Monday, June 8, 2015

Neither here nor there: Cell shots from the last few weeks and thoughts that may or may not be related to those shots.

Sidewalk chalk. I’m pretty certain we’ve had it around – in varying stages of whole or broken pieces -- all of my children’s lives but, for a few short days a week or so ago, my kids became passionate about it. They covered the driveway and every ounce of sidewalk near our house – then recovered it, and recovered it, three or four times in a row (as the rain kept washing it all away). This week they’ve lost all interest in it again, but it provided some intense fun for a day or two. Jesse drew a lot of things like satellites “with broken parts” that still worked (thank goodness), mines, and telephone wires. For the longest time I couldn’t get him to take any interest in drawing – which was troubling only because I figured Kindergarten would be miserable and he’d never learn to write – but then he learned he could draw machines and robots and spaceships, and suddenly he wasn’t so averse to the drawing business after all.

Abe. Something major must have occurred with his height or features or perhaps, just his aura recently because we are constantly met with exclamations over how he’s grown and over how shockingly he looks like Mike. We were at a family wedding the other day when my oldest nephew (closer to my age than Abe’s) came up to us exclaiming to Abe, “When I saw you last – probably only  about a month ago -- you were still a boy, but suddenly, you’re a man!” Living with him and seeing him daily, I’ve been less aware of these changes, but I had to laugh at that particular comment because Abe had just spent the night away from home at a “Youth Conference” put on by our church. When he came home I told him that his voice had changed to something much deeper just in the one night he’d been away, upon which Mike suggested that perhaps it wasn’t “Youth Conference” at all – rather, “Adult Conference”. All of that growing hasn’t totally robbed him of proper “boy” behavior however. He was completely bummed when he saw the donut picture (somewhere in the mass below) that I took of his siblings holding donuts on National Donut Day (whilst he was away).
Photo May 26, 3 38 43 PMPhoto Jun 02, 3 56 04 PMPhoto Jun 02, 6 23 53 PMPhoto May 21, 4 25 05 PMPhoto Jun 01, 6 26 22 PMPhoto Jun 03, 11 24 05 AM (1)Photo Jun 03, 12 41 39 PMPhoto Jun 05, 1 56 59 PMPhoto Jun 08, 1 18 35 PMPhoto Jun 08, 8 18 13 AMPhoto May 14, 3 37 54 PMPhoto May 15, 8 23 50 AMPhoto May 15, 11 30 32 AMPhoto May 16, 3 05 11 PMPhoto May 17, 7 40 35 AMPhoto May 18, 2 44 48 PMPhoto May 19, 5 02 14 PMPhoto May 18, 6 37 33 PMPhoto May 18, 6 49 56 PMPhoto May 18, 6 56 39 AMPhoto May 26, 5 57 23 PMPhoto May 19, 12 37 58 PMPhoto May 19, 9 43 02 AMPhoto May 21, 9 02 23 PMPhoto May 21, 10 05 49 AMPhoto May 26, 3 08 11 PMPhoto May 28, 2 28 23 PMPhoto May 27, 2 31 07 PMPhoto May 27, 2 31 30 PMPhoto May 28, 3 09 01 PMPhoto May 29, 8 40 25 PM

I’m nearly 29 weeks. The picture above (of me holding Summer on my handy little stomach perch) was taken a few weeks ago and doesn’t properly show how very pregnant my appearance is. In many ways a baby coming never truly seems real. You can think, and plan, and wonder. You can hear a little heartbeat, and feel little kicks, and purchase little outfits or soft swaddling blankets (or even decorate a room . . . if you have one for them . . . which we don’t); but they are still a bit intangible and shadowy. A bit on the edge of reality. And, with this little girl coming so quickly on the heels of her sister, and me – so unsure still of just who this being is, and how I could have forgotten her, and why it was so dire that I did not hold with my plans of “family complete” -- she has been all the more difficult for me to pin down and grasp ahold of as an actuality. And yet . . . there is something about it being summer-time . . . and knowing a baby is coming “this summer” (even if it is at the tail end of summer) that causes my heart to lurch for a moment now and then – like a sudden little jolt of electric realization. She is coming. She will be here. For the briefest moments (though they happen with increasing frequency of late) I realize that her coming is a certainty. It’s visible on the horizon – even if I have to shield my eyes and squint to see it, and even if the details aren’t completely observable.

In some ways the growing concreteness of it all fills me with panic as I confront the truth that I will soon be immersed in the very struggles of adjustment and upheaval that I just left behind, and as I wonder how I will possibly wade my way through those adjustments with an only-slightly-older baby in the picture. But, in other ways, it fills me with an anxiousness and longing that I can’t quite place my finger on. It isn’t exactly that longing to hold my baby that expectant mothers so often feel – I hardly feel ready for a baby. It is more of an ache to know her, a desire to remember, a feeling almost of wanting to prove myself to her – to prove to her that while mortality may have nearly cleared my mind of some of my promises and some of my connections, she will be known again and loved as fiercely as she was always meant to be. I just need her here, is all. I need a tangible, soft, breathing reminder to stare at and hold to bring it all to me like it needs to be. Perhaps that makes no sense. Perhaps it seems sentimental. But it’s just me trying to make sense of the bits and pieces of transcendent but incomplete information that is certainty to me. And it may be that, in the trying to make sense of it all, I’m getting it . . . wrong. Still, there is a longing and a hope that having her here will, if not answer all the questions, then, instead, be enough to make the questions drift into insignificance as we are filled up with the simple rightness of her being with us.


Shannon said...

Of course that all makes sense to me and it also makes me a little bit sad that there are no additional people coming to my family since my perspective has changed so dramatically in the 4 years since Lila came.

Kara said...

lovely. and love those pictures.

Linn said...

Just gorgeous. Gorgeous enough to make me cry.

Marilyn said...

That longing to know. I'm so full of it. And your hope that there will be enlightenment coming soon doesn't seem sentimental at all—just solidly, achingly, familiar. I love the picture you took of the turquoise—tunnel? With just a glimpse of summer's little hand and mouth behind. Because that's what I feel like about these babies (even after they are here)—like i can see them, but only just, and I'm so impatient to just get all these barriers out of the way so I can gaze at them unobstructed! (Haha, I bet didn't know you could get THAT kind of symbolic mileage out of your phone pictures!) :)

And the sidewalk chalk phenomenon made me laugh. So funny, isn't it, how something will suddenly catch everyone's interest and be the most fun thing in the world for a few days? It's especially funny when that thing is something one child has and has never shown any interest in—and then another child discovers it and plays with it suddenly the original child loves it better than life itself and feels deeply, unbearably pained that anyone else would dare take such a priceless possession. :)

Gayle Harris said...

Another incredibly beautiful and insightful blog, accompanied with such charming, slice-of-life pictures. I wish I had all of your blogs in a book, with an index, so that I could pull it out and re-read my favorites over and over again.

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