Tag Archives: winter

Inside a Paper Bag

photo (4)As a teenager I looked through the big box of family photographs often.  Pictures from the late 1970s were in albums.  They had rounded corners and a vintage feel.  As time went by the pictures never made it in to an album.  They were in Kodak envelopes, labelled “Rehoboth Beach, 1982.”

Whether the pictures were in books or sorted in to piles there was one thing in common year after year.  There were pictures of us sleeping, a tiny Kelly with a  Snoopy in a rainbow bedroom, my brother in his Smurf sweatsuit curled up in my dad’s chair.  As a teenager I didn’t understand why there were so many of these pictures.  We were just sleeping.

My dad used to joke us when we were little,  “You’re good kids, when you’re asleep.”  As a parent I can certainly agree.  There is little more wonderful than a sleeping child, the frenetic energy of the afternoon exchanged for the slow and steady breath of night.

I spent a lot of time the last few days sitting on the edge of my bed just watching them – my girls, snuggled up asleep.  We’ve had five days of Ladies’ Nights.  We have had quick dinners and eaten dessert on a blanket in the living room.  We watched Footloose and Project Runway and we painted our nails.  These little sleeping beauties, they are my good kids – “when [they’re] asleep.”

I look at them and I wonder if they will have a childhood like I did.  They will ride their bikes, they will play in the creek.  They will have birthday parties in our back yard. We will have pizza at the pool.  I will take pictures of them while they sleep.  It will be the same.

They won’t have a TV Guide to circle their Saturday morning cartoon choices.  They won’t tie an index card with their name and address to a balloon and set it free, hoping against hope for a reply in the mail some day.  They will not likely ever have a teacher that calls their handouts “dittos.”    And unless I print some of these images their teenage selves might not roll their eyes at the numerous pictures of them sleeping.  Many things will be different.

When I was a little girl and I was waiting for the bus to come in the morning I would watch the sky. There is a moment when the sky goes from pink to tan right before the sun comes up, right before the school bus comes. I used to pretend that my whole neighborhood was inside a paper shopping bag.  This morning while Emily was putting her shoes on and Lucy was still asleep I stepped outside on to the deck and looked at the sky.  There was a paper bag all around me.

The sky turned from tan to sunlit before Em finished tying her shoes.  I need to remember to show my girls the paper bag that surrounds us.  I need to do it quickly while they still remember what a paper shopping bag looks like.  A few more years from now you might not ever see one at the store.  The only paper bag left will be the one that surrounds my neighborhood early in the morning.  Their childhood is different.  But it is the same.

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The Mom who Cried…

Is it Wolf?  Are you crying Wolf when you take your kid to the doctor and they miraculously feel better the moment you get there?  I guess I cried “Possibly More Than a Chest Cold?”

Or maybe I didn’t cry at all. Maybe I only meekly said “Umm… tell me that my baby isn’t scary wheezing and cooking pneumonia in her lungs so that I can avoid a late night trip to the Emergency Room over the weekend?”

There are things I don’t really do – things like take my baby to the doctor because she has a cold. And things like go out in public without a shower, wearing pajamas and a poncho.  A fucking poncho, y’all. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

As Lucy upchucked snot rockets for the eleventh night in a row my lack of sleep started messing with my head.  Her wheezy breath at night started scaring me.  Her little eyes in our dark bedroom, crying.  This morning I caved.  I called the pediatrician.  “Can you get here in fifteen minutes?”

Yep.  Let me just put on a hat.  And a poncho.  Let me put on my Frazzled Mom That Has Not Slept in 11 Days costume so that when I show up and my hacking, coughing snot nosed baby appears to be in perfectly good health I will not look like a raving lunatic with Münchausen syndrome.

Clean lungs.  No danger zone.  Just a crabby baby with a nasty cold upchucking snot rockets in my bed.  And I am grateful.  I guess that is what motherhood is all about some days, gratitude for the strangest things.

If you need me, just look for the gal with the poncho on, the sweaty one because she has a humidifier running in every room of her house. I will be alternately squirting breastmilk up my kid’s nose and chasing her with The SnotSucker.  I will be hard to miss.

Addendum: If there was a teeny part of me that felt like we were getting the short end of the health stick this holiday season I don’t need to look far to check myself.  While I was at the doctor getting the clean lungs stamp of approval my dear friend Karen was heading back to the ER with one of her wee ones.  Send her good juju, please.  And if you are dying to hear more about bodily functions she is your gal.