Monthly Archives: July 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

My house gets noisier in increments.

During the day, between nursing and naps, Bean and I generally have delightful, quiet conversations. I tell her about the world, she coos in agreement, and our soft words stay within a twelve-inch radius encircling mother and child. I love our time together, just Bean and me, where she is the uncontested center of my universe, at least for a little while.

At two o’clock, we make the trek to pick Bug up from summer camp, and the entire thirty-minute drive home is a stream-of-consciousness play-by-play of his day’s goings-on. (That was a lot of dashes in one sentence. It might even be a record.) Once home, Bean’s and my subdued environment is transformed into a Nerf arena/dojo/basketball court/Planet Naboo all rolled into one cosmic collision of uncanny sound effects and general boy-noise.

Around dinner time, Hubs comes home, and the noise subsides as long as it takes for food to be shoveled into mouths, and then, impossibly, triplicates as Bug joins forces with or against his partner-in-crime, my husband: breadwinner, portfolio manager, financial leader (in some circles), honing in on age thirty, and, for tonight, Count Dooku.

Each evening, Bean and I find ourselves innocent (quieter) bystanders, caught in the crossfire of Nerf dart warfare or light saber duels, waiting for our champion to triumph. At least until bedtime, that is.

And tonight, as things grew quiet with Bug retreating to bed (still singing quite loudly some song he knows, but slowly losing gusto), Bean growing drowsy with her tiny hand jammed into her tiny mouth, and Hubs winding down on the couch just inches away, I was suddenly aware of the uncontainable largeness in my chest.

There are moments, somewhere past the noise, when I realize that the small organ tucked against my breastbone beating blood through my body is severely insufficient. That my heart is perfectly incapable of holding the enormity of emotion that crashes like a tidal wave without warning. By some inconceivable design, my heart and tissue and brain and bone are completely unaffected by the very real and present weight and heat and light of love and pride and fullness that crush my mind and soul. Despite the goodness of it, I am rendered helpless, unable to cry, or smile, or even move. I am almost afraid to breathe against the thickness in my chest, afraid that I am nothing more than ash, completely consumed by the magic of it all, the magic of being undeniably in love with three perfect people, the magic of sharing this life with them, of being chosen and fashioned to intimately belong to them, of being loved by them.

In these moments, rare and fleeting, when the noise of the world and the chores of the mundane settle like dust undisturbed, everything, everything, is right. Every soul is satisfied. Every heart is content. Every one is complete.

I am complete.

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Six and Sweet

My little man is now six years old! We celebrated Jedi-style at a local inflatables arena, and had a severe blast. The entire afternoon could pretty much be summed up with this:

If the Party Had a Face...

Almost two hours of this (kids and grown-ups alike) is definitely the way to celebrate. All of Bug’s grandparents were able to come up for the party, and almost all of our guest list came out in full bouncy force. We are so blessed to be surrounded with friends and family who love Bug, and, additionally, love to jump on things that are large and squishy and full of air. (And no, I’m not referring to my husband.) (Zing!)

Six years old, and for the first time in his little life, I’ve had the dreaded, “What?! Six years old?! How did this happen?” mom-phase. It didn’t happen with one, or two, or five; it didn’t happen when he started kindergarten (at least not to this degree), but it knocked me down for the count when my sweet baby boy turned six. Six! He is now on the other side to ten! (The double digits!) Impossible.

After metaphorically (or literally, same difference) breathing heavily into a brown paper bag, I came to this conclusion: I think it has to do with the idea that my delightful six-year-old isn’t just my son anymore, but my daughter’s older brother. He has taken on a new role, a significant role, a life-changing and identifying role that weighs heavily on someone smaller and more fragile than me. And quite frankly, he is doing a mighty fine job of it.

Happy Birthday, Love

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Third Down

Time for another chunk of literary pick-aparts. I’ve got three under my belt that I’ve read recently, and another one in process. By the way, I heart my Kindle and the public library. Woop woop.

First up, Jodi Picoult’s Handle With Care. Before I go in-depth with this one, let me just say that I love the way Picoult writes. She is poetic, eloquent, descriptive, and thought-provoking. With that said, I am starting to get mad at her. Her stories are always beautifully crafted and tragically heart-wrenching, but she never gives her characters a happy ending. Like, ever. And there always seems to be a “twist” that is no longer surprising because it happens, oh, every time.

In this particular book, she tells the story of a family with a special needs child, Willow, who is born with osteogenesis imperfecta, or “brittle bone disease.” The mother ends up filing a malpractice lawsuit against her OB, a.k.a. her BFF, in order to have the money to fund Willow’s mounting medical costs. The catch is she has to testify before the courts (and her daughter) that she would have terminated the pregnancy, had she known early enough that her daughter would be born with said disease. Yeah, I know. Heart-wrenching in true form.

But Barbara Kingsolver made up for it with Prodigal Summer. I love her writing form as well, and I love how many of her novels are based in our Appalachian backyards. She tells three interlacing stories set in Appalachia, and all three are intricate and real. One involves two feuding geriatric neighbors, one stars a young city girl who went from farmer’s wife to bewildered widow stuck with a fledgling tobacco farm, and the last is my favorite, a mountain ranger on the hot trail of a family of coyotes. Kingsolver is a word-wizard.

Simply put, these two ladies make me want to write gooder.

Then, thanks to my dad’s extensive archive on his Kindle, I registered mine under his email (with permission, haters) and checked out Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, along with the rest of America. It took me awhile to get into it – he’s very (very) descriptive of mundane, irrelevant things, and I thought, I have limited free time to read, do I really want to spend it stuck in this world? I do like a good conspiracy novel, and I’ve been conditioned to try to find clues in the seemingly disjointed details. Impossible with Larsson’s. Just don’t do it. There is literally nothing there in a fairly decent amount of text, other than background information you will never need to know.

But my dad insisted I would enjoy it once I sloughed through (or skipped over) the unrelated blips, and, surprisingly, I did. Once I finished it, I immediately started his second installment, so, you know. I’m a convert. I’ve gotten better at distinguishing the pulp that doesn’t pertain to the story at hand and give it more or a less a half-hearted skim, but the overall juice is good. It’s your basic suspense/financial thriller/unsolved mystery formula starring a kick-ass sleuth who does indeed have a dragon tattoo…but don’t let that fool you. The dragon tattoo has no relevance to the story. That’s like titling the next best-seller, This Guy Has a Head: Right Above His Neck. (Before you get any ideas, I’m copyrighting that title. So boo-yah.)

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How To Save a Life

Okay, so as a disclaimer, let me just say…I’ve been waffling back and forth about whether or not to blog about this particular incident, because, true to form, I’m sure I’m blowing it all out of proportion. (Because the title to this blog sets such great precedent.) But I have been “writing” it for the past week in my mind, and came to the conclusion that this particular story should be shared.

So a week ago, I got a completely unexpected message from someone* I went to college with. In fact, at the end of the message, he even said the last thing he expected to do when he logged onto his computer was to send me that message. So needless to say, on the receiving end…surprise!

*This particular someone will remain nameless out of etiquette. And if he ever stumbles across our little blog, I hope he forgives me for allowing my three-and-a-half readers (hi, Mom!) an anonymous crack into his life.

Okay, on to the good stuff.

Essentially, in this message, he informed me that he and his ex-girlfriend are in the thick of an unexpected pregnancy. He told me that they were facing some really tough issues with her strict family, her religious background, and their fizzled relationship. He said that she has been bouncing between whether or not to continue the pregnancy, given the circumstances, and that he was intending to support whichever decision she chose.

But then he “met” Bean through a bit of light internet stalking via Facebook, and consequently fell in love with his unborn child. Thanks to Bean and the happiness and fulfillment that radiate through a handful of jpegs, he is choosing life. And support of that life, a little half-heart that is oblivious to his (or her) parents’ turmoil during his (or her) elemental existence. And while the circumstances surrounding Bean’s conception and birth are a world away from what this new little family are up against, I know from experience that the joy of parenthood is almost transcendental.

Now it’s highly unlikely I will ever get a follow-up about this particular situation, except maybe if photos crop up on Facebook, but knowing that Bean made a difference, however small it actually was (or if I’m making it out to be more than my old college buddy intended) is…breathtaking. (Literally. When I told Hubs about the surprise message, I teared up all over again.)

Even a week later, I still can’t quite wrap my mind about what he really meant when he said that our family photo album had an impact on him. Like, there was a chance, however big or small, that a clump of cells vaguely resembling a tiny person would have been stopped from forming an actual tiny person. And now, maybe because of my tiny person, this world will welcome one more squishy baby, two more awestruck parents, and who knows how many google-eyed, smitten grandparents, and so on. Does that actually make sense? Do things actually work that way? It is mind-boggling, to say the least.

Wow. Less than two months old, and she’s already outdone me.

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She’ll Break Your Heart

Exactly three days ago, Hubs, Bug & I saw something like this:

Bean Smiles!

At exactly five weeks of age, little Bean gave us her first (purposeful) smile. And continued to do so. And everyday since Saturday, when she’s not eating or sleeping or complaining because she’s not eating or sleeping, she is smiling.

A smile is something I have always taken for granted, something automatic, something passed out like flyers to strangers sharing the same aisle in Target, something that can be faked for photographs, or smug with sarcasm. But when your newborn sends one up like a prayer, you will literally feel your heart break. And when your five-year-old acts like he just saw Santa Claus in her smile, you will wonder just what kind of magic you have stumbled into, and try in vain to tread lightly.

Parenthood is divine, and only because of the beautiful children that are my declaration and identity.

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A Drop in the Bucket

It’s funny how thirty days can fly by and yet seem to be a lifetime.

A month can go by like the blink of an eye. Ask any kid dreading the end of summer vacation, or a mother closing in on Christmas. Thirty days, not a lot of time it is.

We’ve only known Bean for a little over a month now, thirty-two days actually. (We met under some pretty awkward circumstances – I mean, she fell out of me.) (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) We are still getting to know her, figure out her routine, her preferences, the way to hold her like a drug and she’s out for the count, the way one set of toes curls under and the other spreads like butter every time she nurses. Stacked up against my other child, having the last six years of constant learning and laughing and falling in love, one month is, alas, a drop in the bucket.

And at the same time, the days before June 5 have fallen away. I can’t imagine our lives without her, without these past thirty days of trial-and-error and life on a whim.

She’s so new, yet already so permanently and irrevocably part of my identity and daily life.

It took nine months to grow her, and just a fraction of that to be completely conquered by her.

Happy one-month, Bean. Just so you know, you own us all already.

Sleeping Beanie

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