Slip sliding away…..yes that’s how it felt travelling down, down, down, these crazy slick tunnels…now it seems like the end of the road is a soft place to land. Fun house it’s not, but it’s warm and there’s lots of room. Might be ok to hang out here for a while.
Changes, changes, all inside me feels like it’s stretching and growing, like a balloon being blown up. Is it supposed to feel like this? It’s too dark in here to really see what’s going on. Guess it is a wait and see me type of thing. Feels like all the parts that are me, are trying to come together? Not sure what exactly this is all supposed to feel like, but a little voice keeps saying something isn’t quite right.
There must be a lot going on outside this warm, dark place, as I’m always hearing people talking. One voice keeps repeating to my mom, what sounds like one line, over and over, if you keep doing this crap, that baby won’t make it, and neither will you. Is he talking about me?? There’s no real answer from my mother other than a mean “Leave me alone, and get off my back”. Who is that man talking? If he thinks it is so bad what she is doing, why isn’t she listening? Doesn’t she care? I heard my mom yelling yea, you’re the father, but it doesn’t matter what you say. It’s my body, and I do as I want to.
That man, he’s yelling back at her, you’re crazy, and you just won’t listen. Is he my father? Not sure what a father is, but he seems to love me. One day, though, I hear his voice saying he’s had enough, he’s out, and it sounds farther and farther away, and then dead silence. Oh no, I’m not hearing him anymore, and I hear a crashing noise and my mother yelling that she doesn’t care.
What is she doing out there? I’m feeling all kinds of strange feelings, sometimes so hyper, I can barely breathe, and I hear my mom’s heart being hard and fast. Then suddenly, something rushes over me like an ocean wave, and I feel like I’m drowning, breathing hard, and everything seems like it’s slowing down to a crawl. I wish I heard that man’s voice again, but it’s been so long. He seemed to want me around, but not sure about my mom. All I ever her do anymore is yell or cry. I rarely hear her talk anymore. Does she remember I’m in here?
I’m not feeling right, something just feels wrong inside me, like I’m a puzzle with a piece missing. This once big enough place is now no longer roomy, I’m growing more all the time, and can’t move around like I could before. I am still feeling those crazy spurts of fast and slow, and I think it has something to do with my mom and whatever she’s doing. It doesn’t feel like I’m the way I’m supposed to be, like a Mr Potato Head with pieces put in the wrong places. I’m bigger than I was, but don’t think I’m as big as I need to be. This soft place I landed is now too small, uncomfortable, and it’s starting to push me painfully to the exit door.
Am I supposed to be going down that tunnel? Will it land in another not fun house? Another dark place? It doesn’t seem to matter what I want, because I’m getting the boot out of here, and ready or not, here I am. Hey, wait a minute, I’m not ready, I’m flipping and flopping in that tunnel. If I can just get stuck, I won’t go any further down that tunnel. I’m feeling scared and alone, I’m seeing lights and hands, lots of hands. They’re grabbing me up, I’m out of the tunnel, no soft landing this time.
Some lady keeps telling me to breathe, over and over, and I feel her tapping at me with something, quickly and a little harshly. Her voice is getting louder, a scared tone is in her voice, almost yelling at me to breathe, demanding it. Finally, a little gasp comes out of my throat, and I am now breathing. The yelling lady holds me to her, she seems so happy, and I’m not sure why. I like her warmth and she seems to like me. Uh oh, now she’s handing me to another woman? I thought the yelling lady was my mom, but no, I’m confused. This lady she’s handing me to.. is SHE my mom? She’s looking at me like she wants to hit me. I’m trying my best to make her like me, feels like she hates me. Is your mom supposed to act like that? She’s looking down at me and her eyes are darting all over my face. I hear her yelling at the nice lady, “what is wrong with her mouth and her nose? She looks like a freak”.
Me? I’m a freak? What is a freak? It must be something really bad from the look on my mom’s face. She turns away from me and practically shoves me back into the nice lady’s hands. I wish I could talk and tell my mom I’m sorry I’m a freak.
The nice lady seems to be hurrying with me, down a long hall, full of lights and talking voices. I can’t make her understand how confused and scared I am. Where is my mom gone? Doesn’t she want me? The nice lady is putting me into something that looks like a box, and a light, it feels warm. It’s not a nice place though, I’m thinking. They are putting tubes up my nose and down my throat, and a stinging pain in my foot. What is this bright scary place? I don’t like it, I keep hearing them talking to each other, words like poor thing, and cleft palate, and look what alcohol did? What does that mean?
Through the side of this box, I see a lot of boxes and lights and things that look kind of like me. Seems we are all in here together. They keep pricking me and poking tubes around. I don’t feel good anymore, the light is really bothering me, and their voices sound so loud, like bees buzzing around my head. Why can’t they stop? Don’t they know how loud they are? Funny, it didn’t seem that way, not that annoying, when they first put me in this box. It’s different, yet the same, that nice lady talks to me, but I’m never held anymore. Even the nice lady’s voice and that doctor’s voice that keeps telling me to fight, telling me to live, they are annoying. I feel so weak. Don’t they understand I’m too tired to fight, too tired to care, too tired to live?
Why hasn’t my mom been here? I haven’t heard her voice, I want to tell her that I’m sorry I’m not what or who she wanted. I’m sorry I’m so much trouble. I even listen for that long-ago voice of the man that talked to my mom and told her to stop what she was doing when I was in the dark warm room. I can’t hear him, either. I’m trying to care, I’m trying to be strong, as they want me to be, but the fight is slowly seeping out of me. Don’t they know I’m just too little to endure this?
The one consistent thing in all this has been that nice lady. She comes in the room of boxes late at night when everyone else is asleep, and reaches her finger in the hole in the side of the box to lightly touch my hand. I like her, but sometimes her touch seems to almost hurt me, more than I can stand, and it makes me cry. Not sure why I feel that way, like I want her touch, but I want her to leave me alone.
It seems I’ve been in this room of boxes for a really long time, and I hear them saying that I must weigh enough to get released from this room. What does that mean? Where will I be when I leave this room? I hear them talking, hear pity in their voices, as they wonder if I will make it another day? If I do, poor thing, where will I go? I hear the nice lady say one day that my mom is “out of the picture”. Not sure what to think, but the sadness in her voice tells me I won’t see or hear my mom anymore, even if I do leave this room.
They seem amazed that I have survived this long. The doctor tells the nice lady that I only need another half-pound to be released. I wonder what a pound is, and why I only need half? The tone in the nice lady’s voice scares me, as I hear her tell the other lady in the room, that I am almost ready for release, but where in the world will I go? I knew I should’ve fought to stay up in that dark room. At least then my mom was there.
Well I wasn’t sure what a half pound was, but apparently, I found it, because I hear the lady say today’s the day, and I’m leaving the room of boxes. It’s really odd that I haven’t seen the nice lady today, she’s been here with me every day, she even got to really hold me yesterday. Is that what it feels like to have a mom hold you? I guess I won’t ever know.
The lady is dressing me, it’s pink and frilly and small, as I’m still little. There’s a lot of commotion going on around me, I’m able to look around now. All this is making me feel uncomfortable, but I wish I knew what was going on. Looking up I see the small square piece of paper that has been above my box the whole time. I wish I could read it, as it seems to let them know who I am. The lady has finished putting this pink thing on me, and she is talking in a soft voice to me. Why is she telling me what a lucky little girl I am?
Suddenly her face is gone, and my heart starts to beat harder as I look up and focusing, see the nice lady’s face close to mine. She is smiling, feels like the whole light of the room is shining in her face. I’m not sure why she is glowing like that. She is waving papers excitedly in the other woman’s direction, and the lady is crying. Not sure if she is sad or happy?
I must have fallen asleep in all the excitement, because I missed leaving the room of boxes, and somehow, I am in a room that is all pink and light and has pictures of butterflies and roses in it. The nice lady is holding me up close to her, pointing out all the things in the room to me, and she’s smiling. Looking closer I see little streaks of wet on her cheeks, isn’t that what they called tears? What does that mean?
I don’t really know and don’t want to know anything really other than the warm place in this nice lady’s arms and how nice it feels. I see that same small square piece of paper from the hospital on the top of that big box in the corner of the room, the one filled with pink and softness and butterflies. Oh, I do like this place. The nice lady is still holding me, and she sits down on a chair that seems to move back and forth with us. She seems so full of excitement, but she is still talking softly to me. I am trying hard to focus on her words. Finally the words are soaking into my brain, my body, into me, as she holds me.” you are my baby now, now and forever, I am your momma, and Cammi, that is your name, it’s free and strong and like no other.”
CAMMI…at last I know what that word was on that small square of paper from the hospital, it was my name! and that nice lady? Yes, she is my mommy, she is my forever soft place to land.