Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kitchen Feet

I found a piece of my writing from 2006 and it is so funny to look at it now.  I wrote it for an undergraduate creative writing class under an image assignment.

Today I am pregnant, I have green and blue Fiesta Wear dishes, and a Matt (not a Nate) that will hold my hand when things aren't perfect.

Kitchen Feet

Nathan carried the high-heeled terry cloth slippers, the heels hooked over the edge of his hands, across the blue-flecked linoleum to Claire, who was frying eggs and hickory-smoked bacon in a cast iron skillet at the stove.  He put the right slipper on the Formica top, took the spatula out of her hand, and handed her the left slipper.  “Aren’t your feet cold,” he asked.
            “These hurt my feet,” she whispered back, her toes wriggling, feet pigeon toed out like a dancer in fifth position.  She laid the slipper beside its match, picked up the spatula, and minding the spattering grease, flipped the strips of bacon over, one by one.  Her free hand gently found its way to her belly.
            She didn’t know what she was going to tell them, how she was going to do it.  Nate wanted to walk her down the aisle, maybe not wearing that white dress, to prove to them all that it wasn’t an accident.  That they weren’t an accident.  His simple solution.
            Nathan moved from the stove and sighed.   Claire’s hands slowly remembered what they were doing and they moved the spatula under the egg, careful not to break the yolk, and rolled the egg over, exposing the burned underbelly of her absentmindedness.   “Maybe we shouldn’t do this today,” he said.
            “They’re coming here today,” she answered, stammering through they and today.  “They are coming here and you think they aren’t going to notice?” 
            “Nate,” Claire trailed off.  Like two teammates after a loss late in the game, they were unable to reassure or comfort one another. 
            She put the bacon and overdone eggs on the green and blue Fiesta Ware plates that her parents had sent her when she moved to Dallas after graduation, and carried them to the small wooden table already set by Nathan.  He stared up at her as she set the plates down like an untrained puppy begging at the heels of its owner, and although she noticed the gesture, she sat down avoiding eye contact.   Nathan blessed the food, out of habit more so than sincere thanks, pausing for long seconds in between wishes and hopes and praises.  
            And then he grabbed her hand, the way he used to do in college when they would sit and eat their lunch together outside in the grass.  The way he used to do when they were riding in the car, regardless of how long the trip was.   He grabbed her hand, squeezing slightly, relaxing the fingers just enough, letting her hand fit and melt into his.  
            “Hey Nate,” she said, head down, eyes peaking up from under her too-long brown bangs. “My feet are cold.”     

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Oh, Belly, Belly.

Growing up, we attended church at OLPH (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) Catholic Church.  Incidentally, that's where I also spent two very bad years of elementary school.  One of the most distinct memories I have of going to church there doesn't even include the church itself.  As we were leaving mass one Sunday, a man who lived across the street from the church came out of his house in his underwear to get his newspaper.  The whole modest carload of us were in amazement that his man would exit the privacy of his own home into the public eye wearing nothing but a pair of worn, thin boxer briefs and maybe some socks.

The most knowledgeable "they" of the pregnancy world have said that in labor and childbirth, you will lose your modesty.  As I am leaving the second trimester and entering the third, I'm convinced that I may be entering a stage of premature modesty loss.

Sitting in a lawn chair in front of my house with my shirt pulled up over my belly, I can't help but think what the children leaving school across the street must be thinking.  Will I forever be the lady who sits outside of her house nearly naked?

Or two weeks ago when two poor, unsuspecting Mormon boys made their way down the street and were forced to talk to three women--two Catholics and a bare-bellied pregnant woman.

Admitedly, this is not a practice I would have partaken in pre-pregnancy.  I'm not one to hang out nearly naked for the heck of it.  But pregnancy has done a lot to alter me.

Most days, when I wake up in the mornings, I have to remind myself that I'm pregnant.  I lay in bed for a few extra minutes and wait for the little person inside of me to wake up inside of the belly that doesn't feel like its part of my body.  And the majority of my experience with pregnancy has been much like that.  I'm constantly in awe that there's an actual person growing inside of me--while, at the same time, I'm prone to forget that she is in there at all.

I would not say that I am in love with being pregnant.  I do love it.  The selfish part of me really misses being selfish--a glass of wine or a beer, upward facing dog, B-cup bras, sushi, and seeing my toes.  In general, I like being not pregnant more than I like being pregnant.  This is not to say, however, that I am not enjoying this experience.  It is magical and I am beyond excited to meet little E.  I'm just not walking around oozing pregnancy awesomeness.

From the start, I decided to approach this pregnancy like I would approach training for a marathon.  Like I have approached training for a marathon in the past.  And the thinking was this: some days the run feels really good and some days it just doesn't.  But the finish-line is looming, regardless of your preparedness.  So, I'm training to give birth.  And just like with running, there have been many days that have brought me to my knees and I've cried and cursed the hormones that were making me cry.  Growing a kid is not easy.

There's a very fine line, I've discovered, between knowing too much and knowing nothing at all.  I love my doctor, but every time I leave an appointment, I feel like the failure mom.  I need a sign that says, "Help! I've never done this before and I need you to hold my hand!"  When I do the research, I feel like I come off as though I think I can do the doctor's job.  When I'm not clued in, I feel stupid.  So, I'm a little lost.

Growing a kid also has its benefits.  So far, it means I get to take a nap every day without feeling guilty about it.  I am allowed to truly live up to the motto "run to eat." I can expose my belly in public.  And I can wear baggy clothes without judgement.  I can also shop for maternity clothes that actually fit, building a new mini-wardrobe.

Matt Green gets the award for Husband of the Year.  In the 7 months of my pregnancy, I've completely forgotten how to take care of myself because Matt does almost everything but bathe for me.  He pays the bills, takes the trash out, does the dishes, cleans the kitchen.  I don't even know what kind of food to buy myself in the grocery store because I haven't had to grocery shop since we got married.  The man has shown me every day why I married him--because he's a good man with a big heart and he will do anything to take care of me and this baby.   He's just not allowed to tone-deaf-serenade anymore.

Our child is also not allowed to have his head.

Can you see those pretty, pouty lips?

And the answer to all my heartburn questions…we are sprouting hair.  (This is a picture of the top of her head zoomed in--don't worry yet, her head is still normal sized)

Mowhawk Mowgli, as my sister has fondly renamed her, is weighing in at a whopping 2 pounds and 5 ounces at 28 weeks gestation.  She's perfectly on track as far as growth, which is huge for us considering my Crohn's and its propensity to produce underweight babies.   She can still run and do yoga, which makes her mommy very happy.  Currently, her head is resting right under my rib cage and her feet are touching her forehead.  Yoga has made her very bendy.  

I can not wait to meet her and kiss those little lips and smell that hair and see just how big her feet really are.