October 06

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The Box

Sometimes it’s the case that the people who make you laugh the hardest are the ones who have most to prove. As one who has always tended to take the role of the clown, I know that I try to entertain and engage *most* when I am struggling. And I know that being funny is a great fallback for those times when life gets challenging. Today’s writer is fabulously funny and blazes a trail of humour from her own blog outwards to a starry array of Big Blog Features. She also occasionally writes on more painful, immensely challenging topics, and it is in these that she has found in me a fan for life. Because when she writes about them, she is raw and real and tender and wonderful, and they hook me in from beginning to end. Please welcome Marcia, who writes funny ‘for the moment’ and poignantly ‘for keeps’ – Lizzi.

In my hall closet there is a box hidden beneath bath towels and bed sheets. Inside the box are scraps of memories of a child I never had the chance to know. A lock of hair, some yellowed snapshots and the black and white ink print of a foot no larger than my thumb. There was a time when I needed to open the box daily to reassure myself that the baby existed, if only for a brief moment in my arms.

The Box

I keep the box on a high shelf crowded between old baby clothes my children have long since outgrown and the tattered, smudged drawings from their early kindergarten days.  I seldom think about the box until it’s time to reorganize the clothes to make room for the clutter of new memories. My hand brushes across the worn flaps and I feel the need to open it again, despite the years that separate me from that part of my past. It has been stored in the closet for two decades, yet every time I see it, I am surprised by its presence and what it once meant to me—-the hopes and dreams of a young mother carrying twins. I lift the lid slowly and touch the silky wisp of blonde hair inside. Folded neatly underneath the sympathy cards and letters is a small, cotton blanket. My hand automatically smooths the satin edge and slowly I bring it to my cheek, remembering the softness of the little boy it once held.

 

There was a time when I believed the box was all that I had left of Jason, until one morning when I looked into his twin sister’s eyes and saw his smile. She had just taken her first step around the coffee table and rewarded me with her toothless grin. I cried then for the miracle of having such a special baby, and for the twin boy I’d never see take his first step, play catch with his father, splash in the surf, star in a school play, walk across the stage for his high school diploma or escort his new bride down a church aisle. Although I missed him and often wondered what it would have been like to raise twins, I realized early on how blessed I was to have his twin sister, who brings so much joy into my life.

 

When I was younger, it was very painful to open Jason’s box. It forced me to face a loss I never understood. Today, it represents more than that; it reminds me of the courage it took to work through the loss—something I never could have accomplished without the love of my family and the power of faith.  The box became a part of the healing process in my grief.  Every time I sifted through its contents, I became stronger.

 

I’ll never forget Jason or the softness of his skin when I cradled him in my arms. Although our time together was brief, he taught me some valuable lessons. Our children are a blessing, and the special moments we share with them are the little miracles in our lives that make up the memories we carry in our hearts when we grow old.

 

For J.
Your voice is hidden in the hum

of a respirator, each breath

the weight of a stone

in this sterile room

where shadows of infants

drift across hospital walls

leaves that break loose

from summer trees

scatter into fall

 

Clouds shift in your eyes

the hard blue of summer

the sorrow of lullabies

you will never know

only my hand against the pale moon

of your face

spirit lifting from my fingers

into the light

your small shadow etched

into the darkening sky.

 

Marcia Family

Marcia Kester Doyle is the author of the humor blog, Menopausal Mother, where she muses on the good, the bad and the ugly side of menopausal mayhem. Marcia is a contributing writer for Huffington Post,  What The Flicka and HumorOutcasts. She was named a BlogHer Voice of the Year for Humor in 2014 and Voice Bok Top Comedy Blog 2014. Her work has also appeared on Scary Mommy, BlogHer, In The Powder Room, Erma Bombeck Workshop, BA50, Generation Fabulous, Mamapedia and several humor anthologies. Her own book of humorous essays Who Stole My Spandex, will be published soon by Blue Lobster Book Company.

Marcia Kester Doyle

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