30 July 2009
29 July 2009
And I jumped in and started scrapbooking and got these layouts done. I actually had a lot more of Macauley's 5th year completed than I thought I had. I know have all sorts of spreads stacked around everywhere and I need to put them in some actual scrapbooks. Which means a trip to Hobby Lobby today! I need a couple of them and some refill pages.
28 July 2009
Several months later, on a sleepless night, I got up and wrote my baby a letter, something I've done a couple of other times since but should really do more:
At 4 a.m. you woke up crying. I was having trouble sleeping tonight for some reason, and I had heard you roll around and make little noises a couple of other times as I tossed and turned myself in my bed across the hall from you. I think one of the cats had pushed your door open and was exploring your closet, waking you by crinkling paper and crawling on boxes. But this time you cried, sounded upset. I shuffled to the kitchen and made you a bottle, went back into your room to see your head raised up, looking for me, I think.
Your little toes were cold (you had kicked off your covers as you usually do, and have, in fact, done since the day we brought you home from the hospital, never wanting your arms pinned down by the blanket or to be swaddled as most other newborns prefer), so I tucked you in next to me in my bed and curled around you, gave you your bottle. I held both of your tiny feet in one hand to warm them up, and you grabbed one of my fingers with your left hand and held it while you drank, both arms resting on your forehead.
I tried to close my eyes during your feeding—there were many times when you were younger, when you were getting up more than once in the night for food, that I fell asleep during this same routine, waking up panicked that I had smashed or suffocated your tiny, tiny little body, realizing an hour or more had gone by. When you were very small, from the time you were a few weeks or so until about three months maybe, you wouldn’t sleep in your bassinet, so for all of us to get a few hours of sleep, I laid you on my chest every night and slept half sitting up in bed, worrying all the while that I would drop you or, again, smash you…but your dad and I were so tired. You seemed to like listening to my heartbeat, like you were reminded of being back in the womb. I wondered if you would ever sleep in your crib, if we had failed as parents, spoiled you so that all three of us would be crowded into our queen size bed for years. Some nights I wondered if I’d ever be able to sleep on my side or stomach ever again. But, one day, you napped in your crib, and eventually started sleeping more and more in your own room and bed, until you didn’t even really like to sleep on my chest anymore even while we watched TV. Now, when your dad puts you down asleep in your crib, he says you smile when he pulls the covers up around you. He’s right. I’ve seen it too. So I’m free to toss and turn as I please, and most nights that’s a relief. But sometimes, a lot of times, I would love to sleep sitting up again, your sweet-smelling head tucked under my chin, our hearts beating in rhythm.
Tonight we went to a minor league baseball game--your first. It was hot, but you were so good. You wore your jean shorts and a light blue t-shirt and your navy blue visor that makes you look very preppy and adorable. I carried you around the stands when you got bored or fussy, and your dad gave you a few bites of his hot dog bun. You watched the players and listened to the announcer and crowd, with this look you have that I will never forget, a kind of wide-eyed, open-mouthed wonder, always taking everything in. Having you look at things, at everything, this way has made me do the same. It’s overwhelming the way I want to show you everything, to tell you about everything in this world and see what you think of it all. I love taking you places. We can’t go anywhere without at least two or three strangers stopping us to talk to you and to ask how old you are, what your name is, how much you weigh, to say how adorable/attentive/beautiful/handsome/big/tiny you are. I tell your dad it annoys me, strangers breathing on you, grabbing your fingers and giving you germs, but I’m really so proud. You are mine.
When the game was over, they turned out the stadium lights and there was a fireworks show. I stood in the dark by our seats holding you, and your dad came over to stand by us as the sparkles started filling the sky. We were both watching your face, your expressions, having both seen fireworks many times before but never our own son’s reaction to them. You were mesmerized, not even jumping when there was a loud boom. The three of us sat down on the steps, your dad’s arm around you and me, his hand on my knee and yours on my arm, and I felt unexplainably happy. This is my life, I thought. Our life. The three of us.
You didn’t really drink much of your bottle tonight (this morning!), but didn’t want to let go of it when I tried to take it out of your mouth. Your breathing was deep and slow, and I knew you were asleep again, but I didn’t want to take you back to your crib. I rubbed your face and hair and hands, just amazed by you and I couldn’t help but cry, softly though so I wouldn’t wake up your dad. Sometimes that’s all I can do when I look at you, I am just so overwhelmed by all the emotions I feel for you that tears are my only, sometimes irrational, release. You were completely relaxed, and your mouth looked just as it did in the ultrasound we had just a few days before you were born. I may never be able to make you understand how I felt that very moment looking at you…
I’ve heard when you can’t sleep it’s better to get up and do something instead of just lying there miserably, so I thought I’d write. I’m not sure I’m any sleepier having done so, but I feel contented that I got at least an impression of the way I’m feeling tonight down on paper. I should do that for you more, Macauley; I will try to…Time is going by so quickly; your third tooth is coming through now, your fine blonde hair is growing over your ears and into your eyes…you’re turning into a little boy. My baby. Even now I know there will come a time when you don’t want me to think of you as such, but you need to know I won’t be able to help it. You are my baby and always will be. You are loved more than you will ever comprehend.
22 August 2003
Happy Baby Shower to you and your family, Bella! Thanks for the chance to share, Debbie.
27 July 2009
I found myself to be quite rusty after all this time, but I do love the photo of my boy and I hope he always follows his heart. That's another revelation that's been freeing to me: to let my son just be. Just be himself and not me or not his dad or like his friends. We'd both like him to play sports because we both enjoyed them so much growing up, but we just haven't pushed Macauley to do a bunch of stuff because everyone else is. Maybe we should nudge him a bit to try some new things, but he's only 6 and he'll figure out where his heart is in his own good time. At least that's how I see it as of now.
The little shirt sent me into quite the blue-tinged reverie over at http://www.bluebuddies.com/, where I found all sorts of info on characters and storylines I had totally forgotten. I also took the Which Smurf are You? Quiz and found it to be quite the psychological inventory. Some fun memories...
23 July 2009
One passage I marked:
"Her handwriting never became fluid, but it acquired something of the severe beauty that characterizes the writing of old people who have written little in their lives."
I immediately called up images of the bits and pieces of handwriting I've seen from both my grandfathers, one who is alive and well and one who is not. Both men I consider wise and probably wiser to the ways of the world than I will ever be. I just haven't seen much from them by way of handwritten (or typed or otherwise put together) notes, so the ones I have seen I remember.
My mother's father was usually spoken for by my Nanny, who often wrote me letters when I was young and who always sent out birthday cards signed for the both of them. My dad's father has been a widower for many years. He sent my sisters and me some money via my parents one July a few years ago with a letter that said he'd heard of Christmas in July before and just wanted us to have something. The letter wasn't long, but my mother had photocopied a copy for each of us. He said it had been a sad and lonely winter since his longtime friend and companion, who he had fished with and eaten with and been kept company by for years since my grandmother died when I was three, had been put in a nursing home after a stroke that left her unable to communicate. He simply, in mostly capital letters, spelled out what he was thinking and what he wished for us and I still think about that letter.
This past Christmas, I didn't get to see him, but I mailed him a card and a gift certificate, since I always think of him and want to give him something but never know just what. He sent back a clear and simple thank you in a card he must have made a special trip to buy for me--written in pencil as the other letter was--saying he had been wanting a drill and that the card "just covered it" and that he was "real proud of it."
I don't know for sure that either of my grandfathers are people who "have written little in their lives." They both, after all, lived through the very war (and the atrocities and crimes of that war) the book I just read explores. They probably wrote home. I know they both read. They've seen the world in a way I never will. Thinking of the few snippets of their handwriting I've seen just makes me wistful...
21 July 2009
The black and white theme always carries over to my booth, but I also grouped together a bunch of colorful stuff, all of it 50% off.
I did like the grouping on this chippy green shelf, and I thought the metal stairs would be great somewhere...
I was also inexplicably drawn to this baby doll, and the little cradle...maybe it's all the baby showers I've been going to. I thought the cradle would make a great cat bed for my giant gray kitty Alice Cooper.
We left empty-handed and went to check on our old house only to find that an entire field of grass and weeds had grown up in the flowerbeds alongside the house. I pulled weeds for over an hour, which did nothing for my somewhat cranky mood or the crick in my neck I've had for 3 days now. I am so ready to be able to walk away from that old house with no strings and no responsibility. I really love that little cottage and I wish someone else would start taking care of it so I can just let go. And not pull weeds. Then we did our grocery shopping in a cart with a crazy wheel that kept dragging and made the whole cart roll bumpy. Macauley was already loaded with all the stuffed animals and Blankie strapped in so we didn't trade up. Perhaps the dinner I have planned tonight with my teacher friends Lori and Sarah at Touch will cheer me. If those bacon-wrapped dates don't do the trick, I don't know what will...
19 July 2009
Excitement in the neighborhood yesterday when the ice cream truck (jeep) pulled through. We raided the change jar with a sense of urgency, not to be passed by. The whole scene reminded me of being a girl with my cousins running from the backyard of my grandparents' house to greet a similar vehicle cruising down South 24th Place.
We've been a little stir-crazy around the house this weekend, but today Macauley and Megan have been busy saving the world. They've been following me around everywhere I go (still in their pajamas in the middle of the day) asking me to give them "missions." After it taking them all of 1.5 minutes to rescue Flippy the Dolphin from being tangled in a commerical fishing net at the bottom of the sea (and tracking down the boat that irresponsibly dropped the net) and then about the same amount of time to find Michelle Obama's diamond ring somewhere in our yard, I told them their next mission was to find something else to do far, far away from me, as I was out of imagined precarious situations and needed space. They're off to the park now and I might go check on my booth. Or just flop down and read some more, which is what I've been doing most of the weekend.
Another Jodi Picoult...this time The Pact, about a girl and boy who grew up next door to each other their whole lives and the discomfort and intimacy that develops as their brother/sister relationship evolves into something more mature. Who knows where these two superheroes will be years from now, or what they'll be to each other then, but for now, they are permanent fixtures in one another's worlds.
I can always find a little something in Picoult's writing that registers with me. This time it was the teenage boys description of how he knew he really loved the girl he'd known his whole life:
"There was an attraction," he said carefully, "but it was more than that." He chewed on his lower lip for a second. "Once, we broke up for a while. I started hanging out with this girl who I'd always thought was hot, this cheerleader named Donna. I was like, totally infatuated with Donna, maybe even when I was still together with Em. Anyway...every time I was with Donna I realized I didn't know her too well. I'd hyped her up in my head to be so much more than what she really was...When Em and I got back together, I could see that she had never been less than what I'd figured her to be. If anything, she was always better than I remembered. And that' what I think love is," Chris said quietly. "When your hind-sight's twenty-twenty, and you still wouldn't change a thing."
I've only know Ryan half of my life, actually a bit less, but it seems like longer since I was 19 when we got together. So young. I wonder what would have happened if I'd grown up knowing him instead of meeting him in college. What if we'd actually met when we crossed paths at a track meet in high school, as we've figured out we must have over the years? What if we grew up chasing after the ice cream truck together with beach towels as capes? I don't know. But I do know he's never been less than I figured he would be. And he's always even better than I remembered.