Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The men in the Chamber of Commerce put the money up to build the house and the guys from the Fraternal Order of the Eagles made sure that it was manned from 9 AM to 7 PM six days a week for twelve days, give or take when the Saturday before the Twelve Days Of Christmas fell.
It was real town effort, the Santa Claus Haus in lovely downtown Marseilles, Ohio, and the grown-ups got almost as much of a kick out of making it happen every year as the children did of wishing inside of it. No one ever complained about it at all. Sure, occasionally there were Santa snafus and little discrepancies in what Santa said would happen and what the parents could afford. But all in all, it was a much-used and much-loved landmark during its short existence each year.
Wired for light and heat, there was also a speaker that churned out Christmas music from a tape recorder. Two windows on each side to let light in were curtained in red gingham. Fake evergreen garland ran along the top of the room bedecked with red plastic ribbons and bows. A "throne" sat directly in front of the door, to the left of it sat a big red velvet bag filled with wrapped empty-yet hope-filled cardboard boxes.
Outside the door was a little porch with three wooden steps leading up to the door and the Magic Mailbox, which was really Old McElroy's old mailbox painted green and sitting atop a candy cane colored post. But to the children in town, that mailbox was a conduit to the Big Man himself. It was almost always full of paper and was emptied more than once every day of the week and several times on the days of the weekend.
The Mother's Club was responsible for getting the letters returned to the proper child's parents when the children had left a name. A task which they gleefully undertook and eagerly awaited each year. But there were always the few requests better handled by the Churches. "Dear Santa, Stop my Daddy from drinking..." or "Dear Santa, Just give my mommy a coat", for instance. Those went to the Churches.
It was a quaint little town and most had enough to eat and more than enough to make them happy. But there are always exceptions, and for some poor unfortunate souls, those cold, dark, bleak days of December are a constant tooth-grinding battle. Mrs. Miller, for example, whose son had died in Vietnam and with him her happiness. Or Old Sloopy, the bait shop owner, whose wife had run off Christmas of '54 and left him four kids to raise, the scrutiny of the whole town breathing down his neck, and no best friend, because she took him too. There are as many kinds of heartbreak as there are people in the world. And in a town like Marseilles, every one of them is more intriguing than the next. The people that carry these broken hearts within them and within the town limits of Marseilles, Ohio do a heck of a lot of drinking to cloak them in some semblance of normalcy.
Penelope's life wasn't normal.
Not even close.
And in the "smile and nod" area she failed miserably.
She had always been a pot boiling over, like her Grandma said. Whether she was distraught and brimming over with tears and wailing, or on the ever-so-rare occasion that she allowed herself to be happy, she was a ringing volcano of mirth and melodic laughter. There wasn't much in between. This was about ten years before the word "bipolar" existed in Parke County, though. So, for all that knew her, which was Everyone, Penelope was just the weird, somehow exotic and completely eccentric 9 year old basket case they all knew and loved. Or hated. Mostly hated.
Yes, it was one thing for the kids to tease her and bully her mercilessly. They'd always done that. And with her it was just too easy. But, it was another thing for the adults to visibly dislike a nine year old girl.
But she made them horribly uncomfortable. They didn't like her around their kids because she seemed incapable of playing or fun. Instead she pried at the kids for Answers. All she seemed to want was Information. She wanted to know how the kids Felt, for Chrissakes. She didn't want to play Barbies or watch the Brady Bunch. She wanted to know what they thought God LOOKED like, or how long they would survive after a nuclear holocaust!
The things the adults heard through the open doorways when Penelope came over would simply curdle their blood and they'd find themselves tightening their toes and clenching their fists at the mere mention of her name.
But, she rarely went to other children's houses, anyway. Maybe once in a while, when a sermon was especially guilt-inducing, a kid would decide that they'd better be nicer to Penelope or spend eternity in hell. But children soon forget, and Penelope was so boring and awful that those cases rarely lasted past Tuesday.
So, she was Lonely on top of it all. On top of having a brain that was way too big and filled with clattering marbles, broken glass, and what felt like the gunk at the bottom of the lake. On top of her heart that swelled with the love of all Humankind and on top of an ocean of tears, happy and sad, within her, that would drown an elephant. On top of the cold and the bleak and the darkness that is just the virtue of Tuesdays in December.
On just one of those Tuesdays, December 18th, 1985, Penelope found herself on top of Santa's porch. She found herself full of Magic and a sense of hopefullness as numb as her fingertips. She felt as though when she turned around, she would see not the Hardware Store with its display of Franklin Stoves and anamatronic elves in the window, but the Real Live North Pole.
She felt that when she got done asking Him and opened the door again, she wouldn't be walking back out into this horrible town full of falsely happy-looking Mannequin-people, but into her New Life. Not like she would walk the cold grey concrete walk back to her creaky, dank, drafty, frozen and unpleasant lonely room, but to a castle where she would live forever as a beautiful Princess.
She would sleep on a mattress filled with money! She would have a Court of people who wore fine clothes and lived just to entertain her and clamor for her friendship. She would have a library full of her very own books that she could read away from the sickeningly piteous looks of the dowager librarians at the library in town.
She would wear wool and furs and sit by roaring fireplaces and never be cold again! She would be happy! Really happy. She would feel Happiness in her bones. Her brain would feel like feather pillows and lemon meringue pie and her heart would again turn from a stone to meat and pump warm, comforting blood throughout her newly beautiful body.
She HAD to wish like this. She had to want the magic this intensely. She had to become Belief itself in every inch of her beingness. Because Blake had told her there wasn't a Santa. Blake, her dear boy whom she loved best in the whole world, had told her there was no Santa, just some old schmuck from the Eagles where her father played pinochle all day. Told her to look him right in the eye and ask him if he wasn't Tom Pearson or John LeMay. Blake told her to stop being a baby. There wasn't a Santa who would ever give her anything that cost more than $25.
So, she stood there, white-knuckled, and watched her hand turn purple as it clutched the door knob. She wiped the snot from her lip with her free hand, rubbed it on the tail of her flannel jacket, and turned the knob....
It doesn't matter what He said.
(Luckily it was Billy McFlarety, the "Irish Poet", the guys at The Bar called him, who was wearing the Santa Claus Suit on that Tuesday at 4:48 pm and not old Roscoe Moyer, who was due in at 5. For decades afterwards, not a December passed without a thoroughly maudlin Billy McFlarety spinning the yarn of the Poor Little Princess From The Santa Claus Haus. By the turn of the century, it was a local fairy tale- but by then, so was Penelope.....)
It only matters that seventeen minutes later she stood on the porch of the Santa Claus Haus, licking the sugar Santa-face off the absolutely delicious lollipop that all the children got from Santa. (the boys making it a game to see who could collect the most before being barred from trying....)
It only matters that when she walked back out of the plywood door and into the dark but tree-lit street outside, she Believed. She knew in her heart of hearts that she would someday have the very life she had wished for. That she would have the beautiful life she believed she would have.
She just had to get through the one she had now. And there was some good in it. Santa had shown her that! Had told her that he wanted not to hear what she wanted but what she already Had that was good. And it worked! Like a dam broken, it all gushed out. And she saw a tear roll down Santa's cheek as she told him all the tiny, vast wonders and beauty in her life. (and just barely missed his beard shift when his white-gloved hand went to wipe it away....)
And he called her Beautiful! Santa said she was by far The Most Beautiful Girl In The Whole Town, because she had the most love in her heart!
And he said that even if he only brought her Things every year, that it was just a signal to remind her that she could have any Thing she wanted if she believed enough. And that even if life got hard and she felt all alone, He would Always be there in her heart reminding her how good this felt to list what she already had that was good and to not want Things just because other people had them.
And that someday she would be the Queen of her life, just like she wanted. He Promised her that!
So she walked the cold, grey, concrete walk home, but she didn't see it. The Spell was broken! She was free as a bird! She thought to herself that she would go home and start making presents to leave anonymously at the Old Folk's Home like she did every year. It was getting close to Christmas, after all. She didn't have much time.
And she couldn't wait to call up old Blake and tell him that there most certainly WAS a Santa Claus, that he absolutely was in the Santa Claus house in Marseilles, and that he told her that she would definitely be a Queen someday!
Twenty years later, Penelope Fairheardt, noted millionaire children's author of a series of books about a little girl from a small town in Ohio who becomes the first Queen of the United States, and changes it into a fairy land of happiness of sorts, received an epidural while in labor with her first child. At the instant the doctor pierced her nervous system, Penelope had a flash memory of the Santa Claus Haus in downtown Marseilles.
She was overcome with a deep feeling of well-being. In between contractions, she asked her husband, Blake, if he remembered the day she had called him up and told him in no uncertain terms that there WAS a Santa Claus and that Blake would marry her someday and that they would be richer than anyone in that nasty little town ever would be. He smiled wistfully and said, "Of course...." Three hours later, their son was born. Instead of naming him Duncan, like they had planned, they named him Claus.
Three Saturdays before Claus' first Christmas, famous author and apple of the eye of Marseilles, Ohio, Penelope Fairheardt stood on the steps of the brand new, permanent Santa Claus Haus on Fountain Square and as she cut the candy cane ribbon, she looked out into the adoring crowd of her former horrifying townspeople and exclaimed, "Each of you are The Most Beautiful Children In This Whole Town because you all have so much love in your hearts!"
And in that moment, so much love radiated back to her from the crowd that she felt like she was the Queen of Marseilles and the Queen of Christmas and she knew that she would never be cold or lonely again.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The acid she that she always took did not really make the world technicolor and swirly and disorienting. It seemed to darken the world and leave it with a pallor not unlike the Dickens she loved to read. In the heat of summer one could harken back to Woodstock and Song of Solomon and countless other verdant rainbow-sensual cultural memories and enjoy one's trip more. Mushrooms were best in spring and most wonderful to ingest in autumn, and weed was the same all year long, with the odd more-fun or less-fun intensity.
But this was the winter of her Discontent and this was the deep-freeze of Rock Bottom. And on this Winter Solstice, there would be nothing more brilliant than to gluttonously digest than acid, bourbon and coke---the brown cola kind not the powder. She was not stupid- just addicted.
It was a night of driving around just being high as a kite on top of being drunk as a skunk. Not that she drove. That would imply that she were responsible enough to do so. She most certainly wasn't. She merely rode, and from the middle backseat position, spoke through the rear-view mirror to the driver, her Lover, and side to side at the teenage boy and girl she was taking turns making out with. The girl riding shotgun hated her guts. She was trying to woo The Lover, the soulmate, a vain attempt to take something away from Her. But how does one steal from a supernova or usurp a deity?
And in the backseat she spoke on like a Buddha, a burning bush, a prophet, a wildwoman. It doesn't matter to remember now what she said, and all she can remember of it is that it was the last time she ever said any of it. That whatever it was, it was the end of everything, and it didn't seem like it at all.
It was the end of the world and she didn't know it yet. As Someone's Mom's Buick wound its way hundreds of miles in the December darkness, she was having the kind of trip that brought to mind wooly mammoths, blankets laced with smallpox, and rust. Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis were just pins in some cosmic map, She wasn't really There- in all three cities and then Home in one night.
Solstice Raves. Eschewing Christmas and all other notions of Holiday Cheer for drugs and lights and loud techno music. She wonders now what would've become of all of them if She'd been left to her own devices. If what had happened never happened. It was three days before Christmas and she hadn't bought a single gift for anyone else yet. Had no plans to. Too stoned. Too wasted. She was always too much of everything negative.
It was the last night She believed in God, but she didn't know that yet either. Didn't know that every molecule in her beingness was about to be involuntarily blown into the chaos sphere.
They drove the back way into town that morning. Is 4:00am night or morning? On that Solstice night- the longest and deepest and darkest, it certainly felt like night. The sky was an indigo bordering on violet.
They passed a cop sitting on the side of the road in his car, the windows steamed up. Nothing like a carload of acid freaks passing a sitting cop to inspire fear and paranoia and also biting humor. "He's probably asleep." Someone said... "Maybe he's dead" ha.ha. She would get quite intimate with that policeman before the sun came up, but he did not know that yet.
For now there was no thought but the acid, the trip, the anticipated bacchanalia with the two teenagers, and the entire universe that existed in their four psychadelic heads. The car door sounds were both loud in the stillness and muffled by the snow as they got out of the car. Passenger seat girl had been ditched first. was just the four of them arm in arm.
The cold was like fiberglass, biting and alive. She thought of Jack Frost blowing shards of splintered ice across the surface of her skin, of her face. The cold was preternatural. It existed seemingly for reasons beyond December. She didn't know that yet, but She could sense it.
Rushing the teenagers around the house with a cursory "Shush!" and a warning not to wake up her father, she stopped, pulled The Lover to her and looked at his face as if to memorize it. (She did this often)
"I feel like I will never see you again for some reason" She said. "I am having a pretty bad trip."
He kissed her eyebrow. "There was a snowflake there. I kissed it." He said.
She watched the corner of his mouth turn up and his dimple pop in, like she'd done a million times, but this time it seemed more precious than ever before. He urged her to relax and pulled her hand to lead her to the side door of her little basement hideaway under her father's house. The light shone on the walkway from the kitchen window.
"Shit! My dad is up! I hate seeing him when I am like this. It makes me feel guilty and he looks like a bear and it bothers me!" She opines. She pauses at the door.
"Let's go downstairs. If he calls down, he calls down. If he doesn't, you're good" The Lover implores, longingly looking into the basement window, eager to get to The Teenagers and then to sleep.
"I gotta piss. I am gonna have to go up there anyway." She says, letting him in. She notices little clumps of snow on the stairs where his feet have been. She tries for composure. Fails. She has always been her father's favorite, the princess. But in her current state, she doubts she can pull that off. So she tousles her hair and decides to go with the old "Fell asleep at my friend's house" routine.
For the rest of her life she would feel her hand around the doorknob turning it, could stay in the next five seconds forever. And a part of her did. Does. Is.
There was only one sound above the muffled giggles and coos of the three downstairs in the candlelight.... the refrigerator humming. Three clomps of her own feet at the stairs leading up to the kitchen. Then that doorknob and the sound of every latch and spring and hinge in the door giving way and opening.
"Hey daaaaaa....." Silence. The most silent silence imaginable.
One would think that an experience like that would be etched in her memory. But to think that would be to severely underestimate the chemicals, both natural and manufactured, that pulsed through her heart and bloodstream, the chaos and shock that fired and misfired the neurons in her brain.
She saw it all in completeness but could only think of a few words at a time.
Dead. Black face. On the floor. Left arm bracing, broken, crooked, pained expression, boxer shorts, excrement, Death.
She screamed and looked around the room for The Reaper. But he was gone. Like Santa Claus is gone on Christmas Morning.
Her body went through several superstitious self defense mechanisms at once, crossing herself (though she wasn't catholic), spinning in circles three times, hiding her eyes from Death's stare, chanting, mumbling in tongues. If there had been ashes, she'd've piled them on her head. If there'd been sackcloth she'd've torn it.
Her screams brought The Teenagers. She didn't get them pushed back before The Girl saw everything. She expected hysteria, but The Girl was calm. The Boy threw up. She could hear him outside in the snow. The wind rushed in, but she was numb. She told them to go. To get coffee or something and wait until it was safe to go home. She never saw either of them again. What they thought of those three minutes, she would never know.
She garnered the courage to poke him in the arm a bit. Cold. There was never any doubt whatsoever.
Her Girl Scout babysitting class training kicked in. "When witnessing an emergency, always note the time and as many details as you can before immediately alerting the Authorities...."
4:16 am. I am stoned. I am stoned. I am tripping balls and my father is dead on the kitchen floor. Those were the details.
As for calling the Authorities, that just couldn't happen anytime soon. She'd call her mother first. She would call anyone to take this away from her.
The numbers swam on the telephone, twisted and writhed and changed shape. Her mother did not answer. Four siblings- all unreachable on this one morning. She sat alone at the kitchen table. Completely aware of her aloneness. Completely aware of Mortality and Immortalilty.
She looked out the window. The sky was denim with white rhinestones. The cosmos was right up there, and now so was her father. She made out Taurus. How fitting. She and her father were taurus. One day before the day of her birth her father had turned 40. Now they'd be 59 and 19 forever, she guessed.
The thought crossed her mind that the first people ever on earth saw the same stars and that maybe there was only one day and one night and that it was our perception of Time that made them Different. Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel....
And then, Paranoia. How did he die? Murder?! Nothing made sense. Redial. Please please, mommy, pick up. Somebody help me. Somebody please help me!
She must've been saying this aloud and loudly, for The Lover apeared in her vision.
"Oh, shit! Oh god! What??!" He cried out, rushing to her on his knees, grabbing her hands and placing them on his face. She wanted to dive into his body somehow, to become him and escape her life. Escape all of this. They didn't speak. She didn't cry. She told him he'd better go. She had to call the police. If her mom didn't answer she'd call 9-11 next. She had no other choice.
He relented reluctantly. He went downstairs. Got his coat, his scarf, glove, boots. She watched the yellow stitchings as he laced them up and tied them. British boots. They'd been going to go to England. Would they now? His scarf was damp on her cheek as he held her again. She would feel his gloved finger on her ear for the rest of her life. He told her not to call the police if she didn't have to. He told her to come over later. He told her goodbye. Three clomps, door springs, goodbye.
Alone. Like stone. Like the ocean is alone. In a tomb. His denture cup was lying by the sink. He'd been getting ready for bed. Hours. For hours he'd laid there. What was she to do? Her family was all unreachable. Was it the end of the world?
9-11. 9-11. 9-11. Just dial it. She lit a cigarette and walked through the house looking for what?
The television was on. It was playing the 24 hour weather and local information channel. Green. Blue. Red. White letters. Musak. 11 degrees. 5:07 am. Mom's library card number. Where is my mother? Where is my father? Is my mother dead too?
Dialing again, she found herself standing in her father's bedroom, staring into the mirror. No answer. Ringing. Ringing. Ringing. It sounded like locusts. There was a cigarette burn on the cuff of her grey wool sweater.
Her eyes fell on her father's wallet. She opened it. License, various cards all with his name emblazened on them, reminding her that he would never be using them again. And twenty-eight dollars. She took the twenty and the three and left the five. Who knew when she would ever get any money ever again. It was a good thing she took it. It was her inheritence. It was all she ever got.
It bought her a carton of cigarettes, some clearance christmas candy, and a bottle of laundry detergent to take to rehab a week later, after a violent, acid laced confrontation with the girl-in- the -front- seat led to the police giving her mother the ultimatum of rehab or jail in the emergency room at 2 am, when they'd buried her father that morning.
She dialed one more time. Something had to be done. The locusts again. Grasshoppers. Plagues. Ringing forever.
She hung up the phone, tried to compose herself, failed again, but a tad more successfully this time. She brushed her teeth, lit another cigarette, stood looking down on her dear, dead father, said under her breath, "I'm sorry, Daddy...." and dialed 9-11.
She just couldn't be alone anymore.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Into His Own Hands (paper I wrote about jonathan for class...my first college paper---personal interview essay
Into His Own Hands
Before Jonathan Crummett and his wife ever met in person, they had spent
hours discussing the births and childhoods of the children they hoped to have together.
They chatted on the internet about what their babies would look like, speculated over the phone
as to what they would be named, how good the children would be at art, sports, games,
writing and speaking, the kinds of toys and clothes they would have, and a lot about how much their familywould be wildly in love with each other. Within three years, they had made those dreams into reality, andthey did it completely on their own terms, by their own wits and almost entirely by themselves.
In 2006-2007, approximately 50,000 babies in the United States were born
in the comfort of their own homes. Jonathan's son and daughter were two of
them. In fact, most babies in the history of the world have been born at home,
usually attended to by members of their own families. If you are over the age of
thirty in this country, it is likely that your own grandparents were born in their
parents' bedrooms in the homes where they spent their childhoods. It is probably
only your parents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings who were the first generation
to be born in a hospital. The trend away from homebirth has gone so far to the
unnatural side of the spectrum that in those same years, 2006-2007, one in three
babies (31.1%) born in the United States were delivered by Cesearean Section.
At first blush, Jonathan looks like any other 27 year old man, if not more
young-looking and perhaps with more of an artistic flair to his style, but you can tell by
sight that he is a very put-together guy. He has a wisdom in his demeanor
that belies his youthful appearance.He is a quiet man, yet gets very animated when
describing his passion for the process of unassisted homebirth and the spiritual
and even romantic effects it has had on himself and his family. He is quite
knowledgeable about birth in general, and is in his opinion more "gutsy than any
obstetrician in a hospital". He wasn't always that gutsy. Five years ago he was just a
21 year old guy from Texas who had moved to Colorado to live with a woman he
had fallen in love with over the Internet. Okay, perhaps that is not the example to
give to prove his lack of courage. But it is not too far-fetched to say that he knew
almost "nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies" before he found out he had one on the
way. In fact, he says that before he delivered his son, he had never even held a baby before!
He says that his and his wife's decision to homebirth was based on many
factors, but chiefly his wife's experience having her first child in hospital and his
myriad feelings about birth, having been born 3 1/2 months prematurely.
He isadamant when he says, "If we were going to have kids, it would be on our own
terms, meaning that we would have them alone. We were alright with that. We
had a freedom and independence to bring these babies into the world in the
calmest, most natural, positive way possible as opposed to in hospital, where a
doctor will cut your wife open whenever he chooses so he won't miss his 5 o'clock
tee-off or island vacation."
Insisting that they didn't take preparation lightly, he
explains that they read numerous books and websites, studying procedures and
watching homebirth videos. When he started looking into it, he realized that they
really weren't alone. "Many families were having their babies at
home all over the world and we wanted to be part of that." He says.
Under their own roof, just five months before their son was born, his wife's best friend and
her husband, who were housemates of the Crummett's at the time, had an
unattended homebirth, and that helped to really bolster Jonathan's confidence. The
other couple had had three prior homebirths and a hospital waterbirth with their
oldest child, so they were an invaluable resource of support, encouragement, and guidance.
He realizes that most people think that what he did is "weird" or "odd" or
even "dangerous". But he says, "I don't believe I did anything dangerous or
wrong. Actually I would say I did very little. Our daughter's birth was more
complicated, she was breech. I was terrified and it was hard to control my
emotions. But Steffani (his wife) was there to talk me back down and we worked
together, along with following along in a book, and everything had a happy
ending. Any doctor in a hospital would've cut my wife open before he did what I
did." In fact, he likes to joke that his father has been a paramedic for many years
and has never delivered a breech baby, but he has. He doesn't mean to be arrogant,
though, you can tell he has just been emboldened and encouraged by his own
experiences. He is fully aware that things could've gone wrong for them and that
things sometimes do go wrong at homebirths, but says that "things go wrong in
the hospital too, you just have to be mentally prepared for that. If there had been
any danger at all, we would've transported." Meaning they would've gone at that
point to the hospital, which was just blocks away during their daughter's breech
He is very fretful when discussing the things that go on in a hospital birth.
When asked about what he thinks are other people's perceptions about homebirth
when they have only had hospital births, he says, " It depends. If I am talking to a
woman who has had a baby in the hospital, the first thing they think about is their
fear and pain, that is not so with my wife. So I just ask the women what they
expected when they approved drugs that were put in their bodies to forcefully
contract their womb then drugs that were put in their spines to paralyze them
from the waist down and completely impede and stop their body's natural
process and power of pushing your baby out with your own strength. It's then that
the doctor starts cutting episiotomies and pulls out the clamps and vacuums to pry
the baby out and cause incredible trauma to both the mother and babies."
He has very strong words about drugs that are used in birth. He feels that pitocin is a
completely overused, even abused time saver and convienience mechanism for
both parents and doctors. His aggravation shows when he says "Your doctor has
babies to pull out all day, he's not going to wait for you to have the baby naturally.
You will get pitocin and when that doesn't work fast enough, he will find some
reason or another to cut the baby out."
As for what he discusses with fathers, he says that it's not really something that men will talk much about at all, but if he does get to tell a man about his experience, he just tries to empower them to want to be as much of a part of their child's birth as possible and the reasons he feels that way. He tells them that they could deliver their babies easily, although he feels
that most men would be so terrified they wouldn't be able to come close to doing
it, while at the same time saying that he doubts most men are even aware that
homebirth is a possibility unless they know someone who has done it. "I tell them
that it is not difficult, it is not impossible, it is not necessary to give your power
over to a doctor unless there are major complications, and that the bond that is
created between you and your child and your wife is so much more incredible than
what you would miss out on in a hospital."
And what exactly does he mean when he talks about the effects of
homebirth on their family? "To know your children from the moment they were
born into your own hands has no greater bond. It is as natural as every other
animal in nature. Imagine what would happen if a tigress were to give birth and
have her cub ripped away from her for apgar scores, PKU tests and vaccines!"
He says it brought he and his wife incredibly close as a couple. He feels that
having the babies alone together sealed a contract on their relationship. Creating
the babies together, birthing them together, and living together is what makes their
life good. He fully believes that most other couples would be fortunate to
have as entwined a connection as he and his wife have, because of what they have
done in birthing their children together. He had thought before the babies were
born that he and his wife could not have been any closer than they'd been, but that
they became even closer and there is an intimacy with their relationship
because of what they have been through that many couples miss out on, especially
in the parenting of their children.
While discussing what the actual birthing experiences were like, one of the
things that is striking is that he remembers every single minute of them, even after
years have gone by. He says that his first birth was the "Unsure of Myself" birth.
He had no idea at all what was going to happen, but says he prepared for the
Worst and hoped for the Best. It was his wife's first homebirth too, so though she
had had a baby before, it was totally different for her too. They would be doing
this together. He says that one of the most memorable moments of his son's birth
was that his wife described her contractions like a ball of energy, like the sun, that
would get bright and hot at the peak of the contraction and then cool down. That
helped him know what she was going through and the degree to which she was in
pain. He said that the labor wasn't too long, from about 5 in the morning until his
son was born at 9:49 in the morning. During the actual moment of birth, he says,
he was just amazed at the natural process of it and that then, in what seemed like a
minute, he was holding his baby boy. He said he had never been happier or more
relieved in his life.
Their daughter's birth, just over a year later, was "The Scary One", but it was
the one with the happiest ending. For the most part, he felt far more confident that
he knew what he was doing because he had done it before. Then, at the height of
labor, when things were ready to happen, he saw traces of meconium (a black tar
like substance that usually indicates distress) and got scared fast. He consulted
with a few books and "they all said Meconium equals breech ". His wife had gone
into the bathroom to get a towel, and said that the baby was coming. He looked
down and saw a foot! He says "at that moment I freaked out completely!" His
wife, though, was calm and cool and he says she is the one that soothed him back
to reality. He knew what he had to do because of his reading books and being
prepared, and then he says, "just like magic I had my baby girl in my arms this
time! There is no other special transcendent feeling like that. It was worth it all,
to have a homebirth, even with the complication, maybe especially with the
complication, and know that everything will still be alright in the end."
There is a phrase that gets bandied about in homebirth circles and that is,
"We didn't need a doctor to get the baby in, and we didn't need a doctor to get a
baby out!" That is elevated even further in unassisted homebirth. Jonathan
Crummett and his wife created their children, just the two of them, intimately, and
that is the way they brought them into the world. He says that they knew long
before the babies were born that they would have "magical babies and magical births" and
now that they have, he considers himself a much stronger man and father and
husband, having taken matters, and his babies, into his own hands.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
to my mother....without whom i would not be here, nor be a millionth as interesting....
to my children....without whom i would not be a mother, nor be a millionth as wonderfull....
to their fathers....without whom i would not be a mother, nor be a millionth as womanly....
to all the mothers of the world....and those who aren't yet and won't be....
to all the ancestor mothers.......
happy mother's day to all the world.....
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
bella played in the mud, then both the littles painted....fred painted a "train" (see it??! wow) and bella painted "yellow springs"
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
i just drifted away, and was swimming in pools of money and feathering the nest.....
i will be back so very soon. i am now in the process (quite literally) of putting the eggshell back together again....
forgive me for not checking in sooner.....
been. so. very. busy.
it is all a good thing though, don't worry....
see you soon!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Have had this children's fabric for quite a while (thought it was going to be curtains...still might someday)...Decided to use it to make tablecloths for the little kiddie table. Gorgeous.
Bought an 80c remnant yesterday and it turned into cloth napkins, which will count as my One Small Change for this month. yay. win win. There are eight of them, so a dime a piece. I will let you know when they are worn out (for a dime!)....Please don't buy paper napkins.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
My brother is expecting a baby with his girlfriend. I have received an invitation to the shower, which will take place at the end of this month. I have had quilt pieces cut for several months, but decided I wanted to do more, so I am going to learn how to make little wool felt shoes, and between yesterday and today I made these bibs. they are "Day of the Week Bibs"...The idea came straight out of my head. And here they are. Very vintage, Very unisex, and in my opinion, Very Lovely. Enjoy!
I still have to do one for Saturday yet. Which is your favorite?
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Friday night, we had a sleepover party for Sebastian's birthday (which was last week). Two friends stayed overnight and a cousin visited for a few hours in the evening. It was a lovely time. The boys played lots of Guitar Hero, had pizza for supper, cake and icecream, an hilarious toast (to Sebastian's 21st birthday) of sparkling grape juice and watched a couple movies (Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull and Star Wars Revenge of the Sith...which Bastian chose at the library for *free*yay!)
Last I heard they were making jokes about Uranus and giggling and reports have come in that they stayed up until 3 am. (And that none of them are yet interested in girls, so they say...)
After the friends went home yesterday, Bastian and I left for our excursion to the Lego Store in Cincinnati. Though we had Googled and anticipated this trip for well over a month, I got us HORRIBLY lost on the way there AND on the way home. But other than the (wretched) driving experience, which in the end was ok, I guess, because we got to spend quality time alone together, it was a lovely time. It was nice to see Sebastian so happy.
(There was also the horrendous experience of the SHOPPERS and the oozing WEALTH and the drone of CONSUMERISM that stank to high heaven of perfume...but I have sworn to process that offline...if I have the time to get to it...)
Here are some pictures of my gorgeous eleven (!)year old son and one of the best days of his life so far....
He got his birthday money converted to One Dollar bills... that was fun! :)
he first spots the legologo off in the distance....
I wish I could always make him as happy as he was in this moment.....
It was all worth it for this bliss....
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
Well, the year draws to a close and begins with this....as ever. As did my life, my youth, my rest of my life.....
Eleven years ago (give or take 10 1/2 months of pregnancy) I became a Mother. What more can be said? (all the words in the world couldn't say it...)
My dear, sweet, lovely, wonderful Sebastian. Who is now a young man....Who is on the precipice of the future. He wants to be a teacher when he grows up. He has already taught me most everything, so I know he can do it, if he chooses.....
The world's biggest heart. The young, broken, resilient heart....The big, meek, outspoken loveable kid.....The big brother I would've wanted....The son I am overly blessed to call mine....The grandson who brings such joy....The brother-protector and playmate....The scholar and wise little man....The pacifist, philosopher, debator, influencer, bookworm, prince....
I want to write his birth story, like I did the others. I will do my best to write it on paper, for him, in the next few days or so, as I have always planned to...But it is entirely too painful to share....To go INto.....
So I stay out here, where I can tell about the boy who is my dearest friend....The son I am maddeningly proud of.....The child who I hope I can succeed in grooming into proper manhood (whatever that will mean when he gets there)....The future father of my grandchildren (maybe...)....The future husband of my daughter in law (maybe).....The one that we all love so dearly.....
He was forced into the world, when he just wanted to stay curled up in his warm mother, and his warm mother I have ever aspired to be..... I have failed more than I have succeeded, in my mind...In his, I don't think I am much capable of failing...even after all of this....even after everything....The love that comes from that child and is gifted to me freely has sustained me through our darkest hours and our brightest moments....And I hope will forever and always....
To say that I love him is far too inadequate....To say that I am some of him, and that I could wish that there is Good in me that is close to being part of the good that is in him, that I honor what of him is me, that I will forever diligently nurture that within him that is his father, and that I hold utterly sacred that within him that is himself, would be far closer to the Truth....
FirstBorne Child....FirstLoved child....Our hopes and dreams are your legacy....You have already surpassed what my former ideas of goodness were, and continue to take my former ideas of greatness and wonder and fly them to the moon..........
Our souls are made of the same starstuff......and that makes me incredibly blissfull...
I love you and adore you and forever will....