cafe mama

finding magic every day

love it forward, of mantras and madness . may 25 . 2008

Though I have healed over from my anger, I have calmed myself and found the grace to read Trains and Mama's Home two times each, to hug and cuddle and say a heartfelt bedtime prayer, it takes hours to find that quiet space in my brain.

And it's quiet that I need, that I long for, only in quiet can I translate the madness that fills my brain into something more useful. To find beauty (or, in its absence, usefulness) in the trials that fill my day. I sit for a long time in the mostly-dark, feeding Monroe and eating cookie after hippy walnutty cookie. In the bedroom where Jonathan is sleeping, vintage Talking Heads plays on NPR, and as I read a portion from Momfulness, crying a little (from my emotional state or the words, I'm not sure), I am finding my new mantra.

It's something like, "give the love I need" or maybe "be the nurture." To put it in movie-speak, "love it forward." Tonight, I've been more than angry, for the nth day in a row Jonathan has failed to put my needs on his priority list. I had lunch in the oven, this amazing lasagne I'd made entirely from scratch, rolling and cutting the pasta yesterday while Truman "hepped," picking kale and thyme and sage out of the garden, squishing that fantastic Sweet Briar Farms hot Italian sausage out of its casing (the sausage I'd bought just for him, I'd have picked the sweet stuff for the boys), sprinkling with the mineral-rich sea salt I knew would be our family's savior. It had been in the oven, warmed up from last night, for three hours when he'd finally called, I'd eaten my fill and turned it off. I'd rehearsed the speech again I'd given the night before, and that morning too, about how my way of giving love to my family was this food, how when he missed that opportunity, when he bought ice cream from Plaid Pantry for Everett, it was like rejecting me over and over.

[I have removed paragraphs from this post on the request of its subject, perhaps that is part of the love that is needed.]

When I finally come to my realization, my new place, my custom mantra, I do not know what it is that has brought me here. Oddly, despite nine months, a year?, with Everett's emotional struggles, six months of a husband on a roller coaster, an army full of friends and child care and professional therapy with advice and care, in the end it is simple and quiet and entirely in the course of things. Give the love I need, I need to give it to them, I need to not ask for my own back first. I finish cleaning the kitchen and the living room and the front porch and the closet, it is not recognizable from a few days ago, what was chaos is ... presentable.

dishes draining in my kitchen
Every day, in ways quiet and flawed and incomplete, I am working to be the love I need, I am working to set an example of order and loving attention and praising the good part of our lives. In between my own emotional storms, I am believing the best of my husband and children, I am reminding them of the wonderful love they have, I am taking an extra 10 minutes to read Narnia or lie on the floor giggling or to look into someone's eyes and listen.

Be the love I need. Say it over and over, and maybe someday, it will be truly complete and completely true.

paying the bills

read my previous post . in my garden, the laborers are plenty, but the harvest is few . may 20 . 2008