Archive for October, 2009
When I was a child I was afraid of every shadow. Maybe it was cultural, maybe it was generational, but the adults related to me thought it important to threaten me with either kidnappings by gypsies, monsters (babau), or goats (apparently they liked to eat little children and came out at night), anytime I wanted to do something they didn’t feel like. Certainly, one of those three was out to get me, waiting until I was all alone and then snatching me quickly and throwing me in a sack they carried for just such an occasion.
I was a timid child and maybe not so bright, because I must have been twelve when I finally figured out that it was all a big, fat lie. Still, the damage was done and I continued sleeping with a night light on for many more years. To this day, to be alone in complete darkness raises my hairs on end, and every little creak is a monster’s footstep.
When the movie Psycho came out in the nineties I went to watch it with my husband, thinking that I was an adult and to be scared of something make believe was indeed silly. Maybe I actually thought that or maybe he insinuated something to that effect, because there I was popcorn and pop in my lap, waiting for the movie to begin. And was I brave? Let’s just say that for weeks after I only took a shower if my husband was home, preferably standing there and talking to me. Even now, if I am on a trip somewhere alone, that shower image pops in my head and I choose to bathe instead.
The funniest thing about this is that I am around people that die all the time. I am right there when they pass from this life to the next, and I often am the person who takes the pulse and listens for that last heartbeat. And did I mention that the house I live in has been used as a hospice at some point? Yet, none of these things frighten me. I go through the house at night and feel no fear. There’s nothing lurking in the shadows.
But ask me to watch a scary movie and I will have a month of sleepless nights.
My mom says than when I was a young girl, my favorite thing to do when going into town, was to point out the shoes and outfits of the women passing by. When her girlfriends came by and she’d serve them her delectable pastries and coffee, I’d take a seat at the table and study their dress and manner in detail. After they left, I’d bore her with my observations.
My darling daughter is a chip off the old block. I often watch her out of the corner of my eye studying my clothing in detail, or if out and about, the attention she gives to the clothing of the other females in the vicinity is astounding.
As evidenced in the photo above, she was barely able to walk, yet she knew what she liked. I wasn’t home when this photo was taken, but my hubby says that she found the shoes in her closet, had him put them on her tiny feet, and ran into our bathroom to check herself out in the big mirror. I adore that expression on her face!
In all honesty, she doesn’t take just after me. In my approach to fashion there’s a hint of wariness. I’m not the person who sees an image in a magazine and goes in search of identical garb. I prefer quality over quantity, yet I am not brand crazy. And I consider any article of clothing with the logo front and center on it, tacky. There’s something to be said for good taste. Well aware of my body’s strengths and weaknesses, I aim to dress in what I know looks the best on me. Trial and error. Plenty of it.
There’s none of that hesitancy with my daughter. She is fearless! Although she may only be three, I cannot get away with buying clothes for her without her being present. She knows what she likes and she demands to wear it. And that she takes from her dad. He has a style all his own. Timeless and classic, and just a bit on edge.
Not long ago the two of us stopped in at Target to get some essentials. While I was searching for parking she asked if we were there to get ‘fashions.’ I explained that we weren’t, we had to get gift wrap and a few other necessities for home. We were in a hurry and we had to get to a birthday party. ”But really quick mommy, can we look at fashions? Please, please, please!” It didn’t take much prodding and I gave in. We ended up buying colorful tights, and another ballerina skirt. As I buckled her in, she thanked me saying, “You’re the best mommy in the whole wide world! Wasn’t Target fun?”
We’ve been quarantined in the house since about Thursday, each of us in various stages of this head cold/flu thing. It’s a good thing the house is large and there are plenty of rooms to run through and hide in for the kids. Hubby, who’s finally gotten better has been on endless missions to get cupcakes and milk, chocolates and fresh fruit.
With the exception of going to a reading given by Nicholas Kristof on Friday evening, I’ve stayed in. That was an amazing experience, yet sadly I was too drugged up on Sudafed to carry an intelligent conversation with anyone, or remember much of what was said by others. His book, Half the Sky, that he has co-authored with his wife, is an astounding read into the plight of women worldwide. You can read about it on my friend’s blog:#mce_temp_url#. Ligia, herself, is dedicated in bringing awareness and empowerment not just to the women of her native Costa Rica, but also to all she comes in contact with on her many travels and speeches in South America, North America, and Europe.
But back to me. The only thing I’ve accomplished other than lounging around and moving from the bed to the family room couch, book in hand, was eating exorbitant amounts of sugary foods. For the moment at least, I like to pretend the scale does not exist. I try to avoid the bathroom it resides in for fear of it gravitationally pulling me toward it, and then having no other choice, climbing on it and watching the dreaded digital numbers go higher than they’ve been in a very long while.
After everyone’s asleep, I plan to go and clean out the fridge and the pantry. No more overindulgent wallowing. Tomorrow is back to eating right, exercising, and homeschooling… even if we don’t leave the house for more than a short walk in the woods.
One of the best things about homeschooling is that we can have as many sick days as we want, and nobody is owed an explanation. Hubby had been plagued with a bad cough and runny nose since Monday, and the rest of us had tried to keep our distance so we wouldn’t catch his bug. The big thing this year is that H1N1 thing. I am sure you’ve all heard. Not sure if it’s a real threat yet, or just propaganda. I have a tendency to be skeptical. I am also a big believer in conspiracy theories, but that’s another post for another day. Either way, I do not want it around me.
This morning though, I woke myself up sneezing. Usually this happens if I fall asleep with my hair wet, but this time I couldn’t blame that. I had patiently dried it thoroughly, and turned up the heat before I dived under goose down covers for the night. Okay, so I know the majority of the old wives’ tales out there are just that, yet I personally can’t help but believe a few.
Soon after, my daughter woke up in a cranky mood. Although I usually attribute that to her being a female, and just a tiny bit dramatic, this time her little nose was runny and her baby cheeks were flushed. Poor baby had a horribly restless night.
After very little consideration, I decided that today we’ll pamper our little bodies by eating our favorite foods while in bed, and our minds by reading for pleasure all day long. Outside, the chilly wind has died, and while it hasn’t rained, there’s an autumn mist in the air.
There’s a stack of books by my bedside that I can’t wait to devour. Let the dishes and the laundry pile up. Tomorrow is another day. Now let’s see… which of these should I start reading first?
I’ve been sitting here at the kitchen table eating biscuits and gravy, trying to decide how comfortable I am with self promotion. And I’ve concluded that I am not. Modesty is what I’m comfortable with, even if sometimes I come across as anything but modest. However in this instance, I am not being modest and I admit it.
As plenty of you know, I am in daily contact with people who are at that stage of life where the eternal is but a step away. Many of my friends who are in the line of work dealing with the elderly and those on hospice know, we are constantly blessed by their presence in our lives, and no matter the duration of our acquaintance, they have made an impact. Now here comes the boasting. I feel really appreciative that the online magazine Blog Nosh has decided to use one of my posts that deal with death, today. You can read more about it here: #mce_temp_url#. It is titled Embedded in Time.
Thank you for allowing me to brag a little.
As teens, my sisters and I would roll our eyes whenever my dad or mom would bring forth the subject of their courtship. It seemed such an old fashioned concept, and we were more than slightly embarrassed by it. Normal people’s parents had dated, not courted. According to my dad, mom had quite a few suitors and she couldn’t make up her mind between them. One night she’d meet one of them for a walk down the linden city center streets, stopping somewhere for a beverage or dessert, and the next together with her girlfriends she’d run into another at an ice cream parlor.
Apparently these meetings carried on for a while, and dad was losing patience. Christmas was approaching, and he was playing the trombone in a brass band that visited the surrounding village churches. He would be gone for a while every Saturday and Sunday and those were their designated days to walk the promenade, coyly flirting, my mom in her tailored miniskirt and kitten heels and dad in his well cut suit. On a cold November Sunday he demanded that she choose between them. Who would it be?
I can just imagine my mom looking up at him surprised. What was his hurry, she had probably murmured in her soft voice. My mom is very soft spoken. She couldn’t be rushed, she had most likely added. She was just twenty-one. And so my dad did what every honorable man of his time did. He paid a visit to my grandparents, laden with gifts, and asked for my mom’s hand in marriage.
The only problem was that another of her suitors had beat him to it, and while she hadn’t been promised (as the decision was solely my mom’s), my grandparents were faced with an issue they hadn’t foreseen. Although she does not admit it, claiming she does not remember, I believe mom may have had an inkling of it. What to do? She liked both of them, for different reasons. They were both good men, from good families. She couldn’t make up her mind. Grandmother and grandfather prayed that God would lead her to choose the kindest of the two.
Mom finally decided that she would pick the one she would first encounter, unplanned. She got herself ready, her long dark tresses in a topknot popular in those days and went to meet a girlfriend. And whom should she meet on the way there? My dad, of course. Was it planned, a coincidence perhaps, or was it really a sign from God? No one’s telling. And my grandmother had a saying she loved to repeat over and over whenever I pressed her about it: God speaks clearly and he doesn’t play magic tricks.
A month later my parents were married, and almost two years after that I came along, the first of five children. Now, as they are preparing to celebrate another anniversary together, I am praying for their long, happy marriage to continue, in good health and love, side by side.
Sometimes when I glance around my curio cabinet of a house, my thoughts inevitably stray to my mom and how difficult it must have been for her to up and leave, not just her sisters and friends, but her home, the home she had known since infancy. I look through my collections, and while they are hardly of the expensive variety, they are priceless to me.
There’s that entire row of my journals from my mid teens on. Then there are boxes of china, some chipped here and there, and silverware picked up at fleamarkets. Paintings by unknown artists picked up on our travels, old books, love letters and cards between hubby and I, and mirrors that have witnessed somebody else’s story as well. And then there’s the stuff I cannot imagine not passing on to my daughter: linen embroidered by my grandmother, rugs woven by my great-grandmother, fragile lace made by aunts and great-aunts, my grandmother’s hymnal in which she writes in her schoolgirl text: “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner”. How many times have I run my finger over the faded letters and wondered what sort of sins a twelve year old could have committed?
I imagine having a suitcase per family member. What would I stuff it with? Would it be filled with daily necessities, or sentimental frivolities? My mom did not worry too much about the necessities. After all, we were coming to a land of plenty. She filled our suitcases with linen and quilts and paintings and books. She filled them to capacity with our history.
What would be in your suitcase?
Well, it’s a marvelous night for a Moondance, with the stars up above in your eyes. A fantabulous night to make romance , ‘neath the cover of October skies. And all the leaves on the trees are falling, to the sound of the breezes that blow. And I’m trying to please to the calling, of your heart-strings that play soft and low. And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush, and all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush. (Van Morrison, Moondance)
My husband and I started our romance one full moon night in October, many years ago. On our walk tonight we saw the almost full moon trying to peek down upon us through the clouds, and remembered the youth and innocence of those bygone days. And while I wouldn’t mind having my youth and innocence back, I wouldn’t trade a single happy memory the two of us have created. Happy October to all!