More

Arrivals

I'm posting this a day before my daughter's 26th birthday. I've always felt, with certainty, that we were meant to ...
Read More

2 thoughts on “twenty four may

  1. Your beautiful singing/poetry enriches my life, is part of the amazing tapestry of my life like the Trees and the Sky and the Crows. Such a wonderful blessing at this profound bend of the river in this particular journey of life for me. So appreciative that l appreciate it. A companion that arrives without notice like dappled Light.
    Thank You! I have such profound Love for You.

Leave a Reply to Melinda Cancel reply

.