Sunday, July 11, 2010

To Bed Without Dinner, To Sleep With a Song

I just finished singing both girls to sleep. One of my fondest dreams has been to have my children fall asleep to the sound of my voice, though Willow never did as a baby. She would like me to sing for a while, but would always start to complain and then nurse to sleep. She was also very particular about which songs I would sing, and would fuss until I sang songs she liked. Of course, a few of my favorites were ones she would not put up with. Grace, on the other hand, loves any kind of song and will instantly shift her mood when sung to, as long as it's a fairly gentle tune and tone of voice.

Grace was fussy this evening, and so Brent ended up making the dinner. Frozen stuffed shells, sauce, cheese, garlic bread, and corn on the cob. Willow watched her video while Brent cooked and I calmed Grace. But then, right before dinner was ready to serve, Brent told me he wasn't feeling well and needed to lie down. I served the dinner for myself and Willow, and sat down. I felt disappointed not to be having our usual family time for dinner, since we only eat about 3 dinners a week together. Willow did some running back and forth but finally sat for a good portion of time and ate about 1/2 of a cob of corn, one of her favorites. Because of a late play date and baby fussing, dinner was late and Willow had apparently filled up on crackers. I ate my dinner with gusto however, being famished from the general duties of mothering and not having eaten since lunch. I kept Brent's portion warm, and Willow dutifully went to check on him a few times, but he stayed in bed. So I did the night time routine with the girls with him in bed asleep (though saying he would get up after the girls went to sleep). At some point I decided I'd better stand up and rock Grace rather than sitting with her in bed, and so I was standing over Willow's bed. Willow asked me about a song I'd sung earlier that day to put Grace down for a nap. The song, Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby, was in O Brother Where Art Thou and is one of my favorite lullabies. Of course I only know the chorus, and I don't even have that quite right, but I sing it over and over. Willow said "why does that song say vintobody baby?" I said "It says "There ain't nobody but the baby". She asked me to sing it to Grace, and I did. Then she asked me to say "Daddy's gone away and mama's gonna stay" instead of "Mama's gone away and Daddy's gonna stay". I did, and sang it over again for about 10 minutes, as I watched both Willow and Grace gradually fall asleep in the darkening room. Willow on her bed, limbs splayed like a game of pick up sticks, and Grace lying across my forearm with her arms wrapped around mine and her little hands clasped together. Both girls love to hold their little hands together, Grace especially. So there I was, my wonderful husband asleep after many days without enough rest, and two beautiful girls finally sleeping peacefully. The light in the room glowed with the setting sun, and I stood in that light feeling blessed and grateful beyond imagination for the love in that room.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Fourth of July

I've never liked the 4th of July festivities much. I love picnics, and hot dogs, and beaches, and I love this country. I don't know, though, whether I love the U.S.A. because I grew up here and it't MY country, or because I really think it's better here. But I'm glad to live here, and feel blessed to live somewhere that is not torn up by war and bombs and horror. Which is why I've never understood fireworks. Not the kind you go and see, the spectacular light shows... I love those. It's the idiotic, noisy crap that people buy at roadside stands. What's the point? All it does is make your nice, peaceful neighborhood sound like a war zone. And it scares our poor dog, who, ironically, has her birthday on the 4th. We've gone to a lot of trouble making this country a peaceful place to live, what with manifest destiny and all the wars we've fought (and still fight) abroad. Why turn our neighborhoods into war zones for the weekend?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Why I Live Here

I was listening to To the Best of Our Knowledge tonight, about a sense of place. As I listened I thought about some of my favorite places over my lifetime. Sometimes I've thought about moving back to the Midwest, especially since having children. The pull toward family is great. But my husband, who is from Iowa, and I both love it here. I really don't want to live anywhere else. As I listened to the show, I realized finally what the deep pull is for me for this part of the world, where the rain is misty, the green is so green, and clouds are such a part of life. Here, because of the landscape, the mystery of life is just sitting there, raw, open, to be explored. Back east, or in the Midwest, there is a sense of having solved the mystery, or at least of having left it behind for more important things. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the mystery of life and existence is palpable, from the coyotes that inhabit the forest four blocks from our home, to the man who lives out of his van in the Shell station parking lot next door. I don't want to solve this mystery, I want to experience it daily and meet people who feel the same. That's why I live here.