Baby Violet, Mountain, Family

A few days ago Angelica dressed her baby, Violet, up in one of the dresses she wore as a baby. She had a blast. She really loves that baby doll. I got Violet for Angelica on her third birthday. I also got her a bassinet, a bottle of juice and a bottle of milk, a baby bathtub, and some blankets and accessories to go with Violet. My hope is that she will pass Violet onto her children as I have passed my Holly and my Buffy to her. I hope to keep Violet in the family for years to come, as I do Holly and Buffy. I hope she doesn’t just have boys….

Right now Angelica is playing with Grace, our babysitter. I have been reading and writing, and I ran out for awhile. First I picked up a few new towels at Bed Bath and Beyond.  Then I drove up Cheyenne Mountain. The view from there is beautiful. You can see the entire town and across the prairie for miles.

My Uncle Jerry is coming Tuesday. I am looking forward to that. He has never met Angelica before. Uncle Jerry was a great uncle to me. I am looking forward to him meeting, and getting involved with, my daughter. I am excited to see him! I haven’t seen him in five years.

We got our plane tickets to fly out and see my parents at the end of June through early July. I have only been away from home for a few months, but it feels much longer than that. I am looking forward to going to the beach with my mom and to the movies with my dad. At some point while we are there I hope to see my sister. And I know Angelica would love to hang out with Aunt Bridget.

Advertisements

When She Becomes a Mother…

Someday, I hope my daughter will be a mother. This is a picture of her at church on Mother’s Day holding the carnation I was given. She really wanted to hold the flower!

Seeing my baby with babies of her own will undoubtedly be bittersweet, but I do want to see that. I hope Angelica loves being a mother. That is the important thing. Women that love being mothers do a better job with their children than women who don’t. The experience of motherhood is so wonderful and refreshing, and I hope that she can really embrace that joy.

I hope she doesn’t sweat the stupid stuff. There is so much conflicting parenting advice out there. Really though, you don’t need advice at all. Use common sense and figure out what works for you and your kid. I want her to know that she doesn’t answer to anyone but God for her parenting, not even me. There is no perfect guidebook. Parenting books are interesting to read, and if you find something in one that is of interest then by all means use it. But it is not necessary. She will know how to raise her child without being told.

I hope that she comes to me when she needs a break. She should have a babysitter too, especially if she doesn’t live near me. There is nothing wrong with having a babysitter and getting time to yourself. But Angelica should know that if she needs a break I’ll walk up the street (or fly across the country) to come and take care of my grandchildren while she and her husband get some much needed time of refreshment and relaxation. Having time to yourself makes you a happier person and a better parent, and I hope that comes across to her as she grows up and sees how I do things. Don’t be a martyr. If you truly don’t want the time off that is one thing, but if you do you should take it.

She should document as much as she can. I sometimes drive my daughter and my husband nuts with all the pictures I take. But at the end of the day I have all these memories and scrapbooks preserved. I do not have the best memory anymore. Photographs will help me relive the best years of my life when I am old, and will give me a legacy to pass down to Angelica so that she can view her own childhood and have that to keep. Sometimes it is good to stay in the moment and just enjoy it, but overall it is better to have a camera or phone. You’ll never get that moment back, so preserve it.

I hope that Angelica has the opportunity to be a mother, and I will help her in any way I can if she does. If she does become a mother, I just really pray that she loves it and that she makes the most of her memory making years, and that she is confident in her decisions and maintains her identity.

Housewife

Grateful skirts swirl in a breeze maybe meant for them.

Design is Holy,

is enamored of its Designer,

is a crossroads of means and ends.

A housewife manufactures sunshine in her laboratory,

the beakers from the store always having a sale,

her thesis supervised by green,

and critiqued by her children.

After 20 years who will know whether the

skirts were mended or replaced?

Just that they were infused with laughter

and smelled like mother in the living room

living with her eyes full.

 

Translated into Afrikaans and Xhosa, then back:

 

Skirts twirl in the grateful air
they were meant for.

Design and the Holy Spirit,

are enamored

of each other.

Is the intersection of the cross where it all begins?

The woman who produced the sun in her lab,

is studying all the ways you make happiness from the mundane.

Her thesis is green from watching her children.

After 20 years will you know that

the aprons can be repaired or replaced?

You will appreciate the humor.

She won’t.

 

 

skirts and gratitude for the atmosphere,

either of them.

Design and Holy Spirit,

make enamored designs,

are the ends on the cross.

The woman who makes the sun in her lab,

Her laboratory in Delaware furnished by a company

in Hong Kong.

Her thesis supervision is green.

So is the clock looking at her children’s energy,

their youth,

her youth.

After 20 years you will know that

the skirts can be repaired or replaced.

As you appreciate the humor in it,

and sort mothers by whether they baked cookies or used the microwave.

In her eyes you live fully,

live fully alone.

Hope

The afternoon latches and lunches

on my milky breasts.

My chest a shelf that weighty demons sit on.

Outside in the rocky yard Good Health and Old Age fight.

My eyesight is incredibly blue

and the world is incredibly pink,

so my life is biased toward purple.

I am as executable and cuddly as a queen.

The river is dry.

No baby boys float in baskets among the reeds.

My body floats off to sleep,

my mind sinks into self,

diving deeper and deeper to the mulberry core.

 

Resource Dilution

As a family becomes bigger, family resources become diluted among the increasing number of siblings in the family. Only children get more time, attention, money, and verbal interaction from their parents than do children with siblings. As demographer Judith Blake put it, rather bluntly, families with larger numbers of children tend to dumb down family conversation and activities to suit the youngest children in the family instead of the oldest or the adults, and thus “becomes weighted with infantile minds.”

Because Angelica is an only child our household is geared toward the intellect of adults. This could increase her SAT scores and help her go to a great college and go on to graduate school if she so chooses. Because she is an only child, we have the money to get her Farsi and Russian lessons, as well as music and dance and sign language and really tailor her homeschool experience to her needs and strengths.

Project Talent was  a study that tracked 440,000 kids in high schools across the country until they were nearly 30. They tested the subjects for 32 types of intelligence and only children outscored others in 25 tests and equaled others in 4.

The book from which I am drawing this research is called One and Only, and is written by an only child who is also the mother of an only. It is an in depth, fascinating read even if it does have a natural bias.

Judith Blake is cited a lot throughout the book, and sometimes that isn’t a good thing. She tends to take the human factor right out of things. Big families are beautiful, and give you a network of people to love. It is true that a variety of researchers and writers including Dalton Conley have shown a real competitive advantage for only children. But then I look at friends who have 2, 3, 4, and 5 kids or more and see how much love they have and how their kids are never lonely.

Anyway, just doing some research on only children and birth order and finding some interesting facts.

Life Updates

My surgery to reattach my intestines and get rid of my colostomy bag is in less than 2 weeks, on Wednesday, October 25th. I am definitely nervous about it. Everything from getting an IV to having my intestines reattached and eating afterward without ripping my intestines apart, to the pain after surgery.  I am afraid of the IV because nurses tend to have a really bad time getting an IV in me and I have to be stuck several times. When that fails, they may try to give me a midline, which is painful. I’ll find out this Thursday at my pre surgery appointment what the guidelines are for me eating, but whenever I’m allowed to eat I’m going to be afraid of a whole lot of pain and torn intestines. I am also going to miss food, as I’m guessing I won’t be able to eat for awhile. And  I am dreading the pain when I wake up from surgery. I was in a lot of pain when I woke up from the surgery that gave me my colostomy bag, and this is supposed to be more major surgery than that.

At the same time, I am so thrilled that I won’t have to live with a colostomy bag anymore. I just have to get through this surgery (well, possibly two more surgeries depending on how things go) and I will be back to normal. I am so excited that I am counting down the days.

I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time hanging with friends and reading. I am excited about my new secret sister. I’m in a group that just started a secret sister swap. You get a name and address and some basic information about the person, and then you send them little cards and gifts. You also pray for them. In April you find out who your secret sister was. I need to get creative with my little gifts.

I am taking a break from writing and instead focusing on reading and researching. It refreshes me. You can’t take water from a dry well, or withdraw from a bank account you haven’t been depositing in. Well, I have withdrawn and withdrawn from my creative account and now it is time to make some deposits by reading.

Angelica’s 4th birthday was on October 4. We had her party on Sunday the 8th. Vicki and Joel, my inlaws, came to town for it and my parents and my sister were there too. My parents brought a pinata and she had a blast with it. She has been munching on the candy all week. She loves all her gifts.

A Daughter is Equal to a Son

“You need to have a boy to carry on the family name.” “It is your responsibility to have a boy. We don’t need more girls. We need a boy.” But, I explain, girls are wonderful and I would love ten more of them. My father had two girls and was happy with them. “Well then your family is history. They’re dead then.”

These were a few  of the remarks I got from my husband’s grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend. And I was really taken aback. Society has advanced so much but to hear that a girl child is not as welcome as a boy child really threw me for a loop. How could anyone look at my beautiful baby girl and see her as being less than the best? Why is a boy necessary or even desirable when we have her? And if I did have another baby why wouldn’t I want to experience the joy of raising a baby girl again?

My daughter is not a consolation prize. She is not what you accept when you can’t get something better. There is nothing better and I would not favor having a son over her.

Girls carry the family legacy just as much as boys do, and in fact girls are often the glue that holds a family together. It is women that knot the ties that bind. And many of us do carry our father’s names probably either by keeping our maiden names or using our maiden names as a middle name. Whatever accomplishments I may have in my life, whether it is getting a book published or something else, my father’s name will be emblazoned on me and I will do him proud. No, my children will not carry my father’s name, but what is the arrogance of man that he thinks he can pass down his label through every generation? Do men really think that when someone achieves something great six Generations from now anyone is going to look back and say well your great-great-great grandfather must have been a hell of a guy? You can’t pass on a name forever, and if you have posterity worth being celebrated and researched, their mother and her forebears will be researched also.

What we need are patriarchal family units, but a more matriarchal society. The roles and achievements of women are just as important as the roles and achievements of men, and we are as much part of our family lineages as males are.

So no, I don’t need a son. I have a daughter to carry my husband’s family and mine. She is as much a Minner and an Applegate as she is a McLemore, and she will be part of the McLemore line after she marries.  It is time to talk about the legacy of daughters.

Mother and Poet

I want my life to be an example of creativity and beauty to my daughter. Being a mother has completed me in some inexplicable way. It is as though I was born her mother, and Angelica’s birth was just a stage in my life cycle. When she was born it was as if I was a butterfly emerging winged from a snow white cocoon.

Because she completes me, and she widens my world, she has deepened my poetry. Motherhood has also been good for my productivity. It gives me less time to write. That may seem counterintuitive, but it is true. By allowing me less time to write, motherhood makes me focus when I do have time to write. Sometimes having all the time in the world just makes one fritter away time. When you become a mother, you appreciate time. That said, I still need my husband’s support for my writing. He lets me have a wonderful babysitter twice a week and gives me time to myself in the evening to read and write. Reading is the life blood of writing. A mother without any support and many children may find creating great literature next to impossible. Woolf was right when she said a woman needs money and a room of her own to write. But given critical aid, motherhood can enhance poetry.

Motherhood:

-Reinvigorates me and gets my creative juices flowing

-Enriches my life and gives me more to write about.

-Makes me make the most of my time. I am super productive because I know how limited my time is.

Before I met my husband I intended to go to an MFA program before starting a family. I thought two to three years with nothing to worry about but writing would be ideal. Now that life has taken me down a different path, I see that for me nothing is further from the truth. Motherhood and the awesome responsibility it entails gives me a purpose, something everyone who wants to write should have. If your whole existence is writing, you may find you have nothing to write about. See the proliferation of novels and short fiction about writers/MFA students by writers/ MFA students.

This is not to denigrate MFA programs, which can be wonderful. I am simply saying that motherhood has in many ways been a rigorous training ground for my poetry, and that the breadth of experience it provides me is nutritional for my fertile mind.