I am laying on the window seat with the blue batiked cushion. Outside the bay window the plum tree is blowing in the breeze and the sun light is dancing between the leaves. Everything is moving — the air, the sunlight, my heart, my daughter’s hand. Zoey hovers above me, her forehead wrinkled in concentration. She is smoothing my hair away from my face and whispering, “Mommy? Is this better? Do you feel better now? Mommy?”
I feel loved. I feel comforted.
But I don’t feel better. How do you explain fatigue and pain to a three year old? How do you explain fibromyalgia?
Zoey continues to “fix” me. She carries her toy work bench in from the play room. She chooses the red hammer, the green screw driver, and inexplicably, a purple hair comb for a baby doll. “It’s OK, Mommy. It’s OK. I know what to do.” She begins to gently hammer my body — the touch is so soft it feels like the brush of velvet. Then she screws together my joints — toes, ankles, knees, and elbows. She finishes each with a kiss. Then she gets out her circular saw and goes to work on my stomach. She builds me a new body, piece by piece. When she is satisfied with her work, she grabs the comb. She gently detangles all my hair so it is streaming out onto the cushion underneath me.
“Mommy,” Zoey whispers, “You look just like a mermaid! A pretty, pretty mermaid!” Her face shows so much awe that it takes my breath away.
“I feel like a mermaid,” I whisper back.
Zoey holds my hand and we are still for a minute. I imagine myself as a mermaid – floating and fast and unaware of my body. The water under the ocean is just like the light through the trees – dappled and moving — and it slips by me like satin. I am not my body. I am not pain. I am not fatigue. I just am. Somehow I can still feel Zoey. I feel golden and warm — like I’m cupping a firefly in my hand. Or a miracle.