Friday, July 17, 2009

And the Livin' is (more or less) Easy

Geez, I feel as if I have so much to say and yet neither time or inclination to get it down. "Wow, THAT'S blogable!" I think whipping out the phone to take a picture, or running through a few pithy sentences in my head. But the box never opens and fingers never type.

It's summer, the AC is on for the first time this year, and we have less a summer schedule than perhaps a summer rhythm. There's wake up time, which is sometimes early ("Mom! The sun is really bright in my room! My clock says 6:40. Hey Dad, do the Eagles play today?" I hear a muffled "No hon, the Phillies, it's summer" from the other side of the bed and lift a sleepy eye to see Bella toodling out in her Eagle's jersey and underwear, headed back to her room for outfit change number one of the day), and sometimes late (Yesterday? 8:30. I kid you not. The last time I slept in until 8:30 was . . . well, it was some time ago. But I was in a benedryl-induced coma, and Mr. ABF had a book to read, so up he got, and I just kept snoring).

Then some mornings there's a camp, or a swim lesson, or sometimes it's just barbies and hiking with the dogs, laundry and Tour de France. (And despite not having free seconds of time to use the toilet alone, I'm somehow finding time to read Lance's Tweets. Someone shoot me.) And there are playdates, and the garden . .

The garden! You know, I was going to post a picture, but the yard needs mowed and the sunflowers are looking to bloom -- maybe next week? So I'll get a picture then.

In short, we begin anew. Mr. ABF built us two lovely cedar boxes, and filled them with mushroom soil. In are already-started herbs and a tomato plant that was on the Throw-Out shelf for a buck, and some seeds that should bear us carrots and beans and beets and lettuces in early fall. Many neighbors are now testing for lead, and I even received some email after the last post from readers in other urban locations who are testing. Good for you! Now to test my water.

Summer . . . Anyway, point being, I don't have the blocks of time I usually do to sit on the computer. If there is a chunk of time it's "Let's go the pool!" and I'm not remotely complaining, but, well, it means nothing gets written for me or you.

And I sometimes miss it -- both the writing for me and the commenting.


It's strange, I remember early on in this grief business when my emotions just took me whenever -- opening the fridge, in the car, on the stairs. And then I kinda got it together, and tried to just let myself go in the shower, or at bedtime. And then there was blogging, and that became my grief time -- and I needed a lot of it. And now . . .

Well. I guess you could say I don't need to come vomit on the screen every time I have an emotion, but that's not entirely true. I mean, I read this article on how a recent study concludes that swearing reduces pain, and thought "Well goddamn, tell me something I don't fucking know! Why do you assholes think I write like I do, hmmmm? Blog it!!" And then I read this one, which brought me to tears, about a mother and a deadbaby, and a health workers strike and a photographer trying to get the government's attention, and instead of resulting in "Never Again!" the whole thing getting reduced to "pornography" and ugly things people don't want to deal with.

It's not as if it's not coming up, let's put it that way.

Then there's Bella . . woah. To put it mildly, she's firmly entered the "I want to talk about Maddy" stage. So many encounters I couldn't possibly blog them all. Oh, and now there's art! We've already had the family portrait, avec Maddy. Who is small, with closed slits for eyes instead of round orbs (I have yet to teach Bella the symbolism of x's for eyes, clearly), and with the most adorable curl on her head. She looks like a very dead Cindy Lou Who. Then came the masterpiece, "Maddy coming out of Mommy's Tummy in the Hospital! And mommy's blanket is blue, because that's her favorite color." This alternate reality showed everyone surrounding me in bed, with bright red cheerful smiles, BellaWho holding CindyLou. We've had discussions about Maddy's remains and what we're doing with them (and I have yet to tell her where they actually are, because I'm now fearful that one day I'll be up to my elbows in raw hamburger only to have Bella skip in the kitchen and announce, "Mom! Guess what I did with Maddy's ashes! It's sooo beautiful!"); how old she was exactly when she died (a fact I've heard repeated now to near strangers); and a heavy sigh followed by "I'm not getting another sister, AM I." She's a jedi, this one.

So I think the point is . . . . I still have blogable emotions, but perhaps not so much time, and it's just not as necessary anymore to make the time. I'm perfectly happy these days to daydream about Lance giving Berto the ol' (Jan Ulrich-inspired) evil eye over his shoulder as he blisters a path by him in the Alps. And it's not really forgetting Maddy, because when the grandma at the museum today called, "C'mon Madeline, let's go!" to the child next to Bella (who stopped what she was doing, and the gears churned so loudly I could hear them), my heart still oozes and sinks into my (still tire-ringed) gut. (Remind me to post sometime about barefoot running.) I noticed two nights ago that my friend's adopted daughter, who was born roughly six weeks after Maddy, no longer really bothers me. And I'm wondering, is it because I'm further out, or she is? I mean, she's not a baby anymore, all walking, talking, art-ing, dancing, and ergo -- what's to miss? My toddler didn't die, my baby did.

CLC had a post recently, which reminded me of the Billy Joel Conundrum. Which goes: The writing is good when the going is bad. When you're poor and young and homely and lonely and otherwise depressed, you write really, really good music. Glass Houses kinda good. Then you get a bit of money and marry a supermodel, and what do you want to write about anymore? How chippy things are in the Hamptons? The impetus is gone, there is nothing worth agonizing and you're left with fucking "Uptown Girl."

I'm wondering if I'm entering the "Uptown Girl" phase. One the one hand, I almost hate to say it (dons garlic wreath, spits, throws salt, genuflects, waves cross) but I'm kinda happy lately. Things are good! (I know!) In fact, good enough that I'm actually looking around for the other shoe to drop. Which is all kinds of hilarious considering I still need to maneuver around the remains of the last gargantuan shoe when I back the car out of the drive. I keep thinking, "This is ok! I love my house! This neighborhood is awesome! My kid is cool! Hope this doesn't get fucked up!" and suddenly "Wham!" This is when it gets glum and I get down. And back I crawl, back to the blogspot login, back to where I can focus and be and maybe swear a bit out of earshot of the perpetually happy. Back where I can curl up with my peeps and whisper "Maddy" to the screen and not feel self-conscious and dramatic. Back where I can feel helpful, and feel as though I've made some progress and let my gut hang out over my waistband and shrug.

I keep thinking it's leaving, it goes out the back door, I wave goodbye and tell it to mind the shoe parts on the way out the back gate; and no sooner do I turn the lock than the front doorbell rings. And there it is, dripping wet on the step, grief come a'callin'. Nothing to do but let it in, dry it off by the fire, and sit with it for a bit.


Hope's Mama said...

I can imagine it is going to be like that for many of us, for a long time to come. There is no escape, no where to hide. Great post Tash, as always.

Anonymous said...

I was so excited to see that you'd posted - I am a frequent reader but an infrequent commenter.

I'm a little jealous of your summer rhythm, it sounds idyllic.

I'm always interested to hear how you deal with Bella's thoughts about Maddy. My daughter Ava often mentions Iris, but she's still too little to really get it. However, recently she was playing with a slightly older friend and we thought we heard them fighting. We went to investigate and they were both pretending to cry with Harry saying 'boo hoo Grandpa Fred is dead' and Ava sayin 'boo hoo Baby Iris is dead'. It was really funny, but it made me realise that this could be the gateway to many, many painful conversations and I'm not sure if I'm prepared for them.

niobe said...

I'm always jealous of people who have too little time. Because. I don't exactly understand how it's possible, but I have so much time and, it seems, never enough to fill it.

erica said...

Thanks for this glorious ramble of a post. That last paragraph is absolutely brilliant.

janis said...

I second Erica.
and what a post, whoa! SO MANY THINGS in there, my head is swimming!

I wanna hear more about Bella. I wanna see pictures. Mushroom soil? tell me MORE. I just enjoy reading your words, but the thought of your summer rhythm, oh, it's luxurious.

loribeth said...

I love this post, Tash. I too have had lots of blogging ideas flit in & out of my head lately, just not enough time to develop & post them. I'm off on vacation shortly, though, so perhaps the muse will return. : )

Loved the Billy Joel analogy. And the Bella stories. : )

Michele said...

Bella is so special. I think it is really sweet that she wants to remember and know Maddy. We have kids friends who ask us about the kids a lot. I'm convinced it's because they dont want to forget... they want to know... Sometimes I dont know what to say that I havent said already but they dont seem to mind. It must be the ages (10 and 6).

Your summer sounds so lovely. I'll close my eyes and live vicariously through you at the pool!

c. said...

I know I couldn't have said this better myself. I feel a lot like you do. Unfortunately, I just don't have the time anymore (or inclination) to write it. And yet I miss it all the same.

Always thinking of you, and Bella (what a girl!). And Maddy.

charmedgirl said...


there's a brazilian song called "maddalena" that reece turned on today. we all danced to it and, even though i have no idea what the FUCK the lyrics say, i thought of our dead babies and danced (for them? in spite of? not sure...). i guess it doesn't matter, it was a (happy?) song and dance...goddamn fucking confusing.

the cursing bit? NOT CONFUSING AT ALL.

charmedgirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
charmedgirl said...

strangely appropriate lyrics?!

Oh Madalena!
My heart (chest) has realized
That the ocean (sea) is (just) a waterdrop
Compared to my sighs (for you)
It's Alright
When our love wakes up
The sun soon freaks out
And hides right there behind the mountain range
Oh Madalena!
Whatever's mine in undivided
And one cannot doubt
That our love exists
Even the Moon bets
That our love exists
Strong or weak
Glad or meak (sad) ...

CLC said...

I am glad you were able to pinpoint the Billy Joel conundrum. Funny thing is, I felt a zillion posts come to mind in the days after that I wrote my post about not knowing what to write about anymore. I guess the point is that even though we may be feeling better more often than not, the grief will always creep back in and we need somewhere to let it out. I will be here reading as frequently or infrequently as you would like to write. I am glad though that you are feeling the living is more easy than not these days.

Amy said...

Still reading and still thinking and saying outloud over and over and over again, MADDY, MADDY, MADDY!

I will always catch up with you on here. Your writing inspires me!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're in a good place right now.

k@lakly said...

I'm always happy to read your voice whenever you feel the need to vomit. I am also overcome with the I just can't get it together to write about this now, anymore, later, feelings, so my blog limps along but there is a strange comfort knowing it's there if and when, cuz I know there will always be a when, I need it.

luna said...

I fucking love this post.

G$ said...

Sometimes your words come from my heart and soul. Does that seem creepy?

I remember back and I had a rule with myself, I can't think about what I am going to blog the next day as I am falling to sleep. Sleep always ran away when I did that. Now, as I am falling asleep, I don't even think about it. I miss it, but I don't.

But, you are like an old friend I think of and can reconnect to even without consistent conversation. In fact, last night I sat on my deck looking at my tomatoes in containers and wondered how your raised beds of veggies were looking at that moment.

Kathy said...

Great post Tash. Still here reading and thinking of you, Mr. ABF, Bella and of course Maddy. Love the Billy Joel analogy, thanks for sharing!

Maggie May said...

This is just wonderfully written. Thank you for sharing so rawly.