Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine's Request: Lie to me.

There is something my littlest valentine, Zora, and my longest-held valentine, Mummi, have in common, something that erupted in our shared genetic code, results in a sameness. Lays there with our common features: wide foreheads, deep set eyes, bowed lips and rounded noses. We tell stories. Lies, my Gram used to call them.

My mother fibbed about goldfish. Declared his bowl paradise. Made me see: everyone is a character, has a name, a place to be. I kept (and keep) an open ear.

My daughter talks plenty. Her stories involve alligators, her being in my tummy, when she’ll be a Mama, having to get to work and so on. Sometimes, they involve falls where no one really gets hurts, where “cooker-men” come to life from soft ingredients she can recall easily. Where her logic is logical magical.

She; this soft-ingredient wielder, loves to hear about when I, her own Mummah, was a little girl. I spin, but don’t go far from the truth. I tell her about cats in easter baskets. Being a forceful 2nd grader having my mother spin and dip me all the way home from school. I told her about the franks and beans dinner I had to endure for 2 weeks straight, and how during its tenure, I ate not more than one, perhaps two beans, our faded floor catching the rest, my stubborn behind bearing it's share of benign spankings.

She responds in her own fits of laughter, their winding and shrieking pleasure stories of their own. I worry for how long I’ll be able to tell her stories that don’t scare her from her secure slumber. I know I'm running low on warm-hearted tales, though I've plenty of other stories to tell. I warn her gently: “Not all of Mummah’s stories are happy, Tweetybird.”

She’s surprised me once by responding: “I know.”

And so, on this day, I hope everyone who may be reading this, and perhaps too, everyone who can’t to continue to spin your stories, share who you are and who you were with people who will listen, and listen yourselves too. Let your age be told in the brine we may have bound into our backs, like that of aging books. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Franks ain’t. Beans ain’t. But it does have to be yours. Let your stories be held and stored with someone who finds your lettering delicious…

And perhaps too, let that someone be you.

Celebrate yourself (too) today.

Much love, muchly.