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.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Gift of Memory

Nine years ago, folding laundry in the basement of our six-story apartment building in Queens, New York, I never thought I would one day cherish that memory. As I was drifting off to sleep last night, the memory came unbidden and unexpectedly, flooding my mind with the fine details. The floor's peculiar shade of blue, the smell of concrete, paint, and fabric softener, the tumbling sounds of the big dryers, the warmth of the room, the long table where I folded the clothes ... and little Mina running around keeping me company. A memory of Mina that I had completely forgotten I had, and as soon as I realized it was there, I was wide awake, searching, trying to remember more. What did she do there? How did she amuse herself? Could I hear her laughter or remember any specific event in the laundry room? All I could remember was that I always had to watch her to be sure she didn't go behind the line of dryers and get tangled in cords or get stuck between the dryers and the wall. I also remember finding a dead cockroach in there once, and having nothing to pick it up with, I had to watch her closely to be sure she didn't pick it up either. I always checked the room for roaches after that. (Who am I kidding? I was paranoid about roaches in that building. I probably checked every public room for roaches every time I entered.) I think she found a penny there once, and she liked to help me put quarters in and push the buttons on the dryers. I only just remembered that part now.

I so badly want to remember more, but I'm grateful for that glimpse, that extra little memory that has led me to browse through my catalogued Queens memories in search of more forgotten memories. I suspect I won't find them as long as I'm seeking them, but it's nice to know that I can be surprised with them on the edge of sleep from time to time. I'll add this one to my cherished collection and eagerly await the next.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Oscar Schmoscar

I've always tried to watch the movies that generate the Oscar buzz, especially the actual Academy Award winners. However, after watching three in a row that just made me utterly, completely miserable, that I would never recommend to anyone despite their Oscar-worthiness or fabulous acting, I've decided that I'm just too sensitive for some films and need to stick to movies that truly appeal to me, no matter what the critics (or the Academy) say. The three that have finally broken me were The Last King of Scotland, with its fabulous acting and horrific scenes of brutality, Babel, with its fabulous acting and heartbreaking stories of bad decisions, tragedy, and injustice, and Pan's Labyrinth, with its beautiful filmwork and horrific scenes of brutality. All three of these made me cry with the horror of what I was seeing and left me unable to fathom why anyone would want to see stories like these.

I know that something in me has changed over time. I remember loving Friday the 13th when I was a little girl. Horror movies didn't bother me until I was pregnant with my first child. After that, I couldn't watch "hack and slash" type horror movies, but psychological thrillers like The Blair Witch Project and any of M Night Shyamalan's movies (eg The Sixth Sense) were fine. I was profoundly touched and disturbed by Braveheart in 1995 and Gangs of New York in 2002. Both of these, based at least in part on actual events, left me feeling hurt and angry that people could be so cruel, and encouraged me to keep my head buried in the sand, as I pretty much do today, to avoid feeling too deeply things that I can do nothing about. I know I would draw the criticism of some who would disapprove of my unfamiliarity with current events, my avoidance of politics and the news, and my unwillingness to enter into debate about these things.

I'm not sure if it started before I lost the girls or not, but definitely since the loss, if I do watch the news, there will without fail be at least one story that hurts my heart and makes me cry, and there won't be anything I can do to change it or to help anyone because of it, so I just avoid it. I skim headlines when I'm online, which usually only makes me cry once every one or two weeks, which is much better. I've always been a crybaby, I admit this. I've cried at Kleenex commercials, Goodyear tire commercials, Kodak commercials ...

Something about human violence and mistreatment of other humans, though, affects me on some deeper level than it ever did as a child, and I'm not able to write it off as just being a movie or to become immune to it as I used to. I'm not sure why this is, but movies with this type of violence leave me shaken, disturbed, and really mad at K for choosing them (they're almost always his idea, although I have to admit that two of the three offenders mentioned in this post were my choice just because of the Oscars.) In any event, my days of taking Oscar's advice are over, and if it doesn't sound like my kind of movie, I'm going to pass on it. I don't think I'll be missing a thing.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Where did May go?

I know, I'm a slacker. Unless you count running around after three small children under five, a husband, and a cat. Personally, I think it must count for something!

This past week has been somewhat of a mess, as I tried to do all of the said running around with what I think qualifies as my worst migraine ever (it only lasted three days instead of the previous champion at five days, but this one included visual disturbances and was greatly aggravated by the shrieking of said small children) followed by days of what definitely qualifies as the worst case of hives I've ever had, though this being only the fourth or fifth case, I don't have much to compare it to. It's possible I caused them by taking every drug I could find in the house in an attempt to soothe the unrelenting migraine. K found an article last night about a man undergoing surgery who was found to have greenish-black "Vulcan-like" blood due to his consumption of 200 mg per day of Imitrex (migraine medicine.) Interesting, considering that I was taking 300 mg per day at the height of my misery (not that it did any good.) Maybe I'd better double check with my doctor about the maximum I should be taking, hmm? I've had migraines since I was a little girl, maybe 9 years old or so, and now 28 years later, I've finally made an appointment to see a neurologist. A little slow on the draw, maybe, but I eventually get things done.

Rayan brightened my week considerably by taking his first steps! He has been hinting that he was ready for days, and K was lucky enough to be home for lunch this past Wednesday (he was kind enough to come help me because of my migraine,) when Rayan took two steps from the chair to see me on the sofa. He was so delighted with our cheers and applause that he taught himself to clap later the same day. He's been taking a few steps every day, and is eager to please when anyone encourages him to walk. He knows the meaning of the word!

Layth has been reminding me a lot of Mina lately. He loves to help me cook in the kitchen. Not dinner, so much, but breakfast and desserts, definitely. And when he talks, he really talks. He makes my ears tired, he talks so fast and so much! Mina was the same way. I want to be a good mom and really listen to my children. If I recognize that I'm not focusing and I'm thinking of something else while I nod and say "mmhmm," I'll stop and ask them to say it again. After all, what if I've just agreed that it would be a great idea to help the baby up to the top of the slide in a wagon and push him down backwards into the toddler pool? But when Layth's talking non-stop, my brain seems to involuntarily go on hiatus and I just have to whine at him, Layla-style, "Layth, you're making my ears tired!" Because he is!

Maya is reminding me of Mina in the sense that she's Mama's girl, like Mina was for a time. It's nice, but it's hard at the same time. I know it will pass, and I'll remember it more fondly than I do now when I really want K to be the one to change her diaper or put her to bed once in a while. On the other hand, she's reminding me of Layla in the way that she plays and interacts with other children. While Mina and Layth couldn't wait for school, Layla never really wanted to go, and I have a feeling Maya will be in no hurry to leave the nest, either. I thought it would be nice to learn the lullaby they loved from Lady and the Tramp to sing to them at bedtime, but my clingy little girl whose feelings are easily hurt by her bossy big brother now comes to me at least twenty times a day crying, "Mama, sing La La Lu!" If I'm aggravated by the situation, it's very hard to sing, and if I don't sing, the wailing escalates until I'm on the verge of madness, at which point it's even harder to sing. It is nice to be able to sing it to comfort her when she gets a bump or a bruise, or at bedtime, but there are an untold number of times that I loathe that song. I know that in 5 or 10 years, though, I'll long for the days that I could cuddle her and sing it. Funny how time works on us, isn't it?

I'm starting to feel anxious about the move to Seattle. I was excited at first, because even though I'm starting to get tired of moving and am ready to settle down, I've always looked forward to new places and new houses. I've also never loved Texas for anything other than the fact that my family is here, and with the arrival of the Texas summer sun (the bright sun being the main trigger for my migraines) blasting us into the 90's, I've been enviously watching the Seattle temperatures hovering in the 60's and looking forward to the cooler weather. My mother has been pretty upset about our leaving, but it wasn't until it really sunk in that I was going to be missing so much of Justin's life, again, that I started to understand how she was feeling. As unfair as it seems, it is easier to leave my mom than to leave my son. He'll be going to college now, then starting a family, and there will hopefully be grandchildren, and all I'll see of that are glimpses caught during brief visits and shared pictures and videos. Mom and Justin and I all meet up periodically for movies or dinners just on a whim and there will be no more of that. My Nana and Granddaddy are here and approaching their 90's, but I'm so busy with the children that I hardly see them, and I may not have many more opportunities once we've moved away. I tried to appease my mother by pointing out that we'll probably have more hours together when we have whole vacations together than with just the occasional meals and movies together, but she's right, it's not the same. I was lying down with Maya in the dark the other night, and trying to imagine how it would feel to be lying there in a strange house in a strange town in less than two months, and I felt very aware of the vast distance between Dallas and Seattle (2083 miles between my mom and K's office, to be exact) and I felt very lonely and sad. Today, though, as I napped with Maya during the day, I had a dream that we were in Seattle, with a view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance through our windows, and we were watching fireworks through the windows, and there was a feeling of peace and contentment. That gave me some comfort. We've been following the job for our entire marriage, never really knowing what was next or where we were going. I hope this is the last step, and that security follows.