Literary Reflections is pleased to present our featured writing prompt response from April. We asked, "What favorite activity has motherhood pushed far into the reaches of your existence? How do you compensate for that absence and longing? If you still make time for hidden pleasures, how do you incorporate them into this reality?
Beth Meleski wrote:
Meg, Sarah and Jean, three other mothers with kindergartners were already sitting in the front row when I got to the PTA meeting. I sat down in an empty seat next to them and waited for our kids to sing for the assembled parents. Meg dug into her bag, past the Teddy Grahams she was force feeding to her four year old and pulled out a copy of the movie Twilight. She handed it to me with a wink. She knew of my obsession.
“Return it to the library tomorrow. Oh, and I didn’t know Edward had a British accent in real life.”
Meg continued, “I’m always amazed when they can do that. Speak without an accent. Like Kate what’s-her-name in that movie.”
Jean chimed in, “Winslet. Revolutionary Road. “
Sarah said, “Yeah, and who was that red-headed lady in that movie with George Clooney? You know, the one where his car blows up in the beginning.”
Meg: “Oh, yeah, Michael Clayburg. No Clayton. Michael Clayton.”
“Tilda Swanson” I said, “That guy on House does it too.”
“House. What’s his real name?”
Jean: “Oh, it’s right on the tip of my tongue. Hhhh.”
Sarah: “Hugh. . .Hugh. . .”
Meg: “Laurie. Hugh Laurie. He has an accent too.”
The kindergartners filed in, and we listened as they sang "Hello everybody, yes indeed (clap clap) yes indeed. . ."
I can name off at least a half dozen Phineas and Ferb episodes, and I have a favorite (the one where Candace gets squirrels in her pants). I can tell you who won the Kids’ Choice award for best animated voice over (Jack Black, Kung Foo Panda) and I can predict with some degree of confidence that Jack and Annie are going to find their tree house and return safely to Frog Creek, Pennsylvania.
But I can’t seem to finish a sentence or a thought without the assistance of at least one other person. Standing in the school courtyard waiting for my first grader to be dismissed, I have, more than once, been in the middle of a conversation with someone and have just walked away. It has only occurred to me hours or sometimes days later that I didn't finish what I started.
There are other things I can’t finish these days: a cross stitch that I started when my niece was born (she’s now in college), a scarf I started knitting three years ago, books, magazine articles, movies . . . the list goes on.
But there is a trade off to my chronic inability to complete anything on my own anymore. When I became a mom, I gained a group of friends, Meg, Sarah, and Jean among them, who understand, who share my problem, and who come to my assistance whenever I need help finishing a sentence, or a thought, or a dessert. Although, dessert’s the one thing I’ve always been able to finish.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go return Twilight to the. . .
Beth Meleski can be reached at bethmeleski(at)gmail(dot)com.