You never heard me sing. You never knew the lyrics to my song. You never stood barefoot in my kitchen swaying to melody of my life. You never heard the rhythm of little girls tip-toeing in the early morning making pancakes and tea on a rainy Saturday in May. You never spun through the grass while singing to the stars, holding the little hands full of hope and abandon. You never heard the harmonies coming from the second story windows as we turned our stories into musicals note after note, page after page.
And that’s ok.
Sometimes, the greatest lessons of life come in the smallest packages, the smallest moments. My daughter and I were smashing bananas and sifting flour for our favorite muffins when her favorite song came on. The country-pop classic played loud over our afternoon baking session. We belted out the same lyrics we’ve always known, the beat we’ve come accustomed to, and yet it was different this time. As we added the sugar and egg, my brown eyed girl looked up at me while the lyrics, ” You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess, it’s a love story baby just say yes…”played and said this…
” Why would she want to be a princess, when she could be a queen?”
My brown eyes met hers laughing and said, “You’re right. You are right. Queen it is. Now pass me the chocolate chips.”
I’ve spent my entire life trying to transform my body, my mind, my heart for someone else to enjoy. For someone else to give me worth. For all the wrong reasons. I’ve preached but I have not practiced. I have talked and only walked out. I’ve posted notes all over my home with inspirational, uplifting words, but I can’t say them to myself. I tell my daughters to never let anyone tell them who they are or who they aren’t. I tell my daughters to run around barefoot in the back yard, climb the trees, splash in the puddles- experience it all.
But I have sat on the sidelines. Three years ago I surrendered my life to a power greater than myself and stopped allowing cheap wine give me comfort and take away my self worth and value. I have planted roots in sobriety, but I haven’t allowed myself to grow. I can’t tell my babies that they are more than their shade of lipstick, when I can’t even stand the sight of my own face in my reflection every morning. I removed the poison, but I’m still sick. The music notes on the page dance between major and minor, never producing the sounds I wish they would.
I look at my baby with the hazel eyes rolling around on the rainbow carpet in her room laughing with reckless abandon. I ask her what’s so funny, and she smiles her crooked little smile and says, ” Everything.”
I sit on the couch and look at my phone. I sit on my bed and look at my phone. I lay next to my sleeping children and look at my phone. I find a new recipe. I download another meditation app. I look at homes I’ll never live in. I check my bank account. I read articles about parenting, without actually parenting. I look at pictures of myself and wonder out loud, how I ever got that fat or ugly. I ask myself why no man can seem to love me for more than a few minutes at a time. I put my phone down. I stare at the wall.
I choke down the emotions that have been following me for years. I can’t let them out, what if they’re contagious? What if my three girls catch the same thing that caught my voice? What if they are silenced too?
My fingers used to stretch across the keys on the piano, eyes closed and let the vibrations pour over each note. Now they stretch over the wrinkles on my face or the stretch marks on my belly. Now they cover my eyes and mouth while I scream over and over- please don’t leave me. Please don’t hurt me. Please just take me. They claw and beg- please stay and dance with me. Please hear what I hear. Be part of my song. Be part of our song.
My green eyed girl with her long blonde hair climbs into my bed almost every night, right when the world seems to go quiet. She takes my hand, puts it in hers and asks me to sing. I hold her as close as I can for as long as I can. I put my cheek right next to hers and we sing ourselves right over the rainbow and back.
You don’t have to be a princess who sings songs about imaginary love from a castle far, far away. You can be a queen. You can write your own song. It won’t be a song for everyone.
That’s alright. Just as long as it’s yours.