In a Day

My girl wakes up dizzy with purpose, she is three. Milk, toys, cartoons, toilet, toast she can’t decide, starts them all. Its barely 7:30 and the house is already a calamity in her wake. Saturday.
Someone once told me that we are born with agreements with our parents and I have no doubt that my eldest was born for her father. A good guy – my guy – transformed overnight to our man, a great man. This rebirth so quiet & profound, as a mother I admit it is unexpected to be an equal parent. She reaches for him as much as for me, always has. It is unexpected and wonderful. Some women have told me they couldn’t handle it but I can. This is how they are, each other’s. Mine. My people.

I fiddle with her shoes, trying to force them onto impatient little feet. She has grown just like that, in a day, and the back of her messy hair obscures my face, my arms can’t find the end of those long legs. She smells like milk & the salt of last nights swim, just like him.
Watching them both walk out the door hand in hand is still heartwarming. They seem to fit so well together. She turns to flash me that gap tooth grin, just like him.

The baby and I ease into a slower start, I can’t wait for them to bring back coffee so I make my own. Baby moves from one of her sisters toys to the next with such satisfaction and looks at me with a knowing grin, she would never allow this.
I pack a bag, I play a record, I tidy without any conviction, distracted by the luxury of space and security and time.
And suddenly they are back, too suddenly. He is a little white, he grins when he is nervous. Something happened. What. What happened? It’s ok he says and I know it is true because she is here and happy but something happened.
There was a man with a gun. Next door he says, they had to run but I’m not listening anymore, not really. I’m suddenly drunk on the tiny details of her being. Those green eyes that everyone thinks are brown, those nimble little fingers, that brow, always furrow. I’m dizzy with a longing I can’t quite touch, it’s not mine to reach for. They are here and safe and happy I have no right to feel the creeping dread in the pit of my stomach reserved for all the mothers that don’t get to drink in their children’s faces before the world turns black, just like that, in a day.
But I do. I feel it combine with the shame of how much I take for granted, how little I acknowledge my circumstance. I imagine how sweet a scene they made sipping coffee and sharing stories that morning. My people. You feel so safe next to him baby, I bet you weren’t scared at all. This is what all mothers wish for but its just a prayer, safe keeping an illusion that lies in the hands of strangers. To think that a man with a gun & a grudge could rob you of everything just like that, in a day, scrambles my insides.

What if. What if. What if. What if as I watch the news every night. What if on the radio every morning. What if on my computer screen. What if I lost them? What if it was me screaming wretched with grief on the front of the newspaper? Nothing separates me from those women, except a day.

I make an agreement with myself. No bad days. There will be bad moments bad moods bad thoughts bad starts bad nights but In a day I can pick myself up a million times, drink in perspective, kiss your faces and bow down to my circumstance. Luxury of space, security, time.

25 Responses

  • A beautifully written sentiment that articulates the worries which run through so many of our minds. It is unfortunate we live in a time that troubles us with such anxieties, like locating the exit in a movie theatre or taking our eyes off of our children for a moment at park….endless what ifs. Thank you for sharing your perspective this day.

    • It’s such an unfortunate reality of the times but one that I never expected to touch me to be honest. I live in a little surf coast town on the southern coast of Australia, I don’t even lock my door some days much less worry about gun control. It was a harsh reality check, for sure.

  • There is no way that I can ever express how grateful I feel to you or how much I love your writing. I wish I had a million dollars or something made of gold or even just the right thing to say. In all the mess and rush and haze of motherhood, it is an amazing feeling to have any of the big things articulated. Your writing makes me feel understood deep where that doesn’t seem possible. Thank you.

    • That’s the biggest compliment Brandi, thank you! And thanks for taking the time to read – I can’t tell you what it means to me. X L

  • I never comment but I love this site so much and your writing just touches me every single time. Please tell me you have a website? I have to admit I googled you because I’m so in love with your writing but I found nothing! How could this be? 🙂

    • Hi Sabrina,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and saying so, I really appreciate it. I don’t have a website – I’m a little shy and a little lazy! Plus, I really like it here. I plan on contributing as long as Jessica will have me though. When my daughters are a little older I’m going to finish my damn book!

      • What if I’m like the Johnny Carson to your Joan Rivers?! Like, I love you and just want you here and all to myself? And then once you get your own “show” I act like I’ve never even heard your name before?

        Oh well. I’ll own it. But promise to sit on street corners shilling copies of your book, if that’s what it takes.

        xox

          • no no, I had a strong suspicion that would be the case. Only because it’s such an old tale. The kind of old Hollywood gossip I lived for as a kid. But basically, Johnny never spoke to Joan ever again (after her appearing on his show for years, making for some really great television and comic chemistry) once she got her own (successful) gig. It broke her heart, she mentioned it so many times in interviews years after. He was jealous of her talent and it showed. Also, he never reached out to her after her husband’s suicide which was also devastating because she believed they were close that way.

            Anyway, there you have it. My Carson River’s feud round up 😀

          • Can’t lie, initilly I genuinely got Johnny & Joan confused for Regis & Kathy (insert shame face emoticon)

  • Beautiful ! That day ……… I ran into s way that morning, on the way to the wiggles and my friend was in the car with the girls! They tried to keep me in s way – I bolted ! Such a touching piece it healed a piece of me that revisits that morning often thanks – finish your book !!!!! I love the writes on this site 👌

  • Your writing makes me feel it all. (I’m still working to clear my eyes and breathe a full breath in.) So sorry you had such a scary experience with your loves. We all hold tight to each moment these days, trying to push aside the “what if’s.” I can get way too caught up in them, so I’m grateful for reminders like this for “no bad days.” Thank you for sharing. XO.

  • Mmmm…..this is delicious and clear and warm. I love that you’re so okay with your husband having a special place with one of the kids and the reality that all the connections aren’t equal and same and even….there’s something honest but beautiful about those thoughts.

    • My husband had never held a baby before ours, it’s been such a privilege to witness his adoration for our girls X

  • Yes to all of this Luana! Beautiful writing and so scary and true a story for us all. The “what ifs” plague all us mothers and most parents in general, though it seems more so the ma folk. I push them out as well as all the news…it’s kind of hard to function if I don’t.

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