some sort of delicious biscuit
Today I have a few minutes alone, in the vet, waiting on a diagnosis. Our little Pip is ill – a skin infection at his shoulder blades. The difficultly was discovered yesterday and though his spirits are up, and his appetite is good, I woke up ready to worry. So, today: a vet appointment.
Pip arches about in my arms in an indolent, satisfied way – purring like a little buzz saw and stretching up his head to kiss me. I scritch his neck, his ears. I think to myself, My kids’ first week in school, gradually getting used to being places without them. Other grownups, caring for them. My children, caring for themselves. Out there in the world.
I am overcome. Not sad, or happy – an experience of newness. Coming back to time to myself, a rare quality for thirteen years. It’s like a gently sore back, needing to be worked in a little, a few stretches. I take long, deep breaths. I know I will adjust; tasting the newness. Some vertigo.
Right now what matters is holding this small cat, this wee scrap of life. His beating heart is as sacred as mine – or anyone else’s. Holding him right now, is holding everyone in the world. If I remember that, my life blossoms into something fragrant, vibrant – the senses attuned once again to the colors of the skyscape and the music of the open road.
I hold my little kitty and when the vet returns he talks to me swiftly and concisely. The cat will recover. All is well. Here – medicine. The veterinarian touches me – my hands, my knees, even my shoulder – often. He has brief, gentle hands. “Do you have any questions?” he asks. I do. I ask about antibiotics, about flea control. Pip thrashes in my arms, the picture of feline ecstasy. And now hearing this vet, when I realize my little kitty is going to be okay, tears start up in my eyes and I look ceilingward. I tell him, “I’m so glad to have him seen to. I was starting to freak out. The vet says: “It’s okay to freak out. That’s what we’re here for.” His kindness makes me blink. I remember how I need people, how I need help. I know my kitten needs help and somehow we are helping one another, holding one another.
Home in the heat – exhausted, but breathing deep, full breaths. Another day; the office of caring, and loving, going deeper down into my belly and bringing forth new life from within.Read More
E. and I pull up to where Nels is waiting for us, after his appointment. He’s on the side of the rather busy road, standing upright like a little reed – playing his new (to him) trumpet. The sight of him cheers me immensely. It’s been a hard few days. The kids are in school, and while it’s hardly the free time extravaganza people without children might guess it to be (for instance: in five days I’ve had to drive out to the school three times; I am also literally a soccer mom which is a big time-suck); all the same it is a change.
Later, on the yoga mat: lying prone, sweating into my kerchief, not looking so “pinup-cute” as I get called regularly. Rumpled and tired, my wrists a slight throbbing agony. I patiently wait to return back to flow. I’m so tired I’m pretty good at just being on the mat. In general, my mind doesn’t race like it used to.
Home: sewing a heavy, disagreeable vintage wool fabric. It’s hot. The kittens race around the room and Hutch follows me with his steady brown eyes, wishing with every fiber of his being for me to give him Nels’ lunch chicken bone. Ralph on his way, after getting groceries. Sunlight through the curtains, the sounds of children (not all of them mine) laughing in the living room. Preoccupation. Planning. And then: gently setting aside the plans. I’m here now. I can do now.
Night falls. Ralph and Phee are off on a run. Nels asks, “What is for dinner, mom?” I am longing for hot shower and a bed to fall into. Tomorrow: a meeting, more yoga, soccer. Tomorrow: fabrics in the mail; a new project.
But that – is tomorrow.Read More
Happy anniversary, my love. This below gift is from Ralph; he went with irreverent. I went with sincere – a tailored waxed canvas coat with brass snaps – and thoughtful: a Botch LP.
Thirteen years ago today I woke before dawn and slipped outside for an early-morning walk. I was getting married in a few hours and the import of this was something I wanted to experience in quiet. I don’t remember much about my walk except for the quality of the morning – I could write pages and never express, properly, what our dawn is like in the fall – and the stillness of the unfamiliar Aberdeen streets. Apparently I stayed out a while – enough time for my bridesmaids to wake. When they couldn’t find me they briefly wondered if I’d done a runner!
On my wedding day people asked me if Ralph was nervous. Hell no! I remember getting dressed in the downstairs of the church and while plenty of people were antsy – my mom was out of her mind with stress – I could hear Ralph upstairs happily directing the sound for the service. I don’t remember being nervous, either. I was happy. My dad walked me down the aisle – a wonderful memory of his brief return to health, in between bouts of cancer and treatment. Our service used a unity candle and I spilled hot wax while deploying it – everyone in the small service saw, and gasped. A wedding can feel a lot like a performance but at the same time, I was there for me.
After the ceremony we adjourned to my parents’ house, just a block from the church – a few feet from where I sit now. We drank a toast; we played music. The first song we danced to was Abba’s “Dancing Queen”. My father, my mother, my groom, myself – we were so happy that day.
But newlywed memories are painful for me, and have been for some time. The young woman I remember was vulnerable and lost. The husband was a good choice; carrying the child I was carrying to full term, that was a good choice. I made some good choices even though at the time I wasn’t fully aware of how important those choices would come to be. I took a lot for granted, somehow.
Being married to Ralph is today one of my greatest treasures. Time, and pain, have caused me to value my marriage deeply. The pain was exquisite and unrelenting; a chapter in our marriage that I simply am astonished we carried through; that we didn’t split, that we weren’t unfaithful, that we didn’t cause irreparable damage. We suffered so much but somehow we got through. Maybe that’s why I appreciate him so deeply, and why I find within myself that strength unchanneled on my wedding day, that grit and steel I didn’t know I had. I’ve given up on a lot of things in my life but when it came down to it I wouldn’t give up on this. I wanted him and I don’t know why that became one of the only things left to me, even when the pain seemed insurmountable. I held on even when it didn’t make sense. I am glad I did.
Why did my marriage work out? Why did it survive? Why did my husband become someone I respected, as unfairly exacting as I can be? Why did my husband – who I met, and married, when he was just a boy – develop into the most wonderful father, a quality I value more than anything in a man? Why did we suit each other so well? How did we choose one another so well – when we were so ignorant of what would be required?
Ralph is my companion; we walk alongside the other. He is my fidelity to a higher purpose. He alone can hold my hand, can hold my body. He alone can hear the Me no one here does or will.
This morning I don’t take a walk, as I did the day I was a bride. I write a few words here, then I take myself back to bed, and back to the first of my days without children in the home. I take myself back to myself, and I spend the day in contemplation.
Life gives us great gifts, and we throw them away with both our hands.
Sometimes, we hold on to something.
Ralph is a gift to me, and – sobered, I know this to be true.Read More
A wee baby ensemble for a local auction – size 15 lb. baby!
A bunting (100% cotton shell, same color fleece lining, stenciled glitter-star front, and snaps with underlap), reversible hat with tied ears, and a baby sleeping bag with snap front. The front:
But … my favorite i sthe hat. I am a huge baby hat fan. I wish I had a baby to model this one. ONLY too adorable!
So yeah – as mentioned, I’ve been asked more and more for donations or contributions – either garment construction, or writing.* In between clients, getting the kids to school, and running last night’s benefit, I managed to put this together. The pieces made up a simple, pleasing project. Putting together the color palette – and the design – is one of the best parts of design.
I also just adore the idea of a baby sleeping bag. Why have I not thought of, or seen one before?
These pieces go off to a local auction. Always happy to help!
* Let’s make a deal: you know it’s totally okay to ask, ever (promise) – because you know I feel okay saying Yes or No. I’ll let you know if things change.Read More
“[…] You should’ve seen him when old Sally asked him how he liked the play. He was the kind of a phony that have to give themselves room when they answer somebody’s question. He stepped back, and stepped right on the lady’s foot behind him. He probably broke every toe in her body. […] Then he and old Sally started talking about a lot of people they both knew. It was the phoniest conversation you ever heard in your life. They both kept thinking of places as fast as they could, then they’d think of somebody that lived there and mention their name. I was all set to puke when it was time to go sit down again. I really was.”
Yeah. I’m all set to puke tonight. I guess I knew I’d get a little nervy the night before the big day. I knew I’d get nervy but I forgot what it was like to be nervy.
See, Nels is off with his sister to public school tomorrow. His first day at school ever.
My first day at home without a kid. Or two. Or four. My first day since, you know, becoming a parent. No big deal.
Except it’s massive.
I’ve managed to avoid thinking about this much.
First, I did the things I should: put together their school supplies, clothes, backpacks, lunch boxes. Talked things (by “things” I mean: as an unschooling family, having two kids in fulltime school) over with mentors, with a counselor, with my partner, with a couple trusted friends.
It occurs to me tonight that maybe, unconsciously, that’s a reason I’ve been so very busy lately. More tailoring work than even makes sense. Volunteer work, writing assignments, medical tests. And now I’m 50% done with the enormous work of putting together a benefit event – including three radio interviews today! so fun! And I’m not being sarcastic! – with another couple days hitting the pavement hard on that. Today I finished a sewn ensemble for another benefit event. I hadn’t finished the stitching on that before I was asked to contribute to a third good cause (so I guess: people admire my work, love my work, are starting to pay for my work – but more notably are also starting to ask for donations. Interesting!). Honestly, I’ve said “no” to a thing or two, but things do pile up.
So I’ve been busy with all that and it occurs to me I’ve done this on purpose maybe? And now as of this week, I’m processing some new medical information (sort of new, not-so-great medical information), and that’s been really hard.
Yeah. I almost got up to today, to my last day as an at-home carer without school or daycare, you know like my last day in like thirteen years –
I almost got to today without kind of freaking out.
But don’t worry. The freak-out is in evidence.
The kids’ clothes are laid out. Their school bags are packed. Forms are filled out. Rides to and from the bus stop, arranged. Nels says, casually to me: “First day of school tomorrow.” Like a Sir. LIKE A BOSS
Me? For the first time in over three years’ sobriety, I kind of feel like I used to when I had to drink. I don’t have to drink, now. I get to just have Feels.
Big, massive Feels.
Local stuff:Read More