In which I watch myself letting in the love

Oh sister, my sister. Come sit on my couch under the old white comforter while I stroke your belly and feel for the baby to kick. Come sit on my couch under the old white comforter, where I can rest my head on your soft shoulder, be the child for once. Come sit with me.

I am so attached to the pearls on the string, the beads, the jewels, the narrative, the past, every part of the conversation folds into the next, it is all iterative, cumulative, cumulus clouds now evaporating overhead as I gaze.

The Universe is showing me something this week. Something about girlfriends, friendship, sharing, receiving, opening, growing. Something about reaching out and responding, making the effort, meeting for coffee, snuggling on the couch, laughing about the absurdities and the rage and the judgment and the tears and yes, the laughter.

It has been a full week. I watch myself become The Impatient Mother, inexplicably rushed and tense, terse and agitated, riled, wound up, short-tempered, wtf?! I watch myself push, pull, power-struggle through the mornings and the evenings, a steady stream of commentary running through my head like the train schedule in the biggest of stations, constantly switching out its departures and arrivals, the letters and numbers falling, changing, in constant motion, hard to pin down yet predictable at the same time. I watch myself react – to my mother, to my mother-in-law, to my husband, to my kids, to myself, to the checkout lady at K-Mart, to Christmas, to traffic, to everything.

And I watch myself soften. In yoga last night, after twenty, maybe thirty minutes of vinyasa practice, finally seeing myself, seeing that I have a choice, and then making the choice, stepping into it, half-moon, opening, balancing, strong, quiet, steady breath.

Watch myself learn, learn by sharing and connecting, by having coffee with friends who are women, who are mothers and wives. Watch myself change, shift, grow. I saw it this morning with Aviva, when I said, You know what, V? I think you’re old enough to be in charge of your own medicine in the morning (nothing major, but it’s a daily dose). It’s no fun for either of us, me nagging and hovering, setting timers and taking away movies, and you know why your medicine helps your body. So what do you think? From now on, it can be your responsilibity to drink it. Yes, I watched myself this morning, excited to try out some of the ideas and strategies gleaned from sitting and talking and being with other mamas, friends. And I saw her, saw her grow a little in that moment. Saw her empowered, saw us connecting, each of us feeling seen.

I watch myself with Greg, with the clock ticking, the minutes passing: thought he’d be home by now, five, ten, twenty, forty-five minutes ago. I feel my heart bang against my breastbone and hear my mind kicking into gear, ready for a war I’m afraid to wage and don’t really want to fight anyway, trying to breathe and stay and let go and forgive and appreciate what kind of day he has had, how hard he is working. Et cetera.

It is hard for me to say anything when I’m upset or angry. I am working on it, over years, over a lifetime. Knowing that the world won’t end, my marriage won’t end, I won’t die, things will return to harmony, if I show my anger. These are old, old stories. Practically mythic.

Anyone who knows us knows that Greg and I live and die by talking, processing, communicating. It doesn’t always happen effortlessly or immediately, but it happens eventually – this much I can count on, and if a day comes when I can’t, that will signal a major development, or devolution maybe, in our marriage. One of the things I know for sure is that we don’t throw the radioactive waste in the backyard. We discard it properly, safely, thoroughly. (Can you compost that?) But when it’s me carrying it, it sometimes takes days for me to show him, open my mouth and expose myself. Old fears, never any shortage of practice.

Stories. We tell them, they tell us. We become them, they ensnare us. We step back and see, see oh yes, how obvious it is now, that cell door I’ve been pounding on wasn’t even locked.

Where was I? Where am I?

Here, here, here. Hineni, I am here. Oh! I am loved. It surprises me everytime, hearing those three words – “I love you.” It doesn’t surprise me when I hear them from Greg or my kids or my mother or father or sisters. It surprises me when I hear them from friends, from girlfriends, women in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, friends from far and wide, near and far, online and in town, old and new, friends in Chicago and Maine, Massachusetts and Washington, Burlington and beyond, friends singing into my voice mail, messages that end with that surprising, “I love you.”

Really? Me? You?

At a certain point, let’s face it, in the face of so much mounting evidence, doubt escapes the prison block along with the stories I was so bound up in, the stories that were utimately escapable, like Houdini in handcuffs, a straitjacket with a strategy. And I know that it is true: I am loved. Bella loves me. Nyarkoa loves me. Jennifer loves me. Jessi loves me. Maybe you even love me. And you know what? Get this. It’s beautiful. I love you, too.

11 thoughts on “In which I watch myself letting in the love

  1. Holly says:

    well, how could i not love you, my faraway, never-met-before friend? we speak the same language and we both listen with the same ears. thank you, over and over again.

    Like

  2. bella says:

    oh I DO love you.
    and am feeling, reading this beautiful writing, how grateful I am to be one of these women, this circle of love.
    wishing this morning I could come curl up on your couch, sip coffee, do nothing at all but be, with you.

    Like

  3. Beth P. says:

    indeed you are loved, sweet jena–
    and…here’s the secret…
    you are love. nothing more or less.
    Sometime i’ll tell you the dream i had that showed that to me in living color…during a time of huge transition. I’ve never forgotten it, and indeed it is the central message of my life. I am love–the unpacking of that just flows and flows.

    So…if I am love, then you are love! Wowsers and flying doodlesnitzers.

    Sweetness of the most amazingly ordinary day of your life, to you…

    Like

  4. RocketMom Cheryl says:

    Thank you.

    What a gift to be able to watch yourself. Rarely am I self aware until emotions are thundering a storm in my head and no one knows where the lightening may strike.

    So hard, so hard for me to connect. So hard for me to say those words. I am so concerned with honesty, and how to precisely name my feelings that it hinders me. What should I say? You show me that it is easy.

    And still my mind struggles to add justifications, reasons for saying something so profound.

    You are beautiful. I love you. Those words are enough.

    Like

  5. GailNHB says:

    What a beautiful post, beautiful woman. What a joy to read your words, noddiing energetically. I hear myself and see myself doing the same. Rushing through meds and meals and wanting my husband to show up when he says he will and wishing I were bold enough to say what I feel as I feel it. But gently too.

    I want to spend more time with girlfriends, face-to-face, online, on the phone, but don’t carve out enough time to do it. To indulge it very well. I ought to start with spending time alone with me!!!

    And the love thing, that is so big! Why is it so hard to hear? We love to say it, but flinch when we hear it… Hmm… I’d like to join the throng in saying, “I love you. Thank you for your words and your spirit. And thank you for Hineni – for being there. And here.”

    Like

  6. Lisa says:

    Yeah. You’re right. Kindred stuff indeed.

    LOVE.

    I am loved.
    You are loved.
    I love you.

    What we all need soooo much more of – on a moment by moment basis.

    (And, now that I think about it – I keep your brochure – with that very word visible – LOVE – on my desk at work. It sits next to my computer – in front of a SARK print. So, I literally see it each day I’m at my office!)

    Like

  7. Phyllis Sommer says:

    i thank you for the reminder to watch myself just as i watch the others in my world….

    someday we’ll have coffee together and i will buy you a decadent chocolate something to thank you for these posts. not that it will at all cover it. but you know…

    Like

  8. JustJen says:

    Ah, what a wonderful post to read on this wonderful day. I have many things I’d like to say in response to this post, but I feel that I couldn’t express exactly what I feel. I do feel loved, though, thank you.

    Like

  9. deb says:

    “It is hard for me to say anything when I’m upset or angry. I am working on it, over years, over a lifetime. Knowing that the world won’t end, my marriage won’t end, I won’t die, things will return to harmony, if I show my anger. These are old, old stories. Practically mythic.”

    Me too. I was afraid of my own anger, afraid to speak it, unaware that love can withstand mere anger.

    Like

  10. She She says:

    “…we don’t throw the radioactive waste in the backyard.”

    I love this. And, yes, you can compost it. And beautiful things grow!

    Wonderful post. Thank you.
    Oh yeah, I love you, too.

    Like

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