Monday, August 31, 2009

One lucky mother

Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything speaks to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.

-Anne De Lenclos

Morning sun has broken through the fog that crept in overnight, a nice cooling fog after all the end of summer heat. I feel like this summer has lasted at least twice as long as a normal summer and I am so ready for the fall to come. I am so ready to also stop feeling nauseous and get my energy back. I am now just starting my second trimester but apparently the early pregnancy symptoms do not care at all, they insist on persisting!

And so do I, in spite of it all. I have managed to not let everything go, I have been keeping up, if nominally, and waiting it out. Getting the flu did not help, but I was very well taken care of Babou, who healed me in record amounts of time. She came into our bedroom while I was sick and stood by the bedside. She shook her hands in a motion to stop, both in front of her, and said "Mama, don't worry!" And then she leaned over me and cupped my cheek in her little hand and said, "I help you." I could not ask for more.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Men are not punished for their sins, but by them.

-Elbert Hubbard

The other day I was getting ready to leave after a visit to my parent's house. As I packed and organized I was more aware of how nauseous I felt than usual. I commented to my mother about how yucky I felt.

Mom said, "well, at least you can still do things. When your sister Mary Alice had morning sickness she couldn't even move!"

"I know mom," I replied, "but don't you think Mary Alice was being just a little overly dramatic?"

My mother gave me a sideways glance and shrugged her response.

And my dye was cast.

By the time we stopped for lunch at the halfway mark home, I was sick enough that I could not eat. The second half of the trip was excruciating. My body ached, my stomach rebelled, and I felt like my eyeballs might fall out if I had to focus on a road one minute more...and I had hours more focus for my eyeballs to fall out.

By the time I got home, I immediately went to bed and did not get out, except when totally necessary, for two days. Today I am finally feeling well enough to think, in a limited sort of way.

While I was not stricken by morning sickness as much as the flu, I do realize that life was teaching me a little lesson on judging another's experience and I get it. Point taken. Ahhh Karma, at least you know it's there but next time it's in action, I plan to be on it's better side!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Our aspirations are our possibilities.

-Samuel Johnson

Yesterday I visited two of my favorite places: the Library and Rite Aide. Why my faves? Because both of these places give me the feeling of unlimited possibility. Maybe if I just get that one book, it will be just what I needed and I will become enlightened, successful, brilliant.... I always feel as though the antidote to whatever form of ennui I am currently experiencing can be found amongst the bookcases. Even the smell of the library excites this sense of possibility--the scent of books magnified by their sheer numbers and proximity.

It is the same whenever I step inside Rite Aide. I look down the beauty aisles, stopping slowly to ponder the lipsticks. Perhaps this is the day I will find my ultimate shade, that shade that makes me look at once more bright eyed and heavy lidded. The color that will complement all my features and work seamlessly from day to night--albeit this concept of "day to night" is much different now with children, mostly I just need "day," "night" meaning mostly "asleep."

Then down the hair aisle. Perhaps I should try a color on my hair, highlights? Perhaps that is just the lift I need, instantly transforming into the beauty I know is sleeping somewhere in the depths of me, just waiting for the right magic wand to awaken! Could that wand be masquerading as a L'Oreal highlighting kit?

Fake tan, perhaps? Maybe that is what I need more than a highlighter kit! Maybe that's the magic wand, liberal amounts of fake tan. Or maybe both? Then I would really look different, more exotique, more mystérieux, and très jolie?

In the end, I usually leave the library with an armload of books, mainly self-help, that I will read exactly four pages of each before getting a serious attack of ADD and returning them all in fear of late fees. And Rite Aide, I generally pick out the same shade of lipstick that, although does not act as a magic wand, neither washes me out nor startles children or small animals...or my husband who staunches opposes most changes to my appearance.

But, like an old friend, I know the very next time I walk into the library or stroll the beauty aisle of Rite Aide, that feeling of possibility will faithfully return. I will again catch the fleeting vision of a new, more self-aware, successful me who is, of course, wearing the perfect shade of lipstick and a tan from the aisle of Olay!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Feeling Fall

Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.

-Albert Camus

Sitting here this morning, I am overlooking the garden, full and at its summer zenith, and dreaming of fall. I am always ready for the next season to begin way before it's time. Maybe it is just that we've had such a busy summer and now I feel ready for cool weather, apple pies, and walks sprinkled with falling leaves.

There is also the feeling of rejuvenation that comes with fall, a feeling of a fresh start, the beginning of work again after the fun and play of summer. A feeling one should be sharpening their pencils, collecting tablets of paper, and getting their backpacks in order.

It is always surprising to me that I have such a strong sense of this "back to school/work" feeling when I was homeschooled for most of my life. But perhaps that is the precise reason that it has such a strong pull for me; it is so imagined in my mind that it now has a life of its own.

Whatever the reason, I am excited for fall to begin and am already making plans for myself. I have joined a writing group, my first class is next week, and I feel like it is just the motivation I need to take writing more seriously. Sometimes I feel as though I am in a bubble, being at home with Babou so much, and can't quite get the perspective I need to move ahead. I maintain a status quo, if I am lucky, and bumble along. I am looking forward to collaboration, time devoted to myself, and a feeling of possibility. I am really going to try to make some strides to becoming a better writer this fall.

Babou is calling me, letting me know my time is up, and that I must continue on with my day. I have been trying to let her help me more with the things I do because she really wants to. My nerves are suffering though. She really likes to crack eggs and knows how to open the refrigerator now. Yesterday, after we had made eggs for breakfast, I found her in the kitchen having cracked every single egg we have into the frying pan. She looked very triumphant. I looked horrified.

This is how it goes and I am trying to maintain a zen exterior but every time she prunes one of my plants to an inch of its life, pulls up a flower instead of a weed, or helps me crack all of the eggs, I have to say I become more and more...unnerved. Patience is not one of my virtues, and I think God knows this. We are practicing, I guess.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Foods of My Father

It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so entwined that we cannot think of one without the other.

-M.F.K. Fisher

Coming home from a long day at the beach, I am in the kitchen making hot chocolate for my daughter. She is waiting anxiously beside me, watching as I add the chocolate and the milk, gently stirring the liquid as it slowly warms. I stop just short of filling our waiting cups and go to the cupboard. I pull out the salt, slyly adding a pinch to the mixture. Babou and I sit with our "hot choclit" and I am five years old again.

I cannot think of a more contented time in my childhood than the afternoons we spent on our front porch, the sun-heated deck warming our outsides while my father's special hot chocolate warmed our insides.

It would always be after a long day at the beach, when my sisters and I would return half frozen, that we could expect a nice hot chocolate to ease the numbness from our limbs.

Lying on the warm porch , we would wait happily while our father made us our special drink. It tasted distinctly different for our father always added his secret ingredient: salt. It made it taste at once more and less chocolate-ty, and always more exotic.

Popcorn was another specialty of my father. It was always a treat, and always in the afternoon, that we would get popcorn. But as soon as we saw our father pull out a certain pot, we knew we were in luck.

We would all wait for the first pop of the corn as the air filled with the scent of warming oil. Our father would pull out a paper bag, carefully fold the edges down once, and then add the popcorn and salt and shake it together vigorously.

And then it was a free for all. There was never quite enough popcorn and always too many hungry hands. It always went way too quickly, but I suppose that is part of the reason it tasted so good.

Food memories and childhood seem like two sides of a coin, perfectly fitting together with tongue and groove-like precision. Mothers, as a general rule, hold sway in this department and this was true in my growing up. My mother prepared most all of our meals and I can recall so many wonderful things that she made, things that I try to reproduce more and more for my family. But perhaps because my father's food contributions were less regular, they stand out distinctly in my memory.

Today I carry on the tradition with my family, letting the taste take me back to my childhood while creating memories for my little one. And isn't that just the beauty and the mystery of tradition...the ability a memory has to carry the happiness someone creates down through time? Memories creating new memories; an ancient echo of love.