there and back again

My eyes are itching a bit and I think it’s the lingering effects of the onion I browned for dinner, served atop lentils and rice. When things are a little topsy turvy, when I feel a little unstuck and out of place, I make food that ties me down to my past. Tonight it was mujadarrah. The simmering cumin water pulled me back to quiet evenings in my tiny Greek flat. Lentils and rice might be the perfect dish for study abroad students with their empty pockets.

On the other hand, my eyes might still be recovering from driving all night to get back to Michigan. Mary slept most of the way, except for a crying stretch around 2am. I took the first shift of driving so I should have gotten the most sleep in the end, but I’m still battling the  leftover fatigue. The rain was hard and heavy on the windshield as I drove through the north Georgia and Tennessee night. I white knuckled the steering wheel until my nerves couldn’t take it any more.

We arrived safely in Michigan. We will arrive safely wherever we touch down next. We will feel moored again, and new foods will become our remember-when touchstones. I have faith in the cycle of our lives.

Linked up with Just Write.

2 Years

I type my husband a message on google chat while the baby naps. He’s at work, but he responds right away.

Me: Where’s your brown coat? I’m sewing buttons back on your things for our cotton anniversary. :-*

Husband: Nice

It is a poly blend
But nice

I laugh out loud at this man and his funny way of viewing the world. It’s funny to me- to him, it’s normal, and I’m the funny one. He’s matter-of-fact, detail-oriented, literal. It’s hard to say whether he’s a good engineer because of how his mind works or his mind works this way because he’s an engineer. He’s a good match with my propensity to use made-up words, waving my hands around to convey my point. “You know, the thingamajig.” I’m grateful that after two years of marriage we are coming closer to the place where we are completely comfortable with each other. He can laugh at me and say he has no idea what I’m talking about. It’s okay. (I mean, usually. No one’s perfect.) We are alike in the important ways, sharing values and dreams and ideas about house floor plans, but the differences are often what make us a good couple. We balance each other, like twins on a see-saw.

Once upon a time, we marched around Bed, Bath and Beyond at 10pm shooting wedding registry items with our scanner gun. Soon we were in a huffy silence, tears threatening to spill down my face, because he loves down comforters and I think quilts are the coziest bedding choice. I remember wondering, with the desperation of someone about to say I do, how we would manage in life when our opinions were strong and opposite. Time has shown me that the answer is always balance. Give and take.

And sometimes, buy both the comforter and the quilt.

Happy second anniversary, honey.

An experiment in free writing, linked up with Just Write.

Baby graces

Mary is happily pulling her board books off the second shelf and dumping them on the floor, so I grab my phone and check Instagram. I look up a moment later and find that she has crawled over to my chair. She’s pulled herself up so she can peek over the edge at me. She holds out a block with one hand, offering. Her eyes are big and round, her eyebrows raised. I take the block and smile, “Thank you!” She smiles back, proud to have caught my attention. I set my phone aside, out of her reach, and join her on the floor. We pass blocks back and forth. She piles them in my cupped hands until they overflow.

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Linked up with Just Write at the Extraordinary Ordinary. Click on over to read more moments, freely written.

Becoming parents

Matt has read in his father guidebook that it’s a good idea for a dad to read stories to his fetus, so that when the baby is born, her dad’s voice already relaxes her. So we sit side by side on the couch and he opens Curious George. He kisses my belly. “Hi, Mary! I’m going to read you a story now!” The joy in his voice fills my heart to overflowing.

It’s all still so surreal for me, this whole parenting thing. Matt talks to Mary every day and tells her he loves her. He rubs my belly and gives her kisses. I’m much more likely to talk about Mary than to her. It feels silly to look at my belly and tell my child that I love her. I do, of course. But it’s sometimes hard to remember that the nudges and kicks inside my belly are coming from a real live person who will soon be making her grand entrance. I try to imagine her as a newborn, a toddler, a kindergartner, but all I can picture is her fuzzy silhouette from the ultrasound screen. I have no idea what’s coming. There is no way I can be ready.

He spots the worried lines in my forehead from across the room and comes to soothe them with a kiss.

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
– St. Julian of Norwich

 

Linked up with Heather of Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write.