Sunday, September 25, 2011


Knitting for someday baby. Come soon.

In the style of Hemingway’s six word piece, I thought this would be enough. I wanted it to be. But I felt that I needed to say more, the story behind the story.

I need to tell you about her, the baby that I hope will someday come to live here with the three of us.

You would think that after a certain age, one would tire of imaginary friends, having long since outgrown their usefulness. Yet most days I see her somewhere in my midst or think of her. Her features are unclear and her age changes depending upon the day of the week, the time or the activity that I am engaged in. We make reference to her often here, especially when the boisterous boys in my house begin their bantering. Sometimes I follow their witty offerings back and forth as if at a tennis match, other times I wish for another girl in the house to even things out and provide a bit of balance.

If you wish hard enough for something, with all of your might, will it come true? I picture her, the clothes she would wear. I try out dozens of names as if they were clothes on a paper doll. Esme, Tabitha, Maisie, Mariposa, Tatum, Mathilda, Sabine, Tullia, Beatrix, Etienne, Tesserae. Fitting them together with middle names like Jane, Gardner, Grace, Paige, Maeve, Patrice and Bea. This is my fall back activity, the undercurrent to everything, the puzzle that keeps my brain occupied.  I pore over name books and websites thinking I may stumble onto a magic combination, the words that will bring her to me as if they held the same weight and power as Abra Cadabra or Hocus Pocus. Sadly I am not equipped with a wand, and we’ve already pulled a rabbit out of a hat. (We’ve got two. Three dogs and a cat.) And in some ways they’re like children. When we’re goofing around we often cradle the dogs like a baby, kiss them, hug them and snuggle. And yet I feel like there’s something more, something missing. I wonder: Has she been born? What does she look like? Will she somehow make her way to us through a series of related events about which I have no idea?

Or has our family reached its limit, with three of us who laugh, cry, read, eat, and love together? I have always believed the song I’ve sung since I was little, three is a magic number. When we hold hands everyone is touching everyone else. But I remind myself of the children’s stories I have read, remembering that there always room for one more.

Perhaps I should be happy to have made my way out of the land of sleepless nights, spit up and diaper changes. Looking forward I know that it won’t be long until our teenage son makes his solo flight to
his new life. Other mothers tell me that high school passes by in the blink of an eye. Are we really ready to do it all over again and become parents to a wee babe? I wonder and I worry. I wish and I wait. Mostly I wish for someone tiny and sweet who will wear handknit hats, socks and sweaters; dresses, ruffles and bows in her hair. Until she insists on overalls.

The entertainment factor wasn't why I had my first baby, but it definitely popped up in consideration of the other two. Never do I laugh so hard than at my children. In a good way. Usually they get the joke and laugh along with me. Except the other day when Luca made a bike jump in the front yard and went over it in slow motion. He failed to see what was so funny about THAT. But we all giggled over this conversation at bedtime the other night:

Luca: “Would you want to find money or a baby raccoon?”
Me: “A baby raccoon.” [Not really.  Money, any day.]
Luca: “Me too. I love baby raccoons.”
Barno: “I don't like baby raccoons.”
Luca: “Would you rather lose me or the guinea pigs?”
Me: “Guinea pigs.”
Luca: “Me too. Would you rather lose a dog's ear or a whole dog?”
Me: “A dog's ear.”
Luca: “Me too. I love our dogs.”
Barno: “I don't like dog's ear.”

Written down it lacks a certain...something.  Like the muffled hysteria of a mother trying not to get her kids riled up at bedtime.  Because as funny as I find them, I still want them to go to bed.  On time.  Without incident. Without extra water trips.

Tomorrow Barno spends a whole day at preschool for the first time ever, because... I'm starting a job.  Out in the grownup world.  Not full time, hell no.  Baby steps, people, that's how life is accomplished.  I'll be working only three days a week but for those three days my youngest, my baby, will be taken care of by a trio of ladies who might be getting paid better than me and will probably pay him more attention than I can manage for longer than a few minutes.  But still.  I am surprisingly veklempt at the thought.  He's been my constant appendage for the past three and a half years; I might tilt when I walk through the office halls tomorrow.

But that's why there's yoga, and paychecks.  To make us feel better about our choices, to make us realize that soon I'll walk upright as if nothing was missing.  And nothing is.  It's time for him to learn that other people can cut the crusts off his peanut butter sandwiches just as well as I can.  It's time for me to learn I have skills beyond cutting crusts of sandwiches.  And I get to wear grownup clothes, which will be fabulous for at least a day. Bye-bye, baby. Love you, baby.  See you at quitting time.

Next Week’s Word: Moon 

1 comment:

  1. You'll both survive it and thrive! I'm cheering for you!