Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What Women Do

Yesterday I texted my sweet sister-in-law to casually ask her if she knew where I could get some meth. I thought it would be funny but she believed me and now I just feel bad for both of us.

On Sunday I had the good fortune to join three of my lady-friends for a retreat in the woods. We did a long yoga session that left me spectacularly sore and then spent the rest of the day sipping on tea and making collages. It suited my soul just fine. Late that night Noah and I took a painfully hot bath and I told him that I want to believe in every new age hippie thing, I truly do, but standing in a circle with a group of women singing about earth our bodies, water our blood just makes me feel hokey. I am willing to take any old stone and roll it around in my mouth, testing it for goodness and sometimes spitting it out. Monday was book club day. I learned it is required to drink four glasses of wine on Passover (yesterday was also the start of Passover) so we did that and sat around for hours talking about the book and then moving on to everything, everything in our lives, and it was good. It seems like a lot of lives and relationships are in sway. Are in transition. I have this blog sitting here and every day, every day I wonder if I should write it but I am in transition. I am feeling private. I don't know why.

The other day Ayla had a meltdown. She served herself the last of the ice cream and when it was her sister's turn to have some, Ayla was forced to surrender some of what was in her bowl. She fell to the ground choking on her sobs and the only thing I know is I never know what to do so I just sat there with her. I sank to the floor beneath her door frame, the transition space. She was wrapped in her white blanket and we breathed. We breathed together for some time until eventually Indy joined us and the three of us camped out right there on the floor, and they showed me some baking tutorials on youtube. Ever since then I have been filled with nothing but compassion and aching love for these little souls, living out their lives tethered to mine. I am getting good at working out these splinters in my heart. I'm not saying it doesn't hurt but then one day your daughter slams into your waist in the dark hours of the morning crying with joy "mom-o, mom-o!", and you realize you are free. Something you once were, you are not anymore. Like Melusine, you have shifted form. So if you ask me to, I will hold your hand and sing but what I'm learning now is that pain can be undone and nothing is more sacred to me than sitting with other women, declaring in our own ways, one by one, that we are letting go of everything that doesn't serve us. Sometimes stones find their way in but we will spit them out. We will sit with our daughters until the crying subsides. In all the dark houses in the town, this cycle is playing out forever. In all the bedrooms the mother is holding the child. In all the bathrooms, the women slip their robes like lies to the floor, and step with feet like moons into clearer water.

Roman de Melusine by Jean d'Arras.15th century.


  1. Oh, dear god, this is amazing. I never use that expression, either -- the oh, dear god part. Sometimes I think there are repetitions of ourselves out there, not twins, exactly, but those who are more than just in our camp. I think that of you, sometimes, however distant we are in miles, age, experience, whatever. There's something about what you write that clarifies things inside me. Thank you for that.

    This has also made me remember going to a mother's retreat many years ago -- for mothers of children with disabilities. I was pregnant with Henry at the time and just cringed at sitting in a circle with these other women while Emmylou Harris or Sara McLachlan sang out of a boombox. We might have drawn a little and held hands. I didn't like it. But it's stuck with me forever -- even the music.

    1. I feel that too. And your encouragement means the world to me.

  2. So beautiful, especially that part with your daughters. So beautiful it makes me ache in the very best way. You hold them close and they set you free.

  3. Ah, love. Even when I was a young hippie I could not deal with the whole ritual/ceremony thing. It always made me feel ridiculous inside and craving a hamburger or something. But there is such a beauty in gathering with women, isn't there? And honestly, I do believe that the womb is one of the most sacred things on this earth and I do love women to distraction but I guess it's ritual that sets my teeth on edge.
    You are an amazing writer and it's so lovely to come here and read about your life. It reminds me so of when I was a young mother and my babies cried and I tried to learn to live with tears and had all that juice inside of me for such things. Drown in it, honey. Go ahead. And write about it when you feel you can.
    Thank-you for sharing.

  4. It's lovely, as always, to hear from you.

  5. I have read this three times and can't think of anything to say. In a good way. It touches a very deep, wordless place inside me. Thank you. (And that sounds dirty, kind of, but you know what I mean.)

    I'd much rather connect with other women this way than stand in an awkward circle and share. Let this be our women's retreat. Less blushing and chanting.


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