Good Stock

I left home for NYC at eighteen with neon bracelets, combat boots, Madonna CDs, and a duffle bag filled with brass balls and big dreams. I’m not sure where I got the courage, maybe it was more stubbornness when my mother said, “if you don’t go you’ll regret it and end up working at Walmart.” There’s nothing wrong with that, except I was born with a restless soul, wind in my ears and gypsy feet. What I didn’t know, which she’d tell me many, many decades later, was that she was heartbroken and cried for three days. I could never do that. I could never be that selfless. I could never be her, I could never be you. A mother. I thank God everyday I never had a daughter or son who was beloved and adored; who I’d teach strength, honor, respect and responsibility by osmosis.

I often wonder how many dreams and compromises she made so that I could be independent and free, to follow my dreams, to royally fuckup and yes, to come crawling home when broken. Some days I don’t recognize her in me at all. We are so wildly different, and not really that different at all. Her mind is sharp yet the body fails her, and that is the most agonizing fate and miserable thing. We’re all dying a slow death, with tiny victories lived in between the inhale and exhale. Every milestone I called her, every dream fulfilled I wanted to tell her, and every moment I am her daughter, I thank God my hands and heart are free from the daunting and thankless job of being a good mom from excellent stock. Helicopter moms are forever hovering, trying to anticipate looming disaster, sighing with relief when there are no messes to clean up, when the skies clear and the sun shines down. To all mothers, I celebrate and applaud you.

Please remember your daughters and sons’ fuckups are not yours to carry, they are solely their very own. I’m so glad I did not have the awesomeness of birthing a life, the burden, the tears or the privilege to carry a child. I fear I would have been buried alive by the weight of a mother’s love. I’m lucky to be on the receiving end, this I know.

The Highway Halfway Mark

hBd6EPoQT2C8VQYv65ys_White Sands

The Highway Halfway Mark 

by Jacqueline Cioffa

I wonder, I do. I cannot help but wonder what’s down the road from the place I have ever truly called home. The wood and grass and nails and bolts, the wet familiar dew smells and giggling baby sounds.The joy and the sorrow. I can’t help but observe and wonder. The funny, peculiar, crooked way of seeing the world that is all my own. The structure has cracks, fissures and deep gaping holes, pockets that need love and attention, there is patching and mending to be done. I don’t know if I have enough glue stored in the chicken coop to hold the facade together before the walls come crumbling down. I am for better or worse, at the highway halfway mark.

I mind I do, at times. I mind a lot.

Sometimes, I don’t mind at all. I laugh and live, and get lost in the hilarious, fleeting moments. I get scared, frightened, and paralyzed too. Funny, I was never scared as a child. I was wild, fearless fierce and strong.

Maybe I greedily used up all the miles and worn down the treads on my running shoes. New Balance 574’s. There’s nowhere, no road, no mountain, no distances left, no place far and enough away to hide.

That’s okay. It’s all right. I do get tired sometimes. Mostly, I wish I could bottle up the Lupita lovely creature cuddled beside me. Her warmth and heat and breath and beating heart radiate and rejuvenate my childlike spirit. Her smile makes me weepy. I can’t. I can’t keep her here with me.

I cannot understand the death concept, wrap my head around this curious mystery called life. I try, but maybe I can’t comprehend a life without all the people and places I have cherished and loved. Close, always close by even when separated by continents and telephone lines.

My mother and I don’t see eye to eye on so many things. I talk too much, worry too much, cry too much, am crazy too much and yet she is here in her first forever home and mine folding the laundry. Her pace slow, her gait sad, her grit defeated and still she is cemented together, red brick stronger than I. She realizes her halfway mark has long expired, and that makes me hold my breath.

As if I could stop time between the inhale and exhale before the next.

As if. I’m stalling, still. Silly me, I am a grownup who’s not very grownup at all. I understand that hanging on tight to the breath is wishful thinking and I will most surely pass out. I can’t help be hopeful and delusional at times. It hurts to catch my breath.

Here, at the highway halfway mark.