Monday, July 28, 2014

King of the Carrot Flowers

This morning Chai came up to me, beaming, and told me, "Mom, I love your heart. And I love Sparrow's heart, and I love Daddy's heart!" Work was gentle and facebook was dull. I have a new child client who is speech delayed and indiscriminately affectionate. I remember times when I didn't notice that, children seizing my hands or climbing in my lap just felt so good to me. I'm happy to get to know and work with him even though I'm weary of play therapy, I feel so badly for children who are scarred by inconsistency and shame. In the evening the rain cooled the angry earth and when we walked to visit the horses I could smell every plant on the street. We went to the park and I felt like running in the field (not very far because my pelvis is a delicate cage, I can tell it's eager to twist with a little more weight on it) and stood in the clover circles and Chai and Sparrow chased me. I made them crowns of clover and they looked so beautiful in their tangled wild baby hair. I wanted a rich black and white picture. We lay on our backs and watched the gray clouds moving, Sparrow climbed all the way up the ladder apparatus and is fearless on the slide. Chai told me he was Captain Hook and that we had to stay on the ship so he could take our orders (pirate cheeseboogers, pirate tacos). We sang "Pirate mokey, pirate mokey, just for you, just for you," and practiced swinging on the big swings. My friends really are gone, they're not part of my life the way they were. But most of the time, I still feel happy. Chai was explaining to us in the car, "Remember when I was a baby, and I played by the bridge, and you were holding me, and Sparrow was taller than me?...but Baby Tarzan doesn't drink milk because he isn't born yet. He's still in your belly." Do you think it's possible that maybe at least part of it will be nice?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

You have shown me the sky, But what good is the sky To a creature who'll never Do better than crawl?

I have mixed feelings about Aldonza/Dulcinea. I see the insinuation, which I'm sure my grandfather loves, of the effect is can have on people when you see them "not as they are but as they may be/should be." Such elevating treatment maybe helps some people aspire to make needed changes or improve their quality of life. I'm sure my grandfather would state that this is how the Savior sees us, in our potential, not in our current reality. But it was difficult to watch how much this disturbed Aldonza. She keeps admonishing Quixote to "see me as I am!" At one point she begs "Won't you look at me, look at me, God, won't you look at me!" and Quixote continues to cover his face and plea with her never to deny that she is his lady. I also felt sad that the storyline reflected the virgin/whore complex so literally--Quixote describes her as "sweet lady, fair virgin!" to the obscene delight of everyone at the inn where she is prostituted. Why couldn't she not be a virgin and still be of worth, still inspire a knight to noble deeds (also problematic)?  There is some bitterness in the viewer recognizing that no matter how flowery the speeches made to her, she will never be high born, she will never be "pure" in the sense that he believes she is. I can see how there is something sweet about his insistence that she has value even when she is bitterly spitting that she is nothing ("born on a dung heap to die on a dung heap") and her eventual shift to believing in a higher way of life, seeing the beauty in the world and in herself, is touching. But she also shares with him her own raw, violent story, and she truly had some ugly things happen to her that he completely dismisses and is unable to hear. He invalidates her lived experience, and that was difficult to watch. I understand that his madness and inability to integrate reality with his delusion is part of the profound theme that the play explores, but I wish it could have been possible for Aldonza to be seen as a whole person, seen and heard, and still told she is worthwhile. That Quixote could have endured hearing her story and told her, your sexual history doesn't matter, I still see you as Dulcinea. What happened to you wasn't your fault and it's not who you are. Those are the words I would crave from a Savior...not someone with his hands over his ears.

Hoy dia...oy, dia! We left and I immediately missed the sun-spun angels. I can't ever let go and relax completely no matter how much I wanted to get away beforehand. But is there anything more lovely and more temperate than walking in the SLC Farmers Market with Jonny and picking out soap, inhaling rosemary and lemongrass? Sawadees for lunch and we talked about "getting organized." The immediate changes are to do grocery shopping once a week and plan it out, each cook twice a week,  clean the kitchen on the night the other cooks. When the basement is done we want to have a tech room and a toy room, never-to-be-seen-again this time. Those changes will come hard for us, but the way we've been is costing us so much money, energy, and time. I told Jon I'm scared about our relationship and he said the same thing as always, we should do more dates but no babysitters. I suggested we make the effort to carve out the time even if we don't leave home.

We stopped by Daniel's and met a squalling Samuel who triggered me. I don't want to do it. I just don't. I cried and Jon said he'll do whatever he needs to do, "raise it as his own," whatever. I don't need to search far for stories of more desperate situations than mine. I mean triplets, Gaza, watching your children starve, having your children be tortured in front of you. But I still feel such pain and resistance welling up in me and worst of all I know it affects an innocent child and very possibly even a fetus, so during this time of gestation, even my feelings aren't completely mine, I need to calm down and work through my anger and disappointment so the quiet cricket won't be poisoned by the salt of my wrathful blood. It is a complete invasion with no privacy and of course I don't want to hurt a baby, but part of me sees it all as submission this time. Submission to extra-concentrated motherhood, submission to losing more of my mind and my time with the sweet kids I already have, because that's what I'm supposed to do, who will do it save I? Jon reminded me that the baby didn't ask for this. I know, I know! but that doesn't make it easier. We are always so gentle when we get to be alone together. We touch each other and lean in. I miss the time we never had and the time we never will have.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Third eye blind

Tonight I watched their blond little heads bob in the sunlight streams while they ran through the sprinklers. Then we painted, and they boldly mixed and swirled, and Chai told me "This is a painting of WIND!" Earlier today I talked to Frimet and told her my story--much less intense than the rigidity of Hasidim but still, we both realized it was something like it--and I told her about how good exploring has been for me and how it has helped me recognize what I truly want out of life and allowed me to release so much that sat on my desperately trying chest for years. I am excited to hear more from her--this woman who also birthed her second child (a daughter) on a cold January morning, who had an arranged marriage at 18, who shaved her head for her patriarchy. I am really excited about writing a piece for the Forward, even though Naomi warned me about trolls, just to be able to be involved and to write something seems so worthwhile. Naomi is so sweet and encouraging. Most definitely my exodus has brought us closer. After the call with Frimet Doug and Emme took the smalls to the dinosaur museum and Jon and I went to check out our Quiet Cricket. It meant so much to me to have Jonny there and to be able to spend a few minutes alone. He got teary when the technician let us hear baby's heartbeat. It was fun not to just see the baby but to see through the baby! The chambers of the heart, the pocket of the brain that stores spinal fluid. I don't know them, right now I just know where is blood pumping through a one-pound system and a cute little arm tucked up by the face and I'm so sad it's happening so soon. I wish so much I had been able to space babies out better so I could enjoy them more. It is exciting, though, the unknown and a new thing struggling to survive, resting its feet on my cervix. Please please please be safe, and grow strong, and come gently, and be known to us.

known to us.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Each body a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth."

All of us are languishing in our house without AC, stripped down to our underwear, hugging with sticky skin, but Jon is languishing a little harder. His morale is very low (he says he stopped existing a few weeks ago) and just like the verse in Ecclesiastes, when one is weak the other is strong. I feel infused with new energy and I feel my time of confinement is over. Yesterday, I realized there was no fear in me, and that there may be torches lit on the mountain but no army to charge down. I'm free. I've been making food and planing activities. I feel more confident that I have something to contribute even if I am not endorsed by everyone. I'm getting excited for the summer healing circle, which thing I never would have supposed. I am going to worry less about how many and just hold the space for any who need it. Christina is going to help me hang lights in the trees. Jon and I drove around Hobblecreek looking at pavilions. Kelly's Church is the one! It was so beautiful and holy up in the canyon with the smell of rain rising and looking for places to create a circle within the trees. Jon reached over and squeezed my leg and was enjoying my excitement and my teasing him. I'm so glad we're together! The kids mercifully fell asleep in the back (poor things, it is too hot within and without sometimes) and we put them gently to bed with the the rain padding outside, and watched a movie. Sparrow toddled out shortly and sat between us, sweet-legged, twisting to lean on me. "MamaDaddy," she babbled. She kept asking for water, which she calls "Larrrgheddy" in kind of this gargling voice like she is speaking through a bubble. She wore an elastic on her wrist and it made her feel pretty, she kept twisting to look at her arm. She is so open and unconsciously lovely! She loves to be centered in my lap and to pull my face down to hers and tell me, "Mahmee." Why is she so dear? She's started saying "No" all the time also, which has leveled up her sass exponentially. I love July, love falling asleep on the couch watching shows with Jonny, I love my beautiful children! Chai told us today, "Wait, guys. I have to talk to you about ghosts. I have to talk to you about Olaf."

Monday, July 14, 2014

But nothing happened. Not a sound.

Early mornings are my time with the quiet Cricket. Sparrow lays next to me, clutching my arm, sucking down milk while we wait suspended in our hot bubble of a room. The fan gives us a sleepy reprieve even though it's too loud and harsh. It feels so good to get any air at all. I count the months every morning, as if they'd suddenly be different. I feel some of the anticipation of opening a present. I feel a creeping horror when I imagine Sparrow's heartbreak, the short space of my arms already filled, walking around jiggling a warm lump instead of being able to sit and talk, the aches of lying on my side all night, the bleary rapid aging of never sleeping, the exhaustion that leeches my energy so I'm no good to anyone, brainless, charmless, doughy, empty. I guess not having friends this time will make it easier. I remember the condemnatory words, hum them in isolation, and it burns. But then I ask myself if I want to be bullied, if I want to be controlled, if I could have just snapped my fingers and gotten over it, easy hurdle, right? What's another one? Last night Sparrow smashed her bottle in my face when she lay down next to me and I wailed "Why did you hurt me?" Please don't hurt me!" and she sobbed and sobbed with her huge elephant tears. She has such a tender heart, like I do, and I think I scared her. Afterwards I comforted her and told her, it's okay, it's okay. I made basil pasta with vegetables and we ate dinner together, said our prayer, listened to the Christine Jessop podcast (love!), Jon told me about talking to his parents and the eternal gulf. We will each always think it's the other's fault. Jon says he needs to learn how to speak a different language; I think that it doesn't matter what language you speak if no one believes you have anything worthwhile to say. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"Rene and Georgette Magritte in The Car after the War"

It was a stiff ten hours in the car today, wasted sunshine, the horrible density of fast/junk food. I cried at the end of Middlesex when Tessie asks if Callie will be able to have children. I have become so much more sensitive to narratives of aging and decay, of the vulnerability and inevitable pain of having children. This trip to Mexico, even with the uglier moments (the way I never quite feel connected and am left with the sour taste of overshare in my mouth) felt like a honeymoon with my children. I felt so bursting with love for them. I couldn't take my eyes off their sweet, funny faces. They are both so charming and kind and sassy. Sparrow's word for snuzzling and our relationship right now is "Mommybaby!" She loves to pat my chest and then lovingly lay her head on me, My darling, clever lady came home with a few more words, "Moh," and "No" more frequent than before, "Jesse" (I don't know if that one will stay) and "MeeeEEE!" My parents' relationship with my children is the best thing about my parents' relationship with me right now, easily. That was why I cried when my mother brought out the chile rellenos, beaming at my sister's brilliance in making them (that, and I cry at everything lately). Chai called to me from his seat, "When are we going to get to Mexico?" and he cried when we explained that we were going home.I miss being there already, even though sometimes it felt so good I couldn't take it in I loved sitting next to Jon in the car, and holding him, and kissing his face, and whispering sexual things in his ear ("No, mah Racherr! You're being ignorant!") He told me this afternoon that he loves that I'm sexually inappropriate. I feel torn up, petulant, and smug about the loss of the friend group. One piece I'm struggling with is how to un-entwine this man I adore so much from his folkloric past and from the tribe that exists to honor that history and their shared connection. It was always something that both attracted and repelled me; the friend group has given me so much fun and blissful belonging and a sense of coasting on their intellectual superiority, but I'm spat out (some of them likely feel that I've spat them out also) and it has made me realize how much they really are constantly present in the fabric of our lives, and how many empty pockets exist now for me that I can no longer access. I feel my convictions are just but that doesn't make feeling left out any easier It's hard to have Mary and Jon both in and so in that I can't just ignore it completely. I wish I could find something that would help me differentiate, a relationship or project completely separate from Jon that is as fulfilling and absorbing as his friendships and incessant activities are for him. I don't think it is likely.

Friday, July 11, 2014

You can't remember, you try to feel the beat

Walking on the beach here, listening to music is like a sacrament, it was so cleansing, like keeping a promise to myself. I need to get back in touch with that ritual. I listened to the music of my Golden Age, 2003 to 2009. The songs from those years (including my mission years which were spent in a feverish addictive longing for "apostate" music) still speak truth to me and carve out memories with every note. The song I love most now is "Eet" and I love humming it as I'm wandering around here, "You can't believe it..." that loss, that freedom. The walk, though! Gave me so much clarity, I stayed even longer than I needed to because it felt so good. It helped me feel at home again in my body for a few minutes, reset my careful and worried mind. I walked past the body of a twisted pelican with white eyes, as I stepped closer, the eyes changed to red and it suddenly reared up, gawky neck height, stiffening, immobile. It must have been injured somehow because it couldn't fly away. I felt disrespectful for intruding on its pain and I whispered that I was sorry. When I came back, I told Chai about the bird and he retold the story "The celican had white eyes, and then, all of a sudden, they were red!" He asked to go see the dead celican over and over again until Lolo finally took him. He has been reminding me so much of myself on this trip. His imagination, his storytelling, his magical voice, his indefatigable energy, his innocent expectation that everyone loves him ("Hey, it's me, Chai! I'm here!") and everyone here does. Natalie and I are the only ones of our generation who brought children and watching all the younger cousins I don't know very well play with Chai has given me such a soft heart for them. They chase him and play hide and seek and monster and pass him around at the pool and catch him when he jumps off the wall. He and Sparrow are both so beloved and people coo and aww at them everywhere they go. It's very affirming to be able to share this sweet piece of my life with my relatives, who I really do love, but who I feel must be disapproving of me.

Last night my mother and grandmother were in charge of dinner and it was a Mexican feast as in days of yore. It felt so good to be there with the blue and peach streaked sky, everyone merry in their family t-shirts eating rio and enchies. Sparrow and I wore our rainbow dresses and everyone loved them. I love my little girl! This vacation has made me recognize how obsessed I am with my little family. I love spending so many hours with them, love how happy the sea and sky make them, love how Sparrow falls asleep in the waves and in the pool, love how Chai runs around so fearless and delighted. I have fallen asleep during every movie we've watched here, and last night when Jon finally urged me to go to bed during Memento, I climbed in next to Sparrow and saw her gorgeous face on the pillow, and I felt overwhelmed with love for her. I kept kissing her sleeping forehead and whispering, "My little girl, my little daughter, I love you so much." She is so dear. Jon and I took the traditional sunset kissing picture today. It's our third Mexico together. He wore his best backwards hat in homage to 8th grade eroticism. He doesn't connect with pining music like I do but he is my best Jonny and I am so glad we are together because he argues with my mother about moral relativism and kisses me so sweetly on the forehead. I feel so connected to him, lately. Like Chai says "Remember when you were a baby and daddy was too and Sparrow was taller than me?"

Thursday, July 10, 2014

And I was a child, and she was a child, in the kingdom by the sea

Today, July 10, I am 22 weeks pregnant. Usually this is my favorite "size" and when I feel the most attractive with a baby bump, before the flesh slides around all the rest of my bones, but it's different here in Mexico because I slip on a skin-tight suit every day and see this bloated belly that everyone else presumably believes is empty, I can't suck it all the way back anymore, and I can imagine the way they feel sorry for me, the conversations they might have about how Natalie bounced right back (Lorraine body) and Rachel didn't (lazy body, fighting against her genes). My mother took a picture with me in the background that looked so distorted from my perception of myself (which somehow remains optimistically positive) that it sickened me. I have to be honest that I wasn't in great shape before I even got pregnant, but waddling around in this bulbous body, when I am supposed not to be, embarrasses me. It feels like I am taking on the physical form of what my family believes me to be, weak, undisciplined, silly, sloppy. I still prefer that over telling the truth, though, which would affirm their suspicions in other ways. I don't want to hear it, I want to keep it from being thought as long as I can.

Yesterday at the market I was talking to a kind family who lovingly admired the babies and one woman put her hand on my belly and asked me "Otro?" and I wanted to tell her, open up to someone I knew would be warm and happy and then never see me again, but I saw some members of my party watching, so I shrugged and shook my head. "No esta llena," she confirmed. But it is! I feel badly for denying my little one, but at the same time, h/she will belong to us and doesn't belong to the world, and somehow that feels good, too, to keep our little secret close to us.

I talk to the kids all the time about Baby Tarzan and they kiss and rub my belly. Even Sparrow says "Baby!" now when she pats me and Chai has conversations with me about how baby Tarzan will be "so, sooo cute" but he may hurt him if Tarzan plays with his tools. He asks if baby Tarzan will come out my butt, or my "bagina." I tell him and he says thoughtfully, "I think your butt, too, though." He's not totally wrong. :) Yesterday we were cuddling and he said "I don't want Baby Tarzan to come out." I told him we have awhile before that happens...but how can I not feel the same? My heart just aches for my sweet baby girl, too. She has no idea, she will be blindsided, I don't know how to maintain our sweet symbiosis. I have loved it so much ever since we stopped nursing. She loves to touch my nose, her nose, my ears, her ears, my eyes, her eyes...her place of peace is on my lap making faces with me. Her little arms are constantly reaching for me and she knows just how to tuck her head under my chin, fold her arms under her body and lean in and rock...I just want to keep rocking her, I just want to keep balancing the hours between these two. I want a natural, gradual shift in our baby dream world that is instigated by her growing and not being "untimely ripped" away from me, like Chai was. It hurt him, it hurt him deeply, and I can never deny that. Sometimes I marinate in this perspective and then feel jolted out of it when I read a story of tragedy and loss and consider that never-ending missing. Hopefully, that fierce hurt won't be the end, and we can continue building and creating and loving each other as we all suffer through the winter. It's just hard on this end with nothing but a hidden goldfish bowl and quiet nudging to imagine the beauty and good that may come forth.

Mexico is always a dense cluster of feelings for me, embedded with some bitter and spicy nostalgia of this beautiful ghost self wandering around listening to her headphones, pining, pining. Those feelings clutch me worst at night and when I see my Grandfather walking painfully from the condo to the pool, to the wall, making his rounds, greeting everyone with the same story. He is revered, but it is more difficult to deeply connect with him than it used to be. For me, at least, I feel so aware of the shadow unfurling at our feet that I feel silenced. I also feel like my goodbye, my piece of honoring of what we have shared, has to come in the form of the final poem. It's a quest I need to complete, but I feel woefully inadequate. I know he will be appreciative and kind of whatever drivel I dribble, but I want to do better than that, I want to know in my heart that I created something real, captured some magic and that he felt it. But time is running out.