Lord Have Mercy

…a little nibble as we turn toward the school year… in case you are wondering…. rose and her mom are not real… they are manifestations of a mom's anxiety… metaphors per se….manufactured scapegoats... (as far as you know. wink. wink.)  

If not for the 3-d Ultrasound warning me of this inevitable truth, I would not have believed it could be true. In the world of Maeve, I am a foreigner in a foreign land. Wild and beautiful, dangerous and unpredictable. Jesus, it has been this way from the very beginning.

What do I do with this disarming child and her tiny feet nestled in the bend of my waist? Fast to her slow, rigid to her softening folds.

‘It feels good to be cozy,’ she says.

‘Yes, but its noon.’

‘I like being naked.’

‘Me too, but not during the day, in public.’

‘Butter is my favorite food.’

‘Butter is not a food.’

‘Please Maeve,’ I beg, ‘Just this once…?

Tender and cruel, she is like escargot without pretention. More like steamed oysters perhaps. If you work, you can have a taste, but it’ll cost you.  

Street angel, house devil. A tyrant. A pistol.

A          spicy               little                 nugget.

She can raise hell in God’s pocket, they say.

But I’m not God, and this girl gets in my pocket every morning just as her feet hit the floor and I hear her little patter-stomps marching down each step. ‘Here she comes,’ I mumble. Strategizing with nimble and sophisticated, high-level thinking, I AM Jason Bourne. Best get moving if we hope to get there on time. So when she catapults her little body up and over mine, and rips the pillow out from under my head to ‘cozy up,’ I know it’s going to cost me.

I’ll never get her out of here.

She worries about animals and her friends, and this makes me worry about her. So I let her perseverate; tree frogs and deforestation, puppies that didn’t make it, lonely horses, and of course Becky and Rose and Ellie who don’t say nice things. So maybe Mom, we could get a puppy, or a horse. or even a frog? I’m not sure she’s taken a breath in all of this, so I just lay beside her with my eyes closed and rub her little belly.

Let’s be honest, Rose is a nightmare, just like her mother.

Will she be okay? Why is she not more confident? Will she find a passion? Will someone break her heart? Maybe I should buy her a puppy. Good gracious, these curves.  

Now we are on to the injustice of her brother, and I always tune this part out. Life’s not fair, and the cookie looked even to me. I wish she would just-stop-talking, but she is beautiful in this moment of incessant complaint. Her floppy short brown hair covering one of her eyes, snaggle-toothed, ranting now with one hand under her cheek on the pillow and the other flapping mid-air for argument’s sake. ‘Are you even listening?’ Around her mouth is a rim of red-chapped skin, and I reach to touch her full-cherry lips. My lips are so thin.

As she bats my finger out of her way and I say, ‘Lord have mercy, what am I going to do with you?’