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Posts Tagged ‘reality’

A couple of months ago I entered a short story in a contest held by a newspaper.  At the time, I wrote a post about how, for me, the victory was in the fact that I actually entered; actually put something down on paper, printed it out, and put it in the mailbox.

That’s exactly how I felt.

At the time.

Now it is today.  And today is the day they are supposed to contact the winners.

Today I’m not happy to just celebrate trying.  Today it would be really great to celebrate winning.

For the last few days I have seen the date marked in red on my calendar and wondered why I ever felt the need to make note of it.  I mean really, isn’t that just torturing myself?  Am I not just going to spend the entire day checking my phone for missed calls and/or opening my spam folder more often than is necessary just in case the “you’ve won” e-mail somehow got misdirected?

But then I remember why I did it.

Because I know me.

I know that if I didn’t mark down the exact date, I would spend weeks wondering, and checking, and opening.  And really, wasting a single day is one thing, wasting entire weeks is a whole other story.

And for the last few days I’ve been imagining what it would be like.  Imagining what it would feel like to actually get a call like that.  I know in my head it is a fantasy but for once I don’t really care.  I’m tired of being realistic and practical; I’m ready to be unrealistic and fantastical.

Sure I may not actually get the call, but why not run through it a few times in my mind and just see what it would feel like?  I may not ever end up with the reality but that doesn’t mean I can’t play around with the fantasy.  And besides, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.  What if they do call and I just stammer like an idiot?  Best to have a few rehearsed lines ready to go so I can come across as the polished, put-together writer that I am (not).

And so I will waste the day wondering and dreaming and fantasizing.  Every time the phone rings my heart will beat a little faster and my voice will catch in my throat.  I will wonder “is this it?” for the few brief seconds before a telemarketer on the other end mis-pronounces my name and asks me if I want to have my ducts cleaned.  I will get off the phone as quickly as I can, you know, to keep the line clear because maybe there is another call coming in?

This will continue until the end of the day when I can no longer tell myself that there’s still hope and I will then have to accept the reality.  Accept the fact that three people out there got the phone call I was hoping to get, and their fantasies became reality.  And I will be sad; but not too sad.  Just the little bit of sad that comes with disappointment.

And before I go to bed I will check my spam folder one more time, just in case, and I will lay my head down on the pillow and start thinking about next year, and fantasizing about what it would be like to get the call.

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In the midst of the day-to-day, the errands, the lists, the form and function of everyday life, sometimes the feeling of being a mother gets lost.

I feel like a caretaker, a cook, a maid, a teacher, a warden, but often the feelings that I always assumed would be part and parcel of being a mother are missing.

I originally thought that everyday would have a moment in which I would swell up with love, pride, disbelief that these amazing creatures had come from me.

Eight and a half years of motherhood have made me realize that reality is somewhat different than the fantasy.

I have now settled into the rhythm of it, the regularity of it, not taking it for granted exactly; more like accepting it for what it is. Acceptance to the point that now when a “motherhood” moment does strike, it’s with such force and emotion that I am almost left winded by the power of it.

They come unpredictably. I can never really see one coming until it is already on top of me, like a wave pulling me under.

Sitting in a tiny, child-size chair participating in my first parent-teacher conference not as the child being discussed, but the adult who is expected to participate in the discussion.

Watching the look on my daughter’s face the first time she saw the Nutcracker ballet. Looking the other way and seeing my mother’s face as she watched her own daughter, now grown, and her granddaughter.

Yesterday, another one hit as I sat in a freezing cold arena, my hands laced around a cup of steaming, hot tea, watching my son play hockey for the first time.

He must have fallen down 50 times, some on his back, some on his stomach, some that looked like they would hurt, even with all of the equipment he was wearing. And each and every time he popped right back up and kept going, trying as hard as he could to keep up with the big kids.

He was doing it all on his own, it had nothing to do with me, and yet, on some level, it did.

Each time around the ice he would look up to find me in the stands and I would wave. I could barely see his face through the wire cage he wore but I could still make out his smile, ear to ear, with his mouth guard dangling from one lip.

The tears welled up in my eyes and the emotion squeezed my heart like a vice. I didn’t even care if anyone saw the tears. I didn’t even bother to wipe them away.

Because I know now that these moments don’t come very often and they last but a few seconds and then they are gone.

But there, in that rink, in that moment, I felt like a mother.

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