Captive

An enormous jar of marbles sat perched on a shelf in the depths of the basement closet. In the dark, damp and musty room full of laundry soap and tools, a jar filled with perfectly shaped orbs in riotous colors was held captive in an old Ball jar. She reached in and pulled the jar into a shaft of sunlight pouring through the basement window. She was below ground, sitting on the cool cement floor and enjoying the silence.  One small rectangular ground-level window provided a view of the deep blue summer sky. Outside, the day was filled with heat but the basement was nearly frigid. She held the jar up, using the bright blue sky as a backdrop. The sunlight caused those perfect glass orbs to come alive again. Their color returned.

She marveled that inside of the dusty long forgotten jar, a bit of magic had been caught and held hostage. Inside the jar, the marbles screamed for release. For sunshine. To be held in the hands of a child. To roll across the sidewalk and click against another once again. Inside, under that zinc lid and neglected in the depths of a basement closet, they were captive and forgotten. Possessed but unloved.

She heard her mother’s footsteps on the basement stairs, “Be careful those are Ron’s marbles and they’re very old.” That was enough of a warning. To lose even one of those marbles wasn’t worth his vindictive wrath. Once he possessed something, he made it clear that no one else was entitled to touch what was his. From experience, she knew that children were not immune to his spiteful revenge.

She turned the grimy jar and marveled at the stifled beauty within, “Why are they in this jar in the basement?”  Her question was answered with a shrug and look of confusion, as if her mother couldn’t understand why it mattered. She felt a wave of aversion, realizing that her mother didn’t recognize the disservice of capturing such beauty and hiding it away. She stopped asking questions, knowing she’d never get her point across but also realizing that the marbles were his to keep confined forever. And wasn’t she avoiding just that? She constantly bucked against his masochistic need to dominate what wasn’t his. Including her. She’d given up waiting for her father to rescue her. She realized, at fourteen-years-old, that she must fight her battle alone.

Spellbound by the marbles and his need to control, she spat on her finger and rubbed a circle into the grime of the Ball jar. Through that clean spot, the marbles gleamed. She stood and walked to the washing machine to retrieve a towel and polished the grime-coated jar. Once more, she held the jar against the rectangle of bright blue summer sky and slowly turned it. Inside, the marbles knocked against glass and clicked against one another, begging for release. I can’t help you, she thought, I can’t help myself. She slid the jar back onto the shelf and closed the door on the beauty that shone within.

This is a piece inspired by the photo prompt at The Lightening and The Lightening Bug. It is a memory. I don’t know what became of the jar full of beautiful marbles held captive. I eventually escaped.

Sometimes, it’s good to write about things other than “Mommy”… I am a writer, therefor I write what comes to me. If you enjoy my odd (schizophrenic) mixture of mommy horror stories and creative writing, please deliver a click on the annoying flashing box right down there. If not, click on the box to return to regularly scheduled programming…not really, but you will find oodles of cute mommy blogs, baby gear giveaways and people who really dig coupons.

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Perfectly Insane

The monster snowstorm is about to descend upon us. This morning’s news blared that the “biggest snowstorm in 40 years” has begun to lay its deadly blanket across the country. Soooo…Mr. News Anchor? Is this one going to be much worse than the other 30 “Storms of the Century” that have occurred over the past 10 years? Just wondering.

I’ll admit it. I’m kind of excited to hunker down tomorrow because chances are, David will be hunkered down with us. Please God, dump enough snow on us to keep him home tomorrow. I beg of you, have pity on me. Don’t leave me here alone with these children for another snow day. Should that happen, I’m quite sure that I might finally lose my faltering grasp on sanity. Can’t you see that I’m already teetering on the edge of  lunacy? One more single-parent snow day is going to make me crazier than bat shit. Clearly, a few screws have worked their way loose.

Last week I stood outside marveling at the beauty of our freshly fallen snow and wondered if I had finally plunged into the pool of insanity. Normally, I despise anything cold. I was comforted when, an hour later, I was back to cursing the slushy roads.

Yesterday afternoon I realized that I’ve been humming ‘Sunshine and Lollipops’ to myself for days. It’s true. In moments of stress, I’ve taken to singing it out loud even though I don’t really know the words. I can only imagine what it sounds like, my off-key and slightly psychotic version of ‘Sunshine and Lollipops’ sung over and over and over again. Scary.

Evidently, not scary enough to effect the children because they continue chipping away at my patience and testing the strength of my hold on lucidity. Faithful readers, you know I don’t feign perfection as a parent. I’m far more likely to blog about the latest calamity than what goodie I baked yesterday afternoon. Sure, I bake with the kids. Sometimes I even manage to capture a few photos that provide the illusion of an idyllic afternoon. But that would be lying. I would never attempt to deceive you with contrived photos of squeaky-clean children smiling and filling their bellies with warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies. The truth is, one or all were probably picking their noses or sneezing over the bowl while I murmured ‘Sunshine and Lollipops’ over and over and over again and fantasized about showering.


Perfection

I’m sure that there are vast amounts of women for whom life is just perfect. Let’s pause here and take a moment to reflect on their perfection. Their children are angels and they bake cookies together every day while their latest snowman glistens outside in the winter sun. Their macaroni replicas of the Mona Lisa are drying in the craft room and later, they will all hunker for a nap in the family bed. Well, kudos to you perfect women (insert hand-clapping here)! Keep blogging about it, because I am positively riveted. I can’t help but wonder what really goes on at your house. 

Reality


Here’s a snapshot into the reality of our house over the past few days.

Dave carelessly left a poop-filled diaper on the window seat in the kitchen whilst running to the aid of another child. Stella, that cute and fuzzy Jack Russell Terrier ate it. Here she is post-poo consumption. Notice that Gwen seems to take delight in Stella’s choice of gag-inducing snack. Stella looks ashamed. Remind me not to let her lick anyone. Ever.

Kate has decided that breakfast is best eaten in the aforementioned dog’s crate. I don’t know why. Perhaps she’s giving Stella a preview of what’s to come. Maybe she’s waving that half-eaten pancake in the dog’s face and saying, “Hey dog, you can have this later, but not until I’ve digested it.”

On Sunday, Gwen was enjoying a much needed bath in our Jacuzzi tub, and why not? Someone should use the Jacuzzi tub since I rarely have a chance to relax in it. I momentarily left the room to grab some clean towels and re-entered to find that Kate was now flopping around in the bubbles as well. “What’s Kate doing in the tub?” Gwen’s gaze sufficiently expressed her belief that I might be slightly idiotic, “Well,” she said. “She needed a bath because her cooter was stinky.” Oh…my…God. I have nothing else to say about this.

Sunshine and Lollipops. Sunshine and Lollipops. Sunshine and Lollipops.

Please God, give us enough snow to keep David home from work tomorrow.

p.s. Could you please send a bottle of pinot grigio? I don’t think I’ll be able to get to the store.

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Sunshine and Lollipops

Well, that was definitely interesting! I did it. I pressed the “publish post” button and set the elephant in my room free. Oh, don’t worry…Jumbo is still hanging around. He’s just not sitting on my shoulders anymore and I’m going to try my hardest to keep him from jumping back on.

I’ll admit that I’m still slightly freaked out that I put my personal struggle on public display. I think that Dave is probably the only person on earth who knew the extent of my dark secrets. Thankfully, I have discovered that removing myself from situations and people that trigger bad feelings keeps the darkness away. I avoid bad energy.What I’m trying to say is that I haven’t begged God to put me out of my misery in at least 12 years. Exception: the first time that I got pregnant and thought that I’d finally gone completely bat shit crazy. Seriously, hormones are a BAD thing. Newly-pregnant-but-still-doesn’t-know-yet Kelli could potentially have made Sylvia Plath look like sunshine and lollipops. Dave, my smart and insightful husband, was the one to figure it out. He drove to CVS in Brighton during an epic snowstorm to pick up a pregnancy test then ordered me to pee. VIOLA! Not crazy…just knocked up.

A few years ago, in an e-mail to a high school classmate, I referred to my high school age self as shy. He thought this was hilarious. I was somewhat disappointed to discover that what I thought was “shy” was really interpreted as bitchy and standoffish. I guess the reality of the situation was that I held (and continue to hold) potential friends at arm’s length. I’m social, but private. I can “turn it on” in public and be physically drained when I reach the safety of my home. I close the door behind myself and recuperate.

My biggest fear in sharing my battle is the assumption that I’m not firing on all cylinders..you know, people might think I have a few too many bats in the belfry. Will people smile and wave, but subtly hurry their children along after a polite exchange? I guess this remains to be seen. Over the past two days I have wondered if the people who I see often, knowing what they now know, will be cautiously watching me, wondering if I’m contemplating my own tragic demise. Will they look at me with pity? Disdain?

Let me set the record straight. As I wrote “Crazy”, I was paying a long overdue visit to the past. I’ve held so much pain inside of myself for so long, simply because I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the people who caused that pain. Well, I certainly let it rip the other day didn’t I? I want to say I’m sorry for so publicly sharing family secrets and rehashing past bad behavior, but I’m not. I’m not sorry at all. I’m sorry if you didn’t like my words, but I’m not sorry for trying to heal. What I described in my post was how I once felt and my past struggles with depression. I’m still trying to forgive, but its hard to move forward when I still have a problem with people who don’t hold themselves accountable or can’t apologize.

I’m in a really good place these days. Despite a few bumps caused by pregnancy and post-partum hormones, my depression is under control. I haven’t curled into the fetal position and wished for death in years. That’s a good thing. I’ve never felt the urge to drown my children in the bathtub or had similar horrible thoughts. Why do I feel the need to tell you these things? Because too many people don’t understand depression or don’t consider it a real illness. I’m not going to get into a discussion aimed at educating people about serotonin levels and neuronal reuptake. Go Google it if you’re really interested. I just want you to know that I sometimes have a bad day. My coping skills can be pretty shitty. I might be quiet, pensive or even have a short temper on a bad day. I might not feel like talking and might not call you back for a day or two. I will beat myself up over not calling you back. I’ll run through an endless cycle of guilt and self-admonishment for not trying harder…for not pursuing friendships. I’m too used to hiding myself, afraid that some of my cracks might show. I’m shy.

So thank you, friends for being persistent. Thank you for being supportive and not making assumptions. Thank you for understanding that if I don’t call you back right away, I’m not blowing you off. I’m not snobby or standoffish. I don’t think that I’m better than you. I’m shy. Thanks for hanging in there.