Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cookie Raising (like barn raising, only yummier)

This might sound stupid.
But today it hit me that we're actually raising a child, here.

I know, classic small-sighted-get-through-each-day thinking vs. big-picture-meta-woah thinking; what's the big deal? It's a big deal to me because I've always been a big-picture thinker--to a fault. I sometimes can turn tiny comments into larger life-changing metaphors. If you don't know what I mean, ask my husband.

So to suddenly realize that all these little things we do with Grace every day add up to a person--make up her outlook, her worldview, her dreams, her ability to love and communicate and understand others--that felt big not only because of what that means, but because I hadn't thought about that huge big picture for quite some time. I've been a little stuck in the daily grind.

Last Saturday, we had just gone upstairs for her nap. I reached into her crib for her binky, which she only gets when she's sleeping, and I held it just outside of her very happy, open mouth. Then I slowly started to pull it back, as she slowly started to move forward, and we both collapsed into giggles for a good couple of minutes. I laughed because she laughed; she laughed because I laughed. She got the hiccups.

And that was it. Such a little moment, but those are the ones I want to give her. Those are the ones that I want her to remember and want to pass on to her own kids.

And I think most moms feel that way. That's why, when we're more exhausted than we ever thought possible, we can muster up any amount of energy for our kids. That's why we don't have time to get our hair cut and send our kids to daycare with a sweater and a raincoat and rain boots and forget our own umbrella.

And I hope those moments count more than the ones I know I won't get right. I hope making two or five or ten of the good, full, happy minutes for every one of the not-so-fun minutes will mean that we're raising the kid okay, that we won't end up feeling like we're in a Lifetime Movie when she's 18, that she won't hate us and might even want to talk to us honestly (when she can talk in sentences).

Oh, and I hope that she doesn't see through to the fact that even though we're supposed to be raising her, she's really raising us.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Smeared with Cookie

I've been working on this for about 10 years. It just keeps growing. But I wrote it today because I don't want it to grow anymore. Maybe now my fear can end, because it's all down on the page and it will all stop. Obviously still a work in progress, but I wanted to get it down. I don't have a title yet. Any ideas?

It was September 12, 2001.
I was with a small friend:
Netanya, age 6.

We were coloring.
Netanya looked at me.
Something bad happened, she told me.
Yes, I said, meeting her eyes.
Mommy said someone died.
Yes, I said, nodding.
She chose another crayon.

One person died, she said.
She stopped coloring and looked at me again.
Did more than one person die?
I looked at her eyes, so big, so big.
And I said, Yes. I said, more than one person.
She didn't look away.
Two people died?
Yes, I said.
Then her eyes get even bigger.
Did more than two people die?

More than two? She said again; it was
just a number so big. So big.

It was April 15, 2013.
I was with my husband and daughter, Grace,
whose age we still counted in months, not yet two.

She was blissfully eating a cookie with
peanut butter and chocolate.
Someone died, my husband said.
I looked at him.
One person? How many?
I don't know, he said.
More than one? I said, as we tried
to contact everyone we knew who ran,
who stood at the finish line.

More than two? I thought.
Not again.
Grace grinned, as one smeared with cookie, would.
As kids everywhere, would.
As the kids at Sandy Hook did, earlier that day.
A number so big, that day. So big.

I wiped Grace's hands, held
her to me and forced myself to walk
outside to the swings
where we could swing into the sky, so big.