As I have unashamedly confess before, either here, there, or somewhere… I have a humongous pile of recipes that needs to be indexed. Yes, yes, I want them all in a searchable database, where I can also organize them into neat little piles, like the one for welcoming spring, another one for “unusual” vegetables, and one for the holidays. And the holidays, you know, are looming over us. And I detest that. Those holiday merchandise, I hear them a-screaming at me every time I enter a store. And honestly, it annoys me to no end, and it totally drains all the chi from my body each time my eyeballs come into contact with anything that is black, orange, red or green, sparkly or glittery. I feel like marching over to the holiday display, pulling everything down, stomping on the merchandise a few times, and then slap my hands in satisfaction before I nonchalantly saunter out of the store.
I really want my days to pass by like this- slowly. Truly, one slow second ticking after one slow second. I don’t want to be time-machined into December already, especially when we are still experiencing triple-digit daytime temperatures here. Holy crap! I would like my body to slowly adjust to the changing light, the days that are darkening earlier, and the temperatures that slowly, slowly, take a dive. Let the whisperings of time creep into my consciousness. Stop shoving everything into my face!
Oh, I digressed…. recipes. Yes. I came across a simple (but great) cookie recipe by Celia Barbour. Yes. I am looking ahead to see what to bake when the temperatures dip and I can turn on the oven and heat up the house with wild abandon. Yes. I am insolent; I am daring. I am planning ahead. Defiance.
But I want to tell you why this simple (but great) cookie recipe warmed itself to my heart. It’s Celia’s story behind that recipe. It kills her to make it. All that time, all that stirring, and then pressing the dough onto a teaspoon, slipping it off, arranging and baking. Spreading a thin layer of fruit preserve and sandwiching the cookies. And, said Barbour, you really have to wait to eat the cookies. At least two days. Because then they morph from good to transcendent. So much work, for tiny bites of divine moans. And she wished she could include with her gift (and each colleagues gets but four cookies) a message that says, “I slaved for three nights over these. I cried while baking them. Please- just like them.” But she could not. So, she said, “I wear extra concealer under my eyes as the week wears on, and caffeinate myself into a jolly mood. On the last night, I package the cookies, a process that routinely proves to be its own small hell.”
And she took my heart with these parting lines (before generously sharing her recipe):” … why I’ve bothered: so much trouble for just a few bites of pleasure. But perhaps it is always painful to give away something you love a lot, because a piece of your heart is on the line, too… It’s a pain worth risking; it can’t be helped. What you love you are compelled to share.”
If you’re smart, you’ll know what I really wanna write about is not that cookie recipe. Sure, I am planning ahead, because I am hoping this year will be different. The past few years it had always been a very last minute decision as to what assortment of cookies I will make for that winter. A combination of being a procrastinator, a glutton for punishment, and just plain being so greedy and indecisive I simply could not decide. So I can relate to staying up late, baking, and then packing assorted cookies into tins and delivered just before Santa comes crashing through the chimney. (And no, I do not believe in Santa.) This year, I am hoping everything is baked by, say, December. (guffaws) And this year, I am thinking, no assorted cookies. Just a few variety of mini bundt cakes.
(Guess what, I do not even have mini bundt cake pans! Not yet, at least!)
Again, I digressed. (You are getting used to this by now, yes?) Nope, I did not really want to write about the cookie recipe.
It’s just… in this current state of mind and being, everything is extrapolated to… his death, and this pregnancy.
The emptiness after, was so great because we anticipated so much, prepared so much. I did a thorough internal house-cleaning on myself- body, mind, and soul. I wanted to be a darn good mother. But, as cruel Fate would have it, he decided not to come. Not yet, not now, sorry. And what’s more, not having a medical reason left me wondering where the hell did I go wrong?
I had to give him up to Life, I had no control, no votes to cast. My opinion was not counseled. All the work and preparation, only to be met with devastation. Although, like what Celia wrote, there was joy, oh, pleasure, and unbearable bursts of love. Only, too short. And yes, it is painful to give away something you love a lot, because your heart is attached to it.Sometimes it feels a piece of my missing heart is out there somewhere, tumbling around in the dust, tossed and lost, over and over again.
But, despite that risk of pain, we decided to try again. And I am slowly coming to the point where I do not want to be stingy and hold back. Do not want to hold back the love and hope and anticipation. Why? Didn’t they say what’s the point of doing if you don’t give it all, and make it a good try? I feel that way, even though I live daily with an axe dangling right over my neck. I want to just expose my heart, raw, fresh and throbbing and see what happens, and hope that the risk will be indeed worth it.
I was at Gymboree the other day, shopping for the girls’ winter wardrobe. (No, they do not wear everything Gymboree. I don’t have a tree growing dollar bills in my backyard. Just a few choice items.) Slowly I inched my way to the back of the store, where they display the infant clothing. Gingerly, and trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, I ran my hands through the clothing, browsing, and pondering in my head, what looks good, what may fit.
And, wouldn’t you know, voices started to argue in my head:
What do you think you are doing?!?!
Looking what?! Seems like you are assuming something here.
Are you assuming that you are going to have a live baby?
(snaps) No. But alive, or dead, a baby needs clothes, no?
Oooooohhhhhh no, I can see it. You are assuming. You are getting bold. Arrogant even. Not good!!
I am not getting bold. I am just defiant.
Put that hanger back already.
Why tempt Fate?
What difference does it make?! I have no idea where that radar is sweeping.
Well, you buy clothes you bring attention to yourself.
Stop being ridiculous!
You really don’t want to do this to yourself… …
The heartbreak… … you still have clothes you need to clear out and give to someone who could use a little boy clothes…
(crackling sound. heart shatters.) This baby is this baby. This baby is a different one. Different.
I think this baby has some kind of past soul connection with S. It’s just an uncanny feeling I get when S touches my belly, pats it, hugs it and whisper sweet nothings to it. I may also write about this some other time, but this baby is not a returning soul, as I thought in the beginning. No, it’s not him again. It’s another soul. An unexpected gift.
Yes, I am scared, but I also gotta live, and I do not want to live in fear. That is no life. I am just trying to strike a balance- being cautious and being alive. Not that those two things are opposing; not that it has to be one or the other… I guess what I am saying is I am not yet ready to live with abandon. Yet. Right now, I just live every second as a beginning, as well as an end. Keeping hope alive that this little soul will make it through. Inwardly I am highly anxious and almost hysterical, but if I remember to breathe and breathe and breathe, a certain degree of calmness starts to set in.
The other day, for the first time, I saw the shadow of fear fall across S’s face. With her hands on my belly she looked up at me, about to utter something, and I looked into her eyes and I saw fear and I heard her thoughts–“I hope baby does not die.” In that moment, I saw that she was afraid too that lightning will strike again. She was afraid we will make our way back to pain and grief again.
It’s not the pain and grief that I fear. It’s her little fragile heart that aches my heart.
I am de-cluttering through the entire house, tripping up against memories all the time.
This weekend we leave for San Diego. After we come back, we have visitors in town for another week. So, I guess I’m offline and off-blogs for the next two weeks. I’ll be thinking of you all. You’ll be enjoying respite and silence from my blathering. But I’ll be back. Take care, all.
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