I got a note from a friend the other day: I love your blog writing AND it makes me a little uncomfortable. I’ve been reading every post and am fascinated but have questions about the public nature of such raw disclosures. I didn’t want you to think I was ignoring your very thoughtful work.
I know my writing of late has made people uncomfortable.
It’s made me very uncomfortable.
But the day came.
That day, in the words of Anais Nin, “when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
GodDAMN! this is as uncomfortable a place as I ever hope to be.
And yet …
There is beauty in this moment.
And connection in sharing it.
Because we all have our own version of this story …
I was thinking yesterday about how the comments on my posts have dwindled as the posts have become more raw.
I am making people uncomfortable, I thought. I should stop.
And then someone sent me a note saying, good-naturedly, You’re not just “cray” you are “cray cray!”
There is shame in sharing what I’m sharing, I thought. I should listen to the shame, and stop.
Yesterday was a day of high emotion at home for the kids, and, consequently for me.
We had prepared ourselves for a day of fun, to run across the Golden Gate Bridge.
But the loss in their lives has taken its toll.
As I made breakfast yesterday, my little boy went to choose a station on Pandora.
Feeling some hard feelings, he’s had Glen Hansard on high rotation lately.
How about we go with something a little more upbeat? I suggest.
Yeah, he agreed. But then Falling Slowly came on, and my little guy said, Oh, Mom, how about after this song is over? I just love this song so much.
After breakfast, I held both my sweethearts while they cried.
And then we tried to tidy up our feelings and headed out to the bridge.
When we got there, neither kid could rally and it was all I could do to keep breathing so I didn’t have a panic attack.
(The bridge, by the way, was not my idea – it was something we had planned months ago and it seemed like a big, fun thing to take our minds off of our feelings. Running along side cars going 50 miles an hour, with a suicide drop on the other side of the railing. Genius.)
It was as if we were trying to again change the Pandora station before we were ready …
Suddenly, out of nowhere, my son said quietly from the backseat, People don’t get me. Nobody “gets” me.
Were these his words?
Or were they mine?
Baby, I get you, I said. But – I was thinking of the comment about me being “cray cray” – not everybody is going to get you, it’s true. And that’s because you are such an amazing person, and there is so much to “get” about you, that for some people it might be hard. Because for people to “get you” they have to recognize what they’re seeing in you. Which means that they have to have some of it in them themselves. Do you know what I mean?
Not really, he said.
Well, do you remember when we watched the movie “Elf”? And when the elf’s daddy yelled at him, you started to cry?
Yeah, he said.
Well, when I saw that you had started to cry, what that said to me is that you are a guy who can really feel your feelings. So much so that art – like songs and movies – can really touch you and make you feel the feelings the person who made the art wants you to feel.
Sometimes, when I listen to songs, I can feel my heart opening up, he said. Like when I listen to Glen Hansard. When I listen to “Her Mercy” I can feel my heart opening right up and letting everything inside.
(Side note: CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS CHILD?!?!?!)
Exactly, I said. Now, some people would just think it was funny that you cried during a funny movie, right? They would make fun of you.
Yeah, they would, he said.
But I didn’t, did I?
No, he said, you said you were happy that I had cried. Mom, why did you say you were happy that I had cried?
Because when you cried it told me that you are someone who can feel things really super deeply. And that you are someone who can feel the feelings of other people, like through art – in movies, or in songs. And that means you are someone who can connect with other people. And that’s the most important thing. I can see this about you because I have it, too. So, see, I get you.
You get me, he said.
At this point, we gave up crossing the bridge and just went for ice cream instead.
It’s a good day, he said.
And then, later, we had another moment of grace.
I had lent my car to a lovely couple of folk musicians I met at a show whose car was totaled in an accident and who needed to get to a gig.
They came to return the car last night, and I asked them if they would play a few songs for the children before bedtime.
So, I told the kids, Maria Quiles and Rory Cloud are coming over tonight. They’re the musicians I told you about and who we watched on You Tube. They’re returning our car and they’re going to play a few songs for the three of us.
My little boy gave them friendship bracelets. (Glen Hansard wears a LOT of bracelets, he said, explaining why he thought the bracelets were a suitable gift for the musicians.)
Maria and Rory sat in our living room with our sagging Christmas tree, played their guitars and sang one of their songs, Long Time Coming.
I didn’t have to leave
I didn’t have to run
But I was just so scared, you know
I was just so young …
I feel the weight of every hour I spent so far from your grace
From your grace
And when I see your face appear
Out of the fog
I want to beg you for forgiveness
And offer my love
It’s been a lo-ong, long time coming
It’s been a lo-ong, long time coming*
My little guy’s face was soft and filled with love the entire time they sang.
The sweetness of the music, and the poetry of the lyrics.
It was as if they were singing the song from me to him.
After they left and the kids were getting ready for bed, my little guy said, Mom, we’re a special family.
We are, huh? I said.
Yeah, he said, because you have a great heart. You have a great heart, Mom. You make us a special family.
My boy gets me.
And that is Grace.
* Lyrics by Maria Quiles
A special thanks to Maria and Rory.
You made our night.