Friday, June 27, 2008
Today was one of those incredibly satisfying days where all day long, I felt ecstatic about what I was doing. How often does that happen? I think this is the result of having both of us home. It truly is bliss.
After a beautiful, early morning run, I served blueberry-strawberry pancakes on the porch. Aah. Then Greg got to work on the tree house (he's starting to put up the cedar siding) and the kids and I played. We went on the swings, did some gardening, dug holes in the woods. Then we had a family game of wiffle ball (so fun. And especially sweet since one time Greg wrote a song about Charlotte where he was imagining her with the big red bat, because "the yellow bat is really just for big kids. And a big kid, my girl, you'll never be"... sob. sob. sob. But I digress) We played on bikes and in the sandbox. Aoife had a bare bum all day and used the potty a lot, and also peed a few times, triumphantly yelling, "I'm peeing on my legs!", which I congratulated her for anyway. We had a sweet lunch on the porch and then I headed for my garden.
It was a hard day of digging. I dug up about 20 square feet of really tough tall grass, with root masses about 9 inches thick and almost impossible to penetrate with my big shovel. Then I worked on clearing off some of the bedrock up above, which is covered with about a foot of newly formed soil from having been neglected for the past 9 years or so. It was so satisfying. We had a beautiful dinner and a kind of rough and naughty bedtime and then I went back out again and dug more dirt, and spread some mulch, and by the time I finished it was after nine and I could hardly see what I had done. We listened, as we always do in the evenings, to the Red Sox game on the radio. (so far they are winning, yay). In the shower I scrubbed, hard, but ended up having to put in the plug and let the tub fill while I washed my hair, so that my feet could soak and I could sit down and scrub with a brush. Still they look dirty, but the most of the dirt is gone. What a day.
I just finished a book last night that I recommend, called The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. It tells the story of a poor woman, Bhima, and her upper-middle class mistress, Sera, for whom she has worked for over twenty years. It is a compelling and thought-provoking tale. There were several quotes, as always, that humbled me and made me think of my present, my truth, and I want to share them with you. These are the kinds of words I wonder if I would have simply read right over, had I not lost my daughter. But now they mean something more beautiful, more deep. This first quotation is Bhima as she sits at her adult daughter's side as she is dying of AIDS, contemplating her future without her:
... a mother without children is not a mother at all, and if I am not a mother, then I am nothing. Nothing. I am like sugar dissolved in a glass of water. Or, I am like salt, which disappears when you cook with it. I am salt. Without my children, I cease to exist.
While I disagree that Bhima is technically not a mother, as she most certainly remains in that category for having birthed her children, I do agree and sympathize and completely relate to the feeling of having your very identity pulled from beneath you like an old carpet. When you have sacrificed everything, and in Bhima's case indeed she has, for your children, what is left for you when they are gone? Where is your will to continue? Would I have noticed those words if I had not once been just that, a mother with no child?
And then there is this, spoken to her granddaughter who is afraid that she is bringing up the past unnecessarily:
The past is always present. No such thing as bringing it up. The past is like the skin on your hand-- it was there yesterday and it is here today. It never goes anywhere.
This is what I always say: you don't have to be afraid to "bring up" Charlotte, because she is there. She is always there. She is with me always, I'm always thinking of her somehow. You can't surprise me with her loss, or her absence. I carry her with me always.
So there's another book I recommend. Try it.
So two (the only two?) of the people I would have felt guilty to become pregnant before, are pregnant. Maybe pregnant. When you are me, you are maybe pregnant for, say, maybe 13 or 14 weeks. Then you become definitely pregnant, but you only might get a baby. This lasts until the baby is born crying. Then you have a new baby. I'd like to try this again. Send me your good vibes. Seems like I need them this time around.