Saturday, January 17, 2009

Universal or Unique? or both.

Eden has been sick -- nothing major, nothing life-threatening, nothing even worth remarking on, yet the common cold has been something. It's been my sense of helplessness when my exhausted tiny daughter cannot suck her pacifier and yells (the way I think I'd like to) when a cough tears into her sleep, the exhaustion that hits when for the 18th time in a row at 2AM I have to remove her little leg from between the crib bars, or wipe her nose, or give saline drops, or try to soothe her back to sleep again. It's the helpless tension that grips me when there is nothing I can do as she screams in frustration but stand there, as every cell in my body bristles with instinctual red alert to soothe and protect this flesh of my flesh.

What strikes me is that everything I've described -- that feels nearly impossible to endure at the time -- is utterly common. Children get colds. Sleep is interrupted. Patience stretches until it's dangerously thin. How can something be so all-consuming and barely noteworthy at the same time? This is the duality of motherhood -- there is nothing more personal, life-altering, trying, and significant than this job, and there is also nothing more universal or shared.

Good words from other women have been life lines this week. Here are some:
thoughts about Peace

Magazine Update

On The Modern Parents site I am now blogging under "Full Time Parent" rather than "Stay at Home Parent" (to clarify that nose to nose sitting in the house, STAYing isn't what we tend to do all day)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

a bit of news

I've started blogging for a start-up online parenting magazine called The Modern Parents, where I post weekly. Under the "Parents" tab at the top, I am the "Stay-at-Home Parent" (hopefully soon to be called something more interesting -- after you see the list of the different parents, let me know if you have any suggestions!!) I'll still be writing here, but check that out if you'd like! I usually post there Fridays-ish.


House Hunting

We have begun house hunting -- casually. What we hope to find is a small miracle, a steal of a house we can float on (with a few more square feet than we have) in this market of sink holes...

Today was the first day of actually walking inside houses. This, of course, involved Silas and Eden in tow (the realtor walked over to my car as she saw me open the back door and said, "Who do you have with you today?" -- peered inside -- "Oh...both of them." She'll learn that most all of the time that's who I have with me today).

Since our outing bucked against the end of nap, Silas was in needy-mode extraordinaire. This is his MO -- he, like his father, is a slow waker. So walking around house #1, the realtor ended up carrying Eden, so that I could carry giant crying Silas. Awesome.

House #2, which began with a walkway between cracked white plastic pots of fake crumpled flowers, one of which had a VHS tape box stuck in it called something like, "Finding God." ... The owners were home, and I wish you could have seen them. Two thin, curly haired, 70's-mustached, SNL-sketch type guys. Except they were serious. And the house matched them. It became clear that the potted video, along with many other choice items, was placed to tell all that they are Jehovah's Witnesses. And did they ever know how to decorate. The kitchen cabinets were painted yelling dandelion yellow. There were long ribbons and strings of beads over windows and random patches of walls and in doorways. There were clustered piles of pink and white grey silky stuffed animals. A tiger bedspread. Fluffy curtains framing bathroom doors. A giant telescope. ?

House #3 was a completely different experience all together; it was the first visual I've had since this economic crisis began of the desperate sadness people are facing. There was nothing in the house except a couch, a love seat and an empty hutch, a couple of boxes of cereal on the counter. I figured the people had moved out. Then I opened the door to the master bedroom. The scene was a perfect illustration of "depression." The room was dark and black fabric was taped over the windows. There was a mattress on the floor with rumpled bedding. Trash and clothes were piled on either side. The only light was the blue light of the DVD icon screen saver bouncing around the television, also on the floor. I have no idea what the master bathroom looks like because I didn't go in. I couldn't. The realtor didn't bat an eye: "oh this is really common," she said. "When it's really bad is when the kids have written notes on the walls or you find a school picture."

And then in that house of ghosts, we sat down in the bare living room on the single couch and talked about the potential of the space and the lofts we could build.

End day 1.