Sunday, December 26, 2010

i've looked at love from both sides now

A hormonally charged Christmas, a Christmas with four children and one husband and two large shedding hairy flea-flurried dogs, with one grandma and one cousin and her husband and their little boy, with a sick Ever Elizabeth and a very tired and very grateful mom and dad. The older my children got, the more glasses of champagne I had toward the end of the day, as the kids dispersed to family or friends or visiting their biological dad; now I am full circle, back to abstaining from all alcohol, can't have eggnog because of Ever's tummy- or chocolate!- and so all the binging and indulgence was put aside for nurturing and refining. Although Mr. Curry had a few jack and cokes.

Christmas Eve Mr. Curry and I stayed up till past 1am wrapping presents, taking turns holding Ever as she snuffled and sneezed and snorted through her congestion, getting sentimental and morbid, reflecting on those we have lost and those lost to themselves, until finally I said We have to talk about something happy! And Mr. Curry agreed, and we sat in silence for a few minutes. Mr. Curry glanced at me, I glanced at him. We couldn't think of anything, we laughed. Ridiculous. We are so lucky, and so surrounded with and full of love; perhaps this puts into high relief those we have loved who are not, those we love... our minds wander to the lost and the hurting, like Mr. Curry's friend R. whose young sister died last month, and whose mother just had a stroke, and who spent Christmas Eve drunk and fighting with his wife, until he called Mr. Curry, slurring into the phone and taking him away from our gathering to try to encourage and support his friend.

Having babies does this to me, and to Mr. Curry- while we are intensely falling in love with our new, helpless and beautiful baby, we are more keenly aware of the other side of love, of pain, of suffering, not only far away and in mysterious homes, but in our own home, our families, our friends. I sit with Ever breathing noisily on my bare chest and the image crosses my mind of an infant left to cry in her crib, and I am seized in the chest and the throat with grief. It's unbearable, the things that happen to us feeling, sentient beings. And yet, there it is, to be borne. In the face of reality, we love harder and more pure, refine our daily lives, look to be better, more present, patient and teaching parents to our children, to love each other. Sometimes the love I feel is painful. It's so intense and bright and so soon after the birth of a baby, rides on the crest of an unstable wave, an anxious and yearning wave. As time goes by my body will adjust and settle and I will love from a better place, a place of more faith and trust and peace. The very act of loving makes us incredibly vulnerable...like a newborn. We cry and we desire and we feel safe or afraid, loved or abandoned, and there is no one on this planet who will not hurt us if we love them, because that is the nature of life. To accept, to amend, to cleave, to better ourselves- this is my marriage and my parenting, full of flaws and then amendment and healing, and it is more than enough. I wish the same for every person. For all of us to be loved.

There arose such a splatter....

Later Christmas day, all we did was laugh. I changed Ever's poopy diaper on the couch with a blanket underneath her. As I slid a clean diaper under her butt, a bright yellow stream of poop shot out over the diaper and onto the back of Ever's outfit, the blanket, and my pants. Mr. Curry handed me the wipes and we began mopping up. Ever lay naked on top of her poopy outfit, and I picked her up and handed her to Mr. Curry. He stood holding Ever under her naked butt and across her chest, and I looked up at him as he began to say something about a clean outfit for her when her tiny cheeks opened and to my horror a long glow in the dark stream of poop shot like a cannon out of her butt and flew across the carpet ( splat splat splat ) onto the cardboard boxes ( splat SPLAT! ) across my pants and the couch and finally, in a few grunted last shots, over the front of Mr. Curry's shirt. We stood there, dumbfounded and silent for a brief moment before busting up laughing. Merry Christmas!
Ms. Moon said...

We all give what we can. If it is baby-poop, then so be it.
Having a newborn tenderizes the heart in a way in which nothing else will.

Jeanne said...

She's pretty young to be decorating everything for Christmas.

Vodka Mom said...

i'd say that was the perfect gift. And one you'll remind her about for YEARS TO COME.

a work in progress said...

this:

'We cry and we desire and we feel safe or afraid, loved or abandoned, and there is no one on this planet who will not hurt us if we love them, because that is the nature of life.'

made me cry.

so so true.
sometimes i think i'm too scared to love anymore...

i'm glad you survived PoopFest btw. :)

Bethany said...

oh no, poopy Christmas splatter, yikes. That was awful. What can you do but laugh really.

Loved your musings on love and suffering and empathy, so true and felt and real.

Hope your girl is feeling better super fast.

Mr C certainly earned those drinks. Sorry you have to be so pure.

Petit fleur said...

You're doing good work momma!

EEEwe! I have many memories of the crazy, unpredictable, unplanned for baby poop variety.

I guess it's just part of the fun... Good on ya (and Mr. Curry) for having a sense of humor about it.

Here's to a fresh new year! hee hee.
xo

Elisabeth said...

What a wonderful Christmas present for you both, the sign of a healthy baby's body bursting with that glorious yellow poop.

I have always loved the smell of a new born baby's poop, like the smell of new mown hay.

I also like the smell of regurgitated milk, not something I'd enjoy in the normal course of events but from a new born, it's different.

You bring back such memories, Maggie. These bodily torments, this splattering of emotions, so charged and powerful and held in our memories forEver. Happy Christmas.

Amanda said...

I loved this post in so many ways! I hope your lovely family had a wonderful holiday!

Still Life With Coffee said...

I really love this picture of you and Ever...
"The very act of loving makes us incredibly vulnerable...like a newborn."...yes... totally ;-)
Merry day after Christmas to you <3

~Amber Elise~ said...

Oh to bring both laughter and tears in one post, you have a way about you Maggie. I hope Ever feels better very soon!

Drunk Love Poet said...

ah... sleep!
sending chunks of love,
akka b

Angella Lister said...

life is messy and charged and beautiful and aching and you captured it all here so perfectly. happy christmas maggie may. i wish everything for you and your family.

clearness said...

Well then, Ever gave you all a very Merry Christmas Present. It's nice once they get old enough not to pee and poop on you anymore. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Phoenix said...

I love how this post had two parts to it - the thoughtfulness, the sentiments, the beautiful poetry of your writing - and then baby poop. Which made me cover my mouth while laughing and simultaneously screaming in horror.

Merry Christmas, Maggie May. May it always be this bright.

katiecrackernuts said...

Everyone needs a bit of shit to wade through on Christmas day.

cottonjens said...

oh gosh, enjoyable read, words, sympathetic and telling of such a ordinary day with mixed heartfelt emotions, blessings, trails blazed, christmases past present and future, and the poop story was told very funny! fun!!

anymommy said...

Merry merry Christmas to you all. It's good to hear that Ever has excellent timing.

tiffany said...

Here's hoping Ever is feeling much better today, glad you survived the holidays intact.
Here's to what the new year has in store for each of us!

Jason, as himself said...

A Christmas to remember!

And did you know that Alanis Morisette had a baby girl a couple of days ago? Guess what she named her?

EVER!

Annie said...

Hi Maggie,

"I wish the same for every person. For all of us to be loved." This is such a beautiful sentiment, following the statement about the intensity of love making us vulnerable; but this is a necessary condition. Loving other people, and to be loved, is everything that matters.

The shooting poopies- that brings back a memory where I could not help but laugh when it happened, though the look on my husband's face was of horror, since it shot onto him!

Meghan Elaine said...

It's so hard when the little ones are sick! Sounds like you still had a great day...Ever is stunning.

marthagoudey said...

This post made me laugh and cry and feel grateful for writers and mothers such as you.

thais. said...

I just love the way you write. for sure becoming a mom made me think way more on life's nature of giving us good an bad. and on how that makes my heart cleaner and filled with love for the ones that need.
hope ever is feeling all better really soon!

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

Having a baby makes us love in ways we could never imagine. As a mom, I see the world sometimes like this: every person is another person's child. Everything becomes personal.

p.s. Oliver pooped like that out of his daiper and on my neighbors sparkling white carpet spreading his joy to the world! :)

izzabitz said...

Being flayed open with love for your precious girl underscores the deep vulnerability that characterizes human existence. Knowing pure joy opens you up to knowing pain more deeply. Pain and love do live so close together, which is why we so often get them confused. But such is our true existence, if we have the sight to see it. Ever has (once again) given you that sight. I read Mr. Curry's update, and I'm keeping her and you in my prayers.

Middle Child said...

You bought tears to my eyes especially with the paragraph starting with, "Having babies does this to me"
too many are the vacant spots in our family...faces that laughed and eyes that shone...shine from photographs only and in some heavenly place I feel...we need a new generation as there are no children I think that this will heal our family - I love hearings stories about babies and children and about how precious the love of your family is to you.

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