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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
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Tuesday
Dec272011

I Capture The Castle

It's nearly two in the morning now. I just finished reading the last page of the novel I've been reading for the past few days. I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith.

It's weird how you go about life before reading a sort of a life-changing book, all the while not aware that the book is there. It's out there for the reading and it's been there the entire time! It was written in 1946, for godsakes! And it wasn't until a few days ago that Serge plucked it off our bookshelf and suggested I give it a go. Well, that's a lie. He suggested I give it a go some months ago and I didn't quite dive in until now. I was distracted then. Now was the right time to read this one, this epic, stunningly written Wuthering Heights kind of a novel.

But that isn't even the reason I'm here typing at this ungodly hour. Braving Arctic temperatures in the attic, no less, to fetch my computer from its usual spot up there where I've set up my office. No, that cold journey was because I went in to check on Violet one last time before sleep and I just had to write about it, felt compelled to mark the small occasion somehow.

I always check on both kids at least twice a night, just to make they're comfortable and that Violet, in particular, hasn't fallen asleep on the floor or needs another smoothing of Chapstick on her sweet lips, which tend to dry and crack during the night.

She happened to be a bit twisted in her bedspread just now so I adjusted her ever so carefully and as I did she muttered - from a deep sleep - something about mom. Me. Mom. She wasn't talking to me, the awake me adjusting her covers, she was talking to me, the mom in her dreams. It brought home to me how small her life is right now and how large a character I am in that little life. Her dreams must feature so few people. Me, her dad, Henry, the dogs, maybe.

On any given night I could dream about a childhood friend, a former co-worker, a high school boyfriend, a dead grandparent... any one of hundreds of people I've intersected with in the course of my nearly 35 years. And yet I am probably the star of most of my Wylet's dreams just by virtue of the smallness of life at the age of two.

After she uttered the sentence to me, the dream mom in her sleep, I stood staring at my beautiful girl's sleeping face - is there anything more heart wrenching than the sight of your own sleeping child? - and marveled at all of these facts. This was no gradual, slow sunrise of thoughts, ultimately dawning in understanding. All these things zinged to me in a lightning bolt of immediate awareness. Similar to when you think really hard about the concept of infinity and then BANG! You get this thrilling, terrifying, instantaneous understanding and then it's gone.

This. The smallness of life at two and how lucky I am to feature so prominently in her dreams just now and how the older she gets I will feature less and less as her life gets bigger and bigger. I was simultaneously devastated to acknowledge that sad fact but also proud to realize now, as it's happening, that I am the star of her life right now. Me. Mom. It makes me happy to bursting.

Reader Comments (15)

I have those moments sometimes. When I realize that I am MOM and how all-encompassing that is to a toddler. So weird.

Also, I adore that book. Isn't it the loveliest? I recommend it to virtually everyone.

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I loved that book!

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

You are Wee Violet's Foundation.... I just got the book from the library (I'm old school like that). Can't wait to read it!!!

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I check on my kids every night too, I love to see their sleeping faces when I tell them I love them. I have the movie of I Capture the Castle (haven't seen it yet). Maybe I should give the book a go first, i usually prefer books to movies anyhow...

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

PS what I like much better than lip balm... just a dot of olive oil! It's wonderful.

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

lovely post. :)

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercharity

"Similar to when you think really hard about the concept of infinity and then BANG! You get this thrilling, terrifying, instantaneous understanding and then it's gone. "

i thought i was the only one who ever felt this. i've tried to explain it to people and no one ever gets it. thank you, as always, for making me feel less alone.

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergillian

Aw....that's so sweet. Chapstick and checking twice a night on the kids. I used to check on kids multiple times when babysitting...always watchng...listening. What a good soul you are. As for that book, never heard of it but will have to check it out. Nothing settles my soul than being able to sit quietly with a great book...and baking or involving myself in some project. I almost forget that I am out of work and have to find some kind of income! hahawaa....anyway, I am happy for you that you have this wonderful experience of watching your children grow up...seeing them in every stage of growth and treasuring it all! Good for you. I am glad you blog about it. Life is GOOD. Past, present and future. Even when it stinks...and it stinks real bad sometimes. Real bad. Have a great week. I had to shut down this computer since it's not worth the added expense but will check back on my friends when I get over there! Capture the castle...my latest read is called Captivated- unveiling the mystery of a woman's soul by Stasi Elldrege...and her husband who wrote 'Wild at Heart' ( about men).

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

I also love that book.

And those moments when we get it.

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie May

I loe it when my son is asleep. he is always in motion,and sleep is the only time when I really get to observe him in all of his sweetness. It's when I really feel like a mom.

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRose's Daughter

I'm sure you're the star of her waking life but you're mistaken about a two year old's dream world. It is not comprised strictly of the people she actually knows, just as your own isn't. The brain creates worlds out of we know not what but it is wholly inventive and only on occasion based on practical reality.

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLola

Ps I meant the brain in REM sleep specifically.

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLola

So sweet. *sigh*

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersweetney

monica, monica... haven't you started a novel already? or at least a collection of short stories?
i mean, this is a gift that is getting wasted (well, at least in the long run... short-term, you obviously have quite a few fans... :-))...
i know you realize that all these little snippets could be shells for something bigger... seriously, the way you express your thoughts is unequivocally original... what do you need? a partner? i know serge can write, too...
an editor? time?
do it while you can... follow your calling... explore your gift even further... and share it with the world...

until then, however, i do thank you for... this... whatever it is... :-)

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfahrenheit

So beautifully said you made my heart smile. I'm a Mom to a four month old and I long to hear him utter 'Mom.' I think the most lovely part is that you took the time to go up and get your computer, and put your thoughts down.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

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