A New Body

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.


16 thoughts on “A New Body

  1. Anne G

    Just thought I’d let you know I’m crying. In a good way. I guess because life is so hard and so sweet and beautiful at the same time. And because it touches my heart so deeply when a three year old can have such compassion and her mother can soak it in so wonderfully and then share it with the world so eloquently.

  2. Alicia King

    Wow. Zoey loooooooooves her mommy. That was beautiful. I swear I could feel her gentle touch as I read it. You two make a good team. Through the good, the bad, and all the moments of both.

  3. Lisa McKay

    I second Amy’s comment. And I’m so sorry for the pain that’s given rise to this beauty. I wish, oh I wish, that so much of beauty didn’t have it’s roots planted in pain and struggle.

  4. Sandee Decker

    Jos, Anne G said it the way I feel. I am just not the writer she or you are. I love my purple mermaid daughter and compassionate fun loving granddaughter! Thanks for sharing.

  5. ErinM

    Zoey can fix me up a new body anytime– the way you describe it, it sounds like heaven, fibromyalgia or not. I want you to feel better, but I love that when you feel bad, Zoey can use her magical healing powers on you. What a sweet, sweet little girl you have….


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