Who’s Driving this Thing?

In my basement, on a shelf with several other choice toys from my childhood, is one of my favorite toys. You’d think it’d be a doll, and it would be, but I don’t have her anymore. My favorite doll was Patricia, a beautiful pale, blonde doll my Mom made for me from one of my Dad’s undershirts.  She had a beautiful embroidered face and yellow yarn locks and was my constant companion. She would be lovingly displayed in my bedroom today, but she was killed by a puppy. I had her and my sister’s doll Lucy out in the yard for a tea party and it started to rain. So I rushed Lucy inside and when I returned for Patricia, she was gone. We found bits and pieces of her around the neighborhood and the largest incriminating chunk of flesh with the neighbor’s new puppy. I demanded the puppy be put to death, but he got off with a ridiculously light sentence and the whole thing was hushed up. After that, I didn’t get attached to another doll and frankly, can’t look at puppies with the same untempered glee that most folks do. 

Gosh, this took a dark turn didn’t it?

Honest to goodness I intended to write about the joy of office supplies!

So, on the shelf, in the basement is the toy I did manage to keep intact: a black briefcase full of assorted office supplies. Nope. Still thinking about my beautiful Patricia. She was so soft, as you can imagine a Fruit-of the-loom child would be and it was lovely to hug her. I feel a bit sorry for children who try to nurture plastic store-bought dolls. I had two of those, and we got along fine, but Patricia was made from love, (not some off-gassing composite) and named after her maker, my mother. It was kind of deliciously exciting to say my mother’s name, like invoking some kind of wild grown-up power.  Patricia. 

Yikes. It’s not looking good for that ode to office supplies I had planned for you.

Ok, here’s the thing: the thing is.  You know those kid-friendly shopping carts they have in some of the cooler stores. There’s a toy steering wheel attached to the child seat portion.  And you see a parent pushing one of these cool carts and a child working the steering wheel like mad, thoroughly engaged, pure joy, with a blissful grin that says “Look at me! I’m driving this thing!”

That’s how writing feels to me. I’m having a great time, but I am not driving this thing.  I am plopped in the seat. I have a topic and some ideas and sometimes the thing goes pretty much in the direction I aim. But other times, ok most times, like tonight, my desk veers off onto a surprising and often frustrating course and I know like it or not, these are the words I’m getting. This is what’s coming through. 

The powers that be are saying, “Your choices are take it, or leave it.”

I’ll take it. I’ll go the way the thing is going. I’ll turn the wheel like mad and say the thing that wants saying, but I’m going to be vague. Let’s just say life events have me thinking of nurturing people tonight. I’m thinking of someone who is digging deep for someone they love who is in pain. The nurturer is tired, hungry, needs a change of clothes, needs to do the simple things that make them feel like them, but they can’t. Not right now. They are busy saving someone.

I am humbled and in awe of selflessness.

Fasting for a cholesterol test and making it safely to the lab for a blood draw, without coffee was an enormous challenge for me, requiring three tries. I’m a small, simple person with few needs, but those needs are non-negotiable. I can be nurturing as long as…

All week long, while I’m trying to concentrate on my job or make dinner or sort laundry, my mind slides sideways into love. Not just any love, although all of it, like pizza, is pretty good.  I’m talking about the love mother has for child. Were I a scientist, I could compare a mother’s love to just the right cosmic energy or force field or super magnet. I really don’t get that stuff. Not too long ago, I bought a Steven Hawking book and promised myself I would go slow and make sure I thoroughly understood each concept before I continued reading. He lost me in the introduction and with my tail between my legs, I donated the book to the library and skulked back to the Regency Romance section.

Here’s a thought. Maybe scientists ought to study a mother’s love. Try to find the end of that. Establish its limits. Determine its source. Quantify its power.

Click the PLAY button to hear ”Who’s Driving this Thing?”

2 thoughts on “Who’s Driving this Thing?

  1. Dear Viv, Your writing is masterful, and your wandering mind tends to veer into some magical places. You make me think. And smile. You must consider sharing the collection — in a booklet, or maybe a book — so that I could pull it out on days that require a good cry. Your words would then make me smile. And a broad smile is way better than a good cry.


    1. Hi Lynda! Thank you for the encouraging words…really, really exciting to come home and find your note in my e-mail. Hope you have a lovely, fun weekend….books, coffee, sunshine, good chats. Big hugs from Maine. Xo Viv


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