April 27, 2012

Eleven years ago today, my partner and I pulled up to a seedy motel in the Iowa countryside, with our wedding garments still intact, with Wendy's fries in our bellies, and pleaded with the receptionist to let us have a room, even though we had left our identification back at the church.

We must have looked a sight.

Two kids, lucky in love, innocent and blissful, happy to be dining at Wendy's, happy to be sleeping next to truck drivers, happy to be at a motel with outdoor entrances and stains on the walls and a bed spread from the early 1990's.

Everything since then goes without saying.

Happy 11th, baby.

Two kids living in Sydney, circa 2003. 

April, 2012.

April 23, 2012

I'm writing over at Glow In the Woods today, talking about what it feels like to be pregnant again. Feel free to stop by and join the discussion.

April 19, 2012

I kneel down along with everyone else, hunched over, head bowed, knees touching the soft pads, elbows resting on the wooden pew in front of me. 

I shift my body left until it lands next to Kari.

I close my eyes. 

I drown out the noise by pressing my fingers deep into my ears, as deep as they can go, until the noise turns into that empty sound, like being under water.

It sounds exactly like what I imagine my son is hearing in utero.

I find my way to him through this sound, this emptiness, as if we're under the water in the same pool, but merely at opposite ends. 

I push bubbles of air up toward the surface as I swim to where he exists, my eyes wide open, my legs propelling me forward, my heart racing, until suddenly I'm upon him, my son, my SON, my dear boy, a once remote possibility of a life, a gift from the absence of his sister.  

His hair swooshes back and forth like kelp being pushed and pulled by ocean currents.

His legs stretch and retreat, his elbows push and prod, his fingers conceal his face.

His heart pumps rapidly, getting stronger with each beat, like he is preparing for his own grand entrance, where the roars of his mother and father will fill a stadium.

I stare at him for as long as I can hold my breath, for as long as the fingers in my ear can drown out the noise above the surface, channeling every ounce of love and hope I can muster into his being, into my own being, willing us forward, until we're out of the water, until we're home together.

April 7, 2012

There is a jar, an old canning glass jar, maybe six by three and clean as the day it was made. It's full of small rocks that Stella and I have picked out from Margot's River over the last year, at the spot where her ashes first entered into the earth. There are some faded black stones, sharp and pointy and ugly.  They lie at the bottom of the jar, like the dark foundation of grief. There are a few small white stones strewn about, little gems that are often hidden in the water, under larger rocks or branches. The kind you have to search for with diligence, and then work to get them out, getting your feet wet, moving debris out of the way.

Most of the stones that fill the jar are black and white, both colors colliding off one another like shadows. The hues unexpectedly come together beautifully, the darkness and lightness, the gloom and the hope, the joy and the heartache. There is one particular large stone, of the black and white variety, that currently lies at the top of the heap, the one we picked out on her birthday.

There are other things in her corner.

A tea light candle inside an old glass vase. The hundredth, or maybe the thousandth one that has been lit for her. A tiny medicine bottle with an equally tiny wildflower. A photograph of water and sky. A necklace and handmade ornament with her name stamped onto them.

A small wooden hope chest sits on the shelf, just across from the rocks, in front of the picture, as near to the candle as it can be. It was a gift from my mother, from Budapest. It's brown and ornate with a copper colored clasp. Inside is my M.

Little gray specs of her, white bone fragments, the ashes, my most treasured possession.


I father Stella by talking to her, feeding her, changing her, teaching her, showing her, by wrapping my arms around her whole body and hugging her as tight as I possibly can. I Father Stella by whispering in her ear every night the same phrase since the evening she was born. You are my favorite girl in the whole world.

I father Margot by cleaning.

I carefully lift up sacred objects and dust underneath them. I spray and wipe the glass frame until it shines. I scrub the rocks until they glisten. I attentively hang her necklace so her name is facing out instead of in. The dried up wax gets picked at and pulled out until the vase is clean and ready for more. I wipe and dust and scrub her space because there is little else to do.

Cleaning and cleaning, always cleaning.


April 2, 2012

Third trimester Beard of Hope. Five weeks down, five to go.