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March 01, 2008




I lay on the couch listening to my husband of sixteen, nearly seventeen years, playing the guitar. I watch his fingers light upon the strings, his eyes closed, his face alive with emotions I’m not sure he feels, but the music is lovely nonetheless. Indeed, I fell in love with the music a long time ago. Music, books and flowers were all it took to woo me. I was so sad when it stopped.
I have worried that childrearing, mortgage paying, endless hours of money-earning and in-law intrusion had killed it. Midlife has started to creep in and I have spent quite a few months crying out of frustration and anger for things that are and things that will never be. Then one day, my son started playing the guitar, picking up songs by ear that my husband had played once upon a time. And then my husband started teaching him. Their heads bent together, my son watching his father, my husband watching his son. No arguments or tantrums. No impatience or anger. Music filled my home and I watched as son and father found a new harmony together. They even began to run in the evenings. My son began taking his side in silly discussions instead of mine. My heart was full. Finally, I thought, they have found each other.
And then there’s the music.
I lay on the couch listening as he plays the same song over and over again, this man of mine. Milonga. A tango. My heart begins to melt filling my eyes fill with tears, as I hope we share this tango long after he plays the last note.



Going away. Changing form. Disappearing. Becoming liquidy and soft and squishy (relaxing).

Sometimes, (like today), I feel like doing all of the above. But Zoe (2 and a half years old) and her sister Marlee (1 and a half year old) would not approve. Nor would my husband.

Has my old self melted away? Where did she go? That woman (girl?) who loved having sex (and more importantly, FELT sexy), would stay up till 3 am with a book, would paint in the evenings while sipping wine and listening to the “acoustic after dark” radio show…..is she gone for good?

It seems to be so, sometimes.

Today, I was very excited to take a shower while Brian watched our children. “This is utterly luxurious”, I said quietly to myself, fairly giddy with anticipation for this very rare treat. As soon as I turned on the water, however, my mood plummeted. The water was lukewarm, at best. Brian had his typically long shower just before, and I had a load of warm wash going (this was necessary due to a multitude of puke stained sheets and diarrhea laden jammies…remnants of the bug that just passed thru our house). Once again, Mom comes last. No more hot water for me. I had to rush thru my few moments of what was supposed to be comforting solace and peace and warmth. No time to shave legs or underarms. No time to wash behind ears. Feeling resentful of warm showered husband and cold and sorry for self. NO wonder I do not care about sex these days. NO wonder I have no energy or drive to paint. NO wonder I am so stressed and irritable when I can’t even take a #$&*@ shower!!!!!!!!!

I miss the old self. She has melted with the heat of children and of child rearing.

Perhaps she will reform and regain shape again with time and change in the weather or atmosphere…. You know, like melted snow turns to ice when conditions change. Perhaps that old self will take shape again but in slightly different form. That is the hope, I suppose.

Eleven minutes is up. Girls are crying and it’s naptime.


Dear Sunshine: the sun will shine again; take heart. Keep writing and you will find your new and perhaps better self: made better for being stronger, more giving, more selfless through motherhood. Keep writing and finding that new voice, your voice, so it doesn't get lost in the cacophony of needy family memebers. :-) Thank you for your story. Sorry to say, it reminded me of what I do not miss - but inspired me to write you and say: yes, those melted molecules will reform one day...and you may be the better for it. :-)

Gwendolen Gross

dct--beautiful, beautiful piece. You could write more about the music and memory--it really is powerful stuff.
Sunshine--I promise (even if I'm assuming this is fiction--I'm saying so to your character!) it gets easier. Perfect capturing of that stuck-in-the-moment, though. We moms have been there!
Keep up the writing, all!

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