“Ghosts are a metaphor for memory and remembrance and metaphorically connect our world to the world we cannot know about.” – Leslie What
I rolled over and checked the time on my iPhone. No triple identical digits this time. Instead it displayed 6:59 am. I realized it was time to get out of bed and wake the boys but I did not have the energy.
The pain in my ears, nose and throat made me sluggish and lazy.Â I ignored the time and rolled over to the other side of my large king sized bed. I looked up at the four posters and then over my head to the Klimt painting I have hanging above Â my bed. I smiled. I still love that painting. Reminds me of the last time I held my baby girl.
I decide to sleep a few minutes more and rush the boys to get dressed. Breakfast can be picked up at Panera versus prepared at home.
Thirty minutes later I wake again. I roll towards my phone on the nightstand and check my email.
There, second in the list of 20 new gmail messages is word from my virtual daughter named Google Alerts.
My virtual child Google Alerts delivered to me news of my daughter.Â More specifically, Google alerts delivered to me a link to a music review she recently wrote for an on-line magazine.
My heart wrinkles a bit. I ponder clicking the link and reading the article immediately or saving it for later. Already running late, feeling ill and unsure how much later the emotions of reading my daughters on-line work would make me. I am uncertain.
I lay in bed. I am very aware that I might now be making my children late for school and myself late for work, I pull the heavy yellow comforter over my head and lyrics from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals song titled “Lose Some Time” pop into my head.
“I got arms to hold me every night
But i’m still sleeping with a ghost”
Not a ghost lover, as is implied in Grace’s song, but a ghost child.Â Â I twist the lyrics around in my head.
“I’ve got boys to feed in the other room
but I am still mothering a ghost.”
I ache to know my child, my grown daughter.Â I decide not to click the link on my phone that would take me to her on-line music review. I decide it would be best to push the regularly occurring thoughts away for a few moments and start with my day.
I wake the boys. My oldest is slow to get dressed and instead opts to wander around in a StormTrooper mask and his tightie whities versus donning the clothes I have left out for him. I holler a few times through the apartment imploring him to get dressed.
As I get myself into the shower, I find myself wondering, what is it like to be in the presence of your child after so many years? What does it feel like? Does a mother change at a cellular level when she is finally granted permission to be in the same room with her child again? To breathe the same air?
I wouldn’t know.
I want to.
The closest I came (and wow, was it close) was when this happened.
But that doesn’t seem quite right to me. What I question is what it feels like to have your child want to be in the room with you? How do you feel after you have spent hours in your child’s presence? Does something heal inside you or do things get worse? Do you breathe differently? Cry less? Feel less anxious? Do you think of them less because finally you have been granted permission to touch them, smell them and hear them? Do you worry about them less since you finally have a sense of who they are and what kind of person they have become? Do you stop fantasizing about their voice?
The last time I heard my child’s voice she was three days old and a crying infant.
What does she sound like now?
I remember that I heard her voice once since then but it was on-line. She had a youtube video that I stumbled across and listened to a few times. Over and over. I listened to it. I told her, as I always do, that I found it and when I did that she made it private. I can no longer remember what that youtube voice sounded like. I think it was deep, throaty and a little sad.
That was years ago. What does it sound like today? Has it changed?
I finish my shower and with thoughts of her running through my head I sit on the toilet and cry.
Will I ever know?
Will I forever mother a ghost?
Later in the morning, seated at my desk, I decide to click the link to her on-line music review. I read it. It is short. I read it again. I try to read between the lines. I try to get a sense of who she is behind those music reviews. What was she thinking when she wrote it? Did she attend the concert of the band she reviews or did she listen to the album?Â I am struck by the loose style of writing compared to the way she has written to me. Which is more her? The loose fun style of the review or the intellectually distant style she uses when she writes me? Are they both her or is neither one her?
I wonder what she would write if she reviewed Grace Potter and the Nocturnals?