Friday, December 31, 2010

I walked home smiling; I finally had a story to tell.

I'm very sorry to see 2010 go. I know I'm going to miss this time in my life. It was 12 deep sweet joyful quickly-spiraling months with my dearest friend. Despite being so obsessed with each other that we were practically inebriated with love, we still managed to accomplish quite a lot! Jonathan graduated from the BSW program and I finished my first year of grad school (and my thesis!!). We both interned with DCFS, although not at the same time. Jonathan started working at the jail and I started working at Wasatch Mental Health. We played HARD--we went on cabin trips with the Urban Tribe to Milburn and Wyoming, camping with the Lowes, Arizona for my companion's wedding/visiting my cousins, Florida with the Stranges, Mexico and Bear Lake with the Browns. I moved to the Commune in January which resulted in exponential amounts of fun. I donated gallons of plasma and Jonathan built and fixed computers and engaged in both merchantry and piracy :). I read about birthing and the DSM-IV and Jonathan read Bruce Perry and Ayn Rand. I taught Relief Society and Jonathan brilliantly slew numberless concourses of aliens, zombies, locusts, prairie animals, and Collectors...and was generally a hero in every absolutely every regard. He is a survivor and he is ripped like Jean Valjean. He planned our trip to the D.R and made it the most incredible honeymoon I could have was so perfect for us. We still marvel to this day at how lucky we were to be able to go there. We listened to incredible music together and with our friends, carried out deeds of goodness, plotted birthday surprises and cheering-up activities, watched some great movies...mostly at the Commune...and loved each other and enjoyed our dear friends and family. It was a fantastic year.

I should also mention that 2010 was the year we got engaged, married, and pregnant...hopefully we have some momentous occasions still saved up for the years ahead. Happy, happy new year!

I know I'm a better version of myself than I was at the beginning of 2010--not in every aspect, but I am a better social worker, so I am using more of myself and my talents, and I am more aware of my choices and the power I have over my preferences and emotions. For the next year, I want to focus on improving my relationships with God, family, my fellowman, and myself. I want to let mindfulness and authenticity have a fuller place in my being and eliminate guile (which I believe translates into being too concerned with how others see me). I want a more pure heart for when I meet my baby. :) "My boy, my boy--you have my whole heart!...You always have." (from The Road).

Songs from 2010
Upward Over the Mountain, Iron and Wine (Live at Messiah College version)

Fever Dream, Iron and Wine
Diamonds on the Souls of her Shoes, Paul Simon
Use Somebody, Kings of Leon
How to Disappear Completely, Radiohead
Wonderwall, Ryan Adams (this was the song we danced to at our wedding!)
Ara Batur, Sigur Ros
Alejandro, Lady Gaga (even though Jonathan HATES this song he can't deny that it will always remind him of last summer. Haha).
Your Love is My Drug, Ke$ha (same!)

Here we are adoring our Little Stranger. 18 weeks, almost halfway through!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One of us will die inside these arms; eyes wide open

Yesterday was my father's 60th birthday. I wanted very much to do something special to honor him, but he's not the sort of person who would appreciate a party or presents very much. I decided it would mean a lot to him to be given a chance to express himself, as very often he feels he is ignored and his ideas undervalued. I wanted him to have the gift of being listened to and feeling important. I planned a question-and-answer family home evening with him and it was a really lovely, wrenching, poignant experience. We began by singing his favorite hymn "Lord I would Follow Thee" and then I had him sit in a chair in the middle of the room and asked him the questions. He was excited about it and it was terribly cute. I stayed away from questions that had potential to nudge at wounds of regret and sorrow...or thought I had. :) My father has a very powerful way with words and he weaves what he feels into everything he relates. He actually has a very beautiful way of speaking; although he would never believe that. There was a heaviness and a raw humility that made the experience so poignant and sharp.

It would seem exploitive to post his answers, because they have so much to do with our family and the way things are and have been with us (not that I could even remember them in the detail needed to make them alive,) but these are the questions I asked him (they are not many but they took over an hour and a half to answer:):
Describe a happy childhood memory. One memory that's not too personal is my Dad being "uninvited" from Primary...which back in the 50's was on Wednesday nights. He also shared a story about bursting out singing "Davy Crockett" at the top of his lungs during sacrament meeting. His parents tried to silence him but he was undeterred.
Talk about the changes you have seen in the world during your lifetime. One thing he said that I liked was "You can say there was a revolution, or you can say that what was there all along became known and accepted."
What is something difficult you've overcome in your life?
Share a Christmas memory, whichever one you recall.

Where would you go, if you could live anywhere for a year?

Share a positive memory of one of your children.

What makes you feel hope?

After the questions I opened up the time for my brothers and sisters to make comments or share memories of our father. I talked about hiking in the Grand Canyon with him when I was 9 years old and how I felt like we were partners; that him taking me along on such a hard hike made me feel tough and courageous. He said, "You were!" I also described how he wrote me a poem in the book my family put together for me when I left for college when I was 18. It had a reference to the stories I used to demand when I was tiny. ( stories had to be about My Little Ponies, the Ponies had to encounter mortal peril at some point, and the story had to have a happy ending.) I have a clear memory of my father telling us that the Ponies were in the woods and saw a lot of garbage heaped up, which made them very afraid. He asked why the garbage made them afraid, and when we didn't know, he explained, "Because it meant there were bears around..the bears always came to eat the garbage." That's amusing to me now when I think of it in the context of my father the wilderness man, but at the time it chilled me to my bones. Anyway, the line in the poem said, "As the ponies well learned, may you too be awares/that where there is garbage, there'll likely be bears." He ended the poem with a song I had made up as a 3 year old about Rainbow Brite. It meant a lot to me that he would even remember that. It's sweet to think, despite everything that has happened, of my father enjoying his 3 year old daughter being silly and making up songs, enjoying it enough to commit it to memory.

After everyone shared about my father, I said that we had a special celebrity guest performance for the closing hymn, and then played Paul Simon's "The Obvious Child" off an ipod. My father was filled with glee and afterwards told us how much that activity had meant to him. He even gave me an awkward side-hug (our specialty) and thanked me profusely later. I was so glad because I felt I succeeded in my goal of making my father feel special, and I wanted that so much for him--it comes so rarely. It was one of those times I felt absolutely that the right thing had been done, and I was so happy. I love my father. I don't have a typical father-daughter relationship with him (yet another thing I get defensive about when people make assumptions--I really need to work on that!) but I appreciate how different my Dad is from other people and the affect that has had on me. I admire how deeply he thinks about things, how he wants to help The People, how he learned Spanish just to work with his Medicaid patients, how much he relates to music, how he prefers hard work to ease and luxury. My father really is a very kind person. He is constantly inquisitive about the world and is always teaching himself things, like woodworking and gardening. He made me and Jonathan a beautiful hope-chest for our wedding and nearly finished it for Christmas. It broke my heart how much time he must have spent on it. I couldn't enthuse enough for what it was worth. I love how my Dad bikes on rollers during the winter while watching the Tour de France and how he reads at the table like I do and how obsessed he is with WWII. I love how he quoted Simon and Garfunkel when he taught Sunday School and how he scratches his head when he laughs really hard.

When my father was answering the question on hope, I was bursting with wanting to tell him that my baby is hope for him, that it is so vitally important to me to have my children love and esteem him. I'm going to do all I can to help them have a good relationship with him. But that's not really the kind of thing you say, it's the kind of thing you do your best with and hope that healing takes place. I have such great hopes for that healing, I really do. A baby should mean joy every time one is born, I hope it can be that way with my father's grandchildren.

I love my little stranger so dearly for being so full of promise. One of my aunts told me this week, "You will never think of yourself first again." Tears sprang to my eyes because I want that so badly. I know so many of the wounds I've acquired in my life were caused by selfishness and not seeing things clearly, and the closest I've felt to glory is when I was giving with a pure heart. Whatever else I may feel, I know that is what is right for me. Little baby, who are you going to be? This is such a sweet time to dream of possibilities. In one of my HBSE classes we talked about how at birth parents must mourn the death of their dream child because now they have a real child who is a distinct personality and may not bring to reality all that they envisioned. I know I'm like everyone else and that my experiences won't be exactly like I imagine, but I have dearly loved so many children in my life, and I know I will love the Stranger despite the challenges I can't foresee today. That's an expectation I feel confident WILL be fulfilled.

I've been filling up my free time this break by reading birth stories and watching home-births on you tube, so that's filled up my dreams with birth as well (more on that later). Jonathan loves to sit by me with his hand on the bump and talk to the baby...he even does it in his sleep, which I love. I want to share this with him always, as much as I can.

In other pregnancy related news, I got maternity jeans for Christmas and I fLOVE them! They're the most comfortable things! I can still button all my normal pants, but they have begun to pinch. I've gained 9 pounds, which I am not carrying gracefully, but neither was I super slender before. (I blame Derek for encouraging me to cheat on the Master Cleanse last summer). Alas, it can't be helped now. :) I have to pee thousands of times a day despite Jonathan's maybe accurate belief that I don't drink enough water. We have Brown family jokes in regular circulation now about how every time I eat I'm "feeding" or "watering" the baby, and I love to say things like, "I don't even LIKE this cake, but the baby insisted," or "Can I have some of your cinnamon bears? Not for myself, but the baby has been asking for them." The baby also has a slightly deified position as a mystic presence; as in, "The baby told me you were going to react this way" or "I knew I shouldn't have done that. The baby warned me." I'm dying to find out if it's a boy or a girl. I wish winter semester were over already because that means I would have my masters AND be weeks away from birthing our adorable progeny. This is the time of times. Here's to 15 more weeks of winter, according to the BYU Academic calender. Yay!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Scary-Sweet Dreams

I don't dream often. It is unfortunate. I always want to dream more often. I RELISH scary dreams when they come because I usually remember my dreams only 1-2 times a month. I've always thought that dreaming was awesome. It makes you believe things that you never would believe in real life. It makes you feel very much like you would feel in real life only in hypothetical situations. We theorize about how we would feel if such and such happened, but there is NOTHING that makes you feel similar to when you have a dream about a situation. As much as you think about how you might feel in any given situation, you don't know how you would actually feel. I think that dreams can approximate how you would feel in situations you've not been in before. I've always thought this useful.
I've had dreams about what I would feel like if I married certain people. I was usually terrified of those dreams, as I had some commitment issues. I would wake up with an indescribable relief! I'm sure you've all felt something like this when you've woken up from a bad dream; the knowledge that the situation you were just in did not actually happen. I've done immoral things in dreams and been totally mortified at the inevitable consequences of those actions only to wake up glorying and happy that it was all an illusion. The effects of my actions would not shimmer into existence slowly and surely as they do in reality. I feel such elation in those moments! I've often thought that it is a huge blessing! I don't know that I would ever get that feeling any other way and oh how I love that feeling! The relief of having not chosen poorly...interesting.
A few nights ago I had a frightening dream. It's a little fuzzy still...many times when I remember dreams I remember bits and pieces--scenarios. I remember that Rachel had died. It was somehow related to labor. I remember holding myself together in the dream and feeling like this would be bearable. But then I remember being at home. I was all alone. You who know me know that I prize my alone time. I enjoy it, thoroughly. But this was different. I've never felt loneliness like this. It was overwhelming. I remember in my dream talking to my friend Caleb about it and then suddenly breaking down and sobbing. It was a horrible feeling.
I guess I've always thought myself strong. I always think that whatever comes my way I will handle it without breaking down. I've been depressed before, but I come out of it. The feeling that I felt during that dream was beyond depression. I felt myself feeling like this was something I couldn't have a handle on. I've always thought that you can't prepare yourself for certain feelings/experiences in life. I've never experienced real loss. The people who I've been close to who have died were older and I felt relief at their passing. If loss feels like that, I know there is no preparation. I imagine you just have to learn to deal with it when it comes.
I woke up and immediately felt around in the bed to make sure that Rachel was there. The relief I felt when I found her there soundly asleep was by far the best experience of my life! The feeling was singular! It was one of those times that I recognized the beauty of "they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good."
I hope that people who die after their loved ones feel like that when they get to heaven, like the loss and loneliness that they just passed through was a dream and they are now waking up to reality where their loved ones are all with them, alive and well. People worry about what heaven will be like. I don't. What could possibly matter if you are able to be with the ones you love most? I know I use a lot of superlatives when I talk, but I'm being truthful when I say that even just glimpsing that joy at knowing that I am still with Rachel makes me confident that I would do anything to feel that way. Anything.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A tiny star lights up way up high...

We took these family pictures on August 15, the day after my wedding. I love them because my family are a collective bunch of hotties, and also because I was so giddy that day, high off all the dopamine associated with being married 24 hours to the gran amor de mi vida. It's a good memory. I love being with everyone all together.

Emo Browns. Mary upstaging everyone as is her custom. Alternate title: Sirius Brown.

99 Brown Balloons

We are "sixteen, maybe less, maybe a little more."

I love this picture of Mahwey collapsed on the lawn. You can't even see her face, but it conveys so much emotion.

Kimberly Caldwell strikes again! With Beav!

Can you see the Wondrous Little Stranger? He/she is still very wee, but I am 16 weeks today so I'm expecting to start ballooning out massively any moment now. The Stranger is quickening and I am thickening. :)
I love Christmas and being home with my family! I had the sweetest last day of work at Vantage Point, with a powerful session and kindness from my supervisor and cute Latino clients. I love them. It felt so good to end the semester on a high note and walk away feeling like I've done well, all things considered. It's so good to be here now with my brothers and sisters. For all our various pathologies we really love being together. I love having no homework and being able to concentrate on hanging out, Christmas stealth, and dreaming about my baby. Jonny has been working in Springville so it feels just like last Christmas when we were apart and I pined for him most intensely and artistically. He gets here tonight though and then my joy will be complete. :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sweet and Sour Thoughts on Pregnancy


What, I'm supposed to post pregnancy pictures? Why didn't you say so? Too bad we don't have a camera. And too bad I don't have a solid, adorable baby bump instead of steadily increasing full-body bulk and flab. It's almost like my body thinks I'm carrying the baby in my THIGHS! :) I wanted to write out some thoughts I've been having. My emotional discomfort has been heightened thus far much more than my physical discomfort...and as usual, it is all tangled up with vanity, pride, and self-loathing, so I don't expect anyone to relate to this necessarily.

I always had this idea that I would gain weight very virtuously when I got pregnant and that it wouldn't bother me at all because it was so great a cause; I would just be grateful to be a sacred vessel. :) I was disappointed to realize how much it actually does bother me...Especially when people constantly point it out. One lady in my cohort always pokes my stomach and says, "Oh, I can really tell there's a baby in there now!" Um, but you can't. That's actually just my fat roll that's always been there but now is getting harder and harder to suck in. My waist's favorite Radiohead song is "How to Disappear Completely." My sister in law informed me the other day, "I think you're at that stage where it's hard to tell if someone is pregnant, or just getting fat." Gee, thanks. Over Thanksgiving my mother tenderly invited me to go clothes shopping with her because "It's obvious you've gained quite a bit of weight." When I have pointed out the insensitivity of these comments, I am gently reminded, "Well, you ARE pregnant." Okay. Does pregnancy somehow inoculate me against feeling hurt, embarrassed or insecure? This is a sacrifice I am absolutely willing to make, but being willing doesn't take away the scariness and unfamiliarity of it. I'm also resentful of the Westernized cultural conditioning that contributes to me caring so much. I wish Dave Schuler were still around because I bet he could tell me how to get rid of it.

It's also frustrating to be treated like an invalid. I guess it falls in the same category as "chivalry," which I also have raging issues with, so it's not too surprising that I struggle with this as well. I know others mean well and are trying to be kind, but I want to be treated like a capable, competent person, not as a walking frailty. Sometimes I regret sharing with people that I'm pregnant, because they immediately start doing things like telling people to hurry up in the bathroom, the pregnant lady needs to use it, or having me sit down, or telling me I must be exhausted, or trying to stop me from lifting things. It makes me feel a little reduced. I'm carrying a baby, but I am not the baby myself! I'm still a whole person, not a sick person. I know I know I know people are probably just projecting their own experiences and the collective conceptualization of pregnancy on me, but I do find it stifling. I wish people would ask me, "What has your experience been like?" instead of making assumptions. I'm going to try to do that, too.

I might be more grateful for the special treatment if I felt it was warranted. Everyone who knows me well knows I LOOOOVE to wail and moan and get attention when I am actually sick, so I'm definitely not above bringing the drama when I'm actually suffering. I am lucky that [so far!] I've had a very easy time of it. I haven't been sick at all and never threw up once. For a few weeks I developed a bizarre sensitivity to smells and certain ones would make me queasy--such as Jonathan's deodorant, which had never before been offensive to me. I could smell it on his shirt from across the room...all deodorant-infected shirts had to be quarantined! Also I would immediately hate the thing I ate most recently immediately after consumption, even if it was a food I usually loved. Other than the super-power sense of smell and some chronic fatigue earlier in the semester that may have been pregnancy or may have been full-time school and therapy, I haven't really felt all that different from normal. Just more corpulent. :)

I just want to add that I REALLY hate the words preggers, prego, preg, preggy, and any variation thereof. Also anyone who calls my baby a "little nudger." Please don't do that. And now I'm done being negative. :)


In other news, today is a glorious day. I had a thousand things to do and they all went well! I staffed a client at multi-agency and it went great, even though I was so nervous. I took my last final and got an A-, O Bendita Sea! I am so relieved and grateful that fall semester is over! Now I can immerse myself in beautiful Christmas and I only have one semester left till graduation and my master's degree!!! I love what I study and I'm so happy I'll be done by the time Baby comes. :)

Not surprisingly, I've been noncommittal when it comes to choosing a provider, and I might write more about that later after I come to a few conclusions. I did visit an OB who takes the student health plan just to make sure the Little Stranger was doing okay in there. I've had two ultrasounds and I loved seeing that little blinking heartbeat that meant my sweet baby was okay! It's exciting to realize there really is a little creature in there, swimming around in the goldfish bowl. I can't feel it moving yet but I am very excited to.

Today is the 14th so we have been married 4 months today! I have such a sweet husband, I really do. He is so good and so dear to me. He is so lovingly excited to be a father. I'm as excited for him to have that experience--and to be able to observe it--as I am to be a mother. When I think about him holding and loving our baby I feel this effervescent joy that lights up my life. This is something I have always known deeply about Jonathan, that he would be an excellent, very kind and wise father. When we were dating I used to have these **secretheart** thoughts about us having kids. And now to finish off the sweetness I have a story about that.

We had Crystal and Allen over to dinner tonight and I made meatballs for the first time ever and also broccoli with spicy hollandaise sauce. Everything turned out okay and Crystal and Allen are such good company! I love their children. Crystal is one of my favorite mothers...she is playful and loving and enjoys her children so much. She is a "joyful mother" like it talks about in Psalms. I have never heard her speak resentfully about her children and that is something I admire very much and aspire to. I was playing with their baby Alex and he was so smiley and lovely that it melted my heart. I've always felt like I'm my best self when I'm playing with little kids. I can't wait to meet my own baby and be sweet with him/her. What a joy it will be to have a little soul that belongs to me and not have to hand them back to someone else! While I was holding Alex I sat on Jonathan's lap and he put his arms around both of us and it was so sweet. We both felt struck by that moment, and it reminded me of a time last year...coincidentally with Crystal's OTHER son...we were babysitting him and he was crying and fussing and I picked him up and held him, and Jonathan and I had a Moment. I wrote about it and sent to to him. Here is what I wrote, last November:

"This is the sappiest thing EVER! don't judge me. bradley is just a really cute baby, maybe with magic powers.

"Love to be, in the arms of all I'm keeping here, with me"

Last night I was holding the heavylight weight of Bradley in my arms; Jonathan looked over at me while I ran my finger across Bradley's impossibly soft hand and his tiny baby fingers grasped mine. I whispered, "Oh, sweetheart," I felt so aware suddenly of this sharp sweetness associated with wanting my own baby who will know and recognize me as its mama, it brought tears to my eyes to think it night not be for me, this white-hot center of my being. My arms were made to cradle, what better thing could I do with them? All this was hanging in the air. I could see him knowing what I was thinking, he came over and kissed me. "I want to end up with you." He told me this the other day. Can you say that? Can I hear that without terror? I dont want to end up in the showcase but I feel myself drowning in the missing. I want it to have meaning without having sting. But why should any of that matter if there is a baby? And I thought--I thought--despite the severity I sometimes feel from you, I want to be this way with you. I want that great kindness to be first for me. You'd be so good, I know it. I want your hands on my stomach with our baby in there. I want the honor I would feel being that for you, I want the softening effects that being a mother would have on my selfish nature. I want a little being a light to pull forth all the good from the depths of my heart. Then he came over and put his arms and me and the baby and it was so sweet."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gold teeth and a curse for this town, were all in my mouth, only I don't know how they got out, dear

Journal entries from earlier in my pregnancy (the second entry is mostly not about pregnancy but it mentions the baby at the end, so I thought it merited inclusion. Also I changed details about clients I wrote about so I'm not violating HIPAA):

October 5
I found out 3 days ago that I'm pregnant! According to my feverish special-special time documentation, and the midwife I talked to at Bella Natal, I am 5.3 weeks along and my little salamander is due June 4. That's right when my mother was due with me! I feel a zealous sort of destiny in the parallel. I hope I can be as kind and fierce of a mother to my salamander as my mother is to me. I wish I had had the foresight to keep my lateness from Jonathan. I would have like to surprise him more with the glad tidings, but I couldn't help myself! I kept telling him, Jonny I'm 3 days late! 4! 5! So when I finally delivered the news he was already expecting that I was expecting. I just couldn't shut up. When I found out by myself, Friday night, I was so amazed. I kept looking in the mirror and telling myself I was having a baby, trying to see a mother in my reflection maybe. I felt nothing but excitement and glee. It works! It really does work! Saturday night I crashed a little when my mother showed me this book about the miracle of showed babies in their various stages of development and it made me a little queasy. All those curled up lizards with their enormous opaque eyes. The first few pages were pictures of loving couples and I felt suddenly horrified that all that would be over now, gripped by the horror of my impulsiveness. I know this is what I wanted, but our tender little marriage is so new, what if having a baby "ruined" everything? I'm feeling much, much better now, and confident that the (hopefully safe) arrival of our child will enhance our relationship. It will make both of us better people. It will bind us to each other as co-creators of adorable progeny. It will fill our house with a sweeter love. I know it will also be stressful, anxiety-inducing, exhausting, and complicated, and I know those little bubbles of resentment WILL come up and have to be popped, but I know what kind of people we are and the role children and family have in our lives. Jonathan is the best man I know and it is honorable to be able to give him children. I'm just as excited to see him be a good father as I am to figure out what kind of mother I will be. I am not at all afraid of ruin. It is surreal to be pregnant and not feel any different. If I hadn't been tracking my special-special times I'm sure I wouldn't even have noticed by now, but I'm already a month into it! I worry about miscarriage, I have known so many who have miscarried their first baby. When I'm alone, I talk out loud to the little salamander and ask her to be okay. I think of it as a girl, which is bizarre because until about a month ago I didn't want ANY daughters EVER, I wanted twelve sons. For some reason my mind has really warmed up to the idea although I still don't know how I'll explain things to her, the things that are diabolically unfair and ugly and that I don't feel peace about. Maybe she'll stay a baby forever and I'll never have to worry about it? :)

October 11
I'm home alone and jumping at little noises. Today was so thick with therapy I just wanted to stay home and let my brain melt. I guess it was a good night for Jonathan to ditch me. Today I spoke with a boy who smokes pot to feel relief from his mother's nagging, and listened to her tell me over and over on the phone, "He's just like his father." He cried when he said she might send him away. I told him I was sorry he'd been hurt. Then I knocked on the wrong number 8 and the man who couldn't speak was so excited to get a visitor. He brought me out his driver's license because I couldn't understand him. He was frightening with his stiff staring but more sad. His name was Charles. I waved goodbye to him as he followed me. He was so excited and I was so out of place in that apartment complex, I don't know how to walk, how to hold my face to look like I might belong there. I found the right apartment but it was still all wrong. It was stretched out and empty except for a couch. Beatriz was stretched out and full of another baby set to never know its daddy like her two other sons. I met the man they want to leave in December. He shouted and pulled her away and will never drive her to therapy. Arturo was sweet and friendly and only turned cold when we talked of his mother. If you aren't set up for the shiny white ladder of success you can become a cholo. I tried to say these things. I told them they're in crisis and that therapy doesn't do much good unless they're stable. That they need a plan to survive. The tiny boy drew a poster on the floor with my markers. I told him "que belleza!" She said Arturo has wanted for nothing. She tells him she loves him by reminding him of all she has done. Neither of them could form a positive statement about the other. They could be gone in an instant, nothing connects them to the place they are, to the false frame of a family they're fluttering around in. She can't go to a shelter you see because he put the bills in her name. Arturo sat clicking his knife open and shut. Later I asked numb questions of a sweet couple with a daughter ridden with adolescence. The mother explained how she was raised by older sisters and wanted to fill up the vacio (emptiness) she always felt in her childhood. She thought if she were good enough, if she could just be good enough, she would deserve love, and everything would work out right. I did the best at describing her feelings for her but I feel like I failed to join with the daughter at all. She's in a smirky little no one understands me world. I am probably terrible at this, but I felt a lot today. I think it's good for me to feel this much. I'm thinking of Romania too and what it was like sometimes--the tidepools of jealously and slimy creatures that seems so insignificant, even insulting to the tumultuous ocean opened before my eyes.

I think of the baby as a seahorse, splashing around in a tiny ocean. Maybe my sorrow and despair are already making acid waves. I wish I could create the kind of peace my baby needs but I feel that would require disconnecting from everything.