*I went on vacation. I left my mom a few states back and told her to get to work. My blog’s not going to write itself. Here are the fruits of her labor…. Ew! Labor. Without further ado, I’ll hand it over to The Mimi.
Tori is in my womb. She is active and in charge. It feels like she has 4 arms and legs. As it turns out, she does. There are 2 of them. They will be children #3 and #4. Soon it is determined that one little girl did not survive. This puts the entire pregnancy at risk. There are 2 options….I will have one baby….or I will have no babies. Hello, precarious situation.
Tori is born. It is April and I am as big as a house. In the middle of the night I wake up to labor. I have had 2 children already, and I know this girl means business. She wants out. We take the 4 and 2 yr olds to the hospital with us…no time to get them to the grandmother’s as planned. I am in a sundress (cute) and the nurse tells me to go into the bathroom and change into the gown. I tell her if I do that, I will be coming out with a baby in my arms. I get in bed in the cute sundress, and the nurse is greeted by my daughter.Into the world she comes, lusty cry, healthy as she can be. The look in her eyes is called wise. It is called beautiful. Hello, lovely….hello to you, my girl.
Tori is 2….but really, she is a grown-up disguised as a toddler. She poops her diaper, comes running bow-legged into the room where I am. “Oh Gawd”, she says, pointing to her nether regions. “Fix this, Mom”. She talks like an adult, she dresses herself. I lay out clothes that are reasonable and match. She says “No”, and wears her own ensemble. It is already obvious that she loves life. A lot. She skips, she runs, she talks and talks. I smile. Hello, world….meet Tori. She is going to kick your ass.
Tori is 4. She is the boss of us. The outfit of choice to preschool: her brother’s football helmet, a tank top, a tutu, and cowboy boots. For 2 weeks. I take her in, smile at the teacher and tell her “don’t ask”. She has waged a war on sleeping. At ALL, y’all!. Read about that here. She is dogged in her goal of never sleeping, ever again. By now there are 2 more little girls in the fam, and sometimes foster kids. No one can sleep. Everyone is tired all day, except Tori. Tori, at 4 years old, is climbing trees. Tori is happy as can be. This not-sleeping goes on for a year, then stops as suddenly as it started. Today, if you ask her why in this world she did this, she will tell you she just wanted to jerk us around. Hello, life as a zombie.
Tori is 7. She is mostly in a tree, up way too high for a little girl. I tell her to come down, it is time for dinner. She says “no”. Because I am a weird Mom, sometimes I climb up there with her, and it is a wonderful view. Neighbors look at me in the tree and shake their heads. I see why she loves it up there. She writes stories, she dances. There is some land at the end of our street, and Tori and her brother and a few other kids in the neighborhood give it a name. Ferngully. It is a magical kingdom, and you would not believe the adventures that happen there. Read about it here. They go there at night with flashlights, and come home smelling like sweat and earth, full of secrets. There are dragons in Ferngully, and beautiful birds, and trees to climb. Little boys and girls become princesses and kings. I hear the stories, whispered at night by my children when they are supposed to be asleep, and I wish I could go there. I do go sometimes, but it is not the same. Only the children hold the ability to make it real. I realize that my girl’s imagination knows no bounds, and I am so excited to witness her life, to see what she will become. Hello, Ferngully.
Tori is 10. Her parents’ marriage is falling apart, and it ends, sadly, and with much angst for all of us. Both her Dad and I never meant for this to happen. And, oh, he is a good Dad. I never question that. Things change abruptly. I get a job and go to work. I am not a perfect mother, I am stressy. There are 5 kids, and they rustle about, they roughhouse like a litter of puppies, loudly, rolling on the floor, breaking things. I remember fixing dinner, hearing the chaos, going into the den and saying…”you are acting like children, stop it”. Then laughing at myself, shaking my head, knowing I am ridiculous. We survive, we get to look at our strength, be surprised by it. I come home from working at a restaurant, and my daughters rub my feet that are so tired. We are not un-hurt, but we make it. The love we have for each other is so loud, it is so present. Hello, loves. Hello, family.
Tori is 14. She dances. All the time. She is tall and lithe, with willowy arms and legs. I have always been clumsy with no coordination, so not sure where she and her sister got this ability. I admire her grace. When she dances, she gives all. You see the actual girl fade….she becomes the dance. Lovely. Tori continues to be only herself. She does not care what you think about her. A prominent Nashvillian’s son (who shall remain nameless) asks her “out”, whatever that means when you are in middle school. Tori has witnessed this boy making fun of a special-needs kid, in the cafeteria, in front of everyone, laughing. She has told me about this, and she is pissed. She tells him no, she would never go out with someone who would treat a person like that. She tells him this in front of a crowd. Also, she tells him he can kiss her ass. I have never been more proud of my daughter. Hello, assertiveness.
Tori is 21. She has gone to college. She is a hard worker. She has dated some people, and then she tells me she has met Tom. I get the feeling that Tom is “the one”. He is older than she is, and I do not meet him for a while. I call him the “imaginary” Tom. In time, I do meet him. He is the ying to her yang. He is patient and thoughtful, and he seems to get a kick out of Hurricane Tori. He smiles a lot when he is with her, and she is totally herself with him. Hello, Tom.
Tori is 22. She has been told by doctors she will never have children. She is fine with that, they will adopt. We are adoption advocates in this family, so this is ok. Much to everyone’s surprise, Tori is pregnant. Oh, we are happy. She is all kinda big, but it is all in her belly. She is miserable, but she walks every day and tries to stay fit. To me, she is beautiful. On a November night we all go to the hospital, and after several hours, there is Thomas. I gasp as he comes out. I tell Tori I think there has been a mistake. She has given birth to a full-grown man! I have never seen anything like this. He is enormous. He is beautiful. He is my grandson. Hello, Thomas.
Tori is 24. Oh, how she shines as a mother, as an almost-wife, as a writer, a sister, a daughter, a friend, an artist. If you have ever met a person like her, you should count yourself fortunate. I could crow like a rooster, I am so proud of my child. She is a quirky Mom, like her mother was. Thomas listens to Coolio, she teaches him to whip his hair back and forf. He learns, from my little girl, how to squeeze every drop out of this life, how to love it with all that he is. You have only to look at him and see it…he shakes from the joy, his cheeks about to burst from the silly smiling, arms flung out wide. Hello, world! Ima eat you up!