June 23, 2008

Today, Yesterday & Ancient History

When I was pregnant with number three I was what one might refer to as depressed. The word is a bit stronger than the truth of it perhaps, but there was a remarkable void of emotion. I...well, first of all, number three was a "pleasant surprise." And when I realized that I'll be 60 when Delightful Surprise is 24, which probably took me a couple days of intensive mathematical figuring between the hormones and my natural math allergy, the curtain fell and I was sort of unresponsive from there on out. I remember sitting by the pool and watching my two boys swim with their cousins and my sister and though they were laughing and screaming and splashing, I was merely doing my best from behind my magazine not to let my countenance fall to the concrete deck and shatter into a million pieces. I couldn't crack a smile if Chris Rock was doing a bit on the diving board in a Speedo. Nothing was funny, nothing was worth much of a response. I tried but got nothing.

And it worried me a bit. When I was pregnant with number one I was teaching in a very stressful situation, nearly having a nervous breakdown I believe, and during those months I worried how the constant stream of adrenaline would effect the babe. He would be and is today, perhaps coincidentally, my most nervous child. So I thought Sean would surely be a morose child, one with little to no happiness in his life since that's how I felt for 8 months. Sullen and frozen in sadness and fear, a miserable child. When he was a newborn babe, he had a crease in his brow so deep and serious that I'd sit and massage it with my thumb while I counseled him. "There is nothing for a baby like you to worry about," I reassured him gently.

He got over that. Even if he did happen to cry, all it took was a silly face from a passerby and he was chuckling, his round cheeks blossoming into deep dimples. Luckily that temporary deep crease was the only evidence of my pregnancy stooper. He is the happiest child. Not silly, wacky, get-out-of-my-face happy. Just pleasant, positive, upbeatfully peaceful. When he broke one arm falling off a trampoline, he spent the first days in his cast declaring from his perch on the couch, "Hey Mom, I'm sure glad I didn't break BOTH my arms!" When a new game on the computer recently baffled him he said, "Well Mom, I'm just going to have to get used to playing that," as he put on his sneakers to head outside. I love his attitude and I appreciate that I'll have a wonderful 24 year old dude in my life when I'm a 60 year old lady. Today he had his dance recital.

This is the kind of expression parents get when they push the picture-taking session one click too far.....

After the recital, we dropped my mom off at her house. She showed us her broken tree. It's been years now that she's tried to get my father to have it cut down. Maybe he's stalling, remembering the tree's history. It's where my rope ladder hung, it's where our swing hung. It's where our two-seater hung years later where Stan pulled a diamond ring from his sock and asked me to marry him. From this dead branch. This weekend my parent's neighbor climbed out of his hot-tub which sits beneath the tree and walked inside. A few moments later they all heard a tremendous crash and one of the branches fell through the fence and landed inches from the tub. "I told you so!" could be heard for miles around. Well, she did.

So the tree will go. Our marriage will have to go on without it. It survived our church burning to the ground ten years after we stood beneath its exquisite stained glass windows and exchanged vows, so losing this old maple shouldn't be so bad. Mom's thinking about leaving the stump and making it into a small table or something. Anyway, here's a tree we planted in Mom's yard the year we were married on Earth Day. This should sustain us a bit longer. If it gets struck by lightning or chewed down by a beaver in the near future, we're just going to have to call this "Turning Over a New Leaf" or something positive like that.


Mom said...

Your boy is indeed a blessing.
A good marriage is stronger than any tree.

Paul Nichols said...

I wonder if anyone has ever done a study of "surprise" babies? Do they naturally have something fun up their sleeves? We had two and they still know how to get us to squirt milk out our noses.

I can't imagine you as depressed, unresponsive, worried, nervous, or morose. You must be reading a bad book.