I broke my daughter's favorite Batman cup.
I threw it against a wall, and in breaking it, I also broke her for a second.
We had the talk about anger, and about how even adults get angry and do the wrong thing, and I kept my cool while talking but inside I am screaming at myself.
When she was born I was convinced that I wasn't supposed to be her mom. Something went wrong and she was born to me, but her real mother was out there somewhere and if I could manage to walk away, her father could find that woman.
I think being a mother is the hardest thing I've ever done and that's been said so many times that I don't know how to say it again without sounding cliche. It's like someone tore off all my skin and now I'm in a job meeting trying to talk about promotion profiles and I'm bleeding and talking through the throbbing of exposed nerves, and my voice is so so far away.
Break me instead, I pleaded with god, but he or she or it or they aren't listening.
Their school says they notice a change in their behavior after being at my house. They say they regress. They don't tell me this directly. I walk in and out like a ghost.
They have their reasons; good reasons. They aren't trying to hurt me, but the wounds we carry are often made in truth.
This is how to be sad.
It is empty space all around.
It is the vacuum in my chest. It is the part where I text all my friends asking them how they are doing, what they are doing, have they read any books, how's the baby, how's the family.
I sit and wait as the notifications begin to blink one by one.
And I type come.
please be here, I need you.
but what they see is that's wonderful to hear, let me know if you need anything.
People spend a lot of time communicating between words.
I read somewhere that some person wondered what life would be like if we could always read what was being typed and erased as those three bouncing dots appear in our text feeds.
What would life be like to be so vulnerable?
I'm a language teacher, and so the pursuit of words is comforting to me. Each word we say has a rich history that ties us to other cultures and other times in ways we barely understand. Little strings of history and connection like our human DNA.
Pablo Neruda called it La Palabra - The Word.
Vulnerable comes from the Latin vulnis meaning "wound." To be vulnerable is to expose our wounds, to sit in that space open and honest.
It hurts and it frightens.
Whenever I find out someone is pregnant, I have the conversation. I tell them that if they hate their babies, if he or she is born and they feel nothing, to call me. I understand. I will get them help.
No one ever has, but it's important to me for mothers to understand that these wounds are a mix of hormones and life changes and sleep deprivation and not an indication of someone's ability to love these little humans resting in the bed beside us.
I say, let me carry this wound on behalf of all of you. May you never feel it how lonely it is. Let me be there.
And so I do my best to be there, and to fill in what is said between words, to understand at my core the wounds we carry.
Your light is important to me. Each of you has a tiny flicker that looks only like you and no one else in the world. When I hold out my hands, you let me hold your tiny, vulnerable lights for a moment and I am reborn.
There is a story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez called La luz es como el agua, and in it, two young boys beg their father for a boat if they win a prize in school. They live on the 5th floor of an apartment building in a city with no body of water, but their parents agree, and soon the boys have a boat in their living room.
They break open a light bulb and the light pours out. The boys believe that light is like water, and when they release it, it flows into their apartment and they sail.
Let me believe that light is like water - that if I am vulnerable, that little light pours out and meets each person, building momentum, filling the wounds.
If we are here to learn to live in these bodies, then may we be baptized by our spark.