BARB ROSINSKI BENINCASA
Life equals a big, big mess. Nobody plans it that way, but shit happens. It begins with those diapers. When you become a parent, nobody tells you that you will be changing not only the diaper, but the cute little outfit and the perfectly coordinated crib sheets, multiple times the day you come home from the hospital. So much for the illusion of the perfect life.
When you get the middle of the night phone call that your parent is dead, you think that life cannot go on. Who is going to love you unconditionally? Who is going to slip you a few bucks to buy something that you don't really need? Who is going to call you "kid?" Yet, you look into the eyes of your child and realize that it is your turn to do those things for somebody else. Life does go on and it is a big, big mess.
When you find out that the love of your life doesn't love you anymore, you panic. You say "I cannot be a single parent." You go to therapy and courtrooms, places you thought were for "other people." You come out of the ordeal wounded, just hoping your pain won't ruin the lives of those beautiful children. Life does go on and it is a big, big mess.
When you watch your best friend in the world lose her child, it is so fucking unfair. You rail at the universe, wondering why it is so cruel. You attend a funeral you never expected. You never forget his name, his birthday, or to talk about him. Life does go on and it is a big, big mess.
You step on Legos and action figures in the middle of the night, because you hope that leaving them out encourages your children to build worlds in which they are powerful. You buy paints and crayons and markers and get giant refrigerator boxes so that your kids can build structures to take them to the safe, happy places of their imaginations. Life does go on and it is a big, big mess.
You get in trouble at work because you just cannot keep your mouth shut. You want others to see that children are important. You speak up for what it right, even though it does not win friends or influence people. You go to a job every day in which you know you make a difference, even if your superiors feel otherwise. Life does go on and it is a big, big mess.
But life is more than the shit that happens. It is also the realization that lagniappe comes out of those messy experiences. It is watching your children grow into men who create more beauty than you ever thought possible. It is seeing the children you've helped over the years become people who like to communicate. It is watching that best friend devote her life to bringing joy to children, in her son's memory. Here's to a life filled with big, big messes.