Gabriel turns Two: Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Opportunities for spiritual growth and other true Euphemisms

Saying that being a parent of a certain kind of child is an opportunity for spiritual growth is like a cow on the way to the slaughter saying to her lover, "well at least I'll be helping some strapping boy grow up to be a ruddy, filled-out young man." I'm pretty sure I was this certain kind of child, and now I have one of my very own, and I've committed myself to not screwing her up as badly as I was screwed up by being me in the family in which I found myself existing. Actually I've gone one step further and naively committed myself to the profound hope of helping this little girl actually thrive, and I'm fucked. Totally screwed.

Nothing is easy. Okay, Jemila, stop the blanket statements -- rule number one of self-help guides for improving relationships. Very little is easy. When something -- anything -- is easy I jump with surprise and I find myself befuddled, neither wanting to jinx a possible string of good luck, nor wishing to arouse false hope for a new reality. Or is hope for a new reality the only way to create the thing? Experts disagree.

Does she taunt and torment me, testing, contradicting or otherwise fighting me at nearly every crossing, at intervals of two seconds simply because she knows gets my goat? What drives her to reject my gestures of love, while consistently requesting, often demanding my attention and love in the forms in which I am weakest and most reticent to give it? I am going crazy! Why can't she be...

No! That girl is the girl I love. She may be the death of me, but I couldn't change her. Tears fill my eyes at the mere thought. Glimpses I get of her sweet spirit. Peeks into the amazing girl she essentially is and is going to become if I don't snuff out her fiesty flame that also feeds her joy speak to me and I discover tears of wanting to protect her, as I was not protected from my parents' urgent impulse to change me.

She is a gift. A very pricy gift, but what gift worth anything is anything but costly? Do I think I can parent the way I bargain shop? Even my shopping habits have been changing lately, as I shift toward buying fewer clothes from Fair Trade sources. Shopping Fair Trade brings me joy in a way I never experienced getting stuff for 1.99 at Old Navy.

What would it cost to love my daughter as she is worthy to be loved? Daily dying to myself. Daily letting Christ live in me. Daily being born again and again to new life. Daily becoming more creative. Daily laying aside my priorities for the Priority of love.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cloning condoned by mother in need of three bodies

My husband has to write a paper on stem cells for school. Ordinarily I am against using embryonic stem cells, for using cord blood cells and amniotic stem cells -- for the producing of healing tissues, not people, that is. Now that I have three kids under the age of five, I've changed my mind. Cloning a few copies of me sounds like a great idea. And while we're at it, let's get all eugenics on my ass and make some quality improvements: more patience, less anxiety, a more playful, present attitude toward life and its eventualities. And while we're at it, how about a smaller nose, slightly taller stature and a better memory for details. And can we get rid of those stretch marks, please?

Aside from the fact that a clone wouldn't actually me, if I could change all or some of those features, would I still be myself? After all, I'm trying to become more patient, less anxious, more playful and present in the midst whatever happens -- so what would be wrong with a quick fix? What would I miss? I could wax on spiritually about missing the process, missing God meeting me in my inadequacy, frankly but I'm too tired for that and it wouldn't be that interesting. So you tell me, what would I miss?

I'll tell you what I miss. I miss my toddler, whose head has suddenly gotten literally bigger since his sister was born. I miss my big girl, who thrives with one-on-one. I miss my baby whenever someone else is holding her, and then I miss being able to have both hands free to create. I ache to be more than I am.

Lord help me accept the things I cannot change and the gutsy creativity to change the things I can. And help me to be patient with the things that take time to break, melt, mold and recreate.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Five Days After Birth

Five days after birth
No one is inside me
Only my guts wriggle, trying to find their way to normalcy

A New Life; A New kind of Normal
Changing bed arrangements
Stretching a couple's love deeper toward agape
Three kids; yes, there are three of them
Gabriel Nuzzles Avriana and tenderly chants "Baby" over and over
Then pulls forcefully on her tiny tuft of darkish hair
She frowns and goes back to sleep

Nika wonders, "Will Avriana like me?"
And remarks enthusiastically, "Avriana's butt crack is showing!"

Avriana pants for my breast and suckles perfectly until gas strikes
Gas is the worst

Burping, like occasional crying is a relief

Sleeping happens or doesn't at odd times
I lie awake while Avriana sleeps, wondering how I'll take care of my whole family
How I'll take care of me too

Avriana is awake for a little while and I smile exhausted and delighted into her marvelous eyes, singing her the song I made when she was making in me

I start working on albums, balancing time with the other two wonderful children

And I eat chocolate.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Big Wait Poem


Waiting rooms in doctor's offices and clinicians hours behind schedule.
Waiting at a red light when you're running late.
Waiting to grow up.
Waiting to get a raise.
Waiting to lose weight
Waiting to prove something
Waiting to be happy

Waiting for Jesus to come back
Waiting for Christmas
Waiting til the kids are in older
Til there's more time
More money
Less stress

Waiting til it's all over
Waiting to buy a house
Waiting to move away
Waiting to find someone
Waiting to be who you are

Waiting to get pregnant
Waiting to give birth
Waiting past when they said

it to be somewhen else
something else
away from now

Pull the tab and breathe your life
It is this

Pain Pleasure Fear Love Rage Unknowing
Quiet Peace in All
Right now

It is your life
Your gift
Your now