Her Bad Mother

Friday, May 18, 2007

Achtung, Baby

When I was 11 years old, I stole a horse.

Borrowed might be a more accurate description - it was always my intention to return the horse - but still. I took a horse that did not belong to me. It was summer, I was visiting a friend in the country, and we were bored. We were out for a stroll on a country road when we spotted some horses in a field and decided that it would be a really great adventure to just get on those horses and go galloping across those fields.

So we did.

The only problem was, I was hardly an experienced rider, and galloping bareback on an unfamiliar horse with only a dusty mane to hang on to is not an easy thing to do. I lasted about five minutes into the ride before I was tossed, up and over the horse's head and into the grass, as the horse leapt over a fence. I was battered and bruised and scraped and more than a little dizzy. But I'll never forget the exhilaration. I had flown. I had seized that great animal and - filled with gleeful terror - hoisted myself on top and flown away toward the horizon, soaring for forever and forever and forever on the wind and it had been magnificent. I lay in the grass for what seemed an eternity, while my friend sobbed over my scratched-up body, and breathed in the smell of grass and horse and dirt and tears and felt the breeze ruffle my hair and sting my scraped-up cheeks and felt alive.

I've never forgotten that feeling. I've ridden many times since (never again, however, bareback and never again in short terry-cloth shorts), and had a great many adventures, but I've never again captured that exact feeling, that feeling of tossing yourself like a leaf into the wind to be flung and spun about, knowing that however hard you land it will feel like a flutter. That feeling of being so incredibly small and vulnerable and at the same time indestructible. That feeling of exhilaration that only comes with doing something really, really breathtakingly, heart-stoppingly, brilliantly scary.

That feeling that you can only really, truly appreciate, I think, when you're a child - when you experience your smallness as power, when you feel both diminutive and indestructible, when you thrill at fear. I can see the glimmer of this feeling in WonderBaby, in the spark in her eyes as she spins madly atop some jungle gym, barreling toward the slide, batting her mother's worrying, grasping hands away, as she races toward the fences, the rocks, the dining room furniture, straining to go higher-faster-further.

That spark in her eye thrills me, and terrifies me. It thrills me because I remember that spark in my own eye, and the circuits of electricity coursing through my veins to light that spark. I remember the thrill of balancing precariously in the highest limbs of a cherry tree, my lips and fingers stained pink from the purloined fruit, gazing down at the grass below and wondering what it would be like to just let go and fall. Or tiptoeing around the bushes that surrounded the decrepit old house of the ancient woman who lived near the pond, hoping to catch a glimpse of her in the middle of some terrible spell-casting ritual, hoping to hear her cackle and shriek, hoping to run away, terrified, giggling and screaming, back to the safety of our tree-forts and hideaways. Or racing down the steepest hill on our bicycles, daring each other to let go of the handlebars and the pedals and let our limbs fly as we careen faster and faster and faster. Or stealing a horse, and falling off, and loving it.

But it terrifies me, too, because I remember. I remember how intoxicating those feelings, that buzz that no narcotic, no liquor can ever replicate, that sweet, exhilarating intoxication that makes you dizzy with excitement and insensible to danger, that makes you do things like drop from trees or stalk little old ladies or steal horses. I see that spark in WonderBaby's eyes as she strains to climb higher and higher and higher up whatever mountain of wood or metal or sand or furniture stands before her, and I think, she will just keep going. She'll want higher and higher and faster and faster and she will not stop climbing and racing and speeding into the sweet exhilaration of fear.

And it scares me because I - having left Neverland long ago - am now mortal and fleshy and bound by time and space and body and I feel fear as a threat, as a warning, as a reminder that I am no longer nor was I ever a leaf on the wind, fluttering, landing with a whisper. I know that the wind is not gentle, and I know that I break, and I know that she breaks. I know that beneath her wings there is flesh and bone and blood; I know that no matter how immortal she seems or feels, no matter how removed from the exigencies of time and space is her experience of life, no matter how freely she flies... I know that she is as bound to earth and body as am I.

But I also know this: that being bound and feeling bound are two very, very different things, and that once upon a time, a long time ago, I felt unbound. I flew. And the memories of this flight are among the sweetest that I carry.

So. I want for her to fly, as much as she can, while she still believes that she has wings. I want her to be dangerous, to tilt into the wind, to aim at the sun. I want her childhood to filled with speed and light and the delicious tang of fear. I want her to build castles and forts and hunt monsters and spy on witches and race dragons and eat cherries in the very topmost limbs of the trees.

I want her to steal horses.


Inspired by the Dangerous Books For Boys, which is also for girls, and for grown-ups who remember being dangerous boys and girls. It's posted as part of the Mother-Talk Blog Bonanza.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

And it's still only just Wednesday

This week, on As Her Bad Mother Turns:

1) The Phallic Lovey disappears. Disaster ensues. Kermit is interrogated but yields no information. HBM calls in Jack Bauer but, sadly, he is preoccupied by fictional terrorists. HBM grumbles that Kermit is fictional, and very possibly a terrorist, too, but Jack still refuses to come to her aid.

2) HBM discovers that she is allergic to springtime.

3) Her Bad Father flies off to the Arctic to run sled dogs and ride around in helicopters while he shoots some dumb car commercial and HBM is left wrangle WonderBaby who does not, as it happens, respond to the command MUSH!

4) HBM discovers that her allergy to springtime causes her eyes and nose to turn red and her ears to plug up and her whole being to descend into misery.

5) Po secretly doesn't feel at all sad about the passing of Jerry Falwell but then worries that that maybe isn't very Christian of her.
6) HBM worries that she might be developing a mild Benadryl dependency.

7) Po remembers that she's a Tubbyterian and that Tubbyterians believe that gay-bashing televangelists go to the Fifth circle of Tubby Hell (Tubby-Haters, Bunny-Killers, Producers of Barney, Producers of WonderPets and Homophobic Televangelists) and feels a little bit better.

8) The Phallic Lovey mysteriously reappears. Kermit is released from custody. Po throws a party:

im in ur toybox smuttin ur toyz

9) HBM takes another Benadryl and has a nap.


Thanks to Jen for tagging me for a meme that I promptly bastardized, and thanks, too, to White Trash Mom and Tacky Princess (and, belatedly, Elizabeth, and am I forgetting anybody?) for thinking that I'm a thinking blogger. And thanks to GNM Parents, for nominating my dark ode to Mother's Day as a Hot Stuff post.

While I'm napping off the Benadryl blurries, you could go check this stuff out: more issues that never die, over at MBT; HBM's makeover (did she keep the bob? did she stay blond? did she resist the siren call of the PERM?), over at Mama Said Check This Out; and difficult reflections on infidelity, over at the Basement.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Why Don't You Leave Your Name and Number and I'll Get Back To You?

You ever have one of those blogging days, when, despite there being no end of stories to tell and theories to expound and confessions to make, the muse just refuses to come sit with you and so you just end up staring at your computer screen, your mind blank and your fingers still?

Or maybe your fingers aren't still. Maybe you subscribe to that school of writing thought that says that even when uninspired you must still write just write just keep tap-tap-tapping at the keyboard until the sentences start running kind of like starting a stalled car by pushing it down a hill and pumping the gas until the motor kicks in and you're on your way or even if you're not on your way it doesn't really matter because at least you were writing and the important thing is to write write write and keep writing, right?

Except that that never really works, and you just end up producing bad stream-of-consciousness babble.

Or maybe you just keep starting sentences but inevitably end up backspacing to delete them because the full force of their mediocrity hits at, oh, about the second or third or fourth or - if you were maybe kinda onto something except that actually no you weren't - ninth word:

Yesterday, WonderBaby...


Mother's Day sucked because...


Phallic Lovey is missing and all hell has broken loose and...


So maybe you've typed and deleted at least umpteen hundred words by now and are just feeling, like, blaaaah, yech, STUCK and need to bail on this whole writing thing for the day so that your head doesn't blow off and make a big icky mess that you're just going to have to clean up yourself anyway.

Ever have one of those days? I'm having one of those days. I had one of those days yesterday, too. I may have one again tomorrow. I'll let you know.

All lines to HBM's creative consciousness are currently disconnected. Please try again later.