Sunday, July 13, 2008

Missin' Mina

Mina's terribly homesick. She's been calling me a lot since I left her in New York. This is the first year she's been like this. When she was younger, she would silently go with any flow, but as she's shaping into a true kid who feels empowered to express herself, she's become, among so many other wonderful things, a little more clingy. This is also the longest we've been apart from each other. When she calls me crying, I have to ride a parent's razor's edge; I want to comfort her and make her feel better, but I don't want to give her any indication that where she is -- with family who love and cherish her -- isn't a safe and fun place to be. So we talk on the phone for a good while everytime. I'll talk about anything. I sound chipper and excited and I let her talk about anything she wants to talk about and eventually her tone gains levity. I can hear when she's reached manageable ground. One morning she called and read to me her required summer reading right over the speaker phone. Some nights, I sing to her all our regular good-night songs.

It makes me miss her more. I don't like to hear her worried or to the point of missing me where she feels alone. I felt chronic, profound loneliness as a kid, and I know she's in a much different situation than I was, and usually during the day she's having a great time with the family, it's just that I'd do backflips to alleviate any trace of that from her voice. I usually do. I don't mind.

Once when I was eight, my mother had gone out for the evening and I had settled myself into bed with the TV blaring loud enough to drown out the silence that blasted through the rest of the house. I felt ok when the TV was on. She'd be home soon, I believed. Then the fuse to the TV blew. I stared at the blank granite-gray TV screen for many, long minutes. It was then just me and the lamp and the four walls and the dead TV. The silence took over and panic crept up. It was the only time I thought to call for help because usually when things went wrong when I was alone, I'd just fix it or figure it out. I called my grandmother, Mama, and told her what had happened. She lived too far to come over, but she asked me if I still had that puzzle book she had given me last Christmas. I did. She talked to me for a while; her voice was chipper and sweet, and she would have done a backflip for me not to sound so alone and panicked. And I felt so much better, even after we hung up. I did puzzles until I fell asleep, with the lamp still on and the TV still dead.

I forgot to show you my favorite photo from when I was in New York. It's on my Flickr but I gotta put it here too.

Don't you just kill yourself to make someone laugh like that? We were at Cafe Blossom, the new one on the Upper West Side, and I had been taking photos of food and of the girls. We were goofing around at the table, as usual, and I said something that just struck Mina funny enough to laugh like this. I pushed the button on the camera that was still in my hand. Maybe one of my favorite photos ever.

So, I miss my girl badly. I miss them both a lot. Maya and I are used to the summer separation, but Mina and I are still getting adjusted.


Marigoldie said...

Love to you.

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

your girls are so lucky to call you their mom. your love for them is so evident and so beautiful.

much love to all of you.

Marigoldie said...

I returned to tell you that I've been thinking about you for a couple of days, about your skill at being a grownup. It is easy to slip into comforting but unhealthy habits based on past pain, but you don't seem to do it. You push past it and do the right thing for the ones you love. That is great and it inspires me. Sometimes I worry I'll always be a wounded child.

madness rivera said...

Thanks so much DGMGV. I'm very lucky too.

Thank you, M. I think I'm lucky here too, though it has been hard work too at times. But I'm lucky in that I always felt like I was in the eye of the storm, and never part of the storm. Even as a kid. I'm not saying it didn't catch up to me. I spent angry years at the end of my teens, and then I just started to see my kid self as "that girl." I know we've talked about this before, but it made me disconnect; separate my kid self from my adult self and it made me feel more for that girl; to take care of her. The protectiveness and nurturing that I feel towards that girl is how I feel towards my own girls, and how I DON'T want them to feel, or any child. Or any adult that was once a that girl. Obviously it's not always as deep as that and there are times when they frustrate me and I have to stop and examine how I'm feeling or I'll stop before words fly out of my mouth that shouldn't be said. Dilegently caring for them puts finishing touches on healing that girl.

And anything I say doesn't diminish anything that your that girl still feels.

Molly said...

I loved this post an extra lot. I learn so much from your parenting posts. Wise... very very wise. Like top .05% wise. It's inspiring.