05 March 2015

knit anew

Alice teased me for the first time. I was sitting on the living room couch and she'd pulled herself up using the side table. She looked at me and reached out her hand, opening and closing her fist as if asking me to take hold. I reciprocated her reach and she pulled her hand away. Then, smirking, she reached back towards me. I pushed my hand forward to take hers and she quickly withdrew again. I gasped, smiling. She reached out, I tried to take her hand, she withdrew, this time burst into a giggling laughter that solidified our assumption- she was playing! Teasing! 

She has also taken to shaking her head no, rather dramatically. "Want some more avocado?" She responds with an emphatic shake of her head, back and forth, back and forth for several seconds, creating a little wind of her own, swinging hair back and forth across her face. "Want to go in your walker?" Back and forth, back and forth. "Can I wipe your nose?" Her whole body swings, head turning fully from shoulder to shoulder, eyes closed and mouth pressed shut.

Another cold took Alice out of commission for a couple days this week. Her vibrant little personality hunkered down, caved up under a thick, hot blanket of feverish exhaustion. Poor thing. We miss her when she's sick- love the endless cuddling, but crave her chatter and sass. She is a sassy little one. Strong willed. Adamant. Vibrant. What a gift. What a responsibility.

The other night I rocked her through the spike and break of fever. Her body so hot that, stripped down to a diaper, heat radiated from its core. I sweat, anxious and alone with the weight of her. She emitted sad little whimpers. Artificial waves crashed from her sound machine. The blub-blub-blub of the humidifier occasionally chiming into our monotone chorus. All of this illuminated by moonlight through the unshaded window at my back.


There was a before-time, not too long ago, when wee hours laden with rocking and humming would have seemed foreign and feigned. Now, stumbling out of bed, I often don't even bother to open my eyes until I'm seated in that rocking chair, back to the window, and I look down to see my little one, latched and comforted. Or I pass a night like the one of Alice's fever without ever bothering to close my eyes in the first place.

A friend once told me that having children dispelled the illusionary distinction between day and night. Suddenly, lines merge, or are muddied at least, and there is only time, ticking forward, hour into hour, ignorant of which heavenly body stands in the sky. Sleep is no longer counted in hours. (Or counted at all, for that matter.) Because, suddenly, what mattered was not sleep, for beauty or otherwise, but this armful of human who, in their very existence, untied the finishing knot of your knitted self.

Here I am, knit anew. A mother.

25 February 2015

layers

Jon Stewart’s coverage of George W. Bush’s presidency is among my favorite modern media contributions- specifically, Jon Stewart’s impression of Bush’s laugh. It is great. Around 2008 I started mimicking Stewart’s impression of said laugh. We recently realized Alice’s play laugh sounds an awful lot like my impression of Stewart’s impression of Bush’s laugh. Jake and I both think this is hilarious. She does it and we exclaim “she laughs like George Bush!” both knowing full well that she sounds nothing like George Bush. She sounds like her mother imitating a comedian. Which is better. And funnier. And much more layered.

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Last Saturday night we spent a couple hours in a circle of new friends, huddled around a small fire pit, set down into a shoveled out snow den. Alice blinked snow out of her eyes and barely made a peep, taking in the view of the flames and the conversation floating above her. She was cuddled in layers upon layers, a snow suit atop them all, and bound up in a carrier on my chest. There was a photographer visiting from Costa Rica and a beautiful mom with two spunky kids. My friend Meg- the birthday girl- had set up a spread of drinks and cookies and marshmallows already speared for toasting. Our pups wrestled and played, swimming through layers of snow all around us.

+

We've turned off the television in our home and I've cut out social media [in large part]. It is Lent- a good excuse to peel down layers of distraction and reclaim quiet. Our evenings are brief. If we’re not careful we turn out the last light having barely made eye contact that day. Between work, hugging Alice, dishes and laundry and feeding the dogs- gosh, days are brief, never mind just evenings. Our one saving grace as a couple may be that we cook together- chopping vegetables and mixing batter side by side. So, more accurately, we are peeling these layers of distraction in order to deepen layers of connection. May there always be a fresh baked good on our counter and leftovers in the fridge.

23 February 2015

that's how the light gets in




Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack, a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in. 

Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems, 1956-1968
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