Friday, 29 August 2014

The Edge

Sometimes I linger too long at that place between fully awake and fully asleep. There are half-dreams and half-thoughts, the remains of the night and the beginning of the day. I don't feel ready to surrender to wakefulness, but neither can I seem to fall properly back to sleep. And so I linger there, on the edge.

Eventually I give in. Open my eyes. Today my reward is the sweet sight of baby girl fully and totally asleep. Her thumb hangs halfway out of her mouth, her other arm resting against the swell of her soon-to-be (any day now, any minute) baby brother or sister. Under that arm, her two constant companions are pinned between us: the doll I made for one of her brothers, and the rainbow dinosaur her aunt and uncle brought back from Brazil. Behind her lay her three blankets, one Grandma-knit, one Oma-sewn, and her car blanket that somehow migrated to her sleeping space during the past few hot weeks. She is utterly abandoned to sleep and I marvel at her, study this toddler-baby who is both so small and so big at once.

At the end of the bed, the husband is fastening his belt. It felt like only moments ago he had been pressed against my back, arm over me as we slept, interrupted by his alarm (Doctor Who theme, because we're geeks like that) reminding him to get out of bed every few minutes. No contractions meant I couldn't rescue him from this last work day of the week. He kisses me goodbye and leaves quietly. He'll text me later, I know, asking me to go into labour so he can come home from a boring day at the office, and I'll reply in faux-annoyance but it's been five days of this and the annoyance isn't entirely a joke at this point.

Some days I manage to fall back asleep after he leaves. Today I stay awake, just lying there quietly, thinking, until baby girl wakes up too and her early-riser brother hears her babbling and bursts into the room and the day has started, time for breakfast. My time of lingering is over.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tell me a story without an ending.

I have happily spent this summer devouring fiction and memoirs, a veritable deluge of stories. Morton, Flynn, Graham, Hunt, Moriarty, Worth, Picoult, Green, Niffenegger; love and loss, murder and mystery, birth and paper towns and secrets and time travel. Each one has been delicious as it sinks into my marrow, my very being, in a way that no instructing or soap-boxing or arguing ever could.

The stories become part of me, and through them I come to better know the heart and soul of humanity.

* * *

I've become weary of conclusions.

How I Quit Sugar For Good

10 Steps to Stop Yelling

5 Products You Need Today

The Secret to a Happy Marriage

50 Ways to Make Summer Memorable

How _______ Changed My Life for Good

Conclusions, all of them. The last page of people's stories. The ending, the final thoughts, the lesson. They're tidy and clean and instructive and often quite lovely...but I'm feeling burnt out on lovely. What happened to the middle part, the long messy twisting journey that preceded the arrival?

What do I want? I want unfinished. Unpolished. I don't want the conclusion or the lesson or the ten-point how-to. I want the adventure, not the destination. The mess, not the polished finale. How about a bit of uncertainty? Some loops back to try again? And what of dreams still far off, not just the ones coming true now?

I want to read more than the last chapter of the book, where everything comes neatly together and Happily Ever After begins. I could do with less outrage and certainty and cynicism, more questioning and wondering and wonder. A story without an ending.

* * *

Stories are what make us unique. Even computers can't do it. Just us, just people, telling our stories to each other and down through the generations. They endure. They help us to see one another - not labels and divisions and boxes, but one another. Not judgement, but compassion and understanding. Not lines in the sand, but hearts and souls that are so much more like our own than we ever before realized.

Tell me a story. Just the beginning, the middle, the cross-road, the climax, the wherever-you-are along the path. The end of that particular road will come in time, and there will be other roads that begin, so many of them, branches and twists and forks and where next? Snippets from the journey, that's what I want. I'm tired of only hearing the endings.

Tell me an unfinished story.

* * *

Once upon a yesterday...

I splashed boiling water on my 40-weeks-pregnant belly and damn, did that hurt. I fell straight asleep that night and woke up in the morning still waiting, waiting, for that 40 week baby to arrive. And in the waiting there was boredom, jumpiness, a bit of anxiety and impatience alongside the anticipation.

Perhaps tomorrow there will be more to tell.

And perhaps not.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

This hot and sticky summer

This summer has been hot days and cold iced tea, week after week, as we make our last memories as a family of five and prepare to become six. And what treasured memories they have been...

Reading poems to the kids as we drive along the dark highway, breaking up the arguments and the he-touched-me's with some Roald Dahl and A. A. Milne and whatever else I could find on my phone.

Going to sleep smelling like a campfire and waking up eager for that one-dollar five-minute shower. New friends at the campground and new words brought back to the tent and new freedoms as they head off to play some more while we try (again) to get the campfire to stay lit. Hiking, museums, and dinosaurs (oh my).

The boy's first time getting lost in the neighbourhood, and remaining calm while walking fast and then relief and hugs and dried tears and reassuring words. And then a printed map and a review and trying again and sweet success. Swim lessons and ice skating lessons, badges and goals.

Weeding the garden again and again (and again and again and) the way it becomes one more reminder of the inner weed-yanking that must happen endlessly within me. Fresh carrots eaten daily, green tops strewn around the yard by children with more pressing matters to attend to than keeping the yard tidy: playing soccer, riding bikes, drinking cold water from the tap.

Cherry stained fingers and boxes of blueberries, handfuls snatched by hungry children every time they walk by. Blueberry jam spread on toast, jars of it stored for future less bountiful months.

A certain baby girl's second birthday, with balloons and chocolate zucchini cake and gifts and a new birthday skirt, elastic still safety pinned together at the back because she won't take it off long enough for me to finish the waist. A new backpack and a beautiful Oma-made quilt and puzzles and joy and celebration and singing, all for this delightful child.

A new van and a borrowed bassinet and soft lambskin and tiny clothes, all in preparation for the newest little one, any day now. Waiting. Waiting.

Good moments and bad moments all jumbled together, grace and impatience and apologies and naps and love and laughter and tears. Every day a bit of everything, messy but mostly good, I think.