Tuesday, April 29, 2008

happily ever after and all that.

Just a week ago I wrote my list of things that make me happy. #4 on the list was my marriage. As I have said before, when I look back on Chowder's and my marriage Creation story, I see God's paw prints all over it. It's 0ne of those frustrating romances to watch with the timing all wrong for too many years. It's that movie that leaves you shouting at the screen, "Enough already!! Just kiss her!" And finally, she just kisses him and the movie ends. happily ever after and all that.

But it doesn't take much to open a chink just wide enough for the demons of doubt to slip through. Something as simple as say...opening your email and getting a friend request to Facebook from someone named "Sophia." ("Sophia" being the name of Chowder's college sweetheart.) So, I called Chowder and asked him what "Sophia's" last name was.
"My 'Sophia'?"
knife stabs in
The name, of course, doesn't match.
"But do you know her married name?"
"I think she kept her name. When I saw something about her in the alumni news, she had the same last name."
twist knife
Chowder and I have this game we play. Whenever we get one of his various alumni magazines, I turn to his year and tell him about all of the accomplishments of his classmates. You know, a self-esteem booster...I have never run across her name.
feigning nonchalance, "Oh. When was that? I don't remember that."
"I don't know, I got it in the mail and read it one day. When I was done I threw it in the recycling bin."

The demons begin to ask questions. They are very suspicious. And I am without my medication and extremely vulnerable to them. Why did he hide that from me? (Being a 4th if not 5th generation narcissist, I have to make it about me instead of how he felt when he read it.)

They had been perfect. really. Her: pretty sorority girl with long blonde hair. Him: preppy fraternity guy with boyish charms. Their love seemed inevitable. As did the plans they made. Not silly teenage lovey plans, but real plans. grown-up plans. Her father was a minister. She sang in the choir. When Chowder was searching for denominations that fit him, of course it ended up the same as her father's.

But it ended the way these loves do. Tragically. Heartbreakingly. I'm sure for both of them. I know for him. I watched the depression set in on him and hold him fast for two years. I talked with him about his regret, his grief.

The demons question whether he wouldn't have been happier in that life. If "Sophia" hadn't been the real golden ring and I was just the boobie prize. Whether he only married me because she had said no. Whether he wished some days, that she had said yes. That he lay next to her at night.

The doubt had me firmly in it's grasp now. The demons attacked one after the other for 2 long days and 2 excruciating nights. The doubts. the terrible, terrible doubts. At the point where I was doubting his love for me and the foundation of our marriage, I cried out to God. I wanted him to obliterate these demons. To destroy them completely. to go all Old Testament on that crap.

And you know what?
He did.
But he didn't destroy the doubt in the violence of the earthquake, nor in the crash of lightening and thunder. No, God annihilated my doubt in the still small kicks of the still small baby that miraculously continues to grow inside me. like a mustard seed.

A little voice that whispers, "I am here...I am here."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Some things that make me happy...

1.) Over the weekend, I went from bleeding to spotting.

2.) One of My Chicks leaves for Ethiopia on Thursday to bring home their 5 year old son. That picture of him was taken right after he was given a photo book of his new family. It brings tears to my eyes every time I see it.

3.) I finally have the front of my house finished. New porch and landscaping. I'll post pics later. We are almost done with this phase of the backyard as well. YAY!

4.) I love my husband and my marriage.

5.) We told the kids about the pregnancy and they couldn't stop grinning.

6.) Meeting tomorrow to help plan our school's classroom garden and curriculum. I LOVE curriculum!

7.) My neighborhood.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I am here to tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt

nothing is cuter than a girl's first pigtails.

Now, if I could get her to stop making that face every time a camera is pointed at her...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Aha! Now this is what I needed...

First, I went on a second playdate with a kid from the kids' class and his very nice mom. Yeah, I think I might have broken out of the box and actually made a new friend(?) but that may be rushing things. We've only had two dates after all! I still have time to be a complete freak and have her back slowly away adorable sons in hand.

We have a new exhibit that they are putting in at our Botanical Gardens. I'm very excited! This is my favorite one by far. We live right down the street from the Garden, so we're there probably once a week in the spring/summer.

Doesn't this look like the best day ever! I even got a little sunburn on the back of my neck...*sigh*










Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My apologies to you all.

You have been so wonderful and prayerful and thoughtful and I have been so....distant. Remember how I have told you what a bad friend and I am and how I go bury myself in a cave, well that's what I've been doing. The weather hasn't helped. Sunday morning I woke up and it was gray dreary and snowing. Chowder came home to get us for church and I broke down crying with misery because of the oppressive weather. I am soooo in need of Spring. for real, Spring. Not this crappy fraudulent Spring. But today it is sunny. Did you read that, sunny! And the high is supposed to be 72 degrees! I've been outside in the garden! And I received a sweet email from a dear friend. Asking about me and my appointment on Friday. Here is my response...

What a dear friend.
I'm just really lazy and ambivalent toward my blog lately. I know I shouldn't because so many people are thinking of me and praying for me. very selfish. Thanks for the nudge.
My appointment was not without drama, well because that is the Cakes way. After 10 minutes of not being able to find the heartbeat with the doppler (14weeks) she very nonchalantly called for the u/s machine. Baby is still there, growing, and little heart beating away. God is determined to make me give up control of this one. I don't think he realizes who he's dealing with.

Now, off with you and snuggle your nose into the soft fleshy neck of your little one. Is there anyway you can waft some of that babay smell into a little vial and mail it to me? He looks like an especially good smelling baby.

So, that's where we stand. It's become....normal. I barely flinch anymore when I see the blood. I have absolutely no expectations about this at all, anymore. We still haven't told the kids, though we'll have to soon. I've had to make the jump to maternity clothes and once you do that, you look pregnant. or buttless. or in my circumstances, both. Plus, we are going to Indianapolis in a couple of weeks for my nephew's First Communion. They'll figure it out pretty fast and I want my kids to hear it first.

I'm coming out of the cave and standing at the entrance and feeling the warm sun on my face. Thank you to all who have waited and vigil-ed for me. I can feel your hands holding my hand.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hands of Heritage

I have never liked the look of my hands. I remember hating them at my Junior Ring ceremony where all around me were delicate, slim, long fingered hands. I fought and fought to not have their picture taken on my wedding day. I lost that fight but never put the picture in the album.

My hands are big and large knuckled. They are peasant hands. Made for labor. When Chowder's soft, graceful, ballerina hands can't open a jar, he hands it to me where my no nonsense construction worker hands deftly pop it open.

Even though I sometimes catch myself hiding my hands, I have slowly grown more fond of them. Grown to admire their strength. their heritage. For I have the hands of my mother. Hands that cradled my newly born body. Hands that bathed me and brushed my hair. Hands that confidently held a rifle and earned marksmen awards. Hands that tapped the steering wheel in time to Emmy Lou Harris. Hands that caked with dirt working the garden.

And I have the hands of my grandfather. Immigrant hands that worked the street crew in Chicago. Hands that came home in February cracked open and oozing. Hands that my grandmother poured hot wax on, to seal the cracks so he could go to work again. Hands that dragged his body and those of his fellow Marines through the dirt and mud of Germany, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Hands that held my hands as he bounced me on his knee. Hands that gripped a glass of Bushmill's that he would bring down with a bang on the table to emphasize his point.

And I have the hands of my great-grandmother. Hands that placed pennies on the eyes of 6 or her 11 children. Hands that that worked hard cleaning the houses of others. Hands that baked bread and made meals out of an empty cupboard. A left hand that she would turn into a fist and shake at the kids and yell, "Six months in the hospital!" and a right that she'd shake and yell, "Sudden death!"

No, I still really don't like the way my hands look. But I see my heritage in them. Every time I work the garden, or protect my family, or cradle a lost little one, I feel generations of strength and perseverance and faith flow through my hands and I know that they will be strong enough to do what needs to be done. They are the hands that attend to the work of life. They've done the business of birth and death and cared for their loved ones in between.