Thursday, March 15, 2012
Prompt 2 #Scintilla Project, When I Grew Up
Second prompt for the Scintilla Project is….
When did you realize you were grown up?
Is that what they call it—a grown up? Heck I thought I was in the chapter of my life called, “Don’t Let Them See You Sweat.”
Okay, seriously—I believe where you focus your mental moments becomes the tangible experiences in your life. Let’s face it; some situations create the vibration that casts shadows across our age. I’ve dealt with death, birth and taxes; all experiences everyone equates with adulthood and yet there are days I feel like flinging myself down against the wax-less linoleum and screaming for my mommy.
Sure I could choose the day I got married, the day we bought our home, or the birth of our first son but I don’t know if those were really moments of “ah-ha” or “Oh Shit.” Moments that are BIG like that tend to send me to a place in my head that blurs the event until I can take a breath and reflect on it.
So I had to take some time and ponder the idea of being cognitive of when I became a grown-up. If I truly had to pinpoint an event that sparked the “ah-ha” moment of when I realized I was an adult, it would have to be the time I sat down several years ago and wrote a short essay about losing my mother-in-law. Who would have thought 1,300 words that poured from my mind would record a moment so poignant in my life. The day she died, I didn’t think about being a grown up. It was years later when I realized the magnitude of her death and the impact it was going to have on my children; that was the day I truly understood what it was like to be a grown up.
So in the spirit of the prompt, and letting you into my moment of realization, below is an excerpt from my essay, “The Day I Grew Up.”
It wasn’t long before they transferred her to the ICU and we were allowed to see her again. The four of us stood silently, listening to her life song beeping with new elaborate tones. I watched as her brood clung tight to their faith. All surreal; all living that moment in a dazed fog that enveloped the entire room. We watched as the nurse pushed the buttons on the machines; each ending their part they played in an intricate song we came accustom to hearing. All ending to the last accordion forced breaths—then silence. Our cries rose and became the applause to a life we gave a standing ovation.
It wasn’t until years later did I recognize the gaping hole left by the loss of a parent; the real hole. I knew she wouldn’t be at our sons’ birthdays or weddings. She won’t see the milestones we all will take for granted. I deeply grieve the loss of her presence. It was when I realized that my three sons were not going to have the example of how Edgar treated his mother—that’s what keeps creating the gaping hole. The way he cared for her, always kissed her goodbye, bantered back and forth, and teased her. The simple framework that was laid in place—now lost to my boys and forever locked in an emotional vault of memories we can barely cling to. That was the day I grew up. The day I understood that it had now become my responsibility to teach our boys the way to their mother’s heart. The way their father did so naturally to hers.
When I stumble upon conversations women have about their mother-in-laws filled with distain or frustration, I always think of the space and unconditional love she gave Edgar and me and I quietly thank the universe for how lucky I was to have had her and grieve for the example my boys will never get to see again.
To Edgar’s mom, my sweet mother-in-law, I never got a chance to tell you that day, how much I love you. You are truly missed!
The day I wrote this, was the day I realized I was an adult. Thanks Scintilla for making me stretch!
Thank you all for reading and I’ll write you tomorrow~ I promise!