Posts in Relationships
I Help Them

I help them...If i feel i should....
When they don't want me to because my skin is darker than theirs, I help them.

When they disrespect, badmouth, and insult me, I help them.

When they think they don't need help...I help them see we all need help...then i help them.......
When help is asked of me, I help them....

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As a teacher, I often feel the central thread of my life is witnessing transformation, and as the mother of a 14-year-old daughter, that thread has never felt more apparent. But last weekend we went to a wedding that made me think about this idea even more. A young woman was marrying a guy she’d met in high school thirteen years earlier. I wasn’t part of her life then. Rather I took care of her and her brother long before that when they were three and five years old. I lived with them in a big white house across from the campus of The College of William and Mary. Their mother was recently divorced and working on a graduate degree.

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Mama is still in the jelly cabinet, in my sister’s basement, poured loosely into the cloisonne jar she bought on her honeymoon in San Francisco. Antiques both of them, the jelly cabinet was her grandmother’s, my great grandmother Zora Bell, who put up every berry jelly and jam she could find in the hills and mountains around Roanoke.

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RelationshipsLee SowderComment

Everything in time.

Out on the balcony, I sat for a while, looking up. I was admiring the sky, which was light and bright blue, mostly, with soft brushes of white. In the distance, two gulls floated left to right, one in front of the other. I wondered if they were mates or mother and baby, squinting my eyes to see if I could get a closer look, and laughing at myself for my effort. The flight pattern was an elegant choreography; the one trailing behind seemed to follow and match every move, and I allowed myself to get lost in the sight of them. The pair of them, together but apart. Free.

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A memory: I am lying on the couch in the basement of my old childhood home. All the lights are off, except the television is on, and the room is alive with flickering and jumping shadows. There is a pit in my stomach, and the pockets below my eyes are filled with tears. But for all the hours I’d been lying there, I wouldn’t allow myself to shed them. The physical expression of my worry and sadness felt like an indulgence I couldn't afford.

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Not Sorry

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my father’s death. I forgot about it. I mean, I know he died in August. But early this month I couldn’t put finger on the date. Facebook reminded me. I looked at my post from a year ago and there were 78 comments. I flew through them, all with the same theme: “So sorry for your loss.” I think I feel more strongly about those statements a year later than I did that day.

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Eden Elsewhere

I am running naked down the hall. I am so small, the door knob to the linen closet before me is above my head. I am headed to it, the towels are there, my child feet leave footprints on the wooden floor, droplets fall from my body and leave a trail of splatters, surrounding the mark of toes and heel of a child, naked, dripping, gleeful, emerging from the tub. Now to fetch the forgotten towel, forgotten yet again! Did I forget it in order to take once again this euphoric walk of no shame? My hairless, porcelain child body, my head of wet, wavy, dark brown hair, my eyes on the prize, the linen closet!

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Taking Back My Childhood

Finally being out on my own with no partner and getting my own house at the age of 45 was certainly overwhelming. When I moved into my house over two years ago I immediately decided I was not going to paint over the clouds in what had obviously been the kids room. I said I wanted to "take back my childhood" there. I didn't really know what that would entail at the time. I'm realizing now there have been a lot of things that I've done in that room that may have been spurred by my subconscious, and definitely have to do with nesting and nurturing myself.

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