chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things


jik at 2If do-overs were allowed, I would have been more fierce. And more loving. Would have stood up to my mother but also given her the tenderness she needed but so rarely demonstrated. As a child, I was cowed, afraid, lonely, angry; as an adult, I find myself following the rules, still trying to be Good.

I remember entertaining thoughts of running away from home, but if I ever did it, I don’t recall. For want of a proper stick and handkerchief to tie up my worldly possessions, perhaps I sulked off to the daylight basement, or to the bottom of the hill in the backyard. Maybe I stomped around the block — always crossing at the corner, never trespassing forbidden geography, unable to stay away long enough for her to notice. How long would that have been?

She was looking for the silence of my disappearing and I did my best to accommodate.
. . . . .
more on this photo

8 responses to “invisible…

  1. Carey Taylor January 23, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Judy – I have been enjoying reading about your relationship with your Mother. Today your post really spoke to me. I have a complicated relationship with my own Mother and like so many women have tried to “play nice” in order to avoid my own feelings about that complication. My Mother is still alive, and I ponder daily how or if it is possible for us to have a “do-over”. I am now just realizing how much I needed to set boundaries with her unloving behavior so much earlier than I did. And yet I understand now how depression has shaped her life, and wish I could just reach out and love her unconditionally, something she rarely has been able to do for me. But it still does not feel safe to expose myself in that way to her. My writing is helping me understand the complexity of it all in ways I was never able to articulate before. And like you, I found myself in a car at age 3 or 4 rolling down a hill, my Mother standing in front of the car as she watched someone else rescue us children….Now that is an image.

    On another note I shared the poetry event you posted on Facebook with Joe Nolting, who had two poems published in the December edition of Cirque. He lives in Bellingham, and we became Facebook friends after I read his poems. I wish I could come and listen, but alas I am in Silicon Valley through March, then back home to my beloved NW.

    Carey Taylor

  2. jik January 23, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Thank you so much, Carey. I hope you’ll tell these stories…and share. And thanks for telling friends about SpeakEasy. Hope to see you back in the NW, maybe in the Spring. judy

  3. Eric Solstein January 23, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I asked for bigger pictures from you. This is bigger and so much sadder in its context. Out of context this beautiful little girl is smiling to beat the band. And for those moments I’ve spent with you, the “smiles” were always outstanding and memorable… now I wonder….

    My mother was always there, very there, too much there. Long story. My dad was rarely there, deposed to a life of late night work by the family’s needs and, I eventually came to think, by the distance required of him by mother – my sister and I taking all her good time by the time I was aware enough to have an opinion about it all. Long story.

    In my present day, I do have a very close relationship where my present sense of what is happening is very similar, somewhat different, still too similar. I see it unfolding. I participate in it, but can barely change anything about it, as much as I truly, truly wish I could… and I am an adult.

    Poor babies, at least they don’t know something is going on, until they do, and then it is even worse. I didn’t get the urge to find that bindle stick until I found myself in such a similar position, and then the story of my abandoned leave taking isn’t too far from that of little Judy.

    Back from a tip to the Metropolitan Museum, and after the boys saw the mummies and the knights, we spent the last hour till closing with Manet and early twentieth century painting….

    I have more to say but no more time at the moment to say it.

  4. tomwisk January 23, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I’ve got regrets concerning my parents. I know I didn’t understand that their “version” of love was not the clingy warm type.

  5. Marsha January 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    What a beautiful baby you were (but I knew that). I did run away from home 1 1/2 times. First time I was very little, packed my father’s handkerchiefs (hello Dr. Freud) in my little red fake alligator bag, and told my mother that I was running away. Her reaction: “OK, go ahead.” Deflated, and through my tears, I put the handkerchiefs back in my father’s drawer. The second time I was in 7th grade and spent the night at a girlfriend’s home intentionally without telling my parents.

  6. jik January 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Oh, these stories…and yet, as a species, as a culture, we haven’t quite figured out a better way to do this business of parenting. Each generation hauls along their own wagonload of history, vows not to make the same mistakes, makes some anyway, plus some new ones, and each new generation of kids is pretty much guaranteed some period, early or late, of angst/anger/regret/rebellion as they focus on all the ways life could have been different.

    In fact, I believe I’m one of the lucky ones. When I look at all the truly awful things that happen to children, I know I got off easy. But I’ve discovered that letting these small reflections bubble to the surface reduces the bloat and sting of carrying them around.

    Whatever the circumstance, we were a family of smilers, as you observe. My mother smiled for the camera, my father from the heart, and I learned early that a smile given was a smile earned.
    Oh the stories your boys will tell…

  7. jik January 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Perhaps you’ll reflect on the regrets…My own reflections come too late for my parents, but I’d like to think they’re helping me live more comfortably in my own skin. Thanks for reading and Liking and commenting, Tom.

  8. jik January 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Oh, I love these stories. I can see you with your little red bag. Thanks xox

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