Friday, October 29, 2010

it feels like...


It feels like the longest day, turned into the longest week--- surreal and strange and as far from normal as can be.

It feels like I have so much to say, but when I find a spare moment (Thursday afternoon, the first opportunity for solitary thought) the words don't come.

Thursday morning I took a shower while Bean watched an Elmo DVD (sending thanks and brainwaves of love to dear Karen and Sharon for their AWESOME gift, again). I turned the water as hot as it could go--- watched the steam rise in waves off the tile. I breathed in deep long breaths, felt the steam come through my sinuses, give me the gift of clear breathing. And as my breathing cleared, I felt the clouds in my head clear too: a sense of tomorrow, a sense of next week and next month came to me without any pain, with only the promise that plans can give, which is this: possibility.

I felt the promise of possibility return, and that is so very good.

Bean and I are in New Mexico for another five days. We got here late Monday night (really Tuesday morning). Chip will be joining us over the weekend. There are stories I still want to tell: funny things and kind things and weird things. I need to wait a little longer for the words for those stories. And speaking of which, I have to tell you that this is normally my favorite time of the year, with not one but TWO exciting things to celebrate: Chip's birthday AND Halloween. Both of them have been heavily impacted by recent events. So. I made an executive decision and declared a delay in both of these proceedings. We WILL be celebrating Halloween (afterall, Bean already has her costume) and Chip's birthday, with a twist. After we all get back, and after we've had a couple of days to breathe and return to normal---- the celebrations will commence. And be broadcast and shared here at The Creamery. Of course.

Thank you for your kind thoughts and emails and prayers and texts and other various mental and spiritual and electronical bits of support. I have felt these gifts of grace lift me up and give me strength.

Now tell me all your plans for Halloween. And tell me what color I should make the frosting for Chip's belated birthday cake. I miss you all terribly, and would love to have a full-to-the-brim in-box.

Commence comments now!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the things that go on


Let's talk about the things that last, the things that go on long after we have passed.
Letters we've written. Jokes we've told. Gifts we've given.

Let's talk about the things that stay here in the ether, the things that weight a room.
A conversation punctuated by tears. A reunion, longed for and finally achieved. The first hug. A soft kiss on a wrinkled cheek.

Let's talk about the things I hold on to now. The things I will remember him by.

The first time I heard him laugh.
We had the same nose.
He told me that I was smart.
He packed a dozen photo albums in his suitcase and slowly turned the pages of each one as I sat by his side, listened to his stories.
I never saw him wear anything but cowboy boots.
He marveled over my hair, said it was the same color as my mother's.
He sat at our kitchen table two Thanksgiving's ago, eating pecans and reading stories to Alice.
His tender way of talking to me, telling me how glad he was to know me.
His humility.
His faith.
His constancy.
His love, his love, his love.

Above all else, it's his love that goes on. I can feel it, here next to my heart. And I can feel it when I tell Alice that she had a very special Grandpa Buddy, that I was blessed to have a whole second family to love me. We were honored to know Buddy and have him in our lives.

Buddy passed away yesterday. We're flying down to be with Matt and his family. It might be a little while before I update here again. Please bear with me. The words are going to come, but right now they are weighted down with grief.

...for the full background, in case you don't know the details, see here. And then search the Adoption Topic for the rest.

Friday, October 22, 2010

the smallest one


...was Madeline.

What I've been up to for the past few days.
Introducing Bean's 2010 Halloween costume.

Heaven help me for next year.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

stretching it out to two entries, really


In response to yesterday's post.

One of the greatest pleasures of being married to Chip is how fun and weird he can make everyday things.

Case in point: SuperWhy.

When we all saw our first episode, we were on a trip - and somehow we kept missing Bean's daily allotment of Sesame Street. It must've been due to the time change, I'm not sure, but we'd get back to our room from breakfast, turn on the TV and get... not Sesame Street. Instead, it was Wyatt and his SuperWhy gang and all their adventures rewriting fairytales.

I sort of hated it from the very get go.

And then came the final song. And you know what? I hated that too. But it stuck in my head like superglue and I found myself singing it later that afternoon. So did Chip. However, in fine Chip fashion he decided to channel Eddie Vedder singing Hip hip hooray, the Super Readers saved the day.

It was so weird, so awesomely weird--- and I love it. It's one of my very very favorite things in life, listening to Chip sing this ridiculous song in an even more ridiculous voice, and when he starts making up words? Oh, if I could share it with you I would.

Now we sing this stupid song all the time. Like seriously, ALL THE TIME. I've listened to Bean sing it over the room monitor, when she's supposed to be asleep in bed. Chip has sung it in Home Depot (about buying a toilet seat--- lyrics were something like Hip hip hooray, we get to buy a toilet seat today. We're at Home Depot, we've got some options, we'll work together to spruce up the potty.) So. Now that you think my husband is adorable and also so very odd--- I'll tell you that the entire SuperWhy thing continues to bounce between annoying and freakishly charming for me. It depends on the day. I'm not a fan of rewriting fairy tales to get a different ending, but I do like the fact that they teach children about positive thinking, cooperation, and confidence. I also like that they stress the importance of reading--- how it opens doors, unlocks secrets, helps you to understand human behavior. That song, though. It can stay with me for DAYS. And not in a good way.

In other news:

The Cat in the Hat. I absolutely adore Dr. Seuss. Love him. His delightful illustrations, the stories, the characters. Love. So I was excited to check out PBS' The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That. I still do like the concept, and I can't believe they got Martin Short to the the Cat's voice--- but I've got to tell you after a while, it gets to be a little... annoying. True story.

Curious George. Cute animation. And again, points for the effort to make it educational. But seriously, I can't stand how people let this monkey do whatever he wants, wreaking havoc all over the city (and countryside). But what gets me the most, beyond anything else (including the man in the yellow hat sending George out BY HIMSELF, WITH MONEY, TO BUY DONUTS), is George's monkey voice. Like nails on a chalkboard, people. Annoying.

Super Grover Version 2.0. I support Sesame Street's efforts to teach kids about the scientific method, help them to problem solve and be more observant about the world we live in. But I don't think they needed to change Super Grover to do it. I loved him, the original Super Grover, with his fluttery cape tied with that puffy ribbon and his aluminum hat. He was just perfect. Now they've got him suited up in armor, people. ARMOR. And did I mention shoulder caplet thingamadoodads? I liked Super Grover just the way he was. But I'm a Sesame Street purist. I'm not so much a fan of Abby's Flying Fairy School either (tell me what THAT is supposed to teach). So I think I'm still fence-sitting about SGV 2.0 (oh dear me did I just give Grover a geek-chic ACRONYM? Kill me now.)

Let me just add that I'm totally on board with Ellie's thoughts on Sid the Science Kid. I kinda like Suzie and she comes up with some fun songs, but the montage at the school with the singing and the dance--- ARGH.

As for Pat Sajak? When I was trolling the internet looking for pictures of his 'do, I unearthed a whole debate about whether or not he's bald--- so I'm letting Mr. Sajak off the hook altogether. But I do have one request, if Mr. Sajak is listening - go with a slightly less bronzey-blond color, and we'll all be the better for it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

annoying or freakishly charming?

(I'm taking a break from Real Content today. Come! Join me in the silliness!)

In my journey of parenthood, it has occurred to me that many of the things that are geared toward children straddle the line between annoying and freakishly charming so carefully that I can't decide if these things are just fine, or if I want to literally claw my eyes out and place them in a lead-lined box for the irritation.

In honor of this conundrum, I present to you a new feature here at The Creamery:

freakishly charming

The new pbs Cat in the Hat, specifically Martin Short as The Cat. And more specifically still, his singing.
What do you say? Annoying or freakishly charming?

Curious George's monkey voice. The aeeee eeeee ieeeee.
Annoying? Or freakishly charming?
(You don't have to watch the whole 2 minutes and 9 seconds to make your choice)

Super Grover Version 2.0.

I'm talking about the New and Improved, Updated and Tricked Out Super Grover (version 2.0!). And frankly, I'm not sure if I should even ask, because I have a very strong opinion about this one, but nevertheless: Is he annoying or freakishly charming?

SuperWhy. There's a laundry list of things to say here, a veritable cloud of, um, let's just say quirkiness from SuperWhy that is sure to either totally unhinge someone, or melt them into a puddle of cuteness. Let's leave it at: the song, the retelling of stories in weird and totally inaccurate ways, and this, which Bean has taken to repeating at odd times during the day: Peas and carrots, carrots and peas! Come out book, please please please!

What do you think? Annoying or freakishly charming?

And just in case you think this is limited to toddler pop culture: What say you about Pat Sajak's hair?

Annoying or freakishly charming?

My answers (and disclaimers) coming tomorrow. But I do want to know what you think--- and do you have any others to add to the list?

Monday, October 18, 2010



Sanctuary... is a word which here means a small, safe place in a troubling world. Like an oasis in a vast desert or an island in a stormy sea. -Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Normally when we're traveling with Chip it isn't just a drive between one town and another. There are stops along the way--- places that Chip needs to visit, places that Bean and I need to entertain ourselves. We pass time in some odd places: malls and shopping centers, city squares and parks. These strange little visits in strange out-of-the-way locations represent some of the most vivid memories I've filed in my mind. A cemetery in Oregon: Bean scaled gravestones from the mid-1800's while I picked a small collection of wild flowers. The worst mall I've ever set foot in: a ghostly building with no food to offer except for some hairy guy supposedly selling pretzels and sodas. His choice for vending location happened to be a stained and sagging table pushed up against nothing less than A HOLE PUNCHED IN THE WALL (not kidding). I don't believe there was much electricity inside the hole punched in the wall. Just the guy, his sad table, and the promise of food (we didn't eat there).

During the last trip, Bean and I hung out on the green lawn of the town's veteran's association while Chip met with a client. Set in the lawn was a small patio of brick, a series of flagpoles surrounding the space. I sat on a bench and let the early October sun soak into my skin. Bean ran around the circle, following the lines in the brick, singing the ABC song until she was hoarse. After a while she began gathering rocks from the bases of the flagpoles. Pebbles pushed into small piles at my feet.

I wondered over the warm weather, this brief respite from one stop and the next: our chance to breathe in quiet comfort. Trees rustling in the distance.

I've had this passing thought before, in times when the seconds slow and I can feel myself connected to a moment in such a way that I feel like I'm resting inside the memory. When there is nowhere to be, nothing that I need to be doing, and I am able to enjoy the sound of the leaves rustling high overhead. This little bit of a day, a brief pause in a harried schedule. It was a refuge, a sanctuary.

This weekend had me thinking about that place in Idaho. I've been pondering over my personal sanctuaries because in the early morning hours on Saturday, our church building burnt to the ground. The authorities are saying it was arson, but I haven't given the cause of it much thought. Instead, I'm thinking about the place of refuge that was--- the tears I shed inside that building, the small moments of grace that I experienced sheltered by those walls. Alice was blessed as a baby there. We gathered under that roof and sang songs of Heavenly Father's love for us, gave thanks for the miracle that Alice is in our lives.

Yesterday we met at a different building. Hundreds of behind-the-scenes decisions and movements to give us a place to congregate, a place to seek refuge.

And we found it. A different building. A different city, sure. But there was sanctuary there. We found it in the companionship of familiar faces, helping hands and so many offers of support. And we found sanctuary in our reason for meeting: in giving thanks and worshiping Jesus Christ.

Friday, October 15, 2010

the stories I can't tell


There was a moment on Tuesday when I was driving on the West Seattle Bridge on my way to my boss' home office. I had already taken the wrong exit, backtracked so unsuccessfully as to travel an additional five miles in the wrong direction (back over the bridge, north on I-5, turning around in downtown Seattle from the James Street exit, finally getting back on I-5 south to then get back on the West Seattle Bridge to exit on Admiral, my originally intended trajectory---30 minutes late). As I was finally, wonderfully, miraculously headed back to where I needed to be, I thought about how I will never fully be able to describe just how impossible it is for me to navigate in a car.

I can tell you that I got lost, but nothing can do justice to the snarled tangle of streets, my complete lack of back-tracking prowess.

As I drove up Admiral, looking out over the expanse of Puget Sound and the city, the sun reflected on the water and back up into my eyes. I considered the bright light, my shaky hands holding the steering wheel tight. I knew that I would never be able to convey the moment to you. Knew that I would never be able to capture the sight and sound and feelings of the memory. I can only say that I get overwhelmed with the reality of a place and sometimes I lose my way. I try to keep my head clear, to know directions and write them down. But sometimes even when I've been somewhere a dozen times I get off track, make the turn too early, find myself down on Harbor Avenue near the shipyards, and the only thing I can do is stop. Turn back. Remove myself to a place that is familiar. Start over.

There is nothing to stop my worry when it happens, nothing to still my racing heart and the cold sweat. I have a series of panic attacks that go on to invite a dozen more panic attacks and then the whole neighborhood has a block party of panic attacks. This is what it's like inside my head when I think about driving to a new place, wrestling with maps and carefully written directions. Agonizing over details and right-hand turns, losing sleep over an impending voyage down an unknown street.

. . . . .

There are the smallest moments in the afternoon that feel like miniature wormholes. Given the inclination and the opportunity, I could dive into them. They would swallow me whole, sending me into an alternate life, a universe of possible futures. In those tiny afternoon moments I have the clearest understanding of how I can write about the glimpses I get into possible choices I might make and the life I'd lead because of them. But as soon as I have a computer in my hands, as soon as I'm able to convey these magical visions of wonder, the words fail. I am left sputtering keyboard nonsense and the opportunity to describe this feeling of amazing possibility is gone. There's no way to tell you any better than that.

. . . . .

Several weeks ago I was sewing in my studio. Bean was hanging out with me, sitting on the bed, watching an Elmo DVD. It was a warm day, and warmer still inside my studio with the lights on, the sewing machine whirring. I had compensated by opening the window. Normally I keep a heavy wooden block in the window sill to allow only a small 4-inch opening, but on this day I moved the block, tossed it onto the floor, opened the window as wide as it could go.

With my back to Bean, I worked quickly on the sewing machine. I listened to her chatter and turned to check on her every few minutes.

And then things were quiet. Just a few seconds of quiet, really, though now it seems like the quiet swallowed the room until there was only my breath, my fingers on fabric. And then this: Bean's scream, a choking sob of terror.

I turned to the sound and could barely translate what I was seeing: no sign of her head or upper body, only her legs wheeling drunkenly over the windowsill. My baby was literally hanging out the window. A window, I might add, on the second story of our house.

In the second it took me to understand what had happened, I had already leaped over my chair and onto the bed. I had already thrown my body over Bean's, was pulling her back inside as my arms scraped across the broken window screen.

It was the screen and our satellite dish that saved her life.

There are so few words to use in this description. Phrases like 'just in time' and 'shaking with relief' and 'dumbest thing I've ever done' don't come close.

Here's what happened: my baby fell through the window screen. The screen caught on our satellite dish outside the window. Bean fell on the screen, her legs still tangled on the window sill, her upper body and head resting precariously, dangerously, hideously on the roof outside the window. I pulled her back inside.

And then I collapsed into a shaking, terrified heap on top of my daughter.

. . . . .

Sometimes no matter what I say or how I say it, it isn't enough. Sometimes there are no words to describe what has happened or how I feel about it. In retrospect I can use words like humbled and grateful and so very very lucky. But even with all the time that has rolled between that horrible day with the window and today, I can't tell you the full story. I can't describe it, can't realize it, can't tell you because it is tangled in a place in my brain where no words live. Where there are only pictures and horribly raw emotions.

This is the place for the stories I can't tell.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

simple things


This is five days ago in Richland, Washington. I took the picture originally because it was funny watching Bean just hunkered down there in our bed, watching Sesame Street. She burrowed herself in there, pulled the covers high on her chest, rested her head deep on the pillows.
Fast forward a couple of days, after I took her to the doctor for a nagging cough that wouldn't go away--- several nights of waking, sputtering and hacking from the phlegm. Diagnosis: a sinus infection on top of a double ear infection for good measure.
This picture looks different now. I see the exhaustion. The puffy eyes. The bruised shadows on her cheeks. This is a child so totally spent, so completely exhausted, so... done.
I promised her normalcy this week. Quiet.
So far I've provided the opposite. Missed naps and dozens of errands. Snappishness. Exasperation. Evening trip to the mall for a last-minute necessity. We haven't yet eaten dinner at the kitchen table and there are still two unpacked bags sitting on the kitchen counter.
And still Bean pushes on, looks for normalcy in the small things. She is bouncing off the walls for joy, enraptured to be able to play with her toys. I've caught her sitting on Phoebe no less than four different times, at least one of those instances she was decorating the cat with hot pads.
As I was carrying her upstairs Sunday afternoon, she pulled her arms around my neck, tight. She leaned in to me and put her hands on my cheeks to whisper, "Mommy. I so happy to be home. So happy."

Monday, October 11, 2010

magic numbers


This is what we were doing on 10-10-10 at 10:10pm. What about you?

Friday, October 8, 2010



I remember my grandparents.

Grandpa Virge in his house on the river. The sound of rushing water muffled by the doors, a shushing hiss coming through the windows. He made jokes and called my mother pet names. His face was tanned and heavily lined, marked by time and days spent fishing under the Idaho sun. I watched the Price is Right with Grandpa Virge and listened to him accurately predict the prices of items, the outcome of the game.

Grandma Norma collected pretty things and kept a room in the house with frilly dolls on the pink bedspread. She served bread & butter pickles with every meal. When I hugged Grandma Norma, she smelled of licorice and roses. Sometimes I was invited to stay at the house overnight with Grandpa Virge and Grandma Norma. I slept in the pink room with the dolls and listened to the sounds of the river weave deeply through my dreams.

Grandpa Condie was rarely without a toothpick in his mouth. If I close my eyes to imagine Grandpa, he stands outside the small apple orchard on the farm. His snow white hair, pushed high off his forehead, rustles slightly with the breeze coming off the back field. Grandpa made sourdough waffles in the small farmhouse kitchen. He woke early to begin the process, cooking each waffle on a small waffle iron, one at a time.

Grandma Condie was the invisible strength behind the farm. A tiny woman. A gentle woman. A quiet force to be reckoned with. I never saw her with a hair out of place. She was well-groomed and beautiful. More often than not, she had the perfect shade of lipstick to match her dress. Grandma kept a box in the basement for her granddaughters. It was filled with old shoes and dresses, small tubes of lipstick and rouge. Tiny bottles empty of their perfume. Grandma baked her own bread until she was in her late eighties.

I think back on these snatches of memories I have of my grandparents and relish their warmth - rubbing my cheeks with their faded soft surface, even as I watch Bean building her own memories of her grandparents.

She has stayed up late, eaten chocolate and cookies, sampled juices of all kinds. Quietly I have closed my eyes and let Grammy and Grampy spoil Bean in their own way. She has eaten ice cream for dinner, cake for dessert. She has been tickled and hugged and kissed. I have watched her crawl into the laps of her grandparents and ask them for different toys, different snacks, different amusements. They have obliged every time. I understand that this is their role. This is what a grandparent does.

Mom invited Bean to pick pears with her the other day. She took Bean's hand in hers and lead her into the backyard, coaching her to carefully place the fruit into a box. Alice's definition of "careful" was a little more forceful than recommended. I winced as each pear was chucked exuberantly into the waiting receptacle. Mom laughed as I apologized. "It's okay. Don't worry about it. She's just fine." Here was Bean, smacking pears together like cymbals. And here was my mom, reaching high on the ladder to gather the last summer fruit, laughing.

This is the gift of a grandparent: their warm presence, their waiting offers of delight and comfort, their willingness to please. Sourdough waffles. The Price is Right. Tiny tubes of lipstick. Frilly dolls on a pink bedspread. And pears---- picking pears in the sunshine.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

assurances that I am far from anything resembling perfection in any way


In case you harbor some romantic notion that I'm Motherhood Perfection On a Stick, or something equally appalling, I present to you my latest and greatest failings as a human being.

If perfection was contained in a score of 100 on the Universal Scale of Human Perfection, I lowered my score to considerably respectable levels yesterday.

(Also: I love you and I'm very tired.)

. On day seven kajillion of the road trip to end all road trips, I found myself snapping angrily at anything and everything my family did. Chip chewed too loud: GLARE. Bean spilled Fruit Loops on the floor: HUFFING AND SIGHING. Del Taco chicken strips were deemed inedible and tasting entirely of deep fat fryer: CHAOS ENSUES. Bean decided that the last five minutes before we were about to get out of the car for lunch to be the perfect opportunity to remove her shoes and socks and then toss them wily-nily on the floor, underneath the seat: 10-MINUTE ANGRY MOTHER TIRADE. (- minus 15 points)

. Our last stop before home happened to be a lovely spot in Richland, Washington on the Columbia River. The view was gorgeous, the river was quiet and serene, and the hotel room was clean. And yet I found a thousand things wrong with it: a bathroom that barely fit the pack & play for Bean's temporary sleep quarters, a power outlet too far to said sleeping quarters for the white noise and monitor cords to reach, a television set surely manufactured sometime in 1988 that would not and could not show a clear picture of ABC or NBC. (- minus 9 points)

. I spent approximately 3.5 minutes attempting to open the mini-fridge from the wrong side. (- minus 3 points)

. Considerable muttering and swearing for approximately 3.5 minutes while attempting to open the mini-fridge from the wrong side. (- minus 5 points)

. I suggested that I could read out loud to Chip while he was driving. (+ plus 5 points)

. After reading to Chip for 10 minutes, I spent the following 90 minutes reading silently (and ferociously) to myself, ignoring all attempts at witty banter from my husband. (- minus 7 points)

. A walk down the river to the park next to the hotel was suggested by Chip to help us all unwind and relax a little. During the walk I was absolutely BESIEGED by tiny flying river gnat creatures set on invading my body through any orifice in my face (nose holes, ear holes, eye holes, mouth hole). I wasn't exactly quiet or kind in my running commentary to Chip as he walked next to me. (- minus 4 points)

. I got mad that the flying evil gnat creatures left Chip alone entirely. (- minus 2 points)

. And then I told Chip that I was mad because the flying evil gnat creatures left him alone. (- minus 1 point)

. When we got back to the hotel room I tried to open the mini-fridge from the wrong side. Again. (- minus 1 point)

It has occurred to me that I should have left this post up all week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

if you want to win something fabulous


Well hello there.

You may recall a little something called the Golden Minion Box of Awesomeness. It's been making the rounds through the Minions and its current stop is with Alicia, of fabulous Bethsix fame.

Ms. Alicia will be giving the GMBOA away on Monday, and I can't stress to you enough just how fun and silly and amazing she is. Which means that she gives absolutely spectacular packages away. Seriously.

I should probably add, that this box is sort of my personal childhood wish and by participating in this contest, you are giving me the gift of my personal childhood heart. I dreamt of releasing a balloon with my name and address tied on a string - watching it float into the upper atmosphere - and then on some distant day, getting a postcard from China or Mexico or maybe even NEW JERSEY saying that my balloon had been found drifting in some little girl's front yard and she couldn't BELIEVE how far my balloon had traveled. But my balloon never made it that far. I can't say it even ever made it farther than the powerlines down on Marguerita Avenue. But the GMBOA--- my dears, it has been in several different locations so far, and I can't tell you how much I want it to just keep traveling and traveling. Please do throw your hat in for the honor of hosting the box. You won't be disappointed.

So here's what you should do, if you're interested in picking up that GMBOA for your very own (and who wouldn't be, right?).

1. Make sure you're a follower here of The Creamery. Just go join down there on the right.

2. Visit Bethsix on Monday to enter to win.

May the luck of the Minions be with you.

And for your viewing pleasure, because it's nonsensical but also funny, this is what happens when you tell your two-year-old that she can sit on the bench with Elmo. And she happens to be very tired.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

sunny days


Mom keeps a large green bin on reserve for visiting grandchildren and other dignitaries of the under 3-foot set.

It contains the remaining bits of our childhood toys.

Matchbox cars and trucks of every shape and size.

Boats and a circus train.

And Little People, dozens of Little People (you know the ones)--- Not the Little People of Leprechaun fame, but the Fisher Price Little People with the round-barrel bodies and spherical heads.

I had a blast sitting them in tiny rectangle cars and pushing them in tiny little strollers.

They still have a motor boat and a yacht, but no one has the keys to Main Street or the Parking Garage. The castle is gone. So is the schoolhouse. And sadly, most of all, the loss of the big apartment building over on Sesame Street.

However, in my search among the survivors, I spied a few familiar faces.

I believe Ernie is sporting a black eye from the fight he had with the blond teacher with the pony tail. And Burt, poor Burt is looking a little worse for wear, what with him sleeping behind the dumpster and underneath the schoolhouse swingset.

Gordon is the only one still looking like he can sing Making Believe with Maria and Bob. I have to question his use of the Sanitation Truck as Big Bird conveyance--- though Big Bird himself can't offer much of a backstory. After losing his head feathers in that unfortunate toxic waste spill...

That is, unless Big Bird always looked this blitzed.

Friday, October 1, 2010

as time goes by


A significant day. A date to remember now, and in the future. Markers to date my life by.

I've been thinking of signposts since yesterday was Winston's birthday.

Three years ago I was just pregnant with Bean, visiting my parents and seeking solace in their presence.

Two years ago I was getting back from a trip to Montana with a very smooshable Bean and an equally smooshable Chip. I spent dad's birthday feeling overwhelmed with projects long ignored at the house during our absence.

A year ago I was lying awake and fretful in a hotel room in Spokane. It involved visions of zombies and giant mice, need I say more?

What I'm thinking about today is how quickly the time goes. How fast things speed from one memory to the next - like hilltops of visionary imagination, we skip from one highlight to the next, with the valleys of our every day sinking from view. Even as I am wrapped in the present of today: watching Bean in her two-and-a-halfness... surrounded by her experience of the world. All of it seems so bright, so prescient, so very palpable. Inconceivable that I won't hold every bit of these memories in my mind a year from now.

Experience has taught me otherwise. As vivid as these moments feel today, they will slip from my fingers and sink into oblivion tomorrow. It just happens. These little bits of life, they slip by and are gone. What's left in their wake are the highlights (and lowlights): the things earmarked in our brains as something monumental to hold on to. I don't really understand the workings of it, because this system has cataloged a moment spent in my childhood bedroom when I was probably six or seven, the room I shared with my sister, standing at the foot of my bed staring at Kimmie's poster of Andy Gibb (red shirt, blue jeans, gold chain). This memory is safely stored in my mind alongside sizable chunks of my wedding day and the first time I held Alice. I don't always understand why my brain chooses one thing over another, but I know that it is so.

So my answer is this: make something count. I can't be present in every single moment, no matter how hard I try, but I can do my best to commit certain images to memory. Force my cranium hard drive to record these times that I so desperately want to remember.

Helping mom and Alice pick pears.

The thrill of dad's face when he's spending time with his grandchildren.

Watching my little brother's huge hands as he's changing his daughter's diaper.

Kissing my mother on the top of her head.

Eating lunch with my sister and talking about the madcap adventure of raising a toddler.

Running into my sister-in-law who was only in town --from Louisiana-- to spend time with her mother who was in the hospital--- in (of all places) the Target parking lot.

Marveling at mom's patience as she's trying to get Alice to eat strawberry yogurt (WITH CHUNKS IN IT).

Singing happy birthday to dad on his birthday.

Because it is such a happy day. A stupendous day. A day to certainly remember.