Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Melancholy Bliss

A few days ago, it was raining. Pouring. It was grey, grey, grey. In the afternoon, I suggested cookies: chocolate chip cookies. You might have figured out by now that food does soothe the broken soul, it also brings lots and lots of pleasure and joy, so I am always game to make something tasty. We pulled up the two chairs and began mixing away.
The kids are very good about taking turns. We bake a lot. Bread, pizza crust, muffins, cookies, cake. They love to be helpers. We put on aprons and drag out the kitchen aid and get to work. The whole operation was very successful. When they finished, they moved to the little table in the middle of the kitchen to play with playdough while I rolled out the cookies onto the cookie sheet (this part of the process falls to me, because they seem unable to put the little balls of dough onto the sheet without bypassing the mouth).
I had some of my best depressing music on, The Beauty of the Rain (Dar Williams). Of course, the light in my house was similar to May light, despite the fact that we don't have the green yet to reflect in the windows and add to the grey pallor. I was rolling the dough, just thinking, watching the kids, when the song came on that really calls me back, it is called "The One Who Knows". It was running through my head the whole time I held Charlotte in my arms, for whatever reason, and we played it at her memorial service while people came forward and greeted us and looked at her pictures. It is so special to me.

So here I was on this day, covered in flour, rolling out cookies, in this flat, grey light, and my two little children are happily puttering away with the playdough, paying absolutely no attention whatsoever to me. Something huge swelled up in me. Something about how peacefully they were just absorbed in their play just swept through me, and caught that piece of me that pulls me back and doesn't let go. I started crying, weeping, tears dripping onto the cookie sheet. Here was the music that had filled my ears and mind and heart through this tragedy, this awful, aching beginning to my motherhood not even five years ago, and now it echoes through our house in the midst of this absolutely perfect domestic scene.

The timer went off for the first batch, and I pulled them out of the oven. I gave the kids a hot, gooey, fresh cookie and we went to our post at the big front windows to eat. I was still weepy, and as we sat there enjoying our delicious homemade treat, I grabbed the camera and snapped some pictures of the three of us, just wanting to try to capture that minute of time, of us eating cookies, my kids so oblivious, and me feeling so melancholy and happy and blessed all at the same time.


Aimee said...

Now you are going to start thinking I'm making crap up...but we have that CD too. And it was playing in a small CD player out our window last May as my family helped put together Sophie's flower garden. Now, in fairness, we played a ton of CDs that day--since it took a while to make the garden--but still. And one more freaky thing...we planted this garden on Mother's Day, 2007 which was May 13th.

Birdie said...


You are just such an amazing Mama to Charlotte, Liam and Aiofe! I'm so sorry that you have been feeling the blues, but I am glad that those DELICIOUS cookies did the trick! Oh, and the photos of the three of you (and I know there must be a hint of Charlotte's spirit) are so striking, especially the middle one of you looking at the camera...its a very powerful photograph.