What's been going on...

on 29 September 2011

I have been grossly negligent in updating here lately, I know.

I apologize.  We really have been sorely busy.  Doing what, you might ask?

Well.

Our lease is up at the end of October.  As you all know, we were house-hunting and hoping to find a house and purchase it before our lease ran out, but then...well, we couldn't really find anything we BOTH loved that was also in our agreed budget, so we've decided to continue looking, but to rent for another year.  However, we still have to be out of our apartment by the end of October.

I am understandably, on the VERGE over here.  Firstly, and perhaps most significantly, I'm pregnant and one big MASS of hormones, and now I'm faced with having no where to LIVE.  This is not good.  For me or for anyone else in my proximity.  So, we're frantically searching through listings trying to find something slightly bigger (seeing as we're expanding and all) and still in our price range.  Chris would prefer to stay in our same general neighborhood, but, as it happens, we live in a rather expensive part of town.  We've never really noticed it before until we started house hunting and now we're coming to the conclusion that we really do live in a rather expensive part of town.  Which means, we either have to relocate to a different section or town (or a different town all together), or we need to find a money tree so that we can extend our budget.

Guess which one is more likely?

I started sifting and purging and packing over the weekend.  The empty boxes are piled up in our house (again), and I'm trying to summon the energy to fill them and prepare them for moving (to where, I know not).  When all I really want to do is sit on the couch and watch BBC and knit.  Or nap.  Or some combination of the two.  I sat in the Boy's room, sorting through toys the child has NEVER played with, and blankets we've never used, and packed up books for storage (I won't need them for more than a year at least), and looked at the piles around me and I could have cried right there. 

There has to be some form of liquid energy, in addition to liquid courage out there available, that is also safe for pregnant women.

***

My child is obsessed with dinosaurs lately.  I never knew that some experience with paleontology was preferred for parenting.  I find myself at a loss as to how to pronounce many of these names, and I know more about dinosaurs now than I ever thought necessary for general well-being.  Go figure.

***

And lastly, I have this mountain of sewing projects on my dining room table.  Chris had part of the mountain, but he just finished all of his machine sewing, so now it's really just mine that are left.  I'm trying to finish them all before we move.  Not because there's a big rush to get them done (they're all for the Girl), but because I need to pack my machine and I don't want to have to UNpack it once we're in our new space.  At least not for a good long while.  So if I can finish this enormous pile of work, well then, there's one less thing to have to do once we move.

Our timing is brilliant, isn't it?  We'll move right around Halloween (no, we're not doing anything again this year, the Boy was adamant he's NOT wearing a costume, and I'm don't care enough to make him), we'll unpack just in time for Thanksgiving, then it's the run up to Christmas, then it's the frantic get everything packed away and organized before the Girl makes her debut just after the New Year (well, that's when we're expecting her to make her debut), and then it's my Birthday!  And then...maybe...I'll get to breathe again, if not actually sleep.

There has to be some form of liquid energy, in addition to liquid courage out there available, that is also safe for pregnant women.  Anyone?

Biscuits and Boo-boos

on 26 September 2011

So I'm rereading my favorite biography of Elizabeth Gaskell (my favorite British female writer), and I came across this little anecdote that I thought I'd share here, if only because it made me smile.

Gaskell was a relatively new mother and like most Victorians was neurotic about her child's health.  "She went to Warrington and after that, for Marianne's (her daughter) health to Grange-over-Sands on Morecambe Bay.  Rather to her alarm (her doctor) had prescribed sea-bathing for Marianne, but luckily, "Aunt Anne, a capital bather, was with us, and undertook the charge of her (Marianne), which was so much better than being frightened by being given over to a strange woman in an uncouth dress...I stood on the rocks with a shawl ready to receive her and gave her a biscuit." (The diary is endearingly punctuated by biscuits, ready for every emergency.)"

I love that.  I love the simple things in mothering that make everything better, like biscuits (or cookies, as we Americans would say).

***

The Boy fell yesterday.  And by "fell" I mean he catapulted himself, headfirst, into the wooden frame of the futon.  His skull collided at full force and he was left with an enormous blueish goose-egg on his forehead that lasted through the day.  (The bruise is destined to linger, I should try to get a picture of it, it really is spectacular.)

I was in the kitchen taking my vitamins and summoning the energy for the day when I heard this ghastly scream and, naturally, went running.  Chris was there insisting that he was fine (he's such a MAN sometimes), but the Boy, awash with tears, was inconsolable.  So I sat in the floor and held him in my arms while he cried and cried.  After a few minutes I quietly asked him, "Would a piece of chocolate help your head feel better?"

He tearfully said, "Yeeeeeeeeees."  And so we went to fetch a piece of chocolate and administer relief in any available form.

As I wiped up his chocolatey fingers and face I couldn't help thinking about Elizabeth Gaskell and her endearing biscuits, ready for every emergency.

I love that some things never change.  Sweets will always sooth away bitter hurts, physical or otherwise.

Unintentional Salt

on 19 September 2011

It took us a while to get pregnant again.  It was hard.  Hard to the point where I still don't really like to talk about it.  And fortunately, I have my lovely Sister who's been through it all before, so I tend to confine those conversations to her.  After all, talking about it with Chris only intensifies the matter, he struggled with it as well.  But my lovely sister, well, she's on the Great Other Side of this particular trial, so she's perfect for perspective.

I mention this because I've been thinking a lot lately about the ways in which people unintentionally pour salt into other people's open wounds.  Wounds that no one really sees or knows about because they're that private.

In the trenches, when everyone and their dog that I knew was pregnant and Chris and I were just stuck in that horrible in-between land where people start to look at you quizzically because you have this great big toddler and clearly are young, and clearly love your child to pieces and hey, "Why the heck aren't you having another kid right about now?"  Several women that I'm not particular friends with, but whom I know, announced rather cavalierly that they were pregnant and one of them piped in with Hey it's TWINS!  I told a friend of mine that it was a sore trial for me to resist wanting to throw a shoe at her head.

They were terrible moments, moments of pain where logically you knew that no one was trying to hurt you intentionally but oh, it still hurt.

***

A friend of mine (the younger sister of one of my good friends) just lost her baby.  She was 27 weeks pregnant with her first when they found out the baby had stopped growing at 21 weeks.  I sat at my computer a cried and cried.  And then promptly turned it off and walked away.

I wanted to write about how we're celebrating our girl around these parts lately.  With feminine flannels and lots of homemade knitted things.  How we're slowly gathering together tiny pink things.  How we've finally picked a name and how adorable the Boy is with his perspective sister.  I was going to post pictures of all the unbearable cuteness of it all.

And then I remembered the Salt.

***

I haven't actually told that many people that we're pregnant again.  I mean, I've told YOU...the ephemeral blog.  But in person?  Not really.  And it's not for lack of excitement.  We're both so happy it borders on ridiculous pretty often.  But I can't forget what that felt like...that place of wanting another child so badly and not being able to have one.  I can't forget how hard it was, other people asking me to be excited and happy for them when I was nursing a battered heart.

And I can't stop thinking about that other darling girl who is so funny there are no words to describe it.  That girl who was also expecting a baby girl.  Who was so excited to bring her daughter home, who had the crib and all the unbearable cuteness as well.  I don't know if she reads my blog or not, but just in case...

I would so much rather hug her and let her cry on my shoulder than pour salt in her wounds.

***

Chris thinks I'm over-thinking it.  That I can't live my life tip-toeing around other people because I don't want to add to their own personal grief.  But I find myself thinking that maybe those 2 years wouldn't have been quite so painful if other people had only been a little softer with me.  If they had been a little quieter in their own celebrations, or a little less harsh in their judgments of me, maybe it wouldn't have hurt quite so badly.  And yet.  I'm adult...I could have spoken up at any time.  Hey, I could have just posted a sign that said, "I hurt right now, please be nice."  Maybe it's unreasonable to wish that people would just be a little more aware of the people who live and breathe around them.  Maybe those days are gone and it really is every man (and woman) for themselves.  I don't know.

And because I don't know what to do with any of this, or what to write here, or what to say to so many amazing women who struggle and hurt and still live their lives with courage and integrity, who still grin and bear it all...I write nothing.  I say nothing.  I wait and watch and take note and say prayers and go on with my knitting and sewing and gathering and hoping.

Small and Simple Things

on 11 September 2011

We spent last weekend in Savannah.

It was a lovely weekend filled to the brim with family and friends and laughter and delicious food.  The Boy was delighted with Pa-Pa's house and has been asking to go back to Pa-Pa's house and play since we got back.

We've spent the week, dragging ourselves through our chores and work and routine.  And I've been reading and pondering on the events of a bright day 10 years ago.  I've been watching the clips of people talking about how their lives changed.  I've been remembering the people who changed my own life.  And how very grateful I am for this little life of mine.  It's not Important.  It's not Influential.  It's not Popular by any means.  It's small and quiet, but it's important to me.



I remember before having the Boy the distinct feeling that I didn't want to bring a child into this world.  This horribly flawed and failing world.

But I look at him now and I realize that by bringing him here, with his heart and his faith and his beautiful eyes that see the world so clearly, that I have made the world better than it was before.  Every time he smiles, I see that the world is a boy-sized bit happier, every time he laughs (and he makes everyone laugh around him) the world is a boy-sized bit happier, and that's when I knew.

That it wasn't books and learning, it wasn't bombs or guns, it wasn't a Nobel prize winning peace plan that made the world a little bit better.  It was a Boy.  As small and simple as that sounds, it is a great and wondrous thing that has happened.  And not just in my life, but in my family's life.  In Chris' family's life.  In the lives of everyone who knows him.

And on this particular day, when I remember so many husband and wife and father and mother and son and daughter shaped holes left in the world by folding steel and breaking glass, by planes turned into bombs and men turned against fellow man, I am profoundly grateful for the little bit of boy-shaped good that I've been able to bring into the world.

Other People's Words

on 08 September 2011

I think I've quoted this one here before, but it's something that's been on my mind a lot lately.


“When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, He goes about it in a very unusual way.  He doesn’t stir up earthquakes or send forth His thunderbolts.  Instead, He has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother.  And then God puts the idea into the mother’s heart, and she puts it into the baby’s mind.  And then God waits.  The greatest forces in this world are not the earthquakes and thunderbolts.  The greatest forces in the world are babies.”
                •E.T. Sullivan

Because Sometimes you just Need to Play

on 01 September 2011

We have an alarming number of squirt bottles in our house.  In fact, the ratio is just over 1 per person.  If you're wondering, between disciplining the cats, cutting the Boy's hair and his variety of bath toys, we have a lot of squirt-able objects...which means that occasionally it's dangerous to enter out house.

Sunday night I was feeling devilish.

Apparently, three hours of church followed by two hours of post-church visiting were just not enough to wring the devil out of my soul.  So while my sweet Husband was washing up the dinner dishes, from the dinner HE had cooked for his incredibly tired and worn out wife, his incredibly tired and worn out wife allowed the devilish part of her soul to pick up a water bottle and begin hosing down her family.

Now, I don't know about your family, but I firmly believe that every family uses some sort of violence to express affection.  In my brother-in-law's family it's these incredibly painful tickles.  He comes up behind you and digs his fingers in between your ribs or the muscles of your shoulders and while you're writhing in pain, you know he's doing it because he really loves you.  But in our family, all violent affection is expressed by hurling water at one another.

The story goes, that once my sister started a water fight with my Dad and it culminated in my father mopping up the watery mess with my sister's HEAD.  And we'll take any and all forms of water, ice cubes down the back, wet willies in the ear, snow balls hurled at each others heads and of course, cups of water slung at each other, or squirted surreptitiously  while no one is paying attention.

And it's in the GENES!  My 15 year old nephew carried around a 4 inch water pistol the entire time I was out in Utah and he used it mercilessly on anyone and everyone within range.

And when my patience-of-Job Husband sighed and asked me the reason for this spontaneous burst in aquatic violence, I laughed and said, "Because sometimes you just need to play, babe.  We don't play enough.  And I really needed that tonight."  At which point he took and enormous syringe filled with water and hosed me down with it.