I’ve been devouring this book titled “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” and it dawned on me that I, too, am telling lies.  Lying doesn’t always mean being untruthful in my words — sometimes a lie is in the untold.  

I omit parts of our history, preserving the essence only superficially. It’s unfair to you – my reader – that you are subjected to this euphamistic life story.  But it might also be unfair to include some of the harsh criticism that I feel people in our lives often deserve.  I choose not to share some of my struggles with those I love because to do so might pervert opinion. People in my life cannot defend themselves here and to share my slanted take on their actions without offering them chance for defense would irreversibly taint your view.

There are three sides to every story- yours, mine, and the truth.

How telling is that statement?

I’ve been grappling with presenting more clarity. I want to be transparent.  I know that part of my legacy is within this blog.  The moments I share, the conversations I retell become forever preserved when I hit publish. Perhaps that’s why I sometimes subconsciously [or purposely?] elect to defer to images. You may not have the full context, but I can hope that your inferences are accurate. And even if the picture skews reality a little bit, I’ve tried to preserve our lives beyond mere memory.

Heritage’s “Family Harvest” event

A beautiful day met us for the annual free community celebration of fall. The church (which isn’t ours) flyers the neighborhoods with invitations to enjoy food, games, and drink at their grounds. w IMG4184 w IMG4217  w IMG4313 w IMG4223

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Return to Watkins Park

Carousel rides are the best.

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Especially when we sneak away to enjoy one…

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Ri, however, doesn’t like the moving animals. But with Chi, she’ll try them out.

The parting of the sea

I remember it clearly: Mel handed my mom a box on Christmas morning. Tav and she were “making rounds” to their list of must appear on holidays folk. Mom opened her box with a mixture of trepidation and excitement – the kind that comes from not knowing what natural reaction will read on her face as she discovered her carefully selected gift chosen by her son’s wife.  And as she pulled out a variety of baby things,  her eyebrow raised in perplexity. She read the accompanying note as Mel swelled with happiness next to her.

I guessed, easily, from the unfolding events that the couple was expecting – my brother’s first child, though he’d been a father in so many ways for years.  I think I left the room, then, settling in to watch television while my parents processed the news. Tav came in shortly thereafter,  “Mel and I are having a baby,” he said.  “Congratulations, ” I replied. And an odd, uncomfortable vibe filled the room.  Then, after less than half hour’s tolerance, they left for other visits.

I don’t know how to describe my feelings about it all.  There’s been this pervasive distancing between my closest brother and I for the last five years.  I’m almost certain it started when his first marriage dissolved at what I believe to be an onset of unspoken mental illness in his ex. 

He pulled away from me even as I rekindled my relationship with hubs – maybe to allow this new man space in my life, or maybe to sort out where his own life was going. 

And somewhere in our separate quests to find love, we seemed to let go of that bond that held us close regardless of physical distance.

I suppose I can point toward a closet of secrets that has been steadily filling as we’ve grown older. No shady, sordid truths within the confines, but rather, a build up of omissions about life events that family – especially siblings – would share.  We stopped confiding, stopped dreaming together of what we most hoped for in life.  And what has remained is superficial conversation.

It’s been over a year since that Christmas.

We never spoke of what happened to the child they’d created together.  One minute I’m calling Mel for permission to get baby a Tigger play suit (in honor of Tav), and the next Mom is saying the ultrasound came with unexpected news.  I know my brother grieved, but I was never made privy to his now very private adult life.

Near Thanksgiving I got a text. It simply said, “It’s a boy.”  But he’d never said prior that they were again expecting. News was sparse, and I wasn’t welcomed into the months of anticipation – of dreaming possibilities – that Mel so readily shared with her family and friends.  

There’s been this she can’t hold water cast I’ve been dealt. And the privacy veil about my brother’s whole life has grown thick. Don’t post… don’t mention… don’t speak…  Essentially, don’t feel like this is your happiness to share.

Mini Vaykay

Williamsburg, we couldn’t stay away.
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the return to the working world, day 2

It’s the end of a bad day. The stress of my responsibility sits heavy on my shoulders. Inadequacies creep into my efforts. I’m ill equipt to control these tenacious personalities of our future. I doubt, yet again, my abilities to complete my task, to prepare them for the next level and beyond.

At home, my children are short tempered. Their bickering escalates as they vie for positions of their own creation. Former roles deemed stolen by our newest prompt these new volitilities. And she, unaware, demands attention.

I shirk on duties. Fell asleep early, the smell of amaretto on my nightstand, a drink left untouched. Waking up just in time to send my babies to bed, I realize I’ve missed too much today.

What was that she was so excited to tell me? Oh yeah, she loves her new reading group (the teacher is less strict, more entertaining). She’s still recounting her middle school field trip – the French bread pizza fresh from the oven, the expert teacher slated to teach her same gender classes, the novelty of different choices in electives (drama class!).

And he sought my assistance several times. He entered timidly, scoped the baby’s condition, and having determined she’s fine, made requests. Anything to divert my focus to him. “Mom, can you feed me a little bit? My arm is tired from all the up and down.” He’s sought a lot of assistance for things he did with confidence independently.

But now they are asleep. I missed their prayers. They skipped goodnight hugs and kisses. I sneak into rooms, whisper ‘I love you,’ blow kisses toward the bunk bed sleeper and arrange blankets for little man below before kissing his forehead softly.

Ri needs to eat. My chest aches in reminder. I change her diaper, adjust her night sleeper. I find myself watching her face, muscles shifting from smiles to pouts. Her eyes flicker, hands never rest long, and fingers flex. I hold her even though I know I’m creating dependency. In my arms, she relaxes into deeper sleep, breath slowing as her chest rises and falls rhythmically. I breathe in her scents, rub her nose with mine, smooth her hair. She snores softly.

Guilt again pangs. I need to extend myself further. My babies miss me. They still need to know my devotion, my adoration. I’m still their Mommy.

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