Saturday, February 19, 2005

My mother once told me that she and my dad made the decision to have me while they were on a ferris wheel.
I can see the whole scene. The two of them in their hanging wire basket, lovely and younger then than I am now, younger in many ways than I've ever had the chance to be. In my imagination it was early fall, the sun just setting and the air still warm enough that she didn't feel chilly in her tank top. The last pieces of daylight would have been laying lightly across her waist length straight brown hair and she'd have been kicking her feel in their sandals like a little girl. His glasses would have covered half of his face and his short sleeved shirt would have been pushed up enough to show off his tattoo. She would have been snuggled back into his arm laid across the back of the seat behind her. They were young and in love and so full of youth and love that they thought they might burst.
If you would have told them, at this point, that in a very few years they wouldn't even like each other all that much anymore, that for a while their tiny towheaded offspring would get lost in the shuffle, they'd have stared at you with pity. It's often a good thing that we can't see into the future, that we are only able to look through the glass darkly.
I have never seen a picture of the two of them together.
In my baby book right after I was born she wrote, "Always remember, you were made out of your daddy's and my love for each other. We have so much love that we wanted to bring someone into the world to share that love with." I came across it not too long after they divorced, when I was four or five, and was instantly convinced that it was my fault that they had split up--that in making me they had used up all of their love--that I had stolen it all. I didn't tell anyone about it for ten years. Instead I kept that idea inside like a stolen treasure and sometimes I would curl myself around it and stroke it softly. It was my dirty secret, my hidden bag of drowned kittens.
It took a long time to come to terms with the fact that people make their own decisions and that what they do is not my fault. I'm always working towards being more thankful for that afternoon talk on the ferris wheel and less guilty about what happened afterwards. I am always working towards being more thankful, period.

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