Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The broken spirit

There have been a few moments in my life where I wish more than anything I could go back and delete them from not only my memory, but everyone else as well.   I was in church this past Sunday when the sermon prompted me to remember something I had buried deep down, in a place I only go to when everything else in my life seems to be going wrong.

I depend on this memory to feed the already mounting evidence that I have failed. 

Most of the memories I  would like to delete from my deleted files are moments of severe character lapses.  When I have disappointed myself.  Most were based out of fear. Fear of doing the right thing, and lacking the courage to do so.  I have learned from these experiences, but I have often wished I could go to a hypnotist and have them erased.  Seriously... I have actually looked into that.... but I know I wouldn't be able to make it through without laughing.  And what the heck would he be able to pullout of the depths of my brain?  I have been in several plays, with my luck I would start reciting Lady Macbeth and next thing you know I would be arrested for MURDER...

A long way of saying,  I just have to learn to deal.   The situation that was brought to the forefront was so simple yet complex at the same time.   My oldest was almost 2 and at that time we had another son who was around 6 months old.

Before Parker was born I went to a paint your own pottery studio. I picked out a huge plate and spent an entire day decorating it.  It was bright yellow, in the center I pained a cupcake with a single candle on it and wrote Happy Birthday across the top.  I spent the better portion of my day making a detailed confetti pattern around the edges. I finished it off with pinstripes and my signature.
This memory is so pleasant because with each paint stroke I dreamed about the baby that was growing inside of me.  What he would look like. I wanted this birthday plate to be the one that he would  use every birthday.  My mind took off  happily envisioning it as he grew.

Once it was fired and ready, I picked it up.  I proudly displayed it on our dining room table.  Anticipation of not only his birth but his first birthday on to a lifetime of family birthdays.
On his first birthday I finally put it to use.  Rather than give it to a one year old, we put his cake on it.  Every time I looked at it I was reminded of the excitement I felt making it.

After I had my second son things took a turn for the dark.  If my life was a play, this act would be set with dark lights.  The only luminance would come from upstage behind silhouettes of something that resembled humans.   In the midst of this darkness nothing sounded beautiful, nothing tasted sweet and it was hard to see any light from the bottom of the hole I was in.

While going through the motions of two boys under the age of two I began to resent everything.  As I was folding laundry I heard it.  A loud crash that echoed over Thomas the Train blaring from the TV.
I walked into the dining room to see the plate shattered in pieces across the floor.  Parker standing on a chair looking stunned.

I was seeing red. I looked at the plate I had spent so much time and thought making in a pile of nothing on the floor.  I lost my temper, and I focused it all in the direction of a 23 month old.  Yelling at him, blaming him for everything that was wrong in my life. I got on the floor trying to put it back together all while crying and asking him how he could do this to me.  When I was over having my breakdown I glanced up to see my only witness. A spotlight was shining on his face, which was now filled with terror and confusion.  He took off running upstairs and hid.

I didn't chase him.  I was too consumed with trying to put the pieces of a plate together that deep down I knew would never stick.  As if I'm watching it from an older wiser perspective now, I want to yell, why do you care so much about a stupid plate?

I don't know how much time passed but I found myself on the couch sitting under a blanket staring out the window.  Parker climbed up on couch, found a spot on my lap and sat facing me.  He put his arms around my neck and said " love you, mommy." His words were as genuine as his hug.

He had forgiven me. The damage I felt that I did to him was far more severe than what he had done to the plate.   How was I worthy of such unconditional forgiveness?

The point in life where the plate dropped needed to happen. I needed a rock bottom moment. To shatter the unrealistic expectations I had placed on myself to be a perfect mother.  I needed a good cry and see that the most important little person in my life at the time still loved me even though I felt that I didn't deserve it.

Rather than try and put the plate together I just threw it away.  I never made another one.  The largest piece of the plate that remained is the portion of the candle.  I have kept it in our china hutch.  A reminder to only me that there is a chance of lightness even in darkest of darkness.

Parker does not remember this incident at all thank God, but I do.  I'm glad I didn't have it erased by a hypnotist.  Despite the pain and regret this memory has caused me even 9 years later,  it has given me a lifelong challenge.

In moments of despondency, I can strive to forgive myself like someone who can forgive  me unconditionally and still offer tremendous love without a second thought. 

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