Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The baby above is about 54 days from conception. Although I'm not quite so far along, it's sweet to think of my newest baby hard at work -- growing bone and skin, eyelashes and a healthy, blood-pumping heart.
Grow, baby, grow!
Dear Baby, I am so blissfully aware of your presence. You are my fourth child and I am so honored to carry you.
Your oldest brother's arrival in my womb, I greeted with the hyper-excitement of a 7-year-old about to get her first puppy.
Your other older brother -- I greeted with ... I hate to say ... fear ( "how could I possibly handle 2 babies?!")
And your other, other older brother, again -- fear ("3?! -- yup -- we're Catholic now!")
But you ... you have made me so deeply happy. I had a feeling you'd be coming, and now that your here, I sense God's love and mercy in a way I hadn't before you arrived. The fear must have been hammered out of me -- stomped out by an army of muddy sneaker-clad brothers. Because, I only wish you were already here in my arms.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Do it Again
“Do it again,” my son squeals from the swing, “Do it again!”
I sigh then “run under,” pushing him up, up, up so high over my head till he laughs and screams like he was flying through the air for the very first time. He swings a little, slows down … down … down, then beckons, “Do it again!”
And again, and again, and again and again. Oh, the park. My mini-van knows the drive by heart. It could probably even get there on its own -- back out of the driveway, turn right, then left, then right again. And voila, arrive at a primary-colored playground for the 9,765th time. I could make the drive in my sleep … or in a coma. I’ll probably keep driving there even after I’m dead. But, oh no, now I sound morose or at least ungrateful. So, just ignore that last part (the part about me driving to the park when I’m dead) and let me take a moment to explain my tone and the bone I’m picking with the park.
You see, there are certain parts of a mother’s life that are, most kindly put, monotonous. So much so, I’ve come to conclude, it is this way by design. And the park, I tell you, is a case in point. That point being that children love the park for the same reasons adults find it boring: it is always the same, it is always open and its target audience is about 3 and 1/2 feet tall.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the park. It’s the answer for so many of this mother’s challenging moments. Cranky kids? The park! Skipped naps? The park! Frazzled from cleaning a house that is simultaneously being destroyed? Let’s go to the park! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled up to our jungle-gymed field, slid open my mini-van’s door and felt all my mommy tension simply disappear as my boys dash into a space set aside just for fun. They jump and run and pretend they’re pirates up on the play castle they swear is really a boat.
I watch them and smile. They give me space they don’t at home in the kitchen. They forget about their many needs and simply play. Fresh air. Other mothers to talk to … yes, I love the park. But sometimes . . .
I really hate it. Because sometimes, you see, it lacks the 30-something age-level excitement I crave. The excitement, or rather the glamour I had expected to arrive by this point in my life.
“Do it again,” my son screams and the old lady beside me on the bench asks to hold the baby. I comply, run to pump the swing and return to her smile. Her eyes are blue as cold water and her skin almost matches. She waves a crumpled tissue over my tots like the Pope waves his staff in a blessing.
“Enjoy it,” she says then tells me about her kids all grown and gone. “If I could, I’d do it all over again,” she says, “I’d do it all again.”
She hands over the baby and shuffles away, casting a shadow long and dark across the blacktop. Whether it be her wrinkled hands or the wisdom of her words, the acquaintance reminds me once again of time’s indiscriminate swiftness -- its viscous flow, its rapid flight. I realize quite clearly that I’ll surely warm these benches as well when I’m an old lady, dreaming of my son’s golden curls -- longing to ruffle them just one more time. And with a spark, I jump to launch that swing through the clear summer sky – simply delighted to “do it again.”
-- Sarah Johnson can be emailed at email@example.com
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Simeon squealing at fish,
and I'm waiting for my vacation to begin
Executing a long-anticipated train ride,
and I'm smiling till it hurts but still waiting for my vacation to begin
Snapping shots of Manny with her sweet Simmy
... still waiting
A happy docent displays dinosaur teeth to my fascinated babies; I jump up and down but deep, deep inside, yup, I'm watchin' that clock, wondering when that vacation I heard about was going to begin ... for me?
Awww, my Gus and his daddy staring at Geckos; I couldn't drag them away. [BTW: Did somebody tuck that thing called a vacation in a drawer or a cupboard somewhere deep in the back of the pantry? Did they cover it with foil and stick it behind a ham? Cause I looked and looked but... I'm ... still ...waiting ...]
Oh, this felt like it! It really did! I thought the vacation had finally arrived. But while the fountain cooled our weary feet, I was ... still waiting ...
Because it came much later. After this hot day cooled to night, my parents (we were staying at their house) skipped town for a trip of their own. My husband's eyes caught mine and I mouthed "hot tub." With skipping and hopping we threw our tired tots in bed and raided my dad's liquor cabinet. We hit that hot tub and talked like we hadn't talked in months (and I mean talking as in verbal conversation so don't get yucked out as I wouldn't do that to you). We left the house a mess cause there was no one there it would bother. We watched a movie & before we drifted off to sleep I sat up and said with a start:
"THAT WAS IT!!! THAT WAS WHAT I WANTED FOR MY VACATION!!! IT FINALLY ARRIVED!!!"
But then I felt so sad because I realized we had to leave in the morning.
When I woke, Pete had already packed the car.
And as we drove home, I struggled with self-pity until I realized that no matter how many times I'm told, and no matter how counter intuitive the fact remains: The World Does Not Revolve Around Me. [Although, I am the starting point from where I stand -- and therefore find this concept difficult to believe -- but still, it's just got to be true].
Simeon got his fish
Haven, his fossils
Gussie spotted a gecko
Pete did too
I had a date, if only for a moment
And realized, as we headed home, that
the vacation ...
well, I had it all along
Things aren't going so well.
I have a feeling these tomatoes will protest their propping, and decide to remain green.
Because when a trip to the local Lawn and Garden means dragging along a rabble of knee-high banshees, one learns to make do.
And to make do and to make do ...