Monday, January 23, 2012

reflections/angst on a book, The History of Love

he called her nova

it was the prettiest word he knew,

he called her nova

perfect for someone just like you

Allegedly, my dad wrote this. He wrote it sometime during the 70s. It was a song. A song my mother remembered, and he forgot. My mom remembered and it became my name. And this stanza showed up in a birthday card from my dad somewhere in my early 20s.

I've decided this is the way art works, and really not just the art, but also the teachings we receive. We hear what we want to hear, and we remember it in little fragments that we put together on our own. This is the way it goes.

I finished reading The History of Love by Nicole Krauss last night and it has invented enough feeling inside of me to break my silence on writing about books. Before I passed it on to the next reader, I searched this beautiful book for a sentence. Something to show you why it is to read. And every sentence reminded me of my dad's song. Because this book is somehow about a name, and remembering, and how the things we write move away from us and bring us things and never give us exactly what we are hoping for.

And it's about growing old. Not just old feeling. But honestly very old. And how we don't realize this now, but a lot of us will die alone. Our parents will be gone. Our mothers will not be there. The romantic loves we have lost will be more than lost. Everyone we know, gone. And we will hope to be seen by someone.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

small and large things

I had been saving all Ramona's little clothes for the last two and half years just in case we had another little girl. But we are not, and this is the last baby for me. So we get rid of them? Bin after bin of things my precious girl wore? We just give them away? I have tucked them in the basement, because I can't really deal with hard stuff right now.

I wasn't sure from where all the heartbreak came. After all, my new baby is coming and this is a time to be excited. What is wrong with me? Over the weekend I was going through my nephew's clothes. Some of them I liked, and others I didn't. I made quick piles of her things. No big deal for me. But my sister sat in desperation. Flinching every time I put something in the wrong pile. I chided her unkindly for acting crazy, and she responded, "But that's my life right there."

And those words settled into my brain. Crazy, and beautiful. That pile of old clothes her baby wore is her life? And I am just the same. I'm sad about the bins of pink. I'd be sad no matter what they looked like, because she wore them and she won't wear them again. These are the obvious lessons that come hard to moms.

How did we get to this point where a pile of old bottles, a plastic bin of onesies could become something we would point to and claim as our life? These small and large things are what will totally break our heart in the end.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

the boy kind

The reason we needed another baby is because of the florescent lighting in the bathroom at work. Every time I went in there I saw grey hair. Grey hair that is or isn't there. I'd glance at my hair and immediately my ovaries would begin to worry.

So, despite the fact that one is always enough, we are having two. And I am scared. And happy. But like roller coaster happy scared where you know it could be dangerous, but you believe everything is going to be amazing.

Our new baby is going to be the boy kind. I always wanted to have a son, even though I never wanted to have a son. Girls are my people. But at the same time, when I taught first grade I always found the boys daunting and lovable in a way that made me want one for keeps. But still, I'm nervous and feel like having a son is not unlike inviting a strange and funny monkey to tea.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

new year

This year has been new for five days. It's not too late to write about it. I didn't make a resolution this year, despite how I love setting goals, failing at goals, and feeling miserable about them. It wasn't a conscious effort. I just didn't get around to it. Kind of like how I forgot to write about Christmas.

I spent New Years with my sick little girl. Late at night, she woke with a high fever and a very scary dream about dinosaurs in her room. Her high fever scared me and the maturity of her dream made me so sad. I remember the scary dreams of childhood. So, I brought her to bed with me.

She was immediately comforted, so relieved to be in mama's bed. She sang goofy little songs to me, and told me weird, funny things. Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, I really like your branches. We laid there for awhile, scratching her back, petting her head, waiting for her fever to break. She coughed in my face, her hot arms wrapped around my neck. At the same time, my tiny little baby wiggled deep inside. My blessings all drawn up around me.

I am always surprised that Ramona feels the same way for me that I do my own mother. I somehow bring her the kind of comfort one expects from a Mother. Despite being flawed and all wrong, and sometimes unkind, I am exactly right.