When I am hungry for my mother, I find myself making a peanut butter and jelly. Not because I remember her making them on homemade bread (she didn’t) or because she made her jam (she didn’t), but because it was her signature love-move.
And to be fair, my mother was a shit cook.
But she made me peanut butter and jelly, and it was her one steadfast meal that I didn’t have to guess whether or not would be edible this time.
I’ve struggled to write as of late. Peers and people that I love remind me that I can’t have it all, all the time creatively. But what does that mean for someone that ultimately wants to write? In addition to not being able to find the words, my reading (lack thereof) has suffered as well, and if I’m not reading…
I’m not writing.
I listened to Crying In H Mart over the last two days, and I let myself feel renewed and sad, comforted and heavy.
Rudy Francisco writes-
I write best
When I am either
Falling in love
Or falling apart
And I say-
Amen, amen, amen.
Crying In H Mart + this poem reminded me of something I wrote last summer about my mother, right after Maddox was born. Those days are etched into the back of my eyelids like a branding. Memories both too sweet, and too painful to forget.
Years ago, after deferring to a dream dictionary, or at least being telephoned that is what one read, I believed the spiders in my dreams were Mother.
Mine, a mother, somebody’s. I was told that they represented a Mother, or mother-like figure.
Regardless of the validity, and regardless of my feelings towards spiders when I happen upon them in my bathtub, that’s what I have known to be true.
So it’s no surprise, the morning after learning of my own mother’s death, I woke up in my tent, the first thing my eyes landing on-
a fat wolf spider.
And looking back, the summer I unraveled, my life and body and motherhood a mess, was the summer I felt tortured by spiders. Every where I turned in my house, there another one was. Different species, different sizes. I lost actual hours of sleep due to my constant suspicion that a spider was absolutely in bed with me. Sometimes I wasn’t wrong.
Last year, upending the earth to tend to my garden, just after learning I had miscarried, a spider’s nest. Her babies scattering across the dirt, clambering on top of one another. I always figured they were searching for their mother.
And now, seeing them in my kitchen, a certain resolve. I swayed with Maddox who was frog-legged across my chest before the sun had fully risen this morning. While we swayed, I watched a small spider crawl along the edge of the sink, quick on her tiny spider legs as to not get too wet.
And I watched her; and I swayed and I sipped my still-hot coffee. I didn’t feel the need for removal or fixing or exterminating or banishing or having the answer as to why this common, black spider danced in between water droplets in my sink while it was barely dawn.
I felt absolved. Just a couple of mothers, mothering in our own way, taking the morning moment by moment in silence, and in swaying.
All my love,
I love spiders, they’re all Charlottes to me, even the Charlies. I think about my Mom, but I dream about my Dad, a real monster. I had terrible nightmares when I had an arrhythmia only repaired after five procedures. My last was me killing the devil with knitting needle through the eye. No more arrhythmia Devil. It’s been 13 years.
My Mom was a good cook unless she was tired. Then it was hot dogs and potato chips. Her best was mac and cheese. Once when my DAd was at sea and not sending her enough money to live on, she made tuna casserole. We thought it was M&C until the first bite which tasted like she’d dumped the vacuum bag into the M&C. Even the dog wouldn’t eat it. Heart you Girlfriend.