Listen! Put it into your heart, that the thing that disturbs you, the thing that afflicts you, is really nothing. For weeks I’ve felt flutters. The butterfly kicks, the gentle brush of something turning. The quickening I’ve come to expect by this point in pregnancy. But tonight the movements suddenly felt so strong that I dared to try it. Laid my hand on the low curve of my rounding belly – and there it was. A kick I could feel from the outside. Should I have called him to tell him right away, that I could feel our baby now, that maybe he could soon, too? Should I have dug out the new baby book waiting on the top closet shelf, to record the date, to try and do better by marking milestones for #3? No. Instead I let tears spring small, then come quick. Because every turn this time around is tinged with sorrow as well as joy. Hope as well as fear. Please let this last. Please let this be. Do not let your heart be disturbed. Am I not here, I who am your Mother? I don’t want to … [Read more...] about a fluttering on the feast
I don't know who I have to blame for the peaceful, pastel images of Advent I have hard-wired in my brain - stained glass windows? holy cards? illustrated children's Bibles? - but every year I find myself torn between the following: Advent-in-my-head (serene Mary, peaceful Joseph, calmly carrying on to Bethlehem to prepare for the birth of Jesus) Advent-in-my-life (frantic to-do lists, Christmas preparations, a December spilling over with family parties and festive gatherings) The nagging guilt that this liturgical season should be all quiet prayer and slow anticipation. Meditative chant instead of blaring holiday jingles on the radio. A small candle flickering in the dark night instead of our neighbor's Christmas display flashing hypnotically across the street. But this year, I am coming to peace with Advent-in-the-frenzy. Because I realized it was ever thus. Maybe this insight came as I was overwhelmed by nausea for the 4th time one morning (be patient, dear reader, I … [Read more...] about advent in the frenzy: as it always was
We met up at a sports bar, around the corner from the dive where we used to dance until dawn, down the street from the stadium where we spent all those Saturdays every fall. The place was packed with football fans flocking inside from the swirling snow, beer flowing before noon, TV announcers barking out touchdowns and tackles on the sound system blasting overhead. But in the back corner booth it still felt like our small world again - the world that was cozy enough for one college quint and wide enough for all of us to dream our ways into something bigger. The gift of friends who pick up exactly where we left off. We laughed and caught up and cracked old jokes like we always did. Except this time when we hugged, we each bumped bellies. Four babies on their way to join us. How far we've come down this road together. One friend is set to deliver in just a few weeks, and as my husband and I drove home we reminisced about the wonder of that moment, the tipping point when you … [Read more...] about mary & elizabeth: back booth, corner bar
Last night before dinner I stole a few minutes while the quiche was cooking to cut up melon for tomorrow's breakfast. The evening news hummed along on the radio, and the boys played peacefully on the porch. I savored the clean slice of chef's knife into cantaloupe. For one of those rare moments, everything around me rested calm and content. But little ones can hear the sound of silence; it's the most seductive siren they know. Sure enough I turned back to my cutting board to find the smallest helper had shoved over a chair from the table and was ready to help. "What you doing, Mama?" he asked, bouncing where he stood. "Cutting melon. Do you want to eat some?" "No. I want to hold it," he insisted, pointing at the half melon waiting on the counter. "Really? You can try to hold it if you want, but it's big - be careful." (Always with our warnings. As if we could rescue them from falls and spills and snares by words alone.) He lunged for the melon's slick surface, its round face … [Read more...] about this is heavy. but we are also strong.