Passing the Bed

This is the last week of The Never True Tales Won’t You Be My Neighbor? series. This week I’m so pleased to welcome Heather from The Extraordinary Ordinary. One of the most amazing things about blogging is when you turn an “online” relationship into an “offline” relationship and discover that people are truly who they portraty themselves to be. I met Heather in New York last August, and she was all that I hoped she would be. Kind, sweet. and welcoming—everything I’ve ever felt when I’ve read her blog. Heather shares very personal and vulnerable stories at her place, and I’ve been moved to tears and smiled in solidarity after reading so many of her posts. Her honesty has been an inspiration for my own. Thank you Heather, for helping me to unlock parts of my self and for showing me the courage to share.

Passing the Bed
by Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary

He has asked so many questions that don’t have answers and I’m just so tired. I ask him to help his brother. I say, “He’s going to get hurt, can you help him?” He asks, “Why will he get hurt?” I answer through gritted teeth, “He just will! Just help him!” Then he sighs and his big blue eyes look sad and I wish I could find the strength for more patience and less surprising anger.

When I walk into my room to get dressed, I pass the crumpled bed and want to get in it. I want to curl up on my side and cry. I’m not sure why, but I want to do it. I start to walk that way and then I see her, the me in my mind’s eye, on her side in the bed where I am not. She looks like she’s repeating history. She is carrying this disease and she thinks she isn’t and then sometimes she thinks she is this disease. She is me and I am her and she is them and she is not.

She is so afraid that she’s given it to them.

I know that if I were to walk in and find her curled there, I’d think she should get up. I’d think she should shake it off. It’s not her fault she’s there, but she needs to get up, I’d say. Then I’d wonder if some of it is her fault, because I know memories of ridiculous choices can flood in and bring with them the funk, curling her up.

So I get dressed. I wash my face of yesterday’s make-up and I put one foot in front of the other to make sure that I’m not her or them or her past. I fight it because I know that when I do, it gets a little better.

I fake it sometimes, but strangely, most of the time I’m truly reveling in the buried joy. The miraculous happiness that comes through the eyes of my boys. We make a hide-out in a closet and they are thrilled with their flashlights in the dark. I well up with joy because they are who they are and I believe we can change this. Even if it doesn’t stop, it can be lighter, it can get better. Even if they feel it, they can learn that it doesn’t define them. I will tell them. They can learn from the truths we speak over them…

You are lovely. You are worthy. You are good. Just exactly as you are. This heavy weight of sadness, it can never be who you are.

I can say it with words from my mouth, and I can say it by walking away from the bed, uncurled and dressed.

“Can we go to the park?” He asks carefully. And I say yes even though I don’t want to because I know that it’s the right thing to do. I put one foot in front of the other and he rides with training wheels beside me. He says, “You’re great, Mom.” Then through my tightening throat where my heart wells up with this mercy, I say, “So are you, little man.”

“I know,” he says.

I laugh with unleashed joy and I think, please keep knowing…please keep knowing…please…

We are sometimes sadness, but mostly we are grace.



16 thoughts on “Passing the Bed

  1. Thank you, my friend. For having me hear and for your kind words.
    I think the world of you.


  2. One of my favorite posts by Heather. So glad to see her here today!

  3. Ann's Rants says:

    I don’t remember reading this one. Stunning. Just stunning.

  4. Ellie says:


    I so needed to read this today. Sometimes passing the bed is all I can do, and it feels like it isn’t much, but sometimes? It’s everything.


  5. Justine says:

    Lovely to see Heather here today. These words gave me chills today as I think back to similar moments of my own just like this.

    “We are sometimes sadness, but mostly we are grace.” Amen.

  6. You are spooky, you know that right?

    30 minutes ago, I had soaps, lotions, tonics and creams out on the bathroom counter, working diligently. When I finished I looked in the bathroom mirror and thought, “Okay, do I look normal?” Because I need to fake it for those ten minutes at the bus stop.

  7. ayala says:

    Honest and moving, thank you.

  8. denise says:

    Heather, you are such a talented writer. I adore this piece; I, too, find myself imploring my kids to never lose their knowledge of their wonderfulness. xo

  9. “I fight it because I know that when I do, it gets a little better.”

    This line really resonates with me. So true, so true.

  10. Stacia says:

    “Please keep knowing, please keep knowing.”

    Yes. Please keep knowing, even when I forget to tell you or my actions seem to say otherwise. Please, please keep knowing, my sweet children. Sigh. It is so hard, this mothering thing.

  11. Celeste says:

    This is undoubtedly one of my favorite posts of Heather’s. I, too, often find unexpected joy when I say “yes” to something that I initially don’t feel like doing with my kids. This is a really good thing because it helps me to remember for the next time.
    This idea of the mercy we receive from our children is huge. Even when I lose it, even when I am less than what I think I should be, they forgive. They love me; they believe in me and trust me fully. They must. And sometimes that is scary but mostly it is healing and beautiful.

  12. Beautiful — so honest and raw and true. Thank you, Heather — and Christine…for hosting her!

  13. Kelly says:

    Bowled over by this as much today as the first time. Heather – you need a randomize option on your blog so we can re-discover these gems all the time.

  14. Oh my! This is such a beautiful, beautiful post. I love the last line about grace. It’s a word not often used, and such a great word at that.

  15. Really lovely. Even without the challenges Heather has battled (and won!) I can still relate to the idea of another version of myself curled up on the bed. Such personal yet universal feelings. Really, really lovely.

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