Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hidden Messages -- Robin

Something eerie is going on in my house. Not quite Bruce Willis and “I see dead people” kinda stuff, but close.

The other day, I reached into my pantry closet to get something out. Of course, when I reached in I could no longer remember what I reached in there for, so I just stood and stared for a bit. (Nothing unusual about this part, believe me.)

But what I saw after I stared long enough, was pretty eerie. On the shelf, right at my eye level, there was an etched handwritten message. It said this: “Understand me as I grow.”

“Um, honey,” I called out to my husband. “You’d better come here and take a look at this.” He ran into the kitchen holding up his trusty hammer. (He’s so handy.) I proudly showed him my discovery.
“Nothing’s on fire?” he asked.
“No, honey! Don’t you know what this message means?”
“No fire?”
“Think about it! We’ve been living in this house for eight years and we’ve probably opened and closed this closet door fifteen times a day (or more when I keep forgetting why I went in there) and TODAY is the first time we’ve ever noticed this message? Something’s going on!”
“Gas leak?”
“Honey, our little boy is crying out to us. He has obviously contacted someone from the other side and is now hiring ghosts to etch parenting advice into our cabinetry!”

While my husband tried to locate the gas leak, I gallivanted around the house looking at shelves and doors and cabinets trying to find any messages that might illuminate this process of raising a child. When I opened my medicine cabinet, I fully expected to find etched into the little shelf, “Give the boy more cookies.” But…nothing.

Then I got to thinking about the message in the pantry. “Understand me as I grow.” Maybe, I thought, my boy is not a soccer player. Maybe there’s a reason he climbs trees while his teammates follow a little ball around on a pretty little field. He is who he is.
A panther.

And I also got to thinking about my character. Sometimes I think of her as my own daughter, or sister. She’s just one of the family. And I decided I needed to understand her as she grows too. That maybe she doesn’t want to write about the mist settling on the blades of grass while she walks through the meandering roads of her childhood. Maybe her feet just hurt like crap and she’s cold and her nose is running because of all of this stinkin’ mist!

It was actually Eve that reminded me of that. That we don’t have to write a poetic, lyrical description of all of her surroundings. Just write was SHE feels. What SHE would say.

To understand her as she grows.


P.S. No gas leak. Whew!


Disco Mermaids said...

Oh, are so profound and witty! That was me who scrawled that in your pantry. Sorry.

And I can't take credit for the insight about our writing; I really just had a runny nose!


Anonymous said...


What a cool thing to notice, especially since it probably distracted you from thinking about your early-onset Alzheimer's. And, you will see it everyday now to help remind you of its wisdom with respect to not only your child and your characters, but everyone around you. In fact, I'm going to go write the same message in my pantry with a sharpie because my shelves are formica, not wood.


Kelly Fineman said...

What I wouldn't have given (or still give) for a mother who understood me as I grew.

Although if it is a message from beyond, then you've got something large and creepy coming your way. Hopefully not mold.

Nancy said...

Robin, I say it's a ghost. I have one too, though he's been kind enough to give me a break for the last few months.

Disco Mermaids said...

Thanks, everyone, for your advice. I'm hoping it's not a ghost, or mold, or Alzheimer's, or Eve.

Maybe I wrote it in my sleep? Something I need more of!