Fire and watermelon

6 09 2012

The sky above the house, as the sun sets out of sight behind the tree-and-house-line of the uphill ridge (our street is called “Summit” because it passes over the top, but the top itself is where the park is, and the houses built by the old millionaires who built the city–ours, while on the way up, is also pretty substantially on the way down), is lit by a bright swath of cloud, catching the setting rays and holding them captive, so they luminesce down in a bright-but-vague sort of way, a diffusion of sun-coloring with no specific source. I imagine it’s the sort of light you might get if the house across the street were on fire… except in the sky. The black-eyed susans growing in a wild throng in the middle of the 10×20 foot patch of lawn we call “the meadow” and have resisted mowing all summer seem to shine like little elvin lightbulbs; under the maples, where the diffusion doesn’t reach, the bats have already begun their clicking sonar chatter.

It’s good to practice noticing things, so I can point them out to teach the little person about the world–and hopefully teach her enough about this place she lives that she can grow to love it, even if its charms are often lost on me.  It’s good to practice language, so that even though I’ll spend most of the next few years talking only to a baby and cats, I’ll still have some chance at retaining enough vocabulary to pass on.  And it’s good to practice writing, to try not to forget what it feels like to have things to say (some–many–days it feels like I’ve already forgotten).

The last few days I’ve been reading a lot of fiction–I borrowed it for the hospital, but then read it all already, so I’ll have to go back to the library tomorrow and try again–sorting yet more generous hand-me-downs, doing a little class prep for a few small assignments at MPH (2 days this week I’m guest-speaking to 10th graders about academic integrity; this weekend I’m subbing for 3 sections of an SAT-Prep class), and suffering greatly in my attempts to wear clothes, because at 38-weeks-and-change even maternity things don’t fit right anymore–the long bellies of shirts aren’t long enough anymore to cover the great elastic moon at the top of the pants, so I’m standing at the front of the room tugging and tugging while I’m trying to talk.  Fortunately, the entire 10th grade knows who I am because they’re in love with Matt (he taught them all history last year), knows that the baby is imminent, and is forgiving about this, but that doesn’t make walking, writing on the board, or simply sitting in chairs any easier.  Everything hurts at this point, consistently and constantly, as you might imagine it would if your pelvic bones weren’t really attached anymore and the muscles around them were busy carrying a watermelon.  (Can anybody say that phrase and not think of Dirty Dancing?  “I carried a watermelon.”)

Does this mean I’m ready for more things to hurt?  Hell no.  It’d be fine with me, really, to faint dead away in the kitchen and wake up with a baby.  But since that’s not how it works, I’ll be starting the end-of-the-third-trimester dance with myself that all the moms-to-be seem to do: three steps one way, “dear God get this baby out of here,” three steps the other, “holy crap I’m not ready for this!”  And, of course, wherever I am in the dance at any given moment is irrelevant, because it’ll happen when it happens, and there is it.  I did, just to be safe, put a blue onesie from Devon Delong  in the hospital bag alongside the cute pink English hand-me-down one with the bunny on it that used to be Sophie Smith’s, and my washable Crocs and a $5 robe from the Salvation Army that I don’t mind trashing, but I still have lots of room for library books.  Because if you can’t read, when you’re trapped in a small room in pain (between doing laps of the claustrophobic, crowded hallways), what can you do?

But for my next baby, after I win the lottery (without playing, of course, b/c I don’t have the money to waste on that crap), I want a water-birth in a forest somewhere with leaves and birdsong overhead.  I’m sure the hospital staff will be very nice about making their creepy little overly technological (with not one but TWO giant TVs) pink low-security prison rooms modeled after some cheap hotel as nice as possible, but still.  It seems there are ways that things like this are supposed to go, and the black-eyed susans and the fiery sky are likely to know more about it–certainly they’ve borne witness for thousands more years of human baby-having.

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