mothra’s day massacre

here’s a funny story
some years back
i noticed my ex
burying something
in the dumpster
knowing he never took out the trash
my curiosity was piqued
so i went
dumpster diving
for mother’s day…
turned out
his stalker girlfriend
had left a mother’s day bouquet
of tulips
on our doorstep for me
unlike all the weird little notes
& gifts she left for him,
he saw fit to throw the tulips
in the trash…
that might be
the only time
i got flowers for mother’s day….

okay…not funny “haha”…more like funny in a really really painful way.
mother’s day & i have a terrible track record.
with a husband who said on the first mother’s day after my giving birth to his son, “why would i get her anything; she’s not my mother?”
with a mother who didn’t seem to know the first thing about mothering…but who was always happy to complain, criticize, & be cruel….
with my own conflicted feelings on being a mom….
it’s a fucked up day for me.
yet…i caught myself buying a necklace for myself…i think it was supposed to be a surprise, for mother’s day. so maybe i am starting to heal?
maybe.
a celtic trinity knot necklace. a protection symbol. with green amber ( my favorite.)
it’s nice to know that i remembered to get me something nice for mother’s day.

the image is a card i sent to my little sister last year for mother’s day…it was the closest i could get to saying “happy mother’s day.”

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mother grim

open a beer
or open a vein
whiskey shot to the head
or gunshot
you don’t know
you don’t know me
& how it feels
sometimes
to try
every day
to be a mother
to these ones
every day
every day
every
day
i make this decision
bag of wine
or bag over the head?
relish these years
when they are little
they say
kids grow up so fast
you don’t want to miss it
they say
miss it?
i am deep as fuck in it
living it
despite myself
every day

have you ever heard of “highly spirited children?” yeah. i have four of those.
they are wonderful, beautiful, brilliant, funny, explosive, screamy, dramatic little things. i love them dearly, but sometimes i find my thoughts wandering over to the dark side.
right now they are with their dad–who again–challenged our placement agreement.
whenever he does, i examine my determination to keep being their primary caretaker–to make sure i am not doing it for selfish or controlling reasons.
i discovered that even though i sometimes think i am a crap-ass mom…i completely believe it is best for our children to have me as a primary caretaker. even though i sometimes feel i am going insane with the stress of being a single mom & of raising four strong-willed children, i think i owe them that little bit of stability that being with me gives them.
i have been there for them since day one. i have a commitment to them. so, sure, sometimes i think dark thoughts, but hopefully–expressing those dark thoughts will help me work out those demons so i can be a better mom.
that’s important to me, being a good mom.
not a traditional or conventional mom, but the mom they need me to be. a crazy-ass mom who (most the time) can roll with the punches.

ps. i don’t drink box wine or else i would have known to call it box wine not bag of wine. oh well….

the turkey stands alone

yesterday
all of my livestock went to live
with a very nice red-haired farmer
who knows what the fuck he is doing
& isn’t just winging it
like some kind of off-kilter homesteading maniac…
i think i learned
many many things
from my livestock experiment 
(not to be confused with my motherhood experiment)
although some of what i learned
is very similar to my motherhood
experiment…
yesterday
my yard emptied out
no more ducks…chickens…goats…or sheep
just the turkey stands alone
and i feel 
a lot
sad
but also
a little
relieved.

i’m telling the minions…it’s a new chapter…a new episode of our lives. change is not necessarily a bad thing. change can be good. really really good. 
but it’s still sad.

meanwhile, i have gotten a little done over on my patreon page.

and a birthday card & a patron card

meanwhile….

this is my playing around with a bamboo pen. i did it awhile back, but realized i had never posted it. i thought it looked kinda cool…so.

meanwhile,
my day is filled
with my day job of artist
on demand
for some
demanding
children,
fists full of magic markers,
shouting out scenes
for me to draw.

color me goofy

i cannot get anything done today. seems i am chained to my drawing desk. doing art on demand so misha–& now poppy–can have pages to color. this is what i get for refusing to buy coloring books….

so when i suggested that instead of drawing me & dusty riding a swan, i could draw poppy & misha on a swan, poppy shouted, “i get to be in front!”
misha refused to compromise.
so i drew me & her dad–and i made sure that i got to be in front.
ha!



scribbles & doodles & coloring pages

as i drink my tea
forsaking the coffee
(which taunts me
yumminess
paired
with
addiction
& achy kidneys)
i eat my toast
with jam
and referee
squabbles
while considering
my own scribbles
an itch at the back
of my mind
something undiscovered
something untapped
i can feel
something
wonderful
if i can just get my pen
& brain
to work as one.

i was watching flowers on netflix, a delightfully dark british sitcom. the patriarch of the family flowers writes dark children’s books about trolls. the illustrations immediately drew me in. so i started doodling some trolls of my own to see if i could.
today i found this other doodle on the brown paper that i use in between sheets of my journal to keep the ink from leaking onto blank pages. i doodle on it sometimes, but hadn’t looked at it in awhile. i found this drawing appealing in the same way as the troll illustrations.
however, i am not sure where to go with either one of them. so i guess i will just keep messing around until i figure it out.

meanwhile, i have become misha’s artist on demand for coloring pages. she had me do two more this morning and has requested a mom & dad dragon with baby dragons after i do a picture of myself & her dad riding a swan.
i asked if the swan could be flying while i am pushing her dad off of the swan, and she began pretend crying & ran from the room.
sigh.
the things i do for my minions (i don’t want to be near that motherfucker even in illustration. i can barely look at the illustration for “absolution” from a few days back. ack! but now i have to ride a goddamn swan with him….)

ps. unlike her brothers, misha is not colorblind. just to be sure, i asked her about her colored page, “what color is the grass?” she replied, “orange.”
& i said, “awesome.”
my girl.

five years later…

excerpt from my short story “jesus fingers”

You feel like you are inviting badness into your life every time you mutter “the little fucker” to yourself and every time you regret not killing it when you had the chance—every time you think about it just disappearing from your life and how easy that would make everything. You can’t help fantasizing though because everything just seems so hard now. So fucking monumentally stressful.

And your body that you were anxious to have as your own again—where is it now? And the days you were anxious to have as your own again? How many more years before that happens now? Five? More? With number three you kept thinking, “Just get through the toddler years this one last time and there won’t be any more toddler years to deal with. Just get through the breastfeeding one last time. Then I won’t have to worry about what I do to my own body—it will be mine again.” But now you sink into despair, realizing it will be even longer. Another baby to soothe to sleep. Another toddler to watch with an eagle eye. Another toilet training. Another kid’s meal to buy if you can actually afford to go out ever again.

five years later

i am defeated
by a five year old
he crushes me
so easily
maybe because
not much of me is
left
he destroys me
so easily
screaming & screaming & screaming
until i am
lying
on the floor
sobbing
i am nothing
as i wish
silently
reverently
that i had never
become
a
mother.

ps.
writing both of these pieces, my short story and this free verse, it helped me to deal with the overwhelming anguish around my conflicted feelings about motherhood.
i wouldn’t trade poppy for the world, but that doesn’t mean sometimes i just don’t want to be a mom.

freckles

as the sun rises
i wake up
to find poppy & the puppy
already awake
as the chores wait
i lay in bed & listen
to these early morning musings
by poppy
as he imagines that the puppy
has feet
like a person
insists
really
that he had made a potion
to give people feet
to puppies
i love the bedtime & early morning
musings
of these little people
who enchant
my life.

just messing about. this reminded me of a poem i wrote about iggy when he was four and as we were cuddling & reading bedtime stories he told me he wanted to eat a live pigeon .
if i could just do all my momming while laying about in bed.

my poem for iggy:

pirates in disguise
“they’re made from recycled money,” says the woman
handing out pencils at the bank.
“recycled money,” i repeat.
“that’s cool,” i tell him.
“noooo,” he insists. “recycled bunnies.
she said ‘bunnies,’
‘cause the bones are hard like pencils.”
when it is bedtime he tells me he wants to eat a chicken
boil off the feathers and eat it.
i remind him that he has eaten a chicken.
“oh,” he says. “i mean a seagull.
i want to eat a live seagull.”
he asks me to dye his mohawk purple.
he asks me to sharpen it when the hair on his head grows too long.
he changes his clothes many times a day
just like he changes his mood.
he is fierce & he is powerful.
only four years old;
he is mighty & the world belongs to him.
i know he is mine because i see
the stubborn
feisty
rebellious
warm & fuzzy
miracle that he is.
we cuddle together & tell each other secrets
like
i love him all the way to the moon & back
& he loves me for all the sharks in the ocean
& sometimes i feel halloween is the only time we show who we are
every other day
we are pirates in disguise.

misha’s birth day

i know another reason why i’m feeling warm & fuzzy towards dusty right now. when we were married, i surmised that if we were ever trapped somewhere, dependent on working together to get to safety, we would die.

my observation was true of every time i needed him to be there for me.
except one…misha’s birth.

misha is my third child. my first two were c-sectioned because my body likes to take more than 42 weeks to perfect a baby–& doctors do not like to let a woman go much past 40.
so, twice, i let them cut the baby out of me because they said that it was for the best.
when i got pregnant with misha, i could not bear the thought of another c-section.
so i fired all the doctors.
problem was, none of the midwives in madison would support my birth because i had been deemed too risky.
i had never had a vaginal birth. i was 40 years old & prone to long pregnancies. these were my crimes.
misha is the one who suffered for  them.
i found an outlaw midwife who lived one state over & would travel to me when i went into labor.
second problem…i didn’t know what labor looked like because doctors had never let me get that far.
by the time i was certain i was in labor–& not wasting the midwife’s time–misha was on her way out.
she came out fast. relentlessly fast. none of the stages of labor i had read up on were observed by misha as she rocketed out of me.
there was one doula present and dusty.
we were in a kiddie tub on the fourth floor of a 30 person cooperative.
when misha was born, she was having trouble breathing. she probably just needed a few puffs of air to get her going, but none of us knew what to do. by the time the mom down the hall called her midwife to come help, misha was showing signs of seizure.
the paramedics took her away.
the NICU kept her for 12 days.
they told dusty & me, best case scenario: misha has coordination issues & learning disabilities.
worst case scenario: cerebral palsy or epilepsy
i cried so hard as they said that. my heart broke. it was all my fault. if i had just been unselfish enough to get the fucking surgery…to have another fucking c-section…misha would have been fine.
i waited for dusty to blame me. he blamed me for everything. it was always my fault.
this time he would be right.
except
he didn’t blame me. he told me it wasn’t my fault. he zoomed me around the hospital in my wheeled chair–being silly & sweet–as i was still too wrecked to walk much after the birth. he watched the boys while i kept vigil at her side. he came to be with her when i was forced to go home & sleep.
he took care of us.
he was there for me.
seven years later, just as i would remember & be traumatized by a bad event, the good things that happened feel as fresh as yesterday.
and i miss that version of dusty.

(in the NICU…& one year later when the neurologist said, “oh…nevermind.”)

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