Today I felt an overwhelming gladness that I could do so much and that life was so full. I woke up curled up with Moomin and Zond-7, had coffee while I finished reading Tooth and Claw - which was excellent and you should read it if you love victorian novels (or regency romances) and dragons or even if you don't - And then did some cleaning up (not so much after Zond-7 as after me since I'd been around a lot and I am a huge slob with the laundry and dirty kleenexes, qtips and towels and dishes and coffee cups and books and earplugs strewn everywhere next to the bed, along with the entire contents of my backpack). We drove off to leave Zond-7 at his bike and to go off for errands while Moomin and I went to Dog-Eared Books (I bought Moomin a TinTin, an Asterix, and one of those books about a dog and a cat who journey for 1000 miles, and myself a used biography of Mary Wollstonecraft) then all met for smoothies and coffee at Sidewalk Juice. Back in Deadwood, I puttered, bustled, did laundry, unpacked, washed dishes, strewed more things from my backpack around so that I'd feel at home, like a rat, and nibbled some crackers.
Rook and I and Moomin took off to Squid's house, where I was for the first time able to get around walking well enough to tour the whole house. If I had my druthers I would be better enough to go on bikes and trampolines and seesaws and sit on the floor to play. Still, I could get up and down as I pleased and go up the steps without barely thinking of it - just limping a little instead of painfully hauling myself along. And I could watch the kids playing. I do still tend to space out, now that I'm out of the habit of playing with the kids because I physically can't or have been in too much pain to deal with them. Then, M. called to talk about her pregnancy which I find unbearably exciting because which ever of them got pregnant I knew that M.'s reaction would be awesome, quirky, neurotic, human, and that it would push all her buttons to do the thing I most love about her which is her intense scrutiny and logical analysis. Also, she said I was right that if it happened she would get a strange pleasure in feeling like a scientific experiment observed from the inside, and she doubted it, and I was right, which if you have ever had an ex-girlfriend, you will know is satisfying. Plus, can I just say that one of my best friends in the universe plus M who is basically my ex wife, having a kid! Most exciting thing ever, besides my sister having a kid and joining the secret cabal. I cannot wait to spoil it occasionally and buy it very strange little onesies.
Squid fed us cheese and pomegranates and chocolate chip cookies -- sending me home with an extra pomegranate from someone's ranch because I devoured the first one without stopping - not remembering it is pomegranate season and I particularly love them because of the way you have to dissect them and work hard to get the marvellous bursts of flavor. It is the pleasure of the satisfying ticky little work of untangling a ball of yarn, combined with eating secret treasure. I was happy she likes the shirt with the pacific tree octopus. But if she was being polite and really doesn't, she should treat me like family, and just wear it once pointedly around me and then put it away for a good respectable year or two in her garage and then donate it to charity, the way we all seem to deal with such situations around here in suburbanlandia. But actually, I believed her story that she had a bad week and then was hung over and woke up to Seymour displaying it like a snarky birthday banner.
Rook and I made a grocery list that shall live in infamy in which incident I realized how deeply we misunderstand each other over small things, like whether one is having a productive discussion or a maddening argument. It ended well, and I went off to grocery shop in my maddening way to my heart's content, only showing a bit of prudence with the produce so that it wouldn't rot in the fridge. I drove the 2 blocks to the Hole Fuds and then walked through - added bonus that I helped a very old lady hang up her handicapped parking thing in her car; she had dropped it on the floor and couldn't manage to bend over to pick it up, or did not want to deal with the difficulty, which I completely understand. She told me it was one of her bad days and I showed off that it was a good day for me and we had some crippled lady bonding conversation about sciatic nerves. So, I walked through the entire store, and then bagged my groceries, feeling very muscular about the triceps, as if I was going to accidentally haul up a gallon of juice and it would fly up to the ceiling because I forgot I was raised on Jupiter and have super strength. At home, I made oatmeal bread and ate pasta and spinach salad.
I thought about what M. said in our phone call. Her hard question to me was "You used to really want to have a bunch of kids. But then you only had one and you seem happy with that. What about being a mother did you find too hard, or different that you thought, or what parts did you find that you don't like?" It was something like that, but more blunt and angular, maybe beginning with "How come you don't actually like being a mother?" She starts with the most uncomfortable, squirmiest framing possible. I recall fondly how she would confront my male ex-lovers, prospects, or friends with opening salvos like "How can you even stand to be a guy in this patriarchal society? How can you not want to just to kill yourself? I don't understand how you can live with yourself." With a sharklike grin. It was teh awesome. The thing was she was just curious and wanted to know. It came off as scary, yet sincere. So with the way she asked her question today, I learned something just from my initial reaction to the framing of the question, which if it had been phrased more mildly or diplomatically, would have not led to any new information. I don't have to start out explaining all the ways I of course DO LOVE being a parent, or a mother. She knows them well, or can extrapolate them. That's not the question! What bits don't I like? How did I move from wanting many children or at least more than one, to wanting one? Mainly, realizing how much labor and thought it takes. Also, I found I'm not as good at it as I thought I'd be. It's not that I'm bad, it's just that I can't live up to my ideals; as if I could be my mom and dad at their best moments, but all the time. I am too ambitious to have that much to give. There is also the factor of having two miscarriages that were physically and emotionally difficult. I couldn't deal with more risk and grief. But it is more about energy and maybe ambition or self protectiveness, which you can see as positive or negative qualities. I am very happy to give over a chunk of my life to being a parent. But, with another baby, with all the strain of infancy and no sleep, I would be less good at parenting than I am now, and would not take well to the demands of life, and the amount of unselfishness I'd have to have.
After Squid's house, we came home for a bit. I assessed our Halloween costume potentials, and called my mom and dad, and made lists and diagrams of how I would make a bat utility belt and utilities from duct tape, and realized I had not done any work or written my column or blogged anything for days or prepared for the conference and that I have a meeting tomorrow at 9am and a doctor's appointment and then the conference again, and work, and my parents are coming later in the week, and that I had mixed up many things about my upcoming schedule. Then we went off to Haus of Humour, the local amazing costume shop, and found the perfect Batm4n costume for Moomin. So that is somewhat less work, though I regret the utility belt (which would have been 3 errands and hours of work.) I got a ridiculous wig which faintly recalls the great wig I had years ago that I called my "tumbling chestnut locks" which was horribly realistic and yet so wrong. This one is for my Oracle costume (the superheroine not the database software.) It's longer than Barbara Gordon's hair should be and yet I liked having long pretty pony hair, even hair that is utterly wrong and silly and porntastic.
Back to my oatmeal bread, which came out very well! It is from a bread machine so don't be too impressed with my mad baking skills.
I have left many things out, like visiting hazelbroom, and going to the park with yatima, and some peculiar physical reactions and things I said which were sort of metaphory yet true, and some minor dramas of life which are embarrassing but which I continue to mull over.
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