Sunday, August 30, 2020


EDITOR'S NOTE: I wrote this piece in 2013, shortly after I started working with my spiritual therapist Mary Marino. I couldn't grasp this concept that I had to love myself as if I were a baby. Looking back, though, it was so crucial to my healing to learn the lessons Mary was teaching. 

Just this morning, after meditating, I wrote in my journal: "Today, be a loving adult to your child self." And so, I think I finally do get it. At least sometimes. While I might lapse now and then, I finally know what I'm supposed to be doing. But in 2013 it was all Greek to me!

What was this? What creature?

I wasn't sure, but wait,

Mary said, very clearly,

that I gave birth to her,

that I am her mother,

but how can this possibly be?


My children are long grown,

into fine adults, the three,




At first, I think

I must be going out of my mind.

This baby is a figment

a fragment,

and these are the thoughts of a truly crazy person,

I am not thinking straight, I even spelled


craisy, crasy, craisy,

it wasn't until my husband pointed this

out now

I am shouting, I want out,

I want no part of this damned

child, the creature who seems to

want to

eat me alive starting with my heart.

But wait.

I jostle her,

her tiny butt,

I rock her I cradle her head

against the bare skin of my chest

Up against my saggy breasts.

Mary says

She wants only one 

only one thing from your

heart to your heart she

wants you to start to



from you

to you

I breathe in and hold my breath

and close my eyes and shudder

and Mary keeps speaking:

This child is you your baby your body


and all things feminine in the youniverse

This is the daughter of your soul

and you must comfort her forever

The more you push her away the more

frantic she will be.

So love her no matter what.


So I caress and cradle

her head

and whisper to her me, I will never

ever push you away, do you

hear me? You are welcome here

as long as you want to stay

I will not run away.


These words soothe her rubbery limbs

she goes limp as I sit in the rocker

stroking her to sleep. Very quietly

I get up from the chair and carry

her into my bedroom and set her down.

I pile pillows all around her,

and tiptoe out of the room,

as it is time for me to go running.


I tie on my bright blue running shoes

and head out the door when

I hear shrieking!

I cringe

I hear Mary's words again:

She doesn't trust you,

she knows full well 

you were lying 

all along

you were planning your escape.

What can I do but return to

the bedroom and pick her up

and start all over to soothe her

to tell her how deeply I love her

How I never ever planned to

abandon her.


To show her my commitment

I strap her into the front of my

blue running bra and head out.

I ignore her fingernails

digging into my chest

her skinny feet

kicking at my ribs,

I never even flinch

when I feel her warm pee

soaking my shorts.

We slowly climb the first hill.

up and down the second hill

me panting,

me my


pumping she

keeps her face buried in my chest


Until finally we are

back in the yard

to the pond where,

she smiles at me

I see myself in the mirrored surface

of the water.


As Mary said, she wants

Only love love love love

my love and my infinite


from me.

To see, she said, that you 

will keep loving me

no matter what no

matter if it feels hard

I must feel deep deep regard


With her

against my chest

her tiny skull in my cupped hand

I lean back I

do the back stroke

We are

clinging so tightly each to each


we are one we love the water,

and then it occurs to

me, that if she is my baby me

then I must have a suitable name


this is

as Mary

says this naming yourself

is the opportunity of a lifetime.


I close my eyes and gaze right into

the water and me calls out the name, 

a version of my own middle name I shout

JEANNA (pronounced GEE-NA.)

over and over and over

Jeanna Jeanna Jeanna Jeanna Jeanna

A fine name Mary whispers

And now it is time

to finish.

Finish? Mary, Mary,what do you mean?

Finish what? Mary remains silent.

I watch the fish wiggling through the cool green water.

I listen to the warm wind speaking


Maybe GINA?

Out of nowhere comes the word.


Of course.

Mary speaks

I will help christen you your child 

you two into one you

Kneeling at the edge of the water

I cup my hands and


let the pond water dribble

over my forehead. I say a Hail Mary.

A feeling of pure joy comes over me


I feel my chest my heart beating

one two one two one two

an endless march and Mary

when I am looking up

she is smiling. Now the surface of the pond

is striped

in rays of sunlight

I wrap myself in a towel.

I walk back to the house

Thinking how happy I am

I am that I am



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