Bedknobs and Broomsticks

I have been your cheerleader, your confident, your girlfriend and your lover. The one thing I cannot, I will not do, is to just be your friend.

I have been watching old movies this week, while Mr. Spit is out of town. Monday night was National Velvet, last night was bed-knobs and broomsticks. Like many girls, I was for a time, horse mad. I watched Bed-knobs and Broomsticks to death. I watched it compulsively, in love with travelling beds and mean black cats. I twisted the knob off the bed, incurring my mother’s wrath. (The bed was almost 200 years old, in hindsight the wrath might have been justifiable.)

It has been a pleasure amidst a sea of change to retreat to my childhood. It has been a pleasure to think about when life was simpler, when imagination was simply enough. I have smiled, as much at the movies as my memories of myself. I find as time goes by, I am more indulgent of my oddities as a child. I was, truthfully a very strange child, interested in things other children weren’t, almost utterly unable to communicate with my peers.

This continued well into University. And in telling you that, it seems strange to tell you that I found a boyfriend in high school. It is perhaps all the more remarkable, when I tell you I accomplished this feat while attending a Christian Girls Boarding School. But, I truly did.

His name was Bryan, and he was and is a nice guy. He came with not his own set of oddities, but at least a bit of baggage; at the age of 17 he was a father. He came from a good home, it wasn’t as if I started dating a hoodlum (I’d already dated the hoodlum’s). Even in the 90’s it was strange enough to find a teenage father.

Teenage romances are probably confusing enough, without a child. But we called her Mika and with the recklessness of a 17 year old woman, I fell in love with her. She spent a fair bit of time with me. Her mother had been my friend, and it was difficult to be the mother of a child at 15, and the mother of more children by 18.  Her mother was, if I am honest, unstable at best.

My mother was quite firm with me. She had her children, and she wasn’t interested in raising someone else’s. Somehow, I seemed to be. In the middle of my first year at University, she stayed with me at times.  I loved those children, Mika most of all. I loved her as a baby, I loved her as a toddler. I loved her at 3 am heating up a bottle, I loved her changing diapers and bathing her. I simply loved her.

If I had it to do over, I would have done it differently. I would have only loved her. I would have just been her friend, and I would have removed the burdens from myself to be a step parent. Thirty something me is astonished at my temerity. Thirty something me wonders why I had to have all of those rules for myself and how things should go. Why I couldn’t simply appreciate a beautiful thing for a beautiful thing.

Those words at the top were my words too, when I broke up with her father. I broke up with him, and God forgive me, I walked away from Mika. I could tell you so many things, and in my kinder moments, I’m still not sure it wasn’t the best thing. I couldn’t simply be his friend, any more than I had the wisdom and maturity to be just her friend. I walked away from them all.

Nothing hurt that badly until I held Gabriel in my arms. Until Gabriel it was the great pain of my life. In Gabriel, I found remembrances of Mika.

I found Bryan on Facebook a few years ago, and we have maintained a desultory contact through status updates. He lives in the Middle East and he was complaining yesterday about rain, and I replied with a witty comment about my 3 foot snowdrifts. It was nothing more than what we have done for three years now. The sort of casual contact that I would have never expected, and find myself quite content with. Time removes so many hassles and heartaches.

And then an email on Facebook yesterday. From Mika’s mum, with a friend request. And suddenly time wasn’t so far away from me.

Laugh all you want,  but I phoned my mum. I would have phoned Mr. Spit, but all of this predates him. I can write eloquently of what is gone, but I cannot write eloquently of what is. I do not know what to do with this friend request.

A plunge back into a part of my life that is over. I will never be more than a distant memory to Mika. I will, if heaven smiles, be someone in a photo that looks a slight bit familiar. At my death, I will be a random stranger who has left her money. When I talk of my nieces and nephews, she is the chiefest, never named, but always remembered.

But, I do not know that there is any merit, any health in going back. I am not that person, and she is not that little girl. I have in the last few years confronted so much of who I was. I have confronted things done and left undone. But not this. Not the first child I left. Not this woman who carelessly brought seven children into the world, and not the one child I heedlessly left.

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8 Responses to Bedknobs and Broomsticks

  1. It’s funny (as in “strange” … not “ha-ha”) when the past collides with the future. It always seems (to me, anyway) that there’s always a tinge of melancholy mixed in with the those precious memories. I find myself like that more and more when I uncover another Dad memory.

    Methinks that whether or not Mika remembers you, that you’ve done her some good during the time you spent with her. And really, that’s all that matters.

  2. Kristin says:

    Oh Mrs. Spit, only you can decide if the renewed contact (however desultory) is the best thing for you.

    I think maybe you need to be a little bit kinder to yourself when looking back at what happened because you were only a child yourself when it all started. {{{Hugs}}}

  3. debby says:

    Mrs. Spit. Little Mika is now a grown woman. The child (it sounds) of a very unwise woman. You are wise, and the sort of friend that every woman needs (young or otherwise). Open that door, and let what happens next simply happen. It might be nothing. It might be great. Just open the door.

  4. HereWeGoAJen says:

    That is a lot for someone who is 17 to handle. I wish there was a good answer for what you should do now.

  5. tash says:

    I wish Mika had a FB page because I think that would make all of this much easier with a whole lot less baggage and “hmmms.” Sounds to me like you were an enormous ray of light in an otherwise confusing time for for two (but definitely one) parents and a young child. I remember when my brother dated a particular young woman with a really grim background, I once gave her something v. nice for Christmas. A friend asked if that was wise, and I replied that I knew they’d never stay together, but at least I could say I sent her back into the world with *something.* I think you did the same — more really.

  6. a says:

    I don’t know if Mika remembers you, but her mother most certainly does. If she has matured and is more stable, she is probably very grateful to you for the help you provided. So maybe this friend request has less to do with a child that may or may not remember you than with a mother who got help when she really needed it.

    I don’t think much about friend requests…unless it’s someone I really do not want to have any access to my life.

  7. Needles says:

    Sometimes there are no rights and no wrongs.

  8. Needles says:

    And with respect to that bed, what good would a 200 year old bed be if it didn’t have any stories to go with it? Someday in the future, someone will tell their little girl about you and flying beds and magic and another little girl will be off on her won adventures. Value added, IMHO.

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