I saw my baby nephew for the first time yesterday. He is beautiful. We all say he is beautiful! He is perfect. He looks like a changeling, with his very serious face, those hooded eyes and very important eyebrows. His nose is like a cupcake turned upside down and his little mouth is full on top and tucked lower lip that gets dragged into the tiny knob of his chin by his heavy, dewy cheeks. He is pink, and has long, long fingers. His legs are long as well like a jumping frog with the same narrow hips and his feet have prominent heels and monkey toes. His ears make me think of shells cut crossways, or maybe just one perfect nautilus in half because they match of course and are on either sides of his noggin in just the right places. They are soft and have good lobes. Mama says he bleats like a goat when he is squalling, but I think he sounds like a boy. I have not looked overmuch at his tummy but I suspect it too, is perfect. It was the strangest feeling to hold him. He is not my boy, but he is my blood, and it was more like looking into my sister's face than just any other baby. Jason said when he first saw him, his heart just dropped. I was not so much aware of my heart but more like I'd been missing something and here he was. Sometimes we talk about Jessie, and how she was an accident, but we can't imagine our lives without her- that yawning space she would leave without us ever knowing how empty we were. Here it is again. Hello. Here you are. We've been waiting for you, little man. To speak of him in the clumsy words we have and to give the full weight of how I feel about him I would have to say I am in love with this boy. Then if you were to say Well, if you love him so much why don't you marry him? I'd say, Shut up, You Stupid Fool. I already have.
He is here! I'll let Mama get home and get some rest and tell you all about it, but from what I know, Owen Curtis Hartmann fell to Earth around 4:40 this afternoon. Both Mother and child are safe and healthy. He is beautiful.
Still laboring, everyone is exhausted. They gave her an epidural so she can rest, and when she wakes she'll start on pitocin. Mama wanted me to log on here and tell everyone that Lily is the bravest* woman she's ever seen give birth, and that's saying a lot. Also, the resident on the floor right now doesn't know his head from his ass, if there is a difference. (Okay, she didn't want me to say that, but I thought it was funny.) I'm still Typhoid Mary, so I'm quarantined at the house. I think my boss thinks I'm faking because I've been saying I have a fever since Sunday night. HELLO! IT'S THE FUCKING FLU! As if I'd fake sick while my SISTER IS IN LABOR!
Sorry, I must be feeling better, because I'm more pissed off than I was yesterday. Ah, the trippy Zen of fever dreams....
Anyway, keep us in your thoughts (Lily, Owen, and the crew at the hospital). They sound plumb wore out.
*Um, she may have said "More Grace" as in "Lily is handling her labor with more grace than any laboring woman I've ever seen." Sorry, not sure. I am still running a fever.
The day my sister Lily was born, there were a hundred people at the house and my brother and I ran wild. My mother wore amethyst beads around her neck and a tie-died shirt of Daddy's and nothing else, and though her belly was huge her legs were still the envy of every woman in the world.
When we have birthdays in my family we start out like that. At some point, in the midst of kebab making or sushi rolling or river wandering, someone will say, On the day you were born... and the story will get told. In mine, Hank is entrusted to the care of Aunt Lynn, who wisely braids her long golden hair into two braids the way my mother wore hers, to give him something to hold onto. In Hank's, there is an honest attempt at natural childbirth with only a book and a woman who had given birth before as guides. In the story of Jessie I chime in, carrying the thread of the story to say, And as you slipped from the womb, Anne-Helena got so excited that she pushed my face into her very impressive bosom and I missed the whole thing. Lily's birthday is in two days, but today, today she is in labor with her own child.
I have the flu.
Owen, I will say, On the day you were born, I had the flu. Your Mama went into labor at 5:30 in the morning, and your Uncle Hank called me and woke me up at 8:30 to tell me the good news and to say that he and Aunt Jessie and Auntie Taylor were going to breakfast.
So funny this day. It is beautiful and sunny and warming, there is a hush so far and not too much of a busy. I am very aware of the birth story that is unfolding right now and I am doing my best to make only right actions today. My cat is playing Monster Under The Sheet and I am wrestling with my sore hips and rusty bones, but I am clean and I washed with rose soap.
I called Mama and made sure that Lily is wearing her amethyst beads and she is that makes me cry, I don't know why. I want to be there to look into her eyes and to feed her honey and to rub her feet, but instead I am trying to get my fever down and crying over a lavender necklace.
Mama gave that necklace to me some years ago, probably because I borrowed it so many times. It took me a while to get over my selfish and narcissistic desires, I loved that necklace for it's light catching beauty, for the purple shadow it threw against my collarbone. The winter I first got sober, I gave it to Lily. It was always hers, anyway.
She is wearing it now, and laboring. She has thrown up (which is Wonderful, Mama says) and her contractions are regular, though short. They will be at this all day.
I can not tell you how proud I am of this girl.
On the day Lily was born, I was not afraid, because my Mama was the strongest woman in the world, and I myself was proof she could do it. Now Owen is getting born, and I am not afraid. Lily is the strongest woman in the world, with the biggest heart and the longest legs and the arms made for holding and a well inside her deep and pure. She may have to dip into that well today, deeper than she ever has before, but it will never be empty. Her strength has no bottom.
Owen, on the day you were born, I had the flu. But my every waking thought was you. My every stretch a lean toward you. My very dreams a moving train to you to you to you. And every moment before and after you are born is love for you.
No doubt everyone who comes here has already been over to Bless Our Hearts and read my mother's post about the health care debate, and the comments that followed. Some of the people who commented are new to her blog, and felt the need to tell her how wrong and backward she is. I of course, wanted to jump in, eyes blazing, and pick apart each comment one by one. It is the daughter in me, the badger, but I realize that her blog is not mine to defend. She does a fine job of that already. Luckily, I have my own.
This is not a democracy. This is not a newspaper. This is Roll Up The Rugs, and these are my thoughts and feelings. If you don't like them, be happy that you are free to write your own damn blog.
I'm not for communism. Okay, sure, in high school I entertained the notion that it seemed like a good idea, but since then I have seen that it is a good ideal and not a very good idea at all. It doesn't work, it never has, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with public health care. I don't know why people keep bringing it up.
I happen to like capitalism. I like the American Dream. I like that I can work for my money and buy whatever the hell I like with it. I like that, if I wanted to, I could take classes and work hard and get a job that allows me to climb a ladder and get to the top and make a bunch of money and eventually own a house in Paris and St. Tropez and go to the Isle of Capri and not worry about breaking my leg and being able to afford to go to the doctor. I like that I have that option, but the fact is that we can't all do that.
I'm not saying that we don't all have the potential to do that, I'm saying that in order for this country to run, we absolutely can't all do that. It wouldn't work. It's fine and well to say that we are all free to make our own money and take care of ourselves, but really, we can't.
Do we like our restaurants? Our grocery stores? Do we like to buy meat, purchase clothes, find new music to listen to? Do we like to have clean toilets wherever we go? Do we like to be able to walk down the street without stepping over dead dogs? Do we like to have someone else get an armpit full of hot oil as they pull the oil filters from our cars every few months so we don't have to? Do we like the service desk at Target? Do we like to stop at well-stocked gas stations when we are on long road trips? Do we like our lives, our clean and comfortable lives in this country? If so, we better be pretty damn thankful that a huge amount of people are willing to work in low paying jobs to make this lifestyle actually happen.
Poor people are not necessarily lazy, they are just poor. People, real, living breathing people pick the vegetables, slaughter the meat, cook the food, clean the restrooms, sweep the parking lots, paint the houses, stock the shelves, iron and steam the clothes (that come from Paris, that come from India, that come from Mexico), change the oil, deliver the goods. Human beings write the music that inspires, that makes our hearts open. They paint the pictures that make us think, or catch our breath, or break our hearts. They take the photographs. They self educate so that they can give us information about the toys we want to buy, they fix our phones and our computers. They write the books. People do everything that must be done in order for having money to mean anything at all.
And most of these people do so without health insurance.
Whenever I hear someone say that they don't want to pay for someone else's health care because those other people have the same opportunities as everybody else, and that it is their own fault that they haven't made more of themselves in this free country, I get confused. The ones among us that are privileged enough to have the jobs that provide the money that pay for health insurance should be pissing themselves with joy that there are so many people willing to do all the things that they do not want to do. Personally, I like being a waitress. People like being served. Do you like being served by a sick waitress? Do you want your butcher to come to work with the flu?
That's really what it comes down to for me. I'm not even going to get into the fact that emergency care costs all of us more in the end than preventative, and so we end up paying for it anyway. I'm not even going to bring that up. (ha.) What I am going to say is this: If you like your capitalistic lifestyle, you must accept that you are able to have it because of the hard work of people who have less than you. In order to continue living the way we do, we must take care of those who provide the goods and services that keep us happy and content. This is not communism. This is simply what it takes to let the rich enjoy their riches.
Now go enjoy your filet mignon, tip your waitress, and shut the fuck up.
It's been too long between posts but the words won't come. The words come, but not the connective tissue. Wanderlust. Fall. Raindrops. Waitress. Heartbeat. Love, love, or lack thereof.
I've written for an hour and deleted every word. I feel like the world is in motion now, or my world, my world is in full spin, where it has been stalled for so long. I feel there is a change a coming, but I always feel that when the fall comes.
I like my new job. I like the restaurant, the people, the food. I like the mood of the place, the lighting is forgiving of my oh so recently sedentary ass. If I ever decide that I'm going to take time off again to figure out my life, will someone please knock me down? Please remind me that a body in motion stays in motion. Still, the time off has made me thankful for the movement. I'm sick to death of laying around, as much as I needed it.
But back to work and being busy. The working makes my mind work and perhaps that's why I cannot write. I can't sit still. I walk and paint and clean. I feel the desperate need to clear the dust out of my corners, in my body as well as my home.
The rain is really coming down now. There was no sunrise today. A long time ago I was in Guatemala and my friends and I climbed to the top of the Jaguar Temple at Tikal in the dark to see the sun rise over the ruins. We sat for hours and though we saw the purple flowers and we heard the scream of monkeys, there was no sunrise, just a slow and gradual lightening. So we climbed down.
I'd like to go back there. Who will take me? Who would like to go? I don't think they are burning buses anymore.
I don't know if it is the motion of getting a job that gives me the wanderlust, or if it is the change of the season that gives me the motion that allows me to get a job, and the coolness of the air through my open nighttime windows that makes me dream of highways, but it is raining and there was no sunrise today.
Lately I am thinking that I seen so many beautiful things, but those are only a tiny tiny bit of the beautiful things to see. I have seen snow on yucca. I have seen breastfeeding babies. I have seen wildflowers on train tracks. I have seen a toucan in the jungle. I have seen a scorpion as big as a kitten. What is there to see that I don't know is there to see? And so my mind jumps.
I'm going to give up on this tattered post and I do apologize for it. If you live in Tallahassee I invite you to come downtown and float boats down Franklin Avenue with me as I do not work today. We might catch cold, but we might also catch a frog, you never know.
Rugs hold onto dirt and catch your high heels. I have no time for rugs, let's roll them on up. Let's throw some sawdust on the floor. Let's put some music on. Let's wake the children, rouse the neighbors, and see who has the rhythm in 'em. It's time to dance.