Do you have something forbidden that you wear on secret evenings? Me too. I crawl inside the same softness of a bunny’s ear and when that fabric touches my naked body I feel completely understood. I keep my mother’s zip up blanket sack in the hidden corner of my closet and love penetrates me deep inside until I am 13 again, finding a rare moment of vulnerability, willing to sit at my mother’s feet while she knits and I lay my cheek onto her lap. Her hand smoothes my hair and my breath slows.
My husband doesn’t want to see The Sack. I look frumpy. Middle aged. Let’s face it. I look like my mother. What man wants his wife to resemble his mother-in-law no matter how much he might adore said MIL?
I want to be attractive to my husband. Feminist that I am, attraction remains important to me. So I leave The Sack tucked into a hidden corner.
He is away.
And I begin to remember my 13 year old fingers pull out the top I want to wear, but it is a balled up mess of wrinkles. I heat the iron in the next room. Smoothing the fabric on the ironing board, I am independence embodied until I hear the sizzle and smell the unforgettable stench of nylon quickly melting beneath my iron lowered front and center.
I raise the iron just as quickly as I set it down but it’s too late. The bottom is covered in melted goo. Tears begin to pour out of my eyes. I should have known better. I tell my mother this as soon as she awakens and follows her nose to the guest room where I’m ironing. “Why should you have known?” my mother questions, “You’ve never ironed nylon before. Nylon can’t be ironed. How could you know?”
“For real? You’re not mad at me?” I ask.
“Of course not.”
I’m bewildered. I was certain I would catch her wrath, but time after time she parented me during those teenage years and didn’t expect me to know what I hadn’t yet learned.
She was comfortable in her skin in those years, not like when my siblings were growing up and my father asked her to wear a wig. She had found a new husband who loved her for exactly who she was. When she got home from work she peeled off her nurse uniform and crawled into a zip up sack. She got chilled easily and her sack kept her cozy.
When she died and I was going through her clothes, I gave almost everything away. Our styles are very different. But I kept The Sack.
What my husband, who has not yet lost anyone in his family, doesn’t yet understand is that sometimes you need a hug from someone whose arms are on the other side of the rainbow bridge.
There is a great deal of my mother inside me. I hope I am the mother who understands when my kids haven’t yet learned something. I hope I am the one they reach for when they seek a comforting hug. I hope they will remember laying their head in my lap and feeling life become smooth as I touched their skin.
I find that kind of love very attractive, and ultimately inspiring huge gravity in my life.
Join me as I practice reaching for rocks that help to ground me.