lovely gifts in the mail. and … ass.

In a few minutes: the family all-out for Sophie’s 5th birthday party. Yay Sophie! Yesterday she received a simply lovely birthday package from her friend Olivia (daughter to my friend Abbi):

From left to right: miso pretty gum, picture of Liv, fabulous summer fisherman hat, optical illusion book, small pewter night and dinosaur card.

Thank you, Olivia!

A few minutes ago I overheard my mom quickly turn to my dad and angrily say, “He smells like shit. Check his ass!” (referring to the dog who came in from his afternoon outside dump). And my dad kind of shrank in his chair when she yelled at him because he knew he’d have to do it. 10 minutes later and I am still laughing, laughing, laughing.

living, breathing lives

My parents leave at 5; time for a family walk. We bundle everyone up and take to the small trails in the woodsy areas around our home. My daughter gets a rare turn in the jogging stroller, bundled in a quilt sewn by my mother. My eleven-month-old son is happy in his backpack, looking over my left shoulder. This is his preferred mode of transport. His eyes are green, cheeks flushed in the brisk air, and I can smell his milky breath. I feel blissful. Accompanying us is our neighbor’s dog, who we are sitting for 10 days. He is a Naughty Dog at times, but I love him. He chases off a larger dog in the park; then is beset by (count ’em) three dachshunds and a whippet – turns tail and flees. Sometimes I think dogs don’t mind if it’s themselves who come out ahead, they just like figuring out who.

The Husband and I review our weekend so far. Despite the in-laws – and the dogsitting – and the morning full of babysitting our friends’ child – he and I have had a few moments to ourselves. A morning shower together while Nels napped and Sophie played on her own in the living room. Time in the car with three (relatively) quiet little ones, and now this peaceful, invigorating walk.

Arrive home. My doula friend has dropped off our voice recorder gadget which she borrowed for some of her birthing clients. In reviewing what files to keep and delete I hear the powerful, painful sounds of a woman in advanced labor. Her vocalizations are long moans, pained but in control. I hear whispers in the background. Long moments of silence, playful laughter – some of it by the laboring woman. Listening in feels intimate, almost sexual. What a beautiful sound track for one of the most amazing passages in our lives.