Thursday, January 31, 2013

Welcome To The World

The first time it happened I remember being crouched in the shower, water beating my shoulders, anger my only prayer.  Teeth clenched hard and fists balled tight, nails biting my palms.  "Don't you dare hurt that baby...Don't you dare..."  Because all I had was fear and that was the only way it knew to come out.

And when I met her all I could do was love her.

And hope. 

And she was but a blip on this big wide world but she slammed my heart wide and taught me to have faith.  And now, to reconcile that wee thing to this great ball of fire we have today - there's just no sense in it.  Not but a miracle.  But then, isn't everything?  Isn't everything somehow a miracle in it's own right?

...to all this vibrant 'the world is
a sparkly playground'

Paige's beginnings...






This time the call comes and I catch it in my throat - this hard lump of fear that weighs like injustice or irony or cement.  And I'm breathless as I rush to find a friend to settle me and I hiccup through a caught sob on her shoulder.

Because it's the not knowing that burrows in and camps beside a heart too set on worry to beat on point.

Hospital lights are bright but the halls are vacant at this late hour.  I take the stairs and find her just being wheeled towards the elevator.  Towards the ambulance that will transfer her to better help.  And it's all so real.  And her eyes find mine and her face falls apart and she tries to laugh at herself but she's really only crying and I hitch up and feign strong while I grab her hand and squeeze beside her in the elevator and this is all just too familiar.  "At least you get the day off work tomorrow," I try to joke while she tries to laugh.  Look at us here trying so hard to be normal...

I let go of her hand when we get outside.  A light mist gathers round and I'm damp and chilled and watching them tuck her tight against the inner wall.  They wheel out a neonatal incubator and secure it beside her.  Just is case.  I pretend it's okay.  "I'm coming to see you tomorrow," I say.  "I love you."  And the doors are closed and I stand there in the parking lot like they forgot me there and she waves out the back from her rear-facing gurney as the lights dance and the siren whoops and over and over in my head it tumbles: Don't you dare hurt that baby!

She comes in wee hours, debuting small and fragile and perfect and when I meet her...when I meet her she owns my heart - this tiny breath of heaven who feels like life beneath my fingers.  I want to press her against my chest and tell her of fairies and beaches and strawberry pie and I'm aching that I can't but so thankful that I can take her little hand, seal her prints onto myself, see her fingers wrap weakly around my mine and be amazed at the strength that boasts.

I am hopelessly, ridiculously, without apology, to the moon at back in love with this wonder.  Our little Elsie Rose.

Welcome to the world.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Just Because They're Your Kids Doesn't Mean They'll Be Nice To You

He might be the most beautiful little man I've ever seen but he is also the meanest.  He glares across the table, votive candles flickering shadows against his eyes because I like to pretend we do it decadent 'round here, anger pulsing in a growl that hurls sticks and stones, fuming actual heat at me.

 "Why would you even make dis?" he spits at me.  "It's disgusting.  It's so gwoss!"

And I'm already tired and I've even gone so far to make the kids their own version of stir-fry - one without the mushrooms and sprouts.

"Uck!"

We've been here before.  "I'm so not interested in this right now, Liam.  You eat it or you starve."

"But why would you even make disgusting stuff?"

"Because I'm a terrible person."

"Yes, you are!"

"You need to leave the table, Liam.  You're being unfair."

"Well you never make stuff I wike!"

"That's fine," I say.  "I'm not cooking tomorrow.  You can get your own food.  Right now, I need you to leave the table."

He comes around and grabs the back of my chair, shaking it like an earthquake, threatening it's antiquated legs.  "Stop.  You're going to break the chair."

"No, I'm not - dat's just 'cause you're so heavy!" and he stomps off.

I eat another bite of chicken and hate how much his mean little digs hurt me.

"Mommy?" Zander's pushing his food around his plate, eyeing me from the corner of his eye.  "Do I have to eat this?"

"That's all you're getting."

"But I don't like it."

"Then you can be excused and enjoy a day without my cooking tomorrow."

He leaves.

"Mommy?" It's Noa's turn.  "My tummy hurts."

"Of course it does," I say.  "You can go with the boys."

Scott sits across from me, plate wiped clean, not a complaint.  "They're mean."

Sadness and frustration and raw, stupid, anger flow through me.  "I really mean it," I say to Scott.  "I'm not cooking for them tomorrow."

And I don't.  And they eat dry cereal and peanut butter sandwiches.  And I couldn't care less.

Now, "I don't like it" has become a swear word in our home and it will not be tolerated.  I don't care if you don't like it.  Sit there politely.  Eat it.  Or don't.  But know that you'll get nothing else.  Eat it or starve!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Tragedy That Wasn't {or, That Time I Stopped A Chimney Fire}

He mocks me; he, all firm and mighty and hear me roar.  Belching heat out upon this space.  And I feed him good.  Fill full his mouth - leaking a trickle of smoke like a french poet - while he sings his crackle - wild and rich and flames pop hard like breaking bones. 

Some fires are better than others....
And what should he do but reach for the sky - because isn't hell always reaching for heaven? For the coolness of the air up there?  I am near pulling the car from it's sight when my eyes drift above the shingles to see the tongues of flame licking against the sky, lurking out from under the chimney hood, flirting with a spark on a roof that covers my whole world.

My father's voice leaks cautious worry across cellular waves as he directs my action to affirm my sovereignty over this combustive rebellion.  I take it in hand - this step-by-step instruction - and grip tight my control over the wild. 

His neck blooms red and I see visions of buckling cast iron and the huffing and puffing and it all falling down but I persevere and I am victorious - thwarting the threat and quietly heroic.

Thus ends the tale of the tragedy that wasn't.
 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Keeping Up

A new world.  It's spinning so fast that I can hardly breathe.  This axis tips and here we roar and whirl and is this up or is this down? So long I've tucked my babies tight and neat against me and clung to this 'they'll forever need me' and begged them as I kissed their bedtime foreheads: "Promise me you'll always be mine...Promise me that you'll always let me hug you...Promise me...just this...your heart...forever."

"I promise, Mommy."

"Forever?"

"And ever!"

That little one, oozing all her sweet upon the world, stumbling down the driveway to catch a bus as big as a planet, going to school, exploring possibilities with her left-handed creativity...

That big one, pretending maturity and wearing deodorant and building Lego statues to the stars...

That middle one, boasting mighty and oh so funny and tossing wit as fast I can catch it and breaking and mending my heart within the window of an instant...

It's a new world.  I can no longer be defined by their need of me.  This body, never to birth another, can only run beside them, panting to keep up with the whirlwind pace they take on the world, with the comedy that leaks from their seams, with the heartache that drips from their eyes when their sunshine is prickled with 'not fair' or hurt feelings. 

"MOMMEEEEEEEEE!!!!?" The feeble call limps up the stairs, all 'come now and abide by me'.  "Mommy, I puked!"

Ah, so it's not so far yet is it?  They still and always will have need of me just as I still and always will have need of my own who, only last week, I made promise me that they would always be around.  "It is my intention," I informed my mother over an evening phone call, "that you and dad will live forever."

"Oh, really?" she replied, amused and teasing.

"Really."

And I mean it from the depth of my core.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

And Then My Innocent Little Home Was Rocked By What I've Learned From Buffy


I feel discomfort squirming like a jagged little pill - like a stegosaurus worm inching along my gut or a bold shiver that shirks and shakes but has no face.  Disquiet.  Like the flash of cotton white on the stairs when no one is there - but that's a peripheral play that amuses more than frightens - because it's always been there - because that's just as true to my reality as the sun or moon or liquid dish detergent.  This is more ominous and cold sweat and trying to convince myself otherwise but no matter the argument I can't forget all those episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and her witchy pal, Willow.

I was puffed up mighty and all 'check me out and my strapping vigor that pulled this thousand pound solid door up the barn stairs and into the house and decorated just so and beautifully leaning it against my dining room wall like an art piece.'  And I was smug and drinking my tea and already posting the picture on facebook even though I knew Marie would be mad at me because I was supposed to be creating ideas for her to do with her old doors.

That star.  That one I made from a cereal box and painted white and rubbed 'auburn gold' into the creases...I couldn't punch a hole to let it hang.  It only made sense to wrap it with twine......

It takes almost an hour to realize.

I had made a pentagram.

And on Buffy, a pentagram only stood for something evil and dangerous.

But I am bigger than Buffy. 

So I google it.  Not so redemptive.

And suddenly, I hate this door I felt so strongly about before and, even more, I hate that a symbol can cause such a strange, physical reaction within me.  I will not fold.  A star is a star is a star.

A day later we sit at dinner and he asks the children, "Where does the door lead?"

"Narnia," one says.

"Does it bother you that there's a pentagram on it?" I ask.

"What?" he turns to look at it.  "No, I love the stars.  The stars are great."

"The one with twine..."

"Oh," and his eyebrows go up.  "Oh, no I don't like that."

"'Cause I hadn't realized - while I was doing it...and then I felt weird about it but thought maybe I was crazy..."

"I don't like that at all!"

And so...


...ye olde door has been redeemed!  

(And shame on you, Buffy Summers, and your symbolic mysticism...)



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