Watermelon Roses

A collection of random thoughts, commentaries, and journaling. There is a lot to explore here, including links to other sites of mine. These are mostly for my own benefit, but guests are welcome to browse and explore as much or as little as they like.

Monday, March 28, 2005


I'm finding it very difficult to keep up with my two little ones. I've done this before. Mina was 19 1/2 months old when Layla was born, but I really don't remember it being this hard. Layth is 2 1/2, so maybe it's the difference in age, or maybe it's a boy thing. Maybe it's because I'm working much harder at keeping my milk supply up, since I had a problem with that with Layla and Layth and ended up supplementing with formula. I'm hoping to avoid that, so my schedule largely revolves around feeding Maya and expressing milk, then taking care of Layth in between feedings. Naptime is when I can do a few dishes and a load of laundry. That's pretty much my whole day.

I got 4 1/2 broken hours of sleep the night before last, and 6 broken hours last night, so today I'm waking Maya every few hours (which I'm supposed to do anyway, say the breastfeeding proponents,) and hoping she'll do her long stretches of sleep tonight.

Our cat, Nutmeg, is feeling very displaced. We haven't been allowing her to sleep in our room anymore because we've been afraid she'd jump in the bassinet with the baby, or get into all the bottle and pump parts that we leave on a towel in the bathroom to dry. Last night she decided she'd had enough of this neglect and spent hours (at least the three hours that I was awake with the baby) in the middle of the night serenading me through the crack under the door. Since Maya wasn't letting me sleep anyway, I finally relented and let her in. She wanted a bath. I gave her a bath. Yes, our mad cat loves water. I've never seen a more contented cat than the one snuggled up between my feet when I woke up this morning. I was actually afraid she'd died at one point, because I rolled over, nudged her out of her cozy spot, and she didn't even stir.

Time to wake a sleeping baby ... here's hoping it pays off tonight.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Flights of Fancy

I had a wonderful dream about the girls the other night. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have very detailed dreams and that they can sometimes be very ... weird. I enjoy them though, for the most part, except when people are trying to kill me, which generally only happens when I'm pregnant.

I love having dreams about the girls. They're like little visits from my daughters. Sometimes I'm aware of all that has happened, and I take advantage of my time with them to collect lots of hugs and kisses and tell them I love them. Other times I'm unaware of all that has happened, and I don't even remember that I dreamed about them until quite a while after I've awakened. That's how the last dream was.

K (my husband, who chooses to remain nameless here for professional reasons,) the girls and I were walking along an unfamiliar sidewalk in an unfamiliar town, and there were two helium balloons floating alongside us. No one was holding the balloons, yet they weren't floating away. One of the balloons was heart-shaped, and had the name of a restaurant on it. Mina wanted to go to this place. K asked me if I knew where it was, and I said I didn't. He reached for the balloons even as he told me to grab them so we wouldn't lose the name of the place. As I grabbed the ribbons of the two balloons, I was lifted about a foot off the ground. K grabbed my hand and was also lifted. We called to the girls to grab our hands. Mina grabbed mine, and Layla was running to catch Mina's. She kept slipping from Mina's hand, so I let go of K and grabbed Layla. K caught the hand of one of the girls. That's all there was, other than a couple of people on the other side of the street pointing at us, but it was a very happy feeling, to be floating with the girls.

The most comforting dreams I've had about the girls came soon after losing them. As time has passed, the dreams are fewer and farther between, no matter how much I long for them. I've also found that it's even more rare these days to be aware of the fact that I've lost them when the dreams do come. I read one bereaved mother's suggestion that perhaps her child came to visit her more in dreams early on, when the mother needed her more, but that she was gently withdrawing from her over time so the loss wouldn't seem so sudden and grievous.

In the first dream I had about them after losing them, the girls and I rode on an elevator that opened directly into a pink apartment. The only thing in the room aside from the pink carpet and pink couch was a television. We were very happy, and they were taking turns being swung around and around by me. Mina turned the television on and laid down on her back to watch. I sat down on the couch, and Layla was on her knees next to Mina, pushing on her tummy. I told her to be gentle with Mina, and asked her why she was doing that. She said, "Someone was doing that to me one time." Immediately I realized that I was dreaming, that the girls had died, and that Layla must have seen the resuscitation attempts. I woke feeling comforted that I had been allowed to see them and play with them.

My favorite dream to date was only about Layla, and felt so real that to this day, I'm still not sure whether it was a dream, a hallucination, or a visitation. I spent the night at my mom's house, and I seemed to awaken right at dawn. There is a big mirror against the wall in that bedroom, and I woke facing it. As I lay there thinking and the light in the room slowly increased, I could see in the mirror what looked for all the world like the top of Layla's head on the pillow behind mine. I froze, sure it was a trick of the light or a bunched up blanket, but not wanting to move or shatter the illusion. A moment later, she lifted her head enough for me to see the familiar sleepy face as she put her fingers in her mouth as she always did and laid back down. At this point, I couldn't decide whether I was hallucinating or dreaming, but I didn't want it to end, regardless, so I still refused to move. A couple of minutes later, she was still there, so I tentatively said, "Layla?" I heard a sleepy, "Hmm?" I could hear her! I could talk to her! I talked to her about what heaven was like and whether she was happy there (she said she was.) I asked her if she could fly there. This had been a big concern for me, because just about a week before I lost them, I had assured them that they could fly in heaven. She said she could. I asked her who her favorite person was there, and she told me it was the "toy lady." I asked the toy lady's name, and she told me it was Nohrin. I was a little alarmed at this, because I have a Japanese friend named Nohrin who had just recently moved back to Japan, but I checked with her later, and she was fine. I finally mustered the courage to roll over and face Layla, but she didn't disappear. I couldn't resist touching her and cuddling her, fully expecting her to dissipate if I tried, but she snuggled up to me and I was overjoyed. I tried to smell her hair, but there was no scent to her whatsoever. I'd like to point out here that in my dreams, I can see color, smell, taste, read things and remember what I've read, so the lack of smell didn't necessarily mean to me that I was dreaming. As I was pondering the meaning of this, music started playing outside. I looked toward the window and noticed that the sun was rising. The music sounded like a very loud church orchestra, and I was wondering (not without some aggravation) who would be making so much noise so early in the morning out in the country where my mother lives. I realized too late that as I was distracted from her, Layla had vanished. My first reaction was anger at myself for letting myself get distracted, for starting to take her appearance for granted. My next thought was gratitude for the time I had with her. The music had faded as my thoughts turned back to Layla, but there was never any sense of waking up. I laid quietly for some time, going over what had happened in my mind, then I got up and went out to the living room to tell my mother what had happened.

I know different people will have different opinions about what I experienced. I'm not even sure of my own opinion. I'm just glad it happened, whatever it was.

Addendum: Some time after that dream, I noticed that the mirror had been moved out of that room in my mom's house. I kept forgetting to ask her about it until she read this post and mentioned it to me. She asked Robbie, and it turns out that mirror has been in a packing box in the garage ever since they moved into that house. I sat in stunned disbelief, remembering how real it had seemed, and how I told my mother all the details immediately afterward. I'm sure I went back into my room after talking to my mom, to get dressed if nothing else, and wouldn't I have noticed if the mirror hadn't been there, as convinced as I was that it was real? It's hard to put my disappointment into words, but I still think there was something miraculous about that visit, even if it turns out it had to be a dream.
November 2,2005

Silent Confetti

Rebekah had a birthday party yesterday. I'm not sure who Rebekah is, but the reminders of her party were all over the "green playground" yesterday when I went with Layth, my two-year-old, at dusk. We identify all of our local playgrounds by the colors of their slides. This makes it easy for him to tell us which playground he wants to go to.

The colorful sidewalk chalk wished Rebekah a happy birthday and requested that male and female guests sign in under separate columns, which they did. The ground was resplendent with shiny, multicolored confetti. The joy of her celebration lingered long after everyone had gone home. Layth and I were happy just looking at it.

As the brilliant sunset faded and the gold that lined the clouds disappeared, washing us in shades of grey, I was left thinking about my two beautiful daughters, Mina and Layla, who were lost to me in the summer of 2003. The playground had fallen silent, the revelers had retreated, and a hush had fallen over the area. The brisk wind stirred the confetti and carried to us the scent of the controlled bonfire across the street, and only the distant sound of dogs barking and the occasional car engine disturbed us. It was peaceful ... too peaceful for a place filled with confetti. It brought to mind the feelings I had right after losing the girls. Everywhere I turned, I was confronted with reminders of them, their voices and laughter ringing in my ears, but all was silent where it had never been silent before.

Idly fingering an abandoned piece of purple sidewalk chalk, I was overcome with the irresistible urge to write to the girls. On an unadorned stretch of concrete, I knelt and wrote, "We miss you Mina and Layla. Love, Mama and Layth" with a heart underneath. As I sat back and looked at the heartfelt missive, I wondered what tomorrow's visitors to the playground would think. Would parents wonder who Mina and Layla were? Would children rub out the message? Would people just think maybe they were on vacation somewhere? In the end, I didn't care. I did what I felt the need to do, and it made me feel better.

We miss you, Mina and Layla.

Happy birthday, Rebekah.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Watermelon Roses

John Carroll Doyle's painting.

Why "Watermelon Roses?" What does that mean, anyway?

It was a sign. Literally. Many years ago, I was riding in the backseat of a car (that alone makes me think I might have still been a teenager living at home, but I'm not sure about that) when we passed a roadside stand with a handmade sign that said "watermelon" and underneath that, "roses." My mind was occupied for some time afterward, wondering whether watermelon roses were a rose variety, or whether the seller was selling both watermelon and roses. My thoughts segued from curiosity to the notion that "Watermelon Roses" sounded like a great idea for a book title, and from there I pondered just what such a novel would be about. That was the first time I considered writing a novel. Some 15-20 years later, I'm still considering writing a novel. I may still be considering it in another 20 years, at the rate I'm going.

I actually googled "watermelon roses" recently, just to be sure no one had stolen my book title idea, and found that it is indeed a variety of rose, as well as the title of a painting. I still wonder if that roadside vendor was selling watermelon, though. In any event, since no one to my knowledge has used it as a title for a written work yet, I'm claiming it now, and reserving the right to use it for a novel if I ever write one. No, I'm not copyrighting it. I'm just claiming it.

Friday, March 25, 2005


Without even knowing exactly what I want to say, or whether I even want to say anything ...

Without any thought of who I might direct to this site, or attract to this site, if anyone ...

Considering only the freedom to say what I think, to express my feelings on a blank page, with no fear of judgment ... at least not yet. I suppose that will, in the long run, depend upon whether I have any readers, and even more, whether I have any readers whose opinions matter to me.

Why not just put pen to paper, then, or create an unpublished document? There lies the conceit. Perhaps I will flounder aimlessly and express nothing worthwhile, but suppose I have a moment or two of profound thought, or have something worth sharing that means something to someone? At the moment, I'm writing only for myself. Someone may discover my writings, or they may not.

So, this is my space. My unbiased sounding board. My non-judgmental shoulder to cry on.

My conceit.