they pay to kiss your feet

since there's no one else around, we let our hair grow long and forget all we used to know. then our skin gets thicker from living out in the snow.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

today is your birthday

You don’t always know the right things to say. You sometimes forget to call me back or to call me at all. You’re usually busy with work or life or God or friends or painting a room or taking a walk, and I’m not always a priority. I never have been. I guess I was early on. — before Evan and Amy. I’d like to think that for two and a half years, I was the light in your eye and the object of your affection. But then, siblings came, and you had to raise them, too. And so, you did. You always read to us and taught us things and made us do math and eat our carrots until we were blue in the face. You especially enjoyed reading novels by Mark Twain aloud. You wanted us to appreciate his economy of words. We’d lay there, in Evan’s big bed on a spring evening and listen to you re-read sentence after sentence marveling at his mastery of the craft. You wanted us to marvel, too. I was 10. I was the oldest. We hardly marveled. Instead, we rolled our eyes when you asked us to look up a big word in the dictionary, and we drifted off into dreamland or day dreamland. We wanted to be anywhere but there. The spring breeze was calling. We wanted to play.

I hung up on you last Tuesday. I called you because I needed you to listen, to hear me. I didn’t need you to tell me anything other than the fact that you were there for me. I needed you to put down your scrub brush and to give me your full attention. I needed my mommy when I called. Instead, I got my mother, a rushed, somewhat bitter woman — a woman who couldn’t put her scrub brush down to fully listen to what her oldest daughter was saying through tears and an angry voice.

I kept telling you that I was hurting, and that I just needed you to listen. I kept telling you to stop preaching at me — that I knew everything you said was true but that right then, it didn’t matter. I wanted you to ask me to coffee or to lunch. I wanted you to drop what you were doing and come to my rescue like my best friend does or like Nick does or like half of the people I know would. You let me down, and I hung up on you. I haven’t talked to you since.

Today is your 51st birthday. I left you a voicemail. I’m not sure I can muster the courage to do much more. Every time I try to get close to you, you put up another wall or refuse to stop doing another task that you could continue in a minute. You’re needy and broken, but don’t you see that we all are.


  • At 8:11 AM, Blogger Kat said…

    You've had some incredibly honest posts up as of late, which illustrates a strength that you should be proud of. It's also one of the most important steps you can take toward acceptance or change. Good luck! Know you've many people wishing you only the best as you learn to sail over these hurdles.

  • At 1:15 PM, Blogger Faith said…

    I had this happen once with my mom. I called her once to talk about something that was getting me down, not looking for answers or advice or anything other than a shoulder, really. And she told me, "I don't have any room to worry about your problem, Faith. Sorry." I was stunned into silence.

    She died in 1998 - she was 53. (Almost 54...she died a month before her birthday.) We were finally in a good place in our relationship at that point, and I think I was one of the only kids to be at complete peace with her when she passed, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

    But DAMN I miss her sometimes.

    I agree with Kat...your honesty has been really warming and real and lovely to read. Even though it sucks that you're hurting. I hope things get better for you soon!

  • At 1:29 PM, Blogger Pensive Girl said…

    Thanks to both of you.


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