Navigating the Sacred and Mundane

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Perfect Post Award

She says, "I need to get off the phone, my little people are freaking out."

Pressing my earpiece into one ear so that I can hear above this coffee house echo, straining to catch her words in the scuffle of little girl squeals, we go over edits. "Take out the in that sentence and it will read better, " I sort of whisper and sort of shout. But she's not there, "Shit, a bowl just shattered, hold on." Once we resume, another sentence into it and she says, "Huh? I can't hear you, I'm trying to serve noodles and set up the TV for them, can you say that again?" And I do, smiling to myself, reminded that this is just another traveling adventure - writing in the midst of motherhood.

This is why I especially love Holly, and this fuels my respect and appreciation for her skill in getting to the heart of the matter on the page. It's always like this for her: work till midnight, kids all day, bills stacked. She doesn't even have a bedroom. When the kids go down, she sleeps on the couch. If she sleeps. Mostly, she sails on out of that small place after midnight, and finds a wedge of freedom in the writing.

I'm nominating Holly for the August Perfect Post award

Accepting an invitation from her writing teacher to explore the experience of a kiss, she wrote the most amazing blog post. Aside from capturing the magic, what's more incredible is that it's about her husband - and they've been separated for a year now. Difficult enough for anyone in love to conjure the beautiful acuity of that sensation - how does she do it from where she stands? Because she's a great writer.

Join me in celebrating her post My Teacher's Teacher

If you want to find out more about the Perfect Post awards, or to read other nominated blog posts, go on over to Suburban Turmoil or Petroville

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sleeping Baby

It's way past the midnight hour and I can't sleep. I just tiptoed down the hall, held the door handle and opened with silence. She's sleeping on her side, one leg pulled up, jammies askew. I'm supposed to watch for sunken eyes, cracked lips, rapid heartbeat. I don't know how to do that in the dark so I've been staring at the ceiling, repeating the mantra so that my thoughts don't wake her, wiping the tears that head for my ears.

My girl has had chronic diarrhea for four months. And all I can think is that I'm tired of restraining her every time we go to the doctor, and now, every time I change a diaper. I'm tired of holding her down as she screams and beats out eye contact through fight. And I'm tired of taking her in my arms and holding her long enough for her to remember that I am her mother, the one who is supposed to protect her.

She still has a little bruise, purple plum spot in the center fold of her arm, from a blood draw. It doesn't look right on a two year old. I changed a diaper every hour from morning til evening today, it's getting progressively worse, and aside from taking stupid phone surveys required by the advice nurse (so that she could offer generic and silly advice), I have to wait for a referral to a GI specialist. How long will that take?

Every day her tummy hurts, every day she stops playing and looks over at me to give me the unspoken que - I'm falling, Mama. And I say - I'm so sorry, River. We wait until it passes and she rejoins the current of playfulness. I never do.

I try to catch a ride on my husband's sleep tonight, reaching out for his arm. "I can't stop my mind," I whisper, wrestling with images that can haunt a mother. I want to ask him to pray because that's what he does, but he's off in another place and I can't find my place beside him. I go downstairs for cereal instead, organic raisin bran.

She's calling out, in a dream, in a story that's her own. I'm down here, in the din of a street light, holding onto this train of words like I always do when confronted with the hubris of control. Just looked out the window to find my neighbor's living room light on - someone else is awake, someone else is sitting with whatever they think they cannot bear, whatever they think they know or don't know. Comforting somehow. Daylight makes us look so together. But the night allows for all the tender questions.