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Week 3/ October 18-24 - Page 2

post #21 of 45

Tiny hands

Tiny hands. It's amazing how they work, the things they can do. I watch those little cone-shaped fingers extend and fill out into the strong cylindrical tools a man will use someday. Now they are the feelings and expressions of boys, still peas growing in the pod. I watch the hands build, I watch them write. [Second son]'s hands are a piece of art; they can do anything. He is writing and building and has these machine-like manipulations that could make anything possible. [First son], however, is twisting, contorted and strange. He is the one with the interesting hands. They switch roles, one going over and curving back. Today it's his left, tomorrow it's his right. Oh to have those switching hands. One of them is favored but both are capable. I love those tiny hands.

I see the big hands and I capture them on my paper. It is the most amazing thing to recognize a pair of hands I have put on my wall. Hands grabbing, pushing. I always said hands were my favorite part. They are. I capture the hands. I grab them. My wrists are bruised. They have bruised wrists also I'm sure. I bend their hands in a kote-gaeshi and later I will lovingly paint them on the most beautiful paper.

I wonder what the kids' hand will look like someday. Will they still grab people and throw them lovingly on the floor? Will they hold weapons? Will they build houses? Will they feel the ins and outs of a woman's body? Or a man's? I try to let these thought be free but oh there are of course things we mothers and the fathers want but I must be open to all because someday the hands will fly off on their own and the only thing that is not open is closed and that, closed, I can never be.

Where will their hands live? will they stay on this continent? Will they be moist and supple and stay in damp country? Will they be exposed regularly to the harsh sun of the desert and look old before their time? My hands always looked old. I always called my hands “old lady hands” and was embarrassed of them. I would hide them, hate them, looking at the fat pink fingers and smooth skin of other girls, envious. Mine looked at age eight like I had already spent a lifetime washing dishes. And now, I've spent so much time scraping food bits into the hot soapy water and I have grown, my face is older to match my hands and my hands no longer seem the ugliest part of me. They have aged beautifully. They hold a pen, they glide a brush across the paper, they caress, they fidget when I'm nervous. They have built not a house but a home. They have made countless little things.

What will my babies' hands make? Art? War? As I watch them grow I hope they love their capable hands and made the world a better place with them. I hold their warm fingers, I guide them, I steer them. I kiss them, and occasionally we throw each other to the floor.

(The references to bruised wrists and throwing each other to the floor are because we study aikido.)
post #22 of 45

If I could do it again

If I could do it again I would have to go really far back to start over. Yesterday, a year ago, ten years ago would not be enough. I used to think eleven years old was the magical age I would go back to, to start over. And how I would change the next few years after that.

Now I am not so sure. Maybe I would need to go further back, maybe choose different parents, maybe to a previous lifetime.

If I could go back to any time, I would believe in myself more and not be scared of my father's angry yelling and not be intimidated by my sister's bossiness and name calling and not be heartbroken by my mom's disowning me. I would shut off the outside world more and trust myself more.

Even if I only went back to yesterday that is what I should do more.

About my marriage there is a lot I would do differently. After all the he saids and she saids I don't know if I would marry the same man. Maybe as long as we stay married I have to say yes to go forward. Maybe if we get divorced that would be me saying no.

I wouldn't try so hard to change myself to be more like my younger sister. My parents always bragging about her, living vicariously through her, getting so much joy from her energy and accomplishments.

If I could do it over there wouldn't be a part of me that finally became happy about her eyelids frozen shut, her tongue stiff against her teeth and me not daring to feel behind her head to convince myself that this was reality.

The sadness would be real and thorough and with no silver lining. If I could go back to another time I would go to visit her regardless of the inconveniences. And I would be on the back of the bike and cushion her fall. And we would lie looking up at the stars together in the dark summer night.

If I could do it again I don't know if I even believe in. Because who knows what those different choices would lead to. This might be my best life possible and if I did things different maybe things would be worse. Just even thinking if I could do it again seems false. But if I say I would change nothing it would seem I had not learned.

There are pivotal moments I would have chnaged. I would not live with my father and his depression. But then I would be with my mom and her new alcoholic husband and his lying cheating stealing children and would that have been better.

I would be less trusting and know when a too cute stray kitten suddenly appears on our doorstep that it was not fate but a mother's trying to make things a little better than reality.

And I would know that little fluffy furry rabbits do not die from being scared to death but instead are ripped from the cage by two angry dogs and torn to pieces and then the man beats the dogs to death and then the dead dogs are what really lie below that so innocent looking cross.

And when my parents put me in a vice and took turns turning the handle until I popped in half and we all looked to see if I had crystals inside, blue, violet, white sparkling, I would look more carefully so I would know the answer now before they each took a half and put it in their pocket and walked off in opposite directions.

And if I did that then I would not be writing this too clever writing now because I would be open to my soul with its bright soft glorious illuminating light and not stuck outside of the fortress. Of the mountain folded up impenetrable by the magma boiling and burning at the core.

And maybe if I poke deep enough the magma will spew out and burn and char all in its path and I have to believe somehow that such a horrific sight is better than the present. Because so much of what I now want to think is beautiful would be destroyed.

And I know and believe on a concious level that what would grow in the aftermath would be even more beautiful but I don't believe it to the magma core and so the mountains continue to be slowly imperceptibly lifted and folded and maybe sometime in the far distant future a curious explorer will find a way to penetrate, or maybe they will have been eroded by some yet unformed stream, and she will be able to read my history in the vertical strata.

If I could do it again my diary would be more full then This morning I got up and ate breakfast. Then I went to school. Then I came home and played. Then we had dinner. Then I went to bed.

I want to scream at her to wake up to not be scared to not care. To not put on a white lab coat and draw the blood over and over because small pox is not around anymore. And to tear the splints off and to scratch and leave scars and scream and don't stop screaming no matter what they do until you are truly warm and safe and comforted again.

If I could do it again I would know they were two and I would have spoke both their names for nine months and said hello is that you and hello is that you and I love you in there and I love you in there.

I would not try to be so hard like her because my parents thought I was not interesting enough but couldn't see and admit my depression so it became a moral failing to be changed. And I tried too hard and failed in much greater ways. And maybe my husband would not have loved me but maybe I also would not have hurt him. Trying to be bigger better faster because that is what he needs and that is what he thought I was because that is what I was trying to be.

If I could do it over again I would do my own thing and practice more than 15 minutes if that is what I wanted because what else is more precious in childhood then following your own interests. Though there is no such thing, because we always rely on parents to show us what is important in this life.

If I could do it again I would already be the strong soft rock on which my children could play and tumble and poke and prod and I would be steadfast and constant and they would learn no fear and not see my angry eyes and not hear my angry voice and not feel my angry touch. Because the next time they are a little more cautious and it is because of fear, not because of learning the resiliancey of constant steadfast love.

[And now I glance at my timer which I apparently did not start - deep sigh - so who knows how long I have rambled. My guess is about 25 minutes.]
post #23 of 45

birthday party

It was the best birthday party ever. In the history of the world perhaps. It is the birthday party I wanted to have, I still want to have. I keep telling everybody that. All the parents left except for two, and they went to their cars! It was a house of screaming, stomping, tumbling building boys with arms and legs and voices penetrating the air thick with balloons, Legos, and wrapping paper. The music covered the other noises like a blanket covering a hot sweating body. The energy was contagious.

How many bodies filled our space? While they were moving it seemed like a hundred; while they all had their mouths full of the cake I counted eleven. Nine boys and two girls. It was a party. Eyes bulging, smiles wide and sharing pulling each other and onto the next thing. Legos. Dance. Legos. Dance. The little one, poor little [Friend], two years old in all the madness sneaked off to play with the doll house. The rest were in the house and out of the house. Shoes on, shoes off. Running, tumbling, play with me! Build with me! I played, I built, I rolled on the hard basement floor. I sneaked to the kitchen for a second glass of wine. My cheeks hurt from laughing.

The parents came and stood around, breathing. Then he came. The icing on the cake was when Sensei showed up. What a gift to have your teacher at your party. Birthday Boy's eyes lit up and he greeted his overwhelmed teacher who looked around putting together the pieces of his various classes from various days of the week and he had some cake too. The boys were jammed into one corner building creations, wedged in a tightness, surrounded by Lego pieces, I'm surprised they didn't snap themselves together also. They would have if they could.

The two kids with the hunger for grown-up attention, the two I say I love the most, had me in the basement playing. I played hard. I ran, rolled, bruised my shoulders for him and we laughed and I was purposefully, guidedly goofy to make our enjoyment full and complete and they felt very authoritative and right at home. [Boy] was being my teacher. My heart was breaking every time [his sister] grabbed me, begged me to build clay with her, do this with me. We were the big girls. I wonder what she does at home.

The kids were fantastic. No tears, no fighting. It was a symphony played on kazoos and hammers. They were in rhythm. The quiet winding down time when everyone else had gone was when Sensei presented [Birthday Boy] with the hachimaki and tied it on him, explaining what it was and we joked about the kamikaze pilots wearing it over their eyes instead. Who enjoyed the party more? Birthday Boy or me? That is hard to say. Can I plan such a party for myself? It would feel silly, for sure, but maybe I should. I could grow younger with each year. My parties could get more and more fun. I could invite the kids, be a kid, stay a kid, and the kids could grow up instead.
post #24 of 45

Tiny hands

Tiny hands on my face
Tiny hands on my arm
Tiny hands on my breast
Tiny hands everywhere

I wish I could keep those tiny hands
Forever on my neck
On my waist
On my back

I wish I could hold those tiny hands
In my hands a little longer
A little longer, a little more
Never felt so much love before

Never a love so pure, so real
So basic or simple as
Tiny hands
On my face
On my arm
On my breast
post #25 of 45

Birthday party

Birthday party come and gone. Birthday party must go on. That’s what I was thinking when two hurricanes spoiled my son’s first birthday party. But then I thought, it was two hurricanes, you know. Not one. Two. So maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Not right now. We went out for dinner at a restaurant. He’s too young to understand what a birthday is. To be disappointed.
We were going to have streamers, balloons and cute favors. We were going to have such a blast at the pool. My baby and his baby friends.
But he doesn’t care anyway. He’s one. As far as he’s concerned he’s always been here. It is I that keep thinking about that hollow day when I didn’t have my baby inside me anymore. When I saw two little eyes peering at me. When I felt his impossibly soft, abundant hair between my legs.
Birthday party. No birthday party. I mourn not ever having ever hosted one. Missing out with my son. But next year it will be different. Next year we’ll go to the zoo, and we’ll see the animals, and everything will be jungle themed, and..
post #26 of 45
Hi mama's this is my first ime so be goeasy on me k? I have never ever written anyhting before but I saw the assignment and 1o min later, well here is what I got.~

Tiny Hands

Last night as I lay in bed, Jordyn tucked in the cozy nook of my right arm,Taylor cozy in the nook of my left. We fit so perfectly. I laid there remembering as I held your almost 4 y.o. hands.
Sweet memories danced arcoss my mind,and laid lightly on my heart so as if to make my heart flutter.
The very first time I touched my sweet precious babies, it was 12 hours after your entrance into this world. The epidural did not work with this pregnant body. I froze all the way up to my nose, and could not keep water down. The doctor kept me away from you for too long. I can remember going to the NICU with earnst like nothing was going to keep this Mama Bear away from her babies a moment longer. You were tucked into your tiny isolettes. Naked. Wires attatched to you everywhere. Tubes where tubes should not be. So tiny. So very very tiny. Your isolettes were sidexside. I sat there in my wheelchair, right in the middle. The middle where you want me to sit when we eat our meals. The middle where I am when I nurse you both. The middle where I hold your hands to safely get you across the street.
I opened the little windows to each isolette to hold you both for the first time. I reached in,and could only hold your tiny hands. Hands so small I could fit my wedding band over them.
As I sat there, in the middle, arms reached out as far as they can go each way. I felt your tiny hands squeeze my finger so tight. I knew we would never let one another go, and I tried to imagine the future...... Laying cozy in a bed, both my beautiful daughters nuzzled in each arm, and I holding thier almost 4, still tiny hands.
post #27 of 45
What I know now is different from what I knew back then. At 13. 18. 30. So what does that mean about this present knowing? I think, at least I have this humbleness about me, this openness to things being/changing/mutating. I remember how adamant I was. I can still feel the strength of my beliefs. The words so clear and defined. I will never cheat. I will never be like my mother... I knew the grey of friendships and social interaction. Yet certain things seemed so clear to me in my blatant innocence. And then, I lost myself in a turmoil of tangled words with burrs of need sticking to me. I brushed at them listlessly and wildly succeeding only in moving them from one pant leg to another. As I tried to extricate myself, running across country to a southern city, that is when I cheated. Out of need and desperation. Save me, please. Sluice me with water and light me up deep inside where I have been hiding and hoping. And that light, it didn't save me, but it sure as hell set me on the road to freedom. Free to look back and see just where I had been. Free to look froward and make new choices about where I wanted to go. And here I am, years later, a mother. Remembering the shrugs of disdain that must have pierced my mom at least once with precision. As only a young woman could do. So unknowingly. And sometimes the candor was planned, full of rebellion and anger all rolled up into a few simple words. In hopes of spurring her to make some change? I have no idea, even now, what my hopes were. I think I wanted out. I wanted freedom. I wanted big love inside. I wanted to see the big love inside of her. And I wanted someone to show me how to find that loving. My mother, I can see it clearly now, she did her best. She still does her best. And I am feeling that big old love inside. Vast abundant skies of pink-gold. Cherry trees hanging heavy with ripe ruby fruits. And I think I know how I can share this place. With my mother. With my sister. With my lover. With my baby boy...
post #28 of 45
I was interrupted several times with mundane things. I have no idea how long this took me.

If I could do it again...

I'd have told you what was on my mind, really on my mind, when I left. Our relationship, I'm sure you would agree, had been in fizzle mode for a long time. Remember when we were really in love. We were. I tried to deny it later, but what kind of idiot would I have been to have spent nearly a decade with you, if there hadn't been love. I'm not an idiot. We loved each other. We, I'll say we, were weak perhaps, unable to deal with the rigors of life and sustain that love, but once we did love each other.

When it seemed like love faded, we were still friends. As we felt the relationship change though, we still knew it was special. And even though we were strangely phobic of any official commitment, we treated the relationship as an entity to itself. To which we were committed, even if we didn't call it that. But we knew it had value even when we were slipping away from what we had in the beginning.

Later, when we'd suffered to many unresolved diagreements, and there was too much anger for friendship to survive, we still had respect. What kept us together? I tried so many times to break up, to accuse you of inattention, lack of caring, neglect that was too mindless to even be callous. I'd get to your apartment, irate because you hadn't called for days, and I'd find you in bed, with a fever and chills. A highly esteemed professional with chronic recurrent mono, able to function fully when work needed you, but at many other times, you were struck with fatigue and fever. Every single time I took the elevator up, planning to break up, I'd find you prostrate.

Except for the time I was again, plotting the end of us, and I ended up in the emergency room, death standing just beyond the circle working around the table on which I lie. When I was recovering, you carried me to your bed and cared for me like a precious treasure. So again, I changed my plans, and decided to stay.

I guess I needed a good kick in the butt to end things. And finally, you came through. I said nothing when you did what you did. I knew then that the respect was gone, and the relationship was truly over. I had an early morning and a busy day to follow, and was leaving for a conference after that, so why would I stay up deconstructing, when the only purpose in deconstructing is to prepare for reconstruction. Besides, for the first time since I was 9 months old and spoke my first word, I was speechless with disbelief over what your betrayel. The malice hurt much more coming from someone I'd trusted years of my life to, than from a stranger. It was truly over, over, over. All I wanted to do was get away, and when I was there, I would figure out how to end it smoothly and definitively. Even though you hurt me deeply, I felt no need to hurt you back. All I wanted was the end.

When I got back from my trip, I called you and said I had to talk to you about something. That way, even if you were sick, you would know I had something to say. That also bound me in a way, to keep me from chickening out. I mentioned that several times as we talked over the week. I also found out your exact schedule for Friday, well, as exact as it could be considering they abused your work ethic and always kept you more hours rather than send someone to relieve you. We talked Friday afternoon, here we go again, “They think I have testicular torsion. I talked to a friend in urology, and he said, if I'm not better by later tonight, I should call him to meet me in the ER.”

Well, I figured, I'll go to the ER with him, but I'm breaking up with him first.

Evening came and I took a big bag onto the commuter train. I scheduled my arrival to be before you got back to your apartment, so that I could clean out the relatively few posessions I had there, considering we'd been together 9, yes nine, years. By the time you came home, my bag was packed and I'd been waiting awhile. You were almost doubled over, walking with a limp, hand to crotch. You looked so pitiful, not just the testicle thing, but your hair was uncombed and you were dressed sloppily, and I realized how much weight you'd gained of late, though your nordic track was quite busy – holding your clothes. This job is killing you, I'd have said if I wanted to get off track. Stand up to them. Leave! Take care of yourself. Get a life!

But I wasn't there to rehabilitate. So I got to business. I have to tell you something. When my brief statement was over, he looked at me, and said, sounding disappointed, “I thought you were going to tell me you were sick.”

I was incensed, how could he sound like he was hoping I was sick?? That I should be sick rather than for him to lose his good time girl.

I suceeded in being succinct and I was heading for the door, big bag over my shoulder. “I'll walk you out,” No thanks, I'm fine. “Tell me what you want, and I'll do it.” I kept walking. As if it was that simple, and if it was, yeah, for about 5 minutes until you have me back. Now that I'd really had the fire lit under my butt, it took me 9 minutes to end 9 years.

Why didn't I say what was on my mind? Why didn't I tell him what the last straw was on the back of the feeble camel that had been our relationship. Because it was pointless to discuss it, it was done, and it wasn't like I wanted to work it out. Because I didn't want to give anything that faintly resembled a signal this was negotiable. I didn't want to give him any loose ends he might try to call me to pick up. I didn't give him credit to understand what I was feeling, and it was pointless to end up trying to explain. I didn't want another minute in his company.

Years later, after I'd long forgiven him, forgiven myself, I wonder if I'd have healed faster if I'd at least vented to him. Then, even if he hadn't gotten it then, it might have hit him later.

Maybe, in one of the many nights that has passed in the 12 years since this happened he has, on his own. I've only been feeling that way since my recent revelations. I'd thought him angry with me, angry with our lack of communication, angry at my independence, angry at where the years had taken us, and I felt he lashed out at me in anger he could no longer hide in detachment. Now I know that may well have been true, but underneath his anger there may have lay grief over what was, and an unconscious desperation to push our relationship another way.

He didn't think I was going to tell him I was sick. He thought I was going to tell him I was pregnant.

Just weeks ago, dreams in the safe place of my husband's arms brought me to a time long before. Now I realize that I was very caught up in your not understanding what I would say. But the truth was, I didn't understand what to say. Had I said any more than I did, my words would only have fallen on the the angry man, not the spirit within.

Now I would know to speak to both, though the angry man would argue with me on technicalities. He would say that I completely misconstrue his motives, and grossly distort his actions. But perhaps the spirit would have heard me.

I would not have cringed at sitting close to you. I would have truly reached for you from the heart, instead of out of ceremony. I would have said ...

... and it would have fallen on incredelous ears. You'd have thought me delusional. I was right to do as I did.

But I can say it now. The spirit can still hear me. And maybe your spirit will tell it to you in a way better than I ever could, so that you will understand and begin to find the peace that escaped you.

I remember our fierce love. It slipped away so slowly, we didn't notice. One day it was just gone, and we never told it goodbye. So slowly, I began to turn from you. I am so, so sorry that life failed to deliver what seemed to be glorious promises - again. And that made everything for you futile. I know you reel with anger at the injustice. I also know you have unfathomable grief at what you've lost, and lost again. Inside, you were dying, and you made a desparate grasp for life. You weren't acting out of malice, you were doing the only thing possible, within your humanity, to take your family back.
Now I feel that I could have held you one last time as I said goodbye, close enough to let our tears mix before they fell from our faces.

Then I move back from him. My voice turns hard.

But none of that, none of that, and I am screaming now, I am in his face, pointing an accusing finger, none of that, gave you the right to rape.
post #29 of 45
That last post was the most personal I've ever shared, yet after much thought, I decided to post here on the big WWW. Events of the past few weeks, stemming from a dream I had, have been at the forefront of my mind. Because I wanted to share how this workshop is helping me reclaim the little remnants of myself, that lost, keep me from being the best person I can be, in the way that is most important to me: for my family - Dh and Dd.
post #30 of 45
If I could do it again, I would do it the same. I'm a person who believes that every choice, every situation, every life even has significance in our lives. Everything I've done has led me to this place I am today. The good, the bad and the indifferent all contribute to today's me!

I like my life. I've had a good share of joy & happiness, struggle & pain. I have a good family & good friends. I like who I am and where I've come from to get here.

If I looked at things as if I could do it over, I'd be living in the past, looking behind & focusing on something other than the moment that is happening right now.

I have found, upon reflection, that the struggles & difficulties I have experienced have all been gifts. I can see the ways I have learned & gron from each struggle. I can see that they were incredible gifts that contributed to my growth. Sometimes it's taken me awhile to see the blessing, but I usually find it.

Life is about change, growth & experience. To think that I could go back & make it better by changing, adding or deleting something would be to think that somehow a different something would be better. I accept who I am, where I am and continue to face what will be in the future. How could I know what would be better? It's like the part in that Garth Brooks song, "The Dance", he says, "I'm glad I didn't know the way it all would end, the way it all would go. Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance."

If I looked back and eliminated the painful events or struggles, I'd also miss the huge opportunities for growth that went along with those struggles, or the incredible people I have met along the way & have learned from them. These are things I would not have watned to miss.

The past few years especially gave me so many diffricult events & yet through it all I've probably grown by leaps and bounds. I got so many life lessons that have all led me to today where I feel so much more peaceful and content than ever before in my life. This places where I am comfortable with myself, where I truly like who I am and the life I am living. Where I am moving forward in a way that serves a greater good, cares more about others & strives for peace within, in my relationships and globally. I feel like I am finally coming into myself and starting to really contribute something positive to the world.

I feel like getting to this point has been such an intricate & delicate balance. To remove, add, or change any part would have a ripple affect that I would not want to unravel. My enire life would be different and for that reason alone, I would not go back and do anything differently.

My life, thus far, has been perfect, in that everything has had a reason or purpose. I believe the rest of my life will be perfect too with it's own balance and purpose. So, I will continue to live my life in the present, moving forward to face whatever challenges & opportunities come my way.
post #31 of 45
First post...

If I could do it again, I would be afraid. Afraid of messing it up and not being where we all are today. It is perfect now. Not free of stress and anger and sadness, but we are one family. There are four of us and we are one. How did I get here? What were all the choices I made that brought me to this wonderful place of love?

Some of these choices I remember and made with conviction: Should we keep the baby? YES. My world is ending...and we leapt off the cliff together...into a new world.

Some choices were made without conviction, but only hope. Should we get married?...it seems best....and we wanted to before...yes?...oh-yes...

Some choices were made with conviction through knowledge: breastfeed?..yes!

Some choices were made without knowledge of the path we were going down. Should you go to graduate school? Sounds like a good idea...yes...oh-no, I've lost you...

Some choices were made because we simply gave up: family bed...yes...I'm too tired...

Some choices were made after much deliberation: Should we have another one?yes...no...yes...no...yes... no........ YES!

Some were made ignoring that voice. Should I kiss him?...yes...I shouldn't have...oh-no...no...no...no...

Some were made knowing there was no other way wishing there could be another way: Yes, I have to tell you something...I'm so sorry...

Some were made with help: go back to school...no...I'll babysit...yes

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHERS? What about all those little decisions that I can't remember? The little shifts from one side of the path to another that eventually put us on this path? If I can't remember them, I don't want to do it again, because I can't guarantee that we'll be here again in this moment.

And it's all so perfect. We are all so loving right now. I have found peace. I would never do it again, first time's the charm.
post #32 of 45
Tiny hands, tiny fingers grasp at my cordless mouse and hurl it down the hallway, smashing against the door and landing in a heap of small parts. Not again!

Tiny hands, tiny fingers wrapped tightly around the broken red crayon, scribbling deeply into the beige carpeting. Are we out of carpet cleaner already?

Tiny hands, tiny fingers grab as many hot wheels cars as can fit, throwing with all his might at his bigger brother. Ow, that hurts!

Tiny hands, tiny fingers, meticulously peel away the tape holding school work up on the walls and doors of his bedroom. Every last one crumpled and thrown in the trash. At least he knows where the trash can is.

Tiny hands, tiny fingers, lightly pinching, squeezing, holding as he nurses, giggles, and glides off to peaceful sleep.
post #33 of 45

Brown Eyes

I met a man who was more like a boy than a man. He had laughing brown eyes that glinted with mischief. He liked handcuffs and cooking, and tickled me until it hurt. He reminded me of Peter Pan. We fell into life together, and he asked me to have a child with him. Laughingly I agreed.

Two summers later, we eloped to Las Vegas, one-year-old in tow. Not long after when our second child was born it was those same brown eyes, only serious now, that kept me afloat in that sea of pain. The same brown eyes that overflowed with tears of gratitude and joy when he beheld the little bundle in my arms.

Now we are four. My green eyes, two innocent pairs of the most beguiling blue, and his deep chocolate eyes with the crinkles at their corners. Loving brown eyes in which I have found my home.
post #34 of 45
This was a tough week. Little time and energy for writing. And, apparently, a lot of anger and cynicism. This was my most surprising and uncomfortable entry, so I thought it's the one I should post. Thanks for listening without judgment.

How (not) to throw a first birthday party (for type-A personalities)

After deciding on a theme for your party, open a new quark file and set the parameters for your invitation. Spend a few hours searching clip art and font libraries while baby sleeps. Try not to cry when your computer crashes at 3 am after downloading an obscure typeface.

Take the paper cutter down from the attic where it’s been collecting dust since your wedding. Scoring the paper isn’t necessary, but you may want to mark the x and y axes on your 4-up proof with a few faint grey dashes. Just to be sure. For a professional look, print your return address on the opposite side. While you’re at it, you may as well add three evenly spaced lines on the lower right for your recipient’s address. As a final touch, create an email address using your child’s name that redirects to a subfolder in your inbox for RSVPs.

When your postcards are in the mail, it’s time to focus on food. During bathroom breaks, thumb through last year’s gourmet magazines to find five or six challenging finger food recipes that capitalize on your party theme. Like guava-glazed shrimp kebabs or pork and raisin empanaditos. While some grocers offer pre-made delicacies that can be re-heated in under an hour, consider making the entire spread from scratch over the course of several days. And don’t forget the cake. Buttercream frosting can be made two days ahead, you know.

On to decor. You could go to one of those party supply stores on Route 1 where all the decorations are grouped by theme, or you could go just a few miles out of your way to the art supply store where the spikey-haired MassArt students go. And while you’re out, why not pop over to Chinatown for a few bolts of fabric to drape from the ceiling. Think cabana in Havana. Take the long route home to pick up candles at the tropical market for those day-to-evening guests who aren’t tied to anyone’s nap schedule.

All will go smoothly the day of the party if you stick to a schedule. Roll masa dough into 4-inch discs while baby eats breakfast. Add fillings made the night before and crimp. Read a story. Convince skeptical husband that hanging sheers will be fun. Pretend not to notice when he rolls his eyes. Let baby empty your CD collection while you import several hours worth of music. Nurse, rock, nap. While baby sleeps, quickly fry your tostones, grill your skewers, and assemble your salads in hollowed-out fruit bowls. When baby awakens, change diaper, tickle toes, walk up stairs, walk down stairs, hug the doggie, read another story, salsa dance, bang on pots. Breathe.

As your guests arrive, use the side of a stand mixer to quickly pin up stray locks and apply a thin coat of lipstick. Slip into espadrilles on your way to the door. Plant baby on your hip and smile.
post #35 of 45

this week

Tiny Hands

Actually, the hands of a newborn look rather large, compared to the rest of them. I don’t know why that is, but their hands look big, somehow, too big for that tiny body. The hands of my child were set free, once he was born and out of his pool of water, his hands seemed to flail about, trying to find the edge of his existence. His tiny fists raising and jerking about; his fingernails hardening into weapons that left traces upon his face. His first marks, his first contact.

My baby liked to rest his hand on my breast. It was such a touching and funny image. My husband and I laughed at our son’s proprietary notions. “This is MY boob now, papa, in case you had any other ideas. Same goes for you, mom.” My breasts swollen to a size they never were before, and his hand so tiny upon one, resting there, while he nursed.

Power to the People! Soon, my son was saluting the revolutionary peoples of the world – casting his lot with theirs. His fist held up, fingers facing out, and his arm extended up as far as it would go (which, at this 3 months, was almost to the top of his head). Power to the People. Dude.

And then it was things – my goodness, he is holding onto that rattle! On his very own. The muscles in his hands working the memory of all the people before him. Us, with our opposable thumbs, each item before us a potential tool, the key to all the mysteries.

My son’s hands are tiny, compared to mine. I remember in those first few twilight days after birth, I was breaking apart and opening back up into the realization that I was becoming a mother, right then, in front of my own eyes, and I looked down and I saw my hands, and suddenly they were my mother’s hands. How could that happen so quickly, why did I never notice before? Their angles sharper, the skin less soft, the freckles in new formation, these hands more clearly defined than ever. The job they had to do so clear: hold this baby. And let him go.

© 2004 Stacy M. Lewis
post #36 of 45

Brown Eyes

None of us kids had them. Neither did my dad. Just my mom. And the dog. And we used to tease her about it. My mom and the dog. The only brown eyes in the family.
And then I met him. And he's got brown eyes. Never had anything against them. They are beautiful. Almond shaped. Eating me up.
And then I had her. And she's got them too. Hard to tell at first what they'd be. But it was easy enough to tell fairly quickly that they were staying brown.
They're absolutely amazing. Almond shaped like her papas.
When she used to let me I would hold her and stare into them. They are just amazing. So many colors. They seem to go deeper and deeper.
Far and between is it now tha she stands still long enough for me to stare into those eyes. But still, when I'm lying in bed with her, I steal a glimpse.
Mommy, mommy, she says over and over again.
Yes baby, I answer. Lying down with her in bed is still just the greatest. Getting ehr to slow down. Let me hold her. Sing silly songs. Talk about stuff. Listen to her stories. Say goodnight to all the princesses, herself included.
And then I had another. He's got mine. I would venture to say they'll be just like mine, but it's still to early to tell. Mostly green, a little blue. He turned out so fair.
Blondy. Green eyes. Where did this child come from? We're both dark. Oh he's so beautiful. His eyes light everything up.
He gives you that look. He raises his brows.
He's got you. Tugging. Pulling. You're all his. Everyone says he looks just like me. I don't know.
I always wanted someone to sing Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl to. NOw, she's done it. She is my brown eyed girl. She's my baby. My peanut.
I think ahead to what lies on that path for us.
We will have a better go of it than my mom and I. But can you blame her? Alienating her so early. Singling her out for her brown eyes. It was just a joke, but maybe not so funny.
post #37 of 45
What I Know Now…

I was talking to Wendi the other day and she exclaimed, “Oh, the things I know now! I know how much more helpful I would be to new moms now – the exact ways in which I would be more helpful, the things I would do.” She just gave birth to a son two weeks ago.

I remember in my new moms group, one of the moms said, “I feel so badly now – how little help I was to my new mom friends before. It’s embarrassing, really, how little I knew, or the useless things I bought them for their baby showers.”

I gave Wendi two books: The Baby Book and After the Baby’s Birth. They didn’t get any oohs and ahhs at the shower – heck, they didn’t even get passed around the circle – but later Wendi told me: “Thank you so much for those books. They’re great! I just feel like they’re so helpful already, like they’re giving us the tools we’ll need when the baby comes, and that we will grow into them.”

I have been thinking a lot about how inadequate our rituals are around a new baby. First, it’s only about the baby. A baby shower, at which the baby is given a bunch of stuffed animals and onsies. Usually the partner or father (and anyone of the male sex, unless they themselves are a baby) are excluded… Where are our rituals for the family – the one that is becoming and forming right in front of us?

I can see reshaping the baby shower to become a Family… Blossoming, and the partner of the woman would be present and the people (not just the women) in the couple’s life would attend, offering gifts and advice and nourishment and real help, like a meal tree, errands, babysitting, massages, cleaning, for after the baby comes.

And after the birth, maybe at six weeks or twelve weeks, there could be a Family Welcoming, where the family is reintroduced to their community, as a family. A party with food, maybe an opportunity for a portrait, a time for blessings and acknowledgement that from here on out, everything is different, and that the people before us are connected in a unique way and that we are connected, too, and we support them. People could bring symbols of connection and family… milk, oak leaves, whatever.

I was talking to my husband about this idea, and we had the hardest time coming up with symbols or gestures or rituals… he commented, “That’s because our gestures are usually focused on giving people STUFF.”

Oh, the stuff! It’s so true, all the baby gear that exists! It’s obscene, really… sure, some of it makes sense and thank goodness for it. I remember me, eight months pregnant, offhandedly telling my friend, who had two toddlers, “Yeah, we’re not going to get a bunch of stuff.” She told me, “Well, you can go camping without camping gear, too, but how much fun is that, really?” She gave us a changing table and every time I did not have to bend down on the floor or the bed and regather all the changing supplies, I thanked her for it.

But it’s almost as if we make up for the lack of really useful and touching gifts and insight we might give to parents with plastic and electronic gismos that mostly serve to keep the kid at arm’s length. What I really needed to know before I gave birth was:

You can do this.
You baby will need to be held, a lot.
This, too, shall pass.
Open your heart, expand your wit, and be prepared to grow.
You will learn, and when you do, you will do better.
And that will be okay. You and your baby are in this together.

I didn’t need to know any of the practical stuff. I needed the heart stuff. Anyone, given time, can learn the tools (diapers, bulb syringe, ear thermometer, snap pants, et al), but almost no one can do it feeling like they’re only one who has ever done it before.

As independent-minded and educated as I was about anything concerning my baby, as soon as I heard another mom say, “Oh, me too.” or “My baby does that, too.” I breathed a palpable sigh of relief. Why is that?

We’re not meant to family (yes, it is a verb) alone. We’re not even meant to family only with other families (though this helps). We’re all in this together. We all got here the same exact way; when will we start acting like it?

© 2004 Stacy M. Lewis
post #38 of 45

Brown Eyes

If another person tells me that my baby's brown eyes are "the eyes of an old soul", I might believe it. And I am not sure I believe in the concept of souls.
Sometimes Mya's eyes are smiling new pennies, and at others, muddied mysterious pools.
In the penny moments I think about her as an older child and adult. What will she be like? And at those pensive inscrutable times, wonder what she will remember from her life before she came to be with us? Will she hold those times and genetic memories in her eyes forever? Does she have a brother or sister with those eyes?
When those brown baby eyes flicker around the room after her brother, the kitty, a ball, or mama, stare down a stranger in the grocery store line, or gaze mindlessly at a ceiling fan, I feel the connection of past and present, known and unknown, Mya's birth family and our family. All in those eyes.


Off topic:
Billie Holiday song I love with a mention of brown eyes......
I fell in love with you the first time I looked into, them there eyes,
I knew you had a funny little cute way of playing, with them there eyes,
You'd better look out, little brown eyes, if you're wise....
They sparkle, they bubble, they're gonna get you in a whole lot of trouble
post #39 of 45

Brown Eyes

Brown eyes, I really thought they would be brown eyes. I don’t know why I thought that. John has blue eyes and mine are green, so I don’t even think it would be possible. They are so big; it just wouldn’t be fair for them to be blue as well. She was handed to me, and all I saw were eyes and long black hair. Her eyes simply didn’t fit her face! Now, I look at this little girl, and her long black hair and her eyes – the bluest blue. What perfect karma trail did she leave to manifest in such a beautiful package? At least she could have been stupid, or aggressive, or selfish. Something! Yet this package wraps around such a delicate, wise and gentle consciousness. I do not feel worthy. There has been some kind of mistake. They switched the babies at the hospital, for sure. But I am not going to let on, sshhhh. I follow her wisdom, for it far outweighs my own. Her connection to the infinite is still so strong, you can almost see the cord. Then, to make it even worse, she walks softly behind me; I can hear her little feet. Snaking her arms around my neck, she presses her soft white cheek where my shoulder meets my neck, “Mama, what’s happening?” in an almost whisper.
“Nothing, my darling; yet everything.”
She leans around and smiles that adult knowing smile of hers, and green meet blue for the longest, most precious of moments. I place my hand on hers at my throat and try to speak through the lump beneath, “I wish there was a word greater than love, so I could speak that word to you.”
post #40 of 45
Tiny hands grab, reach, pinch, poke, pull, take, want. Every moment, grasping, trying to hold onto the world around them. Tiny fists, fingers so small they can't be real, yet they are. Each joint, perfection.

These tiny hands grow, get chubby. They stack and knock over, throw, hit, pat, hug, hold, squeeze. Chunky hands, each millimeter bringing them more, more food, their own cup, MY toy!

Bigger still, yet losing that pudginess. They pitch and catch, hold thight to bats and sticks, dolls and trees. The fingers lengthen, hold a pencil, write a name.

Hands hold another, sweaty palms, painted nails, decked with dollar store gems. Grabbing, reaching, for maturity, for their own chance.

Carressing, loving, gentle hands. Urgent, pleading, hurrying, begging. Hands creating need and want. Sweet and hot, quick and slow.

Large hard hands, thick finger encircled by a gold band, joining with slender, reddened, knowing hands, another gold band.

Tinys hands, miracle in miniature, reaching, opening, closing on a thick finger, heavily calloused and rough. Impossible contrast, impossible relationship, impossible love.

Overcome by tiny hands.
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