Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Morning

The thin light of a cloud-covered morning pushes through taupe blinds on my window.  The light turns ruddy instead of cool, and I wonder if the whole day will be dark?  Behind me, my husband's legs are shaped perfectly into the curve of my own.  My feet rest on top of his until his big toe wiggles, tickling my arch, and I tuck my toes instead into the warm space between his calves.  Tickling is the surest way to make me shrink away from contact, even when it's inadvertent.  Even when it's most likely only a muscle twitching awake.  Even when it's from the one I love.  My alarm clock spurts out a quiet pulse of music before I reach up to push away the intrusion.  Cold air assaults my bare shoulders.  I cuddle back into the dent of my pillow, the cave of my quilt, hug my husband's hand to my chest, and doze for a few more minutes that seem like hours. 

------------

My biggest girl marches out of her bedroom in footed pajamas, her hair static-clung to her back and forehead.  Her cheeks are bright and warm, her eyes squinted against the overhead light.  It's still cloudy and damp outside, a contribution to this late wake-up, certainly.  As she settles onto the couch and trains her gaze at the morning news -- soon to be switched to morning cartoons -- I perch beside her fleece-covered legs.  Her rosy cheek fits into my hand as if molded by the shape of my palm.  Fingertips tickling her hairline, thumb tracing her cheekbone, I test her for heat.  Is this a fever?  Or merely the warmth of fleece pajamas and a tangle of blankets?  Time will tell, so we negotiate breakfast: oatmeal with only a pinch of brown sugar, or she'll refuse the whole dish.  Too sweet ruins oatmeal, she says.  Her lips are hot-red and plump, but chapped.  Is she sick?

------------

Mommy, look!  My toddler's squeal comes from the back seat of the car.  She's dangling her battered lambie from both arms, dancing it in front of the fogged window.  Lambie's a dancer, mommy, and she wants to come to school with me!  I glance at the clock; we've just left home, and school started 6 minutes ago.  At this point, I hope a dancing lambie is all it will take to distract the teachers from our late arrival. In the opposite seat, her big sister is staring lifelessly out the window at passing traffic.  She yawns one giant, face-crumpling yawn, and hugs her blankie to her neck.  We are a car filled with lovies.  A pink, tattered blankie in one corner, a creamy white (but dingy gray) lambie in the other corner, and a mom in the front seat cradling her midsection.  The baby inside moved again last night and I've become a mother of three already.  So soon?  Still so unknown.

------------

The hospital waiting room is filled with strangers.  I wait with my lab orders and flip through the pages of a book order.  I don't remember getting lab work done with my first pregnancy, but isn't it strange?  I know I didn't have preschool book orders to keep me company back then.  A nurse shouts my name and we traverse the hallways on our way to the phlebotomist's lounge.  For it does seem like a lounge: nurses are chatting and gossipping.  I hear about one lady's pet peeve of claustrophobic countertops, another lady's ongoing dental crisis.  All the while, I sit with a rubber band stretched tightly around my arm.  As uncomfortable as this is, I anticipate the needle being worse, so I focus on a stranger's dental problems instead.  With little fanfare, I turn my head away for the needle to be plunged under my skin, and am startled to realize that the nurse got it right the first time.  There will be no digging or rolling.  Cautiously, I glance at the tube filled with my cells and watch it snake and drip into a vial.  There's something almost comforting about being relieved of my blood; at least it's better than having a vein blown and leaking tears of frustration.  It feels like an exhalation. 

------------

Despite the grayness of the day, the sharp, cold air, the birds sing of spring.  A bluejay squaws from my back porch while I slather a biscuit with strawberry jam.  Shouldn't I be doing something productive with my free time, I wonder?  Washing last night's dishes, perhaps?  Folding the towels, maybe?  But free time isn't usually so unspoken for; I settle on the couch to finish the last few pages of a novel that's taken me much too long to finish.  Soon, I'll half-nap while the birds outside -- in the forested treetops, hopping on the damp ground, foraging on my porch -- twitter and lie.  After all, if they were telling the truth with their cheerful songs, the sky would be bright and blue.  The sun would be warm.  The new buds and blossoms would have a worthy backdrop.  But maybe what I mistake for deceptive cheer is actually a voice that doesn't know it sounds happy, when in fact, it's trying to speak words of mourning.  I'll go gather my children from school in a bit, and trust that their voices aren't ever deceptively cheerful.  They are either happy or they are not.  And, for now, I never have to guess which. 

7 comments:

  1. Your writing is beautiful. It made me feel cozy and understood. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hate to state the obvious but you are such a WONDERFUL writer!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so aptly put. You captured a glimpse into the life of a mom so well.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Are you okay, Sarah? This post has such a melancholy undertone--it makes me worry.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love your writing. It is so real. Hope all is well with you. Isn't it amazing how a normal day can touch people you have not even met?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I know I tell you this all the time, but... I love your blog. Seriously love your blog. Your words (reality draped in magic) Your captures (budding with curiosity) Your genuine love for your life (clear as a bell)

    ...

    I love your blog.

    It is one of the first ones I catch up on when I have the time. I've been taking your advice and eating up every single minute with my bambinos... blogging has been put on the back burner. And it feels so good, yet it feels so good to read my favorite blogs. :))

    ReplyDelete
  7. You notice such detail and place it perfectly in your writing. I love posts like these.

    ReplyDelete

Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?