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LJI Week 5: Waffles

"I swear, it's like shovelling pancakes into a void."  I shift the phone to my other shoulder, massage the crick in my neck.  "You were an almost teenage boy once.  Does this stop or just get worse?"

How did I end up here?  I know the actual reasons:  move to Pennsylvania to be closer to my kids.  My crappy third floor walkup gets either condemned or sold out from under me--the reasons are murky at best, and pointless in the face of impending homelessness--and I stick to my desire to live near my children, despite the siren call of getting the hell out of New Jersey and living with the love of my life.

I promise myself that one day they will grow up and understand what I lost, moving in with their father and his parents, an odd sort of indentured servitude.  I promise myself that one day he will understand I did what I had to do too, when I told him that I couldn't be with him.  Not now.  Not yet.

I still ask myself, every Sunday, how did I end up here?  Then I turn on some Joni Mitchell or John Prine, stir the batter, and make pancakes.  It takes forever.  After all, I'm feeding two growing boys, an ex husband, and my former inlaws.

The voice on the opposite end of the line is warm, comforting, reminds me of the self I'm losing piecemeal.  "They're boys.  You really don't want my answer."

I groan, flip over the current batch, and yell  "Okay, people!  Come get these or they go to the dogs!  I mean it!"

The youngest comes tearing in, all red hair and mismatched pjs, yelling "FOOOOOD!!!!!"

I hear the surpressed chuckle over the phone.  "Let me guess who THAT is?"

"Quit laughing.  And yes.  He made the eggs today, and THAT was an adventure."

"Do you ever get to eat?"

"Once I make sure no one is going to starve to death."

I hate being honest like this.  I know it pains him, but there are days I can't help it.  I hate Sundays.  Yes, I want to make fancy brunches and pad around barefoot in the kitchen and sing along with Joni.  But not this way.  I want my kids and my love in the kitchen with me, everyone helping and talking and singing.  I don't want to listen to John Prine over and over, rubbing salt in a wound I don't even know how to name.

"I'm going to send you something."

It's his Grandma Gerta's waffle iron.  A gorgeous piece of 70s nostalgia, and capable of keeping up with two growing boys.  Well, almost.

I can feel the love from that gift tingle through my fingertips every time I touch it.  I know I'm fading.  I'm losing myself.  I'm getting inexorably sucked in.  But I can run my fingers over the cool plastic, plug it in, and decide that it's a Joni Sunday instead of a John one.

Sometimes I listen to David Bowie now and put sprinkles in the batter.  The boys love it.  So do I.  I'm fading a little less and starting to sparkle a little more.

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
adoptedwriter
Jan. 15th, 2016 06:41 pm (UTC)
This is fab! Void, Waffles and Bowie all in one! Bonus points for sprinkles!!!


AW
mamculuna
Jan. 15th, 2016 06:54 pm (UTC)
I don't know your whole life, but reading this, I think: You are a good woman.

My children's father moved all the way across the country when they were in grammar school. I couldn't find a job out there, so I stayed here, a single mom, but then let one of them move out there with him in middle school. Nothing could have been worse than that.

Being with your kids until they're grown--that's a really important thing to do.
mac_arthur_park
Jan. 19th, 2016 04:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I didn't get to stay that long, but I hope they remember that I did everything I could.
eeyore_grrl
Jan. 15th, 2016 07:11 pm (UTC)
No fading. Live large. Live true. Eat waffles. WIth family. With love.

Sorry for the pain. (hugs)
mac_arthur_park
Jan. 15th, 2016 07:21 pm (UTC)
As much as I loved being with the boys, it was the lowest point of my life.

When my ass got dumped here without notice, somehow Kent's grandma's waffle iron "accidentally" got broken when Derk was throwing my stuff into boxes. I knew he could be cruel. I didn't think he could be that cruel to someone he'd never met.

We have a new waffle iron (yay spending pointless hours on Fantasy Football! I'm tempted to continue playing because this is the second year I've made money and it annoys the guys). It feels like everything is coming full circle now.

velvetechos
Jan. 16th, 2016 04:03 am (UTC)
<3 Good on you for being there for those boys.

PS: Sprinkles in the batter. Always.
communitybee
Jan. 16th, 2016 10:56 am (UTC)
This is wonderful.
halfshellvenus
Jan. 16th, 2016 08:08 pm (UTC)
Moving in with your ex and his parents... ugh, such a hard thing to do. And there's a tinge here of having to continually prove you're grateful for that awkward situation by feeding the masses every Sunday.

But you did it for your boys, and does that ever make a huge difference in the whys and what you can tolerate.
leni_ba
Jan. 17th, 2016 04:14 am (UTC)
Hard decisions must be made, but it sounds like you're the kind of mom your kids will be proud of. No matter where you end up, always be that woman.

And always have food ready, because they'll be out of their teens and have kids of their own, and they'll still raid your fridge when they come visit. ;)
tjoel2
Jan. 17th, 2016 04:41 am (UTC)
Wonderfully written and poetic in places. A very melancholy feel.
murielle
Jan. 17th, 2016 09:56 am (UTC)
Oh, I love hopeful endings. And yes, listen to Joni. She even makes the blues sound joyful. She can't help it, it's in her voice.

Love and waffles!
rayaso
Jan. 17th, 2016 05:07 pm (UTC)
This was very well done. I can't imagine what it would be like to move in with your in-laws and your ex-husband, but whether they say it or not (or even whether they currently know it or not), it must mean the world to your boys to have you there. There must be some solace in that.
eternal_ot
Jan. 18th, 2016 08:16 am (UTC)
Aww..*Hugs* I loved the last line..Keep going..its gonna get better soon..<3
dmousey
Jan. 19th, 2016 12:41 am (UTC)
This must be rough. (Hug) Thanks for sharing. Peace~~~D
(Anonymous)
Jan. 21st, 2016 02:45 am (UTC)
I totally ship Kent and Alicia.
mac_arthur_park
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I think. :) Do I know you?
dancingdragon3
Feb. 4th, 2016 01:25 am (UTC)
Woah, this was so moving. Like I feel it right in my chest.

I know it's reality, and I commend you for having the decency and responsibility for going through this, but, that you can write about it so well is what makes me feel you, the lonely, quiet desperation, that wants but is failing at Leave it to Beaver, ya know? Anyway, thank you for sharing.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )