~M. Valedictorian Speech, SJ, 2002
Image: Rex King
~M. Valedictorian Speech, SJ, 2002
Image: Rex King
Dear Sunny, SunnyBoyManChild, Babycakes, number one and original MarsupialBaby, yes you, my heart and soul, my son, Thomas George Raphael Turjancik:
I woke up in Ruswil, Switzerland, at 5:00 a.m. on this day 23 years ago, and said to your dad: “George, wake up, our son just made me wet the bed.” Your dad, whom you will finally see/meet again for the first time in 20 years, a few short weeks from now, was ‘tired’ from our wedding only two days earlier, rolled over and said: “you’re funny, go back to sleep.” At that point, my not-so-inner-mama-bear came out and told him to get the fuck up, we are having Baby-Thomas today! He got up.
We drove to the neighbouring town of Wolhusen, for Ruswil was too small for its own hospital, and it turned out that March 22nd 1991 was a busy day for their tiny maternity ward. In a normal week they have one maybe two babies make their planet earth appearance. On this day however, there were three of you at once, and all three with mothers in varying stages and severity of real and perceived emotional and physical distress. It was a bit of a cluster-fuck.
The one doctor on duty was running back and forth between the three of us, as were the midwife and a couple of nurses, and they were all very relieved when I finally said yes to the laughing gas. That is, until they saw just how happy it made me. I had said no to pain-killing drugs, odd when you consider the dope-induced crash and burn we experienced later on, but at the time, I wanted to feel everything about you, your arrival in my life. I was so giddy that it got hard to push, and the doctor (a male) yelled at me and said “come on! haven’t you ever done this before”? I responded, not so gently with “NO, have you asshole”?!
Your father had had a traumatic experience at the birth of your half-brother Roman, so he kinda gave up on us when it got real. It was a bit of foreshadowing, no? Not a dig at him, not at all, just my reality, and (y)ours I think. Not everyone can stomach reality and truth the way you and I have all these years. But I digress. So, at 1:29 p.m., that time zone, that place, in that moment, you made your début, and my life changed, forever. It changed in a way that is so profound, so beyond my capacity to articulate, well, in these or any other pages, I have written, or will write in the future.
I have often thought about that moment when I realized I was in it alone, as the moment our bond became absolutely bullet proof, for life, no matter what. And so it has been. Through the good, through the bad, through the very very ugly, and painfully, through the indifferent (or ignorant) attitudes of those, whom to this day, feel it is their job to judge and critique, me, and Universe save them from my motherly-wrath, you.
And just as you know and accept my humanity, I am not under any illusion that you are a perfect human, or child, but you are the perfect human-child for me, and truly, had I had the option of choosing, I would have chosen you. Why? Well I am so very glad you asked!
Why do I love thee Thomas? Let us count the ways:
<3 I love you because you have given meaning and purpose to a soul broken, too often, by the cruelties of those with no connection to self, no conscience, no heart.
<3 I love you because no matter what ‘they’ say, you saved my life when I did not believe it was worth saving, but you were/are.
<3 I love you because like your birth, relatively short and painless in the grand scheme of things, parenting you has been a gift and the singular greatest blessing and experience of my life.
<3 I love you because you shine Thomas, I do not wish to set you up for a fall by placing you on a pedestal; but you shine! I knew at 1:29 p.m. on March 22nd, 1991, in that little Swiss hospital, I know it now, and everyone who takes even a second to talk to you knows it, they tell me, all the time.
<3 I love you because you have a deep and profound understanding of my humanity, my imperfection as a human, as a parent, as a ‘helper,’ and you are the only human on the planet who loves me not despite it, but because of it, unconditionally, always; In the same manner that I know and love you, and your perfectly-imperfect humanity.
<3 I love you because you never made me park around the corner to drop you off at school, you always thought I was a cool mom; I imagine a foul mouth and tattoos help with that, but hey, I’ll take it
<3 I love you because you never stopped skipping across parking lots with me, hand in hand, or ‘walking THIS way,’ in grocery stores.
<3 I love you because even when you said that Sunny, SunnyBoy, Number one Marsupial, and ManChild were one thing, but BabyCakes quite another, you never got pissy with me for all the crazy nicknames I have for you. I do, by the way, know that your name is Thomas ;)
<3 I love you because despite, or because of, my fairly strong beliefs about the world and resulting influence in your life, on your beliefs, you have managed to find your own truths, and never been afraid to debate these things with me. I will high-five self for teaching you how to think, not what to think.
<3 I love you because despite me, and my influence, you have become the deeply thoughtful and kind human that you are.
<3 I love you because you really and truly are, the Sun that brightens my worst days, the Shine that makes the sunny ones even brighter, my one and only, always unconditional cheerleader, my one and only child, the best one for me, by far.
Don’t let the darkness in the world make you jaded and broken, the way I was for too many years Sunny, focus on what is good and on doing good, surround yourself with others who are good, and do good. The other is simply too painful, and such a horrible waste of time and breath. Such a horrible waste of time for your compassionate soul.
These past 4 years, including your 22nd, have been fraught with challenge upon challenge, and much loss and pain for both of us, individually and collectively, yet we have proven to one another, and the ever hovering detractors, over and over again, what I have said here: our bond is bullet proof. For we have both taken some shrapnel, at times from one another, only to come out stronger, than ever before, our family of two.
I love you Thomas with something so fierce that it defies mere words.
Always, with everything I have, got your back! No matter what!
All my love, and then some,
It went on for weeks, with little to no reprieve, day and night. Triggered, unknowingly and unintentionally, by a completely unrelated, but to my still raw heart, similar circumstance, and by what the man known as Dickwad-what’s-his-name (and others) inflicted on my mind, body, heart and soul. For so much longer than I ever ought to have allowed.
It, was an anxiety and spiritual pain too profound to articulate well, at this point, while I still stabilize. I took action yesterday, that for some reason I was terrified to take. It was a phone call, a question, and it wasn’t because I got the answer I wanted to hear that it began to subside, it was because the terror of not taking action, and enduring another moment became too much for me to bear, for another second.
It has been one of the most frightening times that I remember in recent years, but the silver lining is, I thought about escapes, of every ilk, variety and severity, and even utilized some that directly contradict the way in which I strive to live my life, free of the consumeristic traps of the ‘marketed dream’ (stay tuned for that one). I bought art, Banksy ;) one dress, books and a pair of shoes, but chose what I believe to be the lesser of all the evils I could subject myself, and the people who love me to. I rescheduled some work appointments when it was too much to keep my people safe, after all, I make a living directly off the backs of the suffering and pain of others, but no-one was cancelled, and to the best of my knowledge, I did no harm.
I got up every day and survived, hating every moment, and savouring every millisecond that I was able to think about, focus, pay attention to, see, hear, feel, touch, taste, experience, something, anything, beautiful in the world. The real tragedy of it, is seeing how much I hated myself. I thought about the person I love most in the world, and when he told me about punching himself in the face until it was swollen almost beyond recognition, because he hurt so badly, about what someone else did. I thought about that when I was driving down the highway and caught myself smashing my head into the head rest of my seat because I couldn’t stop the fear, kill the pain, kill the pain, kill the pain. I thought about the suffering that this truth, the truth that led to the trigger, has caused me, and I thought about how I should have acted differently 34 years ago and wouldn’t be here now had I not been so desperate, then, when I was 18, and broken.
He, Dickwad-what’s-his-name, or anyone like him, should not, will not, ever get that kind of power over me again. Some day, I will give you the details, and pray, that this particular lesson is learned, for real for real. Funny thing, it all started because I cannot live (with) a lie, I had to tell someone about something that has caused me untold pain for 34 years. I did not hear the words I got back, I did not examine the evidence against my fearful thoughts well enough to see and believe what was real. I allowed white space and the past to inform my thoughts and feelings. I believed my own (mis)interpretations of what is happening. I allowed
E vidence to
It could very well have cost me a very beautiful thing, the next great thing. It is here. I will cherish it more than ever. Thank you for being there through it with me. You may not know the details, and you may not realize how you helped, I may not even know you personally, but you were there, I felt you. And for that, I thank the God of my understanding, and you, always those of you, that know, me, my humanity. Thank you, for not letting me get lost in the forest, thank you, for holding my hand, through the scary.
Yours, as always,
~Myla: Unfiltered. March 16, 2014.