when the house is finally quiet

Someone is always home sick: chicken pox, strep throat, another chicken pox, stomach flu…Baby Bliss sits on her hip. It is only later that week, perhaps, when the house is finally quiet, the dishwasher humming in the downstairs dark, her husband not yet home, and upstairs the kids are asleep or at least pretending. When she is finally in the soft light of her own bedroom with her hair brushed and her face clean, sinking into the down pillows with something to read, she arrives in a moment that is her own and not in relation to anything else—not a carpool, a nursing infant, nor a man she loves. She is self-contained, not only a woman but the sole measure of her own life.

~ Sarah McColl, “Joy Enough: A Memoir.” (January, 2019)

 


Notes:

Joy Enough

I loved my mother, and she died. Is that a story?

Story is giving a character a tangible desire, then putting things in her way. A writer I was falling in love with told me that. My desire is for my mother to live. More tangible, he says.

My desire is not to forget. More tangible, he says. Then my desire is for her to meet the next man I love, the one I keep now that I know a thing or two. My desire is for her to see my round silhouette in a summer dress, then to hold my baby in the delivery room. In winter, my desire is to make chili with the mixture of garden tomatoes and hot peppers she calls hell that I’ve kept in the back of my freezer. Our desires are equally impossible: to freeze hell, to thaw it; to reverse time, to stop it. My desire is to have more of what I do not need, seconds of what has been my fair share: a fight, a car ride, a cup of coffee, ignored advice straight from the mouth of a grade A know-it-all.

Or none of this. My desire is preservation, to carry her lodged beneath my breast like a bone.

~ Sarah McColl, opening lines in her new book: “Joy Enough: A Memoir.” (January, 2019)

 

Miracle. All of It.

“The hospital corridors were quiet, the midwife was quiet. She whispered—that’s how I remember it—that I needed to see the doctor and have an ultrasound. She helped me gather my things and sent us even farther down the corridor. I remember lying on the doctor’s examining table in a dark cubicle, only the ultrasound machine emitting light. I remember covering my face with my hands. After a while, the doctor touched my arm. “Look,” he said. My husband took my hand in his. The doctor pointed at the screen and moved his finger carefully around the sonogram, as though showing us a rare map, and then, because we couldn’t quite believe what we were seeing and what he was telling us, he turned up the sound so we could hear the steady beating of the heart…”

Linn Ullmann, ”Unquiet: A Novel” (W. W. Norton & Company, January 15, 2019)


Notes:

  • Photo of sonogram: Kim Pham
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

  • Photograph: San Diego Zoo. Dromedary: 7 to 11 feet long; 6 to 6.6 feet tall at the shoulder; weights 880 to 1,320 pounds when grown. Gestation of 12 to 14 months. A newborn camel is able to walk beside the mother within half an hour.  Camel calves nurse for 10 to 18 months. Reach full adult size at age seven. Median life expectancy is 17.8 years.
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

T.G.I.F. (It’s been a LONG Week!)


Notes:

That blank page…just laying there. Daring you to write on it.

Highly (Highly) recommended. (On Netflix now)

An excerpt:

She had these ethnic features, coal-black hair, Italian olive skin, and when she was young, she wore that red lipstick that was very fashionable in the 50’s. And she’d be looking down at me with a look that, for me, was like the grace of Mary, you know? Made me understand for the first time, how good it feels to feel pride in somebody that you love, and who loves you back. She let that town know that we are handsome, responsible members of this shit-dog burgh, pulling our own individual weight doing what has to be done day after day. We have a place here that we have earned. And we have a reason to open our eyes at the break of each day and breathe in a life that’s steady and good. Now, my mom was truthfulness, consistency, good humor, professionalism, grace, kindness, optimism, civility, fairness, pride in yourself, responsibility, love, faith in your family, commitment, joy in your work, and a never-say-die thirst for living, for living and for life.

~ Bruce Springsteen, describing his Mother

and another…

Your life laying before you like a blank page. It’s the one thing I miss about getting older, I miss that beauty of that blank page. So much life in front of you. Its promise, its possibilities, its mysteries, its adventures. 

That blank page…just laying there.

Daring you to write on it.

~ Bruce Springsteen, 69

Sunday Morning

baby-father

He said that after the third child, he told his wife, Enough! He felt too old to have any more, so he got a vasectomy. But in the years since, he’s had many moments of regret, because once the boys got a little older, he said he wanted it again—the experience of cradling an infant in his arms.

~ Sheila Heti, Motherhood: A Novel (Henry Holt and Co., May 1, 2018)


Photo: caz gordon with Father & 2 day old Son

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (Let’s go Ella)


Newborn giraffe Ella stands next to her mother Amalka as she walks for the first time in the outdoor enclosure of the Tierpark in Berlin, Germany. (Clemens Bilan, wsj.com November 20, 2018)

Miracle. All of it.

“You’re doing great, Nicole,” Jenny said suddenly, and these seemed like the first clear words I had heard in hours. “One, maybe two more pushes and she’ll be born!” It was the most powerful moment of my life, that moment shortly after one in the morning when I heard her cry and knew she was finally with us. Our daughter decided to come into the world with one fist raised. Seconds later she was placed on my chest, beautiful and flushed and still screaming at the shock of birth, and I touched her hair, her warm little cheek. Her skin felt impossibly soft, softer than I knew anything could be. At seven pounds, fifteen ounces, twenty inches long, she was not a small baby—her wails were also lusty, much louder than I’d expected—but she felt new and fragile in my arms. She stopped crying and gazed up at me, and my world shrank to the arresting dark blue pools of her eyes…

I had never been so tired, and I was sore to the very roots of my hair, but I couldn’t seem to close my eyes—how could anyone expect me to sleep when I had this fascinating little face to watch? It was almost impossible to believe this was the same unseen being who’d done jumping jacks on my bladder, greeting me with kicks and pokes and slow stretches for weeks on end. She was so small and so new, barely and yet wholly herself, already…

Suddenly I remembered the words of a friend…I love telling my kids their birth stories. It’s such a privilege to be able to do that. Yes, I thought, and also a miracle. The clichéd word didn’t embarrass me; this day and night was a wonder I’d never get over. As many times as this had happened before, to billions of parents since time immemorial, it was the only time it had ever happened to me. I had a child now, and she was mine. We were together. We would stay together. When Abby was old enough to ask me—to wonder, and to listen, and to care—I would tell her about her birth, her first days with us. You were born with one arm raised…I would say. When it was over, you and Daddy slept, but I couldn’t. All I wanted to do was look at you.

~ Nicole Chung, “All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir” (October 2, 2018)


Notes:

  • Photograph Credit
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
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