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Passing Through

Sometimes I see my life as a sociological or psychological study, as though I’m an observer and not an active participant. I float around people, close enough to gather data – the girl at the bus stop who has chipped blue nail polish, who bends down close to my children’s faces and bumps their noses with her fingertip, who’s uncle died this morning at 4:30 (though he’s not really her uncle, or he wasn’t, it’s a long story. She told it to me, pausing every few sentences to wave her palms in front of my children, requesting high-fives.)

I watch the parents and children at the bus stop. The woman who wears scrubs and croc’s and stands with her arms crossed, her head in a cloud of smoke. The overweight boy who chases after the tomboy, calling after her every two minutes or so. Notice me. Please.

It’s cold to say, but sometimes I don’t feel like I’m seeing people. They become characters, cliche’s, paragraph’s in short stories I haven’t yet written.

It is a means to make sense of my life, four years now in a trailer park where I am a misfit. I’m not really here, I’m passing through, I’m transient, not worth your time, really. Let me be the fly on your wall and if you wind up in my writing, you’ll never even know. We don’t go in the same circles, we aren’t in the same universe.

But my, aren’t you fascinating.

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My husband had a card and a chocolate bar infused with espresso beans waiting for me when we all piled into the car this morning. The card was beautiful, kind, romantic, and just as I began to choke up, I came to his signature. In big bold letters he announced Thank You for Being Born! Love Vinnie.

Thus comic relief triumphed over a moment of emotional gushiness.

And so began another year of my life. Three kids all heaped into a dented mini-van and a tour of simple pleasures. Lunch at a small locally owned pie shop. A trip to pick up inexpensive serving bowls & some new picture frames. Make-your-own-Sundaes at a one of a kind ice cream parlor.

Playing catch as a family at the park down the street. We did nothing glamorous. We did nothing terribly expensive or out of the ordinary. The children weren’t angelic, we had time outs and diapers to change and dinner to cook (and clean up after) – and yet, the entire day felt magical.

The end of summer is always reflective for me and more so this year than ever. I remember writing the post on my previous blog the day that I turned 28. Then 29. Now, today, 31. I remember writing about The Boss when he was my one and only – when he wouldn’t let himself settle into sleep – when I sang him Jingle Bells as his six month old legs dangled to my waist in mid-July.

I remember writing of my daughter’s birth, of the days leading up to her arrival. How long and endless pregnancy seems when you’re due. How is it possible that she is not only no longer an infant, but no longer this sweet faced toddler?

How quickly the pages turn and here we are:


He starts kindergarten in less than two weeks. How do I start the process of letting go when it feels like I’ve only just begun holding him?

Storytime

It was like Take Your Kids to Work Day today…except we never left the house. Which makes some sense, as most my of work is done here.

And so, because I write (well, I have written in the past and intend to do more in the future) and because I take and edit pictures, we played a fun game of storytelling. First we designed our characters, then the scenery, and finally the plot. The storyline was all up to The Boss.

I’m definitely doing this a few more times with them and then compiling a Blurb.com book of these for them to keep. Ok, and a copy for me too. My kids are funny.

My sister lent me her collection of the ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ series. It’s fluff, admittedly. But fluff is the stuff that’s easy to absorb while my three children are whizzing around and I just want a moment to myself. Or if I lock myself in the bathroom for ten minutes, I can tear through fifty pages. It’s like reading vapid stream of consciousness.

And it might be making me dumber by the moment.

I can’t relate to the main character whatsoever. She lives in London and spends $180 on sandals whilst I haven’t bought/worn proper sandals since prior to going on my honeymoon – eight years ago. And even those were Payless BOGO, and matching pairs in black and brown, for all summer outfits.

The unfortunate side effect to reading is that it prompts me to write. It stands to reason therefore, if I’m reading fluff – fluff is what is bound to come out. And here I sit at quarter to one in the morning on a Friday night, typing rather than sleeping, the confessions of a (reluctant) trailer park mom.

1. In the past 28 hours, I have eaten an entire half gallon of low-fat ice cream.

2. I felt inclined to include that the ice cream was low-fat so as to somehow make it seem less gross that I have, over the course of spoonfuls sneaked here and little mug portions scarfed down there, polished off that whole carton so quickly.

3. I am lactose intolerant. (Ouch.)

4. I can’t be bothered to shower every day, especially if I’m not going anywhere.

——Falling asleep at keyboard. Break for rest.——–

5. It feels like I have dueling banjo’s going on in my brain sometimes, the way I over analyze my life. One tells me I’ve been an idiot in some scenario, the other tells me to chill out.

6. Case in point: while brushing my teeth last night, I had a flush of embarrassment over a comment I made at a St. Patrick’s Day party…you know, way back on St. Patrick’s Day.

7. I wince at least once a day over things that I either say aloud or type online, no matter how mundane, I can make it something worth rehashing and questioning.

8. I just stepped over a half eaten Ritz cracker on my kitchen floor, dropped by Asher this morning. I had the thought to pick it up, but didn’t.

9. As I write this, I’m becoming more and more aware how much more interesting my stream of consciousness would be if I was a single lady living in London with a shopping addiction and multimillionaire boyfriend.

10. Still, if given the choice, I know this would be the life I would choose, trailer park and crackers on the floor and a brain that never stops and all.

From the recliner this afternoon, Vinnie looked over the cover of the book he’s reading and asked, Have I been helpful to you in the attaining of your dreams and goals?

Now, before you gag at the absurd sweetness of this question, know that he asked this with a slight smirk on his face and that the book in his hands was one he’s working through for, well, work. He is in management and the book is about becoming a dream manager (a strange, business related, “you can do it” sort of rah-rah type book.)

I answered the question, from my stooped position, palms filled with cool, soft spaghetti noodles and mashed green beans, cleaning the remnants of dinner. Darling, I live in a trailer park. What girl doesn’t dream of that?

It was a joke, though admittedly a touch snarky.  He graciously shook his head and smiled and ducked back behind the book. But as I rinsed my hands and reached for another paper towel to attack the childrens chairs, I reconsidered my quick attempt at wit. Really, he has been nothing but supportive of my dreams. When I wanted to go to graduate school for writing, just two weeks after The Boss was born – he encouraged me. When I wanted to stay home and write, he encouraged me. When I wanted a new camera to start taking pictures of strangers for very little money, he didn’t miss the opportunity to post my services on his Facebook page and to compliment my every effort.

I imagine sometimes that one day he’ll snap out of it and see me as I see myself. That he’ll roll his eyes and tell me I’m a dreamer, that I’m all fluff and no substance, that yes I can write or photograph or do any number of things well – but that I’m being impractical. That we’re where we are because I don’t do more. Because if I was working a normal job or getting paid a normal wage, we wouldn’t be, well, here.

I know he’s good. I know I am lucky. Though I still find myself content and not, moment-to-moment, feeling as though I’m enough of an encourager and contributor as I am encouraged and contributed to. I am both still and moving, always. Still, I know that he’s satisfied with our life, with me, even when I am not.

And that’s nice.

Now, speaking of fluff and dreams and moments that make the days brighter. I give you my children.

Attempt

Because poetry shouldn’t be reserved for the newly in (or out) of love – or for angst-filled nights between the walls of teenagers bedrooms.

Because it shouldn’t be reserved for the melancholy or the bleak.

Because I have words flitting through my mind at all hours of the day and not enough time to pen them into complete sentences.

Because of all these reasons and more: A Poem.

Or better, An Attempt…
And just as I sat to write the poem to follow the preamble –

Nap time was over.

*sigh*

Prelude

It’s lunch time and my son has tuna fish in his hair. I’m sliding dishes into the washer and writing poetry in my mind.

This, mayonnaise and flaked fish covered boy, should be reason enough to stop with the poetics. Still, I wonder if the end result may prove all the more, that I should safe poetry for the poets.

More to come.

But first, we bathe.