Archive for May, 2011

What did I do?

To deserve this special kind of punishment today?!

Started off the day with a dream. Weird dream. I gave birth to a baby boy, except I was knocked out completely and they took him out of me. Apparently all my idealistic thoughts on birthing go completely down the drain with a 5th child. Not many people I know of go from home birth to in the hospital to epidural to… c-section. In my psuedo-reality self defense, though – he was a whopping 10 lbs. 2 oz.

In my dream I looked at my swaddled little bundle, with everyone around me, crowding in as I finally met him, and thought, is that MY child?! I had to feel my stomach to make sure it wasn’t still bulging out in order to accept that this wrapped up baby with nothing showing but his face was really mine, despite the fact that he was held by my husband and the rest of the family beamed at us as if it were absolutely obvious that he were mine.

He looked just like EM. Same chin. Same tippy ears.

I reached out and took him, feeling his weight in my arms and wanted to unpeel the layers and lay his chubby little baby body next to my skin. My body felt foreign, like it had betrayed me, but HE felt like he belonged.

And then I woke up.

In the real world:

The hubby wanted a shearing, I mean a haircut, the son dropped syrupy pancake on his church pants, the girls stayed home with me and bickered constantly in the bath until I scrubbed one up and got her out just so she could shut the door on the baby who was trying to crawl up onto the stairs. After  a whole lot of crying and soothing and nursing I figured out half the problem with that sort of comfort was that baby has a sore on the bottom side of her tongue from the new tooth rubbing it raw. After the second girl got out of the tub the girls fought over who got to play peekaboo with the baby until someone tripped and fell on her. More soothing, more nursing, more tears. I tried to put some rolls in the bread makers and in the 5 minutes it takes to do that, someone picked up the baby and put her crookedly into the walker, pinning a foot the wrong way, someone knocked the coffee maker onto the floor, which was thankfully void of hot coffee but not void of a cup or so of wet coffee grounds. How do you clean up that shit, anyway?! The more we tried to clean it up the further the mess spread!

And so, that is how my morning has gone. I’m pretty darn sure I won’t be making it to church today, and we’ll be lucky to have anything at all to eat for lunch.


Old Truck? or Old Spice?

My day was busy. Sweeping and dishes. Cooking, cleaning. Schoolwork, abc’s, and reading stories. I hung diapers on the line, poured vinegar in the laundry, called the dentist, registered for campmeeting, wrote notes to friends to try and keep up with life outside these walls, and mailed out Mother’s Day cards.

Evening came. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go to the church meeting, go to the gym, or go for a walk, but in the end the need for going to the grocery store pleaded its case and I gave in. I felt guilty as I passed the church, and my stomach growled as I went past the gym. One must not eat dinner if one intends to go the gym at 7 pm.


I parked the old beast next to the cart corral. I always park next to the cart corral. I don’t care if there’s a spot closer to the door; when I have 4 kids and a cart full of groceries I’m not going to care if I’m 10 feet closer to the door, but I AM going to care if I unload all the hoodlums and then have to hoof it across the parking lot to find a corral, darn it!

I was all business as I went down my list of necessities. There is a birthday coming up. I found all the ingredients I needed for cake baking, for frosting, and for party time munchies. I tried to think of the meal plan for next week and what I might be missing. I checked out, paid with my bank card, stopped for a quick drink at the water fountain, and headed for my car.

The night air was sweet, one of the still rare evenings with spring floating on the breezes. I hardly noticed as I unloaded my bags into the back of the beast. The twilight might have been charming, had I stopped to look at it. But I didn’t. I hopped into the driver’s seat and cranked the ignition. It didn’t start. I cranked it again. It still didn’t start. The third time finally brought her to life and suddenly the air around me was filled with the unmistakeable smell of a carburated intake.

Now, one must understand: I’ve had this old girl since Christmas, and have consistently driven her. But in this northern tundra one eventually becomes numb to the fact that it gets so cold in the winter time that YOU CAN’T SMELL things. All the little particles in the air freeze and even if they did reach your nose you couldn’t smell them properly because your NOSE is frozen just as solidly!

I couldn’t help it. I drank in the smell of Old Truck and squeezed my eyes shut to relive the moments frozen in time that were attached to that smell and which were trying desperately to surface. I rolled down the window as I drove out of the parking lot and the sweet spring air seeped in, swirling around my hair, brushing across my face. My breath caught in my throat and I was 16 again.

I was riding shotgun in Jake’s old brown Ford, heading up the hill behind town to school. No! I was in my Dad’s white and brown work truck, heading into the woods to cut trees for fall woodstacking. WAIT! I was going up Old Man’s Pass in an old Willy’s jeep to go hookeybobbin with the crew. HOLD UP! I was in a little blue Toyota with a funky gear shifter and a skinny boy wearing Wranglers a bit too (tight) driving the backroads going nowhere in particular. No. I was a girl in the middle of an old black Ford bench seat with a boy I couldn’t walk away from driving slowly down a gravel hill to a dead end at the river. And Black Velvet playing on the radio.

I stopped at 7B and pulled the shifter into park. I shoved in the only surviving cassette tape and turned it up. Blackhawk. Not much else could have pulled me back in time more profoundly than that smell and those songs. I laid down across the front seat of my old beast and stared up at the blue roof. I tried to remember what it felt like to have everything in front of me still, with no cynicism, just innocence.

I can remember those times, the hopefulness even in the very midst of my 17 year old despair, for I had no real doubt that it would all turn out right in the end, that I would be HERE, exactly where I am. So why are even these memories tainted with traces of the cynicism I carry with me these days? Why is it so hard to remember the GIRL I once was?

I wanted to come home, jump on the computer, and write my little heart out, continue on that book that I started so many years ago, but the story keeps changing and I feel disconnected. As if those people and places can’t look at me now and comprehend who I am any more than I can look back on that girl and comprehend what went on inside her.

Somehow there is only ONE connection between the two worlds and I hold on desperately to her, to her friendship, to her continuous grasp of who I am. Not ONLY now, not JUST back then. All of me. I know I won’t ever know exactly how that works, how it’s possible, but I BELIEVE she always has, and always will be a part of the very definition of ME.