Monday, May 24, 2010

Baby Spoons and the Crust

A lot of thought-provokers happened today during my 30-minute lunch break, and I can't help but take a few minutes to reflect on them here before settling in with transcripts and info sheets and all of the other important tasks I have to do.

Are kids you know picky about sandwich crusts? Lydia is. Unless she's starving and there's a good deal of peanut butter smeared to the very end of the bread slice, she isn't interested in crusts. Today she polished off her PBH and left the crusts on her plate, asking if she could eat something else. We suggested the remaining pieces of her sandwich, but she wasn't THAT hungry. Meanwhile, Elvis sat staring at his plate with a PBJ cut in half, no bites taken and that face that says, "I really, really don't want to eat this, but if I make any move like I don't, I'll get sent to time out, again, so I guess I'll just sit here and stare at it." So Lydia asked if she could eat Elvis's sandwich, unaware that Brandon had used the ends of the bread to make his sandwich - only one side visible. We handed her the sandwich and she wolfed it down. All we could say to one another was, "Hilarious." And then, of course, the fact that Lydia had half of Elvis's sandwich was enough to send him into fits and sobs, even though (as previously stated) someone was about as anti-sandwich as vegans are anti-pork chop. We gave him back half of the sandwich and he went at it with the same enthusiasm Lyd had demonstrated over her quite crusty PBJ.

We don't really know what we want. Crusts or no crusts. Sandwich or no sandwich. A little bit of both. We're clueless, envious, subjective creatures.

After the PBJ episode, the kids were back to behaving like normal human beings. And then they began a conversation about heaven. We talk about heaven often--their day care place talks about heaven occasionally, and we've told them that Great Pop and Tex and the baby that was in mommy's belly (see previous post) are in heaven, so it comes up. Today's conversation started with Elvis saying, "Baby in heaven," and Lydia followed up by saying, "When the baby comes back from heaven and it grows up a little, it'll need baby spoons." Then they discussed between the two of them whether they wanted a baby boy or a baby girl.

I've often wondered whether children who do not make it to term have another go-around. It's all speculation what goes on, anyway, and why, and how, and when. Do I have four children hanging out with Jesus in heaven, waiting to meet me? Who knows? Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see, and probably this area of life--death and loss--requires the greatest amount of faith. And I believe - not in my own fantasies and musings about happy little people clinging to the robes of Christ, but in a loving, compassionate, patient, merciful, just, mysterious, and powerful God of the universe. I stand in awe of him. And because I believe these things and hope for what I cannot see, I can trust that whatever the circumstances, he is the great redeemer.

This past weekend was the first time Brandon and I talked about "the future" and "our plans" (God knows the plans he has for us... plans to prosper us and not harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future... and he chuckles at "our plans" all the time, I'm sure) since the miscarriage two weeks ago. I'm not ready to give up on more children, and he's not ready to say let's keep trying for more children, which leaves us contentedly undecided for the long term. This is our fourth miscarriage, and he's tired of this. I certainly don't enjoy going through this, either, but I guess I'm just less prepared to say enough. I can't retire my vision of our family as more-than-the-four-of-us. It is kind of nice to return to my own self - I like being able to exercise and feeling physically fit, and I like being able to have a drink now and again, and I like not being tired or anxious about whether everything's okay. But I'm happy to sacrifice the comforts of possessing my own body for nine+ months in order to have another little person in our family.

I had no response to Lydia and Elvis's dialogue, so we both just smiled and watched the two of them, and we hovered there in our land of indecision and longing. There's no real way to answer the question, "Why do you want to have more kids?" Is it because I'm wired to want to be fruitful and multiply? I don't know. I don't know why I want more children. I've heard it said, "You have a boy and a girl - that's perfect! You can be done!" as if that's the only reason people keep trying to have more kids - in order to have one of each gender. I could list off reasons why I want to have more and also the advantages to only having two. But would it really provide a solution or give additional clarity, like weighing the pros and cons? I don't know if it would. I think if I were told, you really shouldn't/can't have any more kids, I would be able to let it go, but no one has said this, except for the occasional insensitive person.

Like many forms of loss and grief, a miscarriage dominates your thoughts for an indeterminable period of time. For days, weeks, and sometimes months, the mom-to-be is focused on being a mom-to-be -- eating right, exercising right, sleeping well... and then, just like that, all of the energy put into thinking about being a mom is channeled elsewhere, and the first place it goes is into loss and grief. And that turns into questions and hypothetical situations, which turns into hunting for answers as to why this happened and sometimes evolves into blame - self, God, others, etc. And then we struggle and flounder about, gradually find other areas to channel thoughts, wrestle with God and what we believe about him and his involvement in our personal affairs, whether we believe him to be a good God or a cruel one, and what does that mean for the rest of my life? Sometimes we find rest and resolve and healing. I wonder how many of us just pack that grief into our hearts and hope that the wound will scab over if we bury it deep enough.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Explanation

The Explanation

The baby that used to be
in mommy's belly
is in heaven now
with Tex and Great Pop.
Heaven is far away,
beyond the clouds and sky,
even farther than the moon
and sun and stars. God
is in heaven, too, and Jesus,
who loves the little babies.
He lets them snuggle
in his arms the way I do
with you at night,
when we read our stories,
sing a song and talk to God
about being thankful,
even when it is difficult,
and we ask Him to bless us,
thank Him for blessings,
opportunities, and even
sufferings. I miss Tex
and wish the baby
was still in my belly, too,
but we'll see them again
someday. Someday.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Elasticity is Heaven

This weekend, I swapped out my winter clothes and the majority of my pants for the bin of maternity clothes. Hello, elastic waistbands! I am twelve weeks along now. It was nice to read on that many women, especially women who have been pregnant before, are likely to be wearing maternity clothes already. I'm in that wonderful phase of pregnancy where you look and feel fat rather than pregnant. The fat is indistinguishable from the pregnant. People don't ask women at this phase of pregnancy whether they are pregnant because we might just be binge eating or off of our exercise routine, which we are, but not just for the food and lazing about -- there's something else going on, too.

The good news is that I think I've turned the nausea corner and graduated into heartburn. I had never experienced heartburn until I was pregnant with Lydia. It was so bad I thought I was having a heart attack. Or something like it. I even went to urgent care. After everything tested just fine, the doc recommended I get some Pepcid AC. Who knew Pepcid cured chest pains? AMAZING. And now it is back, though not as bad as my first episode. It probably didn't help that I thought everything that happened during my pregnancy with Lydia was going to cause me to lose her. Anxiety does wonders for your physical health!

Speaking of Lydia, today is her fourth birthday. Fourth. I can't believe she is so old already! I can see that kindergarten is going to be a real shocker. We had a family party this weekend for her. She was thrilled to have her grandparents down for the day, as was Elvis. They have this obsession with showing people their rooms. Elvis won't stop asking "come see my room!" until everyone has gone up to see it. Lydia follows suit. I'm very glad that we live close enough to our parents that they can come visit for the day.

I have two poetry readings this weekend, one in Marion and one in Columbus. I haven't read in quite a while, it seems, so I'm feeling a little nervous about what to read. I have a difficult time selecting poems to read at these things. I am also having a difficult time finding a sitter for Friday night. So, if you know anyone...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mark Jarman Interview in Rattle Summer 2006

I've had a copy of the 25th issue of Rattle, a poetry literary journal, hanging out in my house for several months and finally picked it up to leaf through. This particular issue has a tribute to the best of Rattle as well as an interview with a poet I recently heard read at AWP in Denver. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I continue to wonder why I haven't read certain poets before. Mark Jarman is one of those poets. In the interviewregarding style and subject, Jarman says:

I might, at this point, be said to have a subject. I think of it as the intersection of, say, the word of God with the Godless world--what happens when you see and experience in your own life this moment when God seems to be at work. That's what I usually write about.

When I read things like this from other poets, my heart does this little flutter of excitement. It is a thrill to me to know that there are other poets writing out of this same ambition. I feel as if there is indeed a community of believers (or community of seekers, even) who find this intersection fascinating and critical, who do not believe that we are "past the age of myths", beyond a belief in God.

I purchased Unholy Sonnets in AWP this year and read the whole thing on the plane ride home. It's a lovely collection, one I couldn't put down. I think this is because I couldn't wait to hear what he would say next. The subject-matter thrills me. I hope to be able to meet or work with Jarman sometime in the future--perhaps at the West Chester Poetry Conference :)