Figuratively Speaking

Teaching junior high kids language arts includes a focus on figurative language–metaphor, simile, idiom, allusion, and the others.

I loved teaching it because language is fun, but also it was so easy to answer the “why do we need to know this” question: because we use it ALL THE TIME.

I always started with a clip from Guardians of the Galaxy–because a novel hook always helps and because it’s a brilliant movie–where the crew is breaking out of prison and we learn the Drax is incapable of understanding figurative language.

Dave Bautista as Drax
Guardians of the Galaxy

“His people are completely literal. Metaphors are gonna go over his head.”
“Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast; I will catch it.”

We would all laugh, and I would tell the students “this is really funny, but I don’t want you to look foolish out the world. So, let’s learn some figurative language.”

The prominent idioms in my life for the last almost-seven months have been “on the back burner” and “falling through the cracks”. Oy.

A friend recently asked me for a favor, and I explained that I would absolutely do that but they would also need to remind me as my “Life Stove” currently has one front burner (Larkin), a couple middle burners (work), and a whole lotta back burners. There are likely issues and to-dos on those back burners that are important on some level, but they just don’t approach “keep the baby alive”.

Hence, it’s been five months of not writing. I want this to be a priority in my life, but, again, it’s not keeping the baby alive at the moment.

This morning we were up at 4:00 for First Breakfast. Larkin went back to sleep and I was able to lay her back down at 5:45. Most days I would have gone back to bed for a bit too because Mama is TIRED. Today I opted for an unrushed shower and am now putting words on the page as the sky outside begins to lighten.

When Larkin was born, I was instantly “Mama”, but there really is nothing instant about it. The process of becoming anything takes time. There are adjustments and adaptations and refinement–
Who am I as a mother?
Who am I as an artist?
Who am I as a wife, educator, daughter, sister, entrepreneur…?
Who am I as a human?
We speak of the many “hats” we wear–because figurative language is our only means to communicate so many truths of life–but it’s not external. It’s not something to be put on or taken off.

Holding Larkin–bouncing, feeding, comforting, loving–I am Mama, but I am also all these other identities. They are all one.
Like when paint colors blend on a canvas…
Like when the notes of the orchestra blend into chords…
Like flavors combine for the perfect bite…
She is held by an actor.
She is held by a daughter.
She is held by a writer.
She is held by her Mama.

Larkin & Mama
January 25, 2021

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