Hello, my Hexlings,
I just dropped you off at your house with your Momma Si, after getting to spend the afternoon and have dinner with you. Lucky me! We had a great time together, even though some of it was spent talking about the difficult topic of what will happen this summer when Mummy lives in Buffalo with Aunt Missy. I decided to write you tonight, even though we saw each other, because there are some things we started to talk about but left unfinished that I would like to elaborate upon. I’m also having my daily cup of tea. This time it’s Monica’s vanilla chai, but that’s mostly because it’s late and I don’t want to have too much caffeine at this hour. Normally I’d be having my favorite: Earl Grey.
So let me begin by telling you how much I love getting you off the bus at my house once a week. I know you don’t like taking that bus on Mondays, because you’re not with your usual group of bus friends, but it means so much to me because it’s the one day a week I get to get you off the bus, and it’s at my place. It makes me feel like I have a family, which I do, but living on my own and not living with you makes me really appreciate the moments in which I can feel like you live with me, too, again. And what parent wouldn’t want to feel like she lives with her kiddos… especially if her kiddos were Hexlings!
Today the sun was shining and I was the only adult around when your bus arrived. I was so happy, walking in the sun toward the big pile of kids unloading from the bus, looking for my special girls. I felt sorry for the other kids because they didn’t have a mom with a big smile on her face waiting for them. So I tried to smile at some of them, but of course mostly I was looking for you two. And there you were, shining brighter than the sun. Elan, you ran up to me and dumped your stuff into my arms. That made me happy and grateful. Dar, you lagged behind a bit but the first thing that came out of your mouth when you took my hand was a bold and clear declaration that you deemed the day to have been a “great” one. A great day at school! That’s the best thing a parent can hear from her kid at the bus stop. Then we all held hands and hurried into the house, where we grabbed some cheese sticks and rushed to get Elanah-snarly-head ready for dance. (I never had a messy bun when I was a ballerina, because Gramma Sue was a ballerina bun maker extraordinaire, but I guess I’m just the kind of mom who sends her kid to dance with a messy bun!)
We had a few minutes to chat, after prepping for dance, and that was when you both told me about how Elanah had been crying again last night, missing me, and that Momma Si felt so bad because she didn’t have anything to tell her that would make it better. Oh, my little ones. I know what it’s like when your heart aches because you miss someone. I miss the two of you every night, and –I’m like Elanah– when I miss you, the feeling makes me cry. But the crying actually helps me to feel a little bit better, in some way. For you, when you cry, I want you to know that you will always have a loving parent to catch and kiss your tears. That’s what tears are for: being caught and kissed by someone who loves you. I bet Momma Si held you, Elanah, and caught those little tears.
Guess who caught them, too? Mummy! Yep. I caught them, too. From way over here, a few streets away. I caught them and I kissed them up because those tears were magic tears. Haven’t you ever heard about The Weepy Hexling Gift? Whenever a Hexling cries, she cries magical tears, and they are magical because they are made of pure love. So of course I had to kiss them up right away because any kind of love from a Hexling is medicinal and powerful and magical and wonderful! Be grateful for every love-tear you ever shed during your life. Never be ashamed of crying. That’s something that Gramma Sue taught me. She would always say, “It’s okay to cry.” And I believed her. That is one of the best things my momma ever taught me, and I want to pass it on to you. It’s okay to cry. It’s always okay to cry. It means that you feel deeply. It means that you love deeply.
The second part of the story you told me today reiterates what I’ve already said about the healing power of tears. You told me that last night, after Elanah cried, Momma Si was crying. You weren’t too sure about what she was crying about. You said it had something to do with thinking about the past. Seeing her cry left an impression on you. I know this because you wouldn’t have told me right away if it hadn’t. Seeing your moms cry might feel scary, but, like I said, it just means they are feeling big feelings and it’s usually related to feelings of love, when it comes right down to it. Every time we feel sadness, its source is usually love. I can’t say much about what Momma Si was thinking about or feeling, but I know it had to do with a very loving part of her heart. And I can say that I relate. You both probably know this well by now, but your Mummy cries a lot. A lot. About all sorts of things. But especially about having to live apart from you. I cry a lot because I have a big heart. That’s kind of a silly thing to say, isn’t it. My heart really isn’t any bigger than anyone else’s. What it means is that I feel things really deeply. I’m sensitive. When I get an owie, it’s more like an OWOWOW-ie. I like being this way and I wouldn’t want to be one bit different. Whenever my Hexlings feel sad and cry, my owie is THE BIGGEST OWIE EVER! But I’m also content because I know my Hexlings and I share a heart, and I’m the luckiest person in the world for that!
Speaking of big OWies, divorce is really hard on families with kids because, in most cases, it means that you, the kids, will be living in two places or houses instead of one. That means that when one parent has you, the other one doesn’t, which can be hard for that parent and hard for you, too. In the long run, this can end up being a good, fun and exciting thing, but in the beginning, it’s usually just very painful and sad. Momma Si and I are both so sorry for putting you through that and we struggle with worry over how it is and will be affecting you; if there were any other way to work it out, we would have, but for us divorce was something that had to happen.
Now, you two are extra lucky because you have more than one parent who is crazy about you and loves to be around you, but this means that it’s extra sad for us when we cannot be with you. So that’s why there are tears. Big Owie Tears. But, like our strong girls, we are strong parents. We can have those tears and carry on until the smiles and laughter break through again.
I remember when Momma Si and Mummy first decided that Mummy would be moving out of the house. That was a time of many, many, many tears. After you two went to sleep, Mummy went down in the basement and cried like she never cried before… quietly and by herself, night after night. It was a horrible feeling, but eventually I calmed down and was able to go to sleep each night. I prayed to God to help us. And then when I moved out, I cried at the new place, night after night. And I prayed to God to help us. Even now I still cry at night. Why is that? It’s mainly because I miss you and I miss living with a family and because I wish that everyone could be together and well and safe and happy. Most of all it’s because I love you and I cherish you. It’s also because I think about how you might be feeling, and my heart aches to think about you feeling sad. It’s because I think about losing precious time with the two angels I love most, and that causes me to feel sad. And it’s because I am scared. Scared of hurting you and scared of missing out on the most important moments of my life with you. Time passes by so quickly. That is why I like to slow down and feel all the happiness I possibly can when my rays of sunshine walk off their school bus toward me on a Monday afternoon.
One of the ways that I know we’re always family is that we all cry together. All of our love-tears are going to always be together. Here’s how it works. When you cry and I’m not there, I’m still loving you from wherever I’m at, and so the love inside me catches your tears. Whenever we cry, we know we’re loved; we know that someone wants to catch our tears. And wanting to catch someone’s tears is the same thing as catching them– sometimes it’s even better; I promise you that. You have to use your imagination though– the special imagination that only a Hexling has: you have to picture it in your heart. See if you can do that. I know both of you are capable of doing it. You’re MY little Hexlings. You were born with extraordinary hearts and imaginations! Your hearts are big and bursting with imaginative love. No doubt about it.
So tonight we split a box of Mac & Cheese, had some crunchy carrots, and unanimously decided to toss out the nasty reheated french fries (good decision!). I asked you, Darah, if the place looked nicer because I spent the afternoon cleaning it up after a couple of weeks of muck and mayhem, and you said, dead pan, “The place looks like it always does. Not a thing looks different.” I can always count on your hilarious insults to make me laugh and bring me joy. You are a one of a kind kid with a distinctive sense of wit. I encouraged it when you were little even though you would sometimes hurt my feelings because I knew you were practicing something that showed a sign of your intelligence and that would, I hoped, develop and eventually become an art, honed to be a source of good in the world. More than ever, now that you’re eight, I see that happening. You’re blending your sensitivity with your sense of humor. You go, clever girl! And Elanah, my six year old love muffin, you always want to make Mummy feel good, you kindhearted and sensitive sweetheart. Whenever Darah checks me at the door of her impeccable wit, you always step right in to reassure me and make sure I feel good. You love to give me compliments and you wear your adoration of me on your sleeve. That just means you love to make me feel good, loved, and appreciated. Oh, and you always tell me how much you love my earrings! Darah, you’re always the first to tell me when I look like fool! And you know what? I know you both mean the same thing: you love me. Little stinkers, I love you, too.
Before dance and dinner, we talked briefly about Mummy going to Buffalo for the summer. Elanah, you had a lot of questions. Darah, you burst into tears and said that I was never going to see you again. Elan, I tried to answer your questions as best as I could, and to reassure you that we will find ways of being together. And, Dar, I was glad you calmed down and let us take Elan to dance before resuming the conversation. Thank you. We had a good conversation, snuggling on the bed, while Elanah was dancing. I cradled you on my lap and we talked. You did a lot of crying in my arms and I kissed those magical tears, and I tried to work through some of your catastrophic predictions for the future. No one ever really knows the future, Honey, so we just try our best to anticipate what we can while recognizing that things can change at any time. So when Mummy said, “Sweetie, I know it seems scary but it’s going to be okay,” it was my way of letting you know that I don’t know just right now how the future is going to unfold, but that I do know that I am going to be your mummy always and that being your mum is my first and most important job.
We have a tough situation because we live in a little town that does not have much to offer because of its size and isolation, as well as because of the state of the economy in Illinois. Momma Si has a very good job and all of the things that she needs here, but Mummy does not, so Macomb is livable for Momma Si but not for Mummy. In addition to this is the fact that Mummy has been wanting to move away from Macomb since 2007, before you little angels were born. It was my idea to come here, long ago, but I realized, almost as soon as we unloaded our things into your happy house on Bayberry Lane, that Macomb was going to be a difficult, lonely place for me, most of all because it was thirteen hours from my hometown and family in Buffalo. I can try to explain more about this to you, sometime, but please trust me when I say that I would not think about being away from Macomb if it were not absolutely necessary for me to think of it. Here, I cannot get a job that makes it possible for me to have a house, or even an apartment, for us. I cannot empower and advance myself to be fully the strong and successful person that I am. Being here, and not living with you, keeps me down and sad too much of the time, and I spend too much time feeling alone. It’s not fair to any of us for me to continue to feel trapped by my life.
Oh, but let me make this clear: I am not trapped by you; not at all! You are the loves of my life; you bring me joy and freedom. But I am trapped by some of the life circumstances that I created, and I cannot live life feeling like I am stuck in a terrible rut. I am like you two: I am a problem-solver and an action-taker. I have tried to solve my dilemma in various ways, and I know by now that, after years of trying to work within the box of solutions that keep me in Macomb, I need to get out of that box and try some other solutions. It’s not solved yet. I am just starting to work toward my goal of achieving the life I aspire to live, but summers in Buffalo during my graduate program is the first step. I promise you that I will always keep you and you Momma Si involved, and that we will work together to find solutions. And that we will always talk things over. I promise you that we will always put your well-being first. This may not make sense until you are older, but the bottom line is that I cannot put your well being first if I am not well enough to do it, and my wellness is hinged on not feeling trapped and alone and helpless in Macomb. These are very adult things I am talking about right now, so if you don’t understand them as you read this, I don’t want you to worry. It’s okay.
Just know that Mummy loves you and is always thinking of you and doing her very, very best to do what is best for you.
All right, let’s all just breathe a sigh of relief here. Really, my loves, it’s going to be okay. The world is big and vast, and there is so much ahead of you. Do not be afraid. Be cautious but brave. You are strong. You are smart. You are Hexlings and you can handle whatever comes your way because you are loved completely, forever!
Now… I was just thinkin’… It’s funny that I called this blog “Good Morning, Hexlings”, isn’t it, considering that I usually do most of my writing at night. I thought about it and “Goodnight, Hexlings” sounded ominous. I went with GMH because whenever I go to bed and say goodnight to you in my head, it’s always really, really early in the morning. Like at two or three a.m. I’m kind of nocturnal that way, as you know. It works out, though, because I like to go to sleep thinking about saying good morning to you. I miss snuggling with you in the morning. I only get to do it once a week now.
But, still… I get to do it once a week. (Lucky me!)
Today was a great day! I especially loved sitting at the table at Madison with you for the first time in a couple of weeks. Well, you did keep getting up to do cartwheels, Elanah, but I think that’s just part of how you “sit” now. It’s the dinner “routine.” I also loved sitting on the floor to play Magnetic Shakespeare with you, Darah. We need to introduce Elanah, our self-proclaimed “fashion girl” (in her toddler words “fashion durl”), to the refrigerator Bard Bling soon!
All right, my little loves. In the words of your Great Grandma Mel, I LOVE YOU TO PIECES!