Admittedly over the past few years my self has changed, grown, morphed, with what life has handed us. One small piece of me that i have managed to keep one small piece of self in the main room of our house. In our living room in a white bowl sets my self . All 200+ colors of self. i can pick it up at any moment for anything, grocery lists, monster drawing, pick up sticks. I get to share it myself with my sons in a way i am so priveleged to. On bad days it is simple an undying bouquet of hope and dreams to be.
Walking rapidly, with glances over our shoulders, we head towards the faded red barn across the quiet farmyard. I wince, hoping not to alert anyone as to our destination, as the sharp gravel crunches beneath our feet. Stopping momentarily at the sagging, red and gray door, my cousin and I grasp the massive well-worn metallic handle, shove our shoulders against the splintering wood, and push. The immense door squeals in protest, admitting a narrow space that my belly scrapes as we squeeze into the darkness.
Waiting for our eyes to adjust to the interior darkness, my brother peeks his head out the door one more time, than grunts with effort as he closes the door against unwanted visitors. Our restrained movements echo dully off the low rough beams and hollow stalls that line the squat room. Shuffling along the uneven floor, I follow behind my cousins. Every little crack and pop of hay under my feet makes me flinch as it spills out on the floor from the sweet-sour smelling stalls. My nose tickles as the disturbed hay and dust float up.
Aaron stops ahead and shimmies to his right. I wait patiently next to my cousin, Ruth, as she stares intently at the crevice between the two barns. She waits a minute, than follows her brother into the space left by some long-gone builder. I follow next, my shoulder blades, stomach and cheeks scraping against the rough wood as my body twists sideways into the space. Ruth’s body begins to move upward beside me. I wait a breath, than follow, hand over hand, gripping the old forgotten ledges on the side of the barn. Above, I see the dim soles of Ruth’s shoes as her calves disappear into the darkness above. As we emerge, one by one, out of the dark tight space below into the cavernous upstairs.
Long-gone relatives’ furniture hangs from the rafters like bizarre christmas ornaments. Light floats down through the open dusky space, hay particles float, sparkling, like a dusty wonderland. I walk across to a small worn wooden chest containing, a 20 year-old firecracker, assortment of pens and pencils, various notepads, and a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, remnants of one of our parent’s childhood. I kneel down and pull open a drawer, emitting a skreech as I struggle to free it. Inside lies a wire-bound notebook, which I grab, its pages rippling up in the heat. Settling on the smooth worn boards, uneven from years of hot Augusts and freezing Februarys, the silence is finally lifted. “ Any new business for the N.S.S.S.A.?” ask Aaron as the weekly meeting of the Not-So-Secret Spy Association begins.
when a little two year old comes to the gate by the door of his bedroom, when he know he should be sleeping, rouses his mommy off the couch to tuck him back in bed. Boy goes ” Mommy, they falled, pick them up.” Mommy sees the two popsicle stick people that she and the little boy made together today and picks them up. She hands them to the little boy saying “Now you have Mommy and A.” Little boy goes ” Mommy cuddles A.” It melts the mommys heart that he is playing with two popsicle sticks (technically 5 since we have a whole family and the Iron Giant.) out of the whole room of toys he has, it makes his mom’s heart beat faster that it was him and his mommy clenched tight in his chubby toddler fist. Our family has gone through a lot in the past year, lots of changing, lots of growing and lots of trying to fit everything in. I have gotten stressed and hard on my husband who is my lighthouse, and the kids have subsequently suffered. In a decision of my love for art, making, creating and family. My family won. I packed up my fabric, i packed up my books and I put them away.. for awhile. I know I could do it all, but I don’t want to, I want to love what I am doing while I am doing it… I love my family. Every crooked toe of them. Its not gone forever, just scaled back, like a pair of pajama pants for a boy who is to close to wearing floodwater pants to bed. A little sketch of quickly fading baby legs. Mending one more hole in my husbands favorite work jeans… This family fell a little bit… but we are picking it back up. I am still here…just growing.
named Archie. And his beautiful balled up baby fists.