Carry on Tuesday: Once Upon A Time

Miss Haxby is holding a newborn baby that is i...

Miss Haxby is holding a newborn baby that is in an incubator at the Toronto Western Hospital in Toronto, Ont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1956 there was a child born six weeks premature, it was the first time the child’s mom had worn a borrowed maternity dress to a party. Doctors back then were strict about weight gain so she wasn’t really showing at all. After every appointment with her Obstetrician, she treated herself to a chocolate ice cream soda, a delicious, frosty treat that she looked forward to every two weeks.

Once at the party she wasn’t feeling well but had no idea she was in labor until her friend, Claire, suggested she sit in the chair and she timed the odd cramps, soon it was off to the hospital. Claire drove her to the hospital while Claire’s husband, Teddy drove her husband. Her husband hadn’t even tasted his favorite German potato salad yet, I’d imagine, he was a bit disappointed.

They arrived at the hospital and the mom was rushed into the delivery room, she hadn’t expected to be giving birth six weeks early. The labor was fast and soon, a 4 pound, 6 ounce tiny baby girl was born. The mother said she “looked like a plucked chicken.” Dad apparently said to “Uncle Teddy “how cute can you get.” Uncle Teddy told that part of the story every time he saw the little girl until he could no longer speak. It was “their” story.

It turned out that the dad visited the little girl in the hospital, on his way home from the subway every night. He looked through the window and tapped the glass, it was in the late 50’s and he couldn’t do much more than that but him telling her that he was there every night made her feel good. Mom’s story was that she never visited because “there was nothing she could do” a story she changed recently when speaking to the child’s older sister.  She hadn’t visited; why would she have told the ugly truth so many times before? Did she want to rewrite history? Maybe. All of a sudden she was feeding that baby, bottles every other day. The sister just wanted to help but the child knew her mother was lying. It was okay, it just seemed pointless. Why bother now? Maybe it was guilt or she wanted to right a wrong or maybe in her mind, she decided that she wanted to remember it that way. One’s history is really made up of interpretation from others and ourselves.

Once upon a time had happened already, the child had accepted the parameters of her relationships with both her parents, with her Uncle as well. You can’t rewrite history. You just have to accept it for what it was, like she had done, all those years ago and then slowly, quietly, tiptoe, on soft, gray, stocking feet, walk away.

High School, Like Being Pregnant, Only Different

I glowed all through my two pregnancies. I loved being pregnant and felt blessed and  beautiful, healthy and alive and happy. Despite the normal pregnancy disturbances, like peeing every few hours at night, it was a very special time for me.  UNTIL.

Up until the ninth month when I became so uncomfortable and stressed that I couldn’t wait to give birth. It happened with both my children, same time, same bat channel. The angel inside became too big, too frisky and punched like a son of a bitch, incessantly.  I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t walk, I waddled and I couldn’t get comfortable anytime or anywhere. At that point, the little angel you have carried and protected in your womb (whom you have nurtured, sung to, played music for and sang the alphabet song a thousand times)  becomes a devil. The child you wanted to carry forever becomes the baby you can’t wait to give birth to. GET IT OUT OF ME NOW. I’ve had enough.

We have two teenagers in High School, one is a Junior and one is a Sophomore. I often get sad thinking about them leaving home and going to college. It will be “so quiet” I say to my husband as he rolls his eyes upwards. There will be only one year between our son going to college and our daughter. We will be empty nesters and that reminds me of really old people. HOWEVER. In the last six months they have become incredibly obnoxious each in his or her own way. If I start recanting some of the things they do I immediately get angina.  Let’s just say, we are at a point, where we ARE FINE with them to going to college. We might even relish some quiet time instead of all the yelling, arguing, cursing, fighting….that has gone on for years.  IT’S GETTING OLD. FAST. There are certain fights that my son will initiate just to fight. To him, it’s a sport. He will end up yelling up a storm with my husband. To me, he uses curse words that I hate and find incredibly disrespectful. This was the boy I was raising to be a good, solid, young man. You wouldn’t know it from the way he speaks. He apparently hasn’t learned that I am a parent and not his posse of friends that curse together, those macho things. Our daughter, known in the past to, shall we say, interpret the truth differently than we do, provokes her brother, flies under the radar and basically tries to get her older brother in trouble all the time. She often succeeds and while we hear some interesting tales, she will rat him out in a heartbeat if it means saving her own backside.  It may just be her life goal to see how much trouble she can get him into.

So, when the children are packing up their suitcases for college, we will be ready. For a little peace, a little quiet, for doors that are not slammed shut, and rooms that  don’t look like hell holes. Rooms that if, and only if you dare, step inside you are risking your life and your decrepit limbs.

Remember, kids, we love you and will miss you, don ‘t forget to call. Have a safe trip.  Love, Mom and Dad