Thursday, March 22, 2012

And sometimes we don't.

My mother makes hats. My daughter practices her letters. I listen to accents and the stories their people share.

We’ve each plugged ourselves in, found our respective ways to be. We know joy. We share fears. Some of the time.

I like to call this logic.

I recently started a new job... One I wanted and knew I could do. One I’d be happy to let define me for a while. Stretch me, even.

And so: I prepared. I read books, bought outfits. I put away all my flats to ensure I was/am always 6 feet tall (heels). I listened to the vocabulary of the hierarchy and made it mine.

I met my staff, my colleagues, my team. I admire them in how tentative some were, how open, how distrustful. I let the hierarchal speak go. Their accents captured me to listen to their own stories.

One day, when I came home I called my mother to tell her how important I was/I am. I was/am proud of myself. I was certain she'd be too. And she was. She started making connection: New job, new location? Yes, Mummi. She then asked me if I was doing data entry... I’m a director at a state agency serving refugees, immigrants. I manage 1/3 of all staff there. But she’ll never know that. Never,ever understand.

I try not to sink. I said in a very small voice “No, Mummi, no data entry”. My chin quivered. It would have upset her to hear me cry. It upset me to know how few people I have to share this with.

Something specific about having a parent, a mother who makes hats, a mother with a chronic mental health condition:

There will always be this separation. I will always be a hungry island. We’ll likely always have this grabbing-at-air –but-not-reaching each other thing.

We find ways to each other, most days.

But, as my 3 year old likes to remind me: Sometimes we don’t.