Monday, November 16, 2009

what remains

The day began innocently enough as far as epiphanies go. After a slow start due to a late night the evening before, we were finally all up and moving—moving tubs and bags and boxes up from the basement to be dug through and sorted and stored or gotten rid of. I was nearly jubilant as I plowed through the last ten years worth of stuff (which had heretofore been accumulating en masse all over my basement, already a pit to begin with) trying to determine what were keepsakes and what was simply not worth keeping. Baby clothes, teething rings, books, baskets, tennis shoes, clothes out of date, out of style, out of size. Three carloads to Goodwill later, I was nearly finished.

Laid out before me were the remnants of babyhood to be sorted and stored, and then my work would be finished. I perused the items carefully—which child did they belong to? Was this handmade? By whom? Would they want this for their own children? I tried to identify all the important information one would want to remember but would never be able to in twenty-some years. It was at this point I picked up the dog.

He was cute—a soft, shaggy brown mutt about the size of a webkinz. I couldn't remember for the life of me to which child he belonged. I noticed he had stitching on each ear—one ear read "record," the other, "play." Easy enough, I figured. I'll press play and see if it gives me any clues.

I pressed play and out came my own voice. "Hi Buddy! I love you!" I crooned. Problem solved. It was my son's. I was not prepared for what happened next.

The recording wasn't over. After my own "I love you," there was a second's pause, and then an 18-month old voice echoed back, "I yuv you!!!"

If this afternoon in my life were a scene from a movie, that moment would look like the scene in Ratatouille when Anton Ego, the food critic, takes his first bite of Remy's ratatouille and is sucked back through a wooshing vortex of memory to his mother's kitchen some thirty or forty years earlier. I could almost feel my hair swoosh around my ears as I was transported instantly back to chubby cheeks and cherubic faces and wet kisses and infectious laughter. I lost it.

I sat there in the middle of what will never be again, and I couldn't pull myself back together. And that's when it all finally came clear in one heartbreakingly obvious moment. It was more than just mourning the passing of these stages in my children's lives, though I am wont to do that ad nauseum. No—it was something more, something deeper, something I've never spoken. Something I've ignored and stifled and stuffed and shrugged off but could never quite get rid of. And there it was, all messy and snotty and out in the open. I. Want. Another. Baby.

There. Will. Be. No. More. Babies.

There will be no more babies. After two difficult pregnancies, one of them with multiples, I couldn't have dreamed of putting my 34 year old body through that, let alone my nearly-40 body. I knew, when my son was born, we were done. I simply couldn't do that again. The nine months of terrible pain, the destruction of my body, the disruption to our lives, the months upon months upon MONTHS of screaming, diaper changing, screaming, sleepless nights, and did I mention the screaming? No. There will be no more babies. I knew this six and a half years ago. I know it still.

But there is a difference between knowing and knowing, and my heart began to understand that difference this Saturday knee-deep in blankets and bears and binkies and baby books. I grieved on and off all afternoon. I grieved lying awake in bed, unable to sleep with pre-meet nerves. And I grieve it now, wiping tears between paragraphs, putting it all into words for the first time and perhaps the last.

There will be no more babies. Surrounded with what remains, I closed that chapter yet again this weekend, flipping forward once again to the school-aged years where I will continue to suck every bit I can out of each and every moment available to me. As Buddy listened with curiosity to his younger self, he crawled in my lap, wrapping his slender arms around my neck. "I still love you, Momma," he reminded me. I held him too tight for a little too long, and I told him I loved him, too.

And then, yet again, I let him go.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Buster Brown raking with Poppa this weekend!

airborn, take two

Bub had her third meet of the season today. Fourth place all-around for her age bracket. Would have been higher, but learned a hard lesson about gravity on her dismount from the uneven bars. (Translation: she fell on her FANNY.)

Giving that the apple does not far from the Perfectionism Tree, she of course is not happy unless she's at the top of the podium. After a frank discussion about the fact that she's outscoring some of her teammates from last year even after being out for four months with a COMPOUND FRACTURE, she calmed down. But she's still aiming for that top spot...

Here's a couple shots of her in action!

No wonder I get so nervous!
Way to go, Bub!!!

Monday, November 09, 2009


So, I posted ONCE in October. That could have something to do with having had two major sinus infections and a bout of bronchitis. It could also have something to do with having four weekends away within a five-weekend month. Furthermore, it could possibly have something to do with the general malaise that set in around here, likely as a result of both. At any rate, there was no writing taking place, here or anywhere.

I wonder sometimes what the heck I'm doing here. Blogs almost seem passe now, what with FaceBook and all. I know they are entirely different beasts, but who bothers to read a blog post when updates "thrown" up on the "wall" are so much quicker and easier to read? I try to remind myself that updates are not what I'm about here--that I'm trying to really write something of substance. But when most people just check in for updates, and they're all people I already know, how is that meeting my objective?

What IS my objective? And could it better be met elsewhere?

And while we're at it, what the heck am I doing with my life? Ugh.

Two more days left on the antibiotic. Perhaps the malaise will lift when the steriod finally wears off and I stop wanting to crawl out of my skin. In the meantime, I'll try not to take myself too seriously.

I'd be much obliged if you'd do the same.

a few pix

With good friends at the lake a few weekends ago... Hiked, played tag, ate lots of good food. And saw five bald eagles at the wildlife refuge!

Me and the hubby (AKA "The Old Man")

Boo at the Zoo (Subtitle: The Lamest Year Ever)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Forty Things I Love About My Husband (On His Fortieth Birthday)

  1. He does housework. The list could end right there.
  2. He also does laundry. The list could end here, as well.
  3. He also cooks. Need I go on?
  4. I will go on. He is a fabulous father—loving, nurturing, almost always responsible. Almost.
  5. He has a great sense of humor. The kids love it. I, on the other hand, mostly put up with it.
  6. He loves adventure and living life, not watching other peoples' lives.
  7. He is hard working and has more integrity than many men have in their pinky fingers alone.
  8. He is disciplined. Half of the time I love this, the other half I can't stand it. Usually, it depends on whether or not the discipline works in my favor.
  9. He honors his parents and his family.
  10. He honors our family and treats me with respect and appreciation.
  11. He tells alien stories to the kids around the fire out back. The kids love it. I, on the other hand…
  12. He washes and cleans out my car. And he doesn't get too mad if I don't notice.
  13. He helps with bedtime. All of it. And if I don't feel well, he does it ALL.
  14. He has a great smile.
  15. He has fabulous gray-green eyes that crinkle around the edges when he uses that smile.
  16. He most often uses them both on me.
  17. He has a great, um, errr, well… backside, shall we say?
  18. It's the only spot on his body with any body fat—that is worth being happy about.
  19. He gets a great tan with little to no effort. Unfortunately for me, his kids got lucky and inherited that gene, so I am the only pale one around here.
  20. He has put up with me for twenty-one years now, and counting.
  21. He hasn't left yet…
  22. He promises he won't.
  23. He's a man who keeps his promises. Always.
  24. He supports my desire to write and encourages me in it.
  25. He believes me when I say I have a headache. (Could be because I usually have a headache…)
  26. He doesn't watch sports unless we're with someone else who does. The list could end here, as well.
  27. He likes to play with the kids.
  28. He likes to go on dates.
  29. He likes to go to the theater or symphony. Or the art museum. Or…
  30. He's fairly almost sort of patient with me much if not most of the time. Most…
  31. He doesn't rub it in when I don't deserve any more patience.
  32. He gets over things quickly and he doesn't hold a grudge.
  33. He is kind and gentle and affectionate.
  34. He is strong and powerful and provides for our family.
  35. He is completely invested in being the man God has called him to be, and continues to pursue it, albeit imperfectly at times.
  36. He is a man of faith, strength, and honor.
  37. He reads my blog. (He and three other people…)
  38. He is better to me than I deserve. Honestly.
  39. He is truly, madly, deeply crazy in love with me. Still. And I know it.
  40. And did I mention he has a nice, um, you know

Happy Birthday, Babe. I love you. Truly.