Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I had a dream in the early morning hours that our back bathroom flooded and was finally ruined enough for me to call someone to come out and re-do the bathroom.
Steve and I and our good friends Matt and Ann "remodeled" it several years ago. I was tired of all the leaking and the mold, it was out dated and just plain gross. Steve came home one day to find me hammering out all the ancient 1970's tile. I had a big garbage bin under the window and I was swearing and tossing out broken tile. He freaked out.
That seems to be the way I do things, I get up early one morning and something in me has just had enough of what ever it is that is under my skin and I get to work, the size of the project doesn't intimidate me like it does Steve.
Ann and I laid tile and Steve bought the cheapest and ugliest shower stall he could find at Home Depot. I am almost sure he went in and asked them for exactly that, they know the type and took him to the secret ugly-and-cheap back room where they keep this stuff.
I painted the whole bathroom a deep red and put it a pedestal sink and a small toilet so we could actually bend over to dry off without banging our head or bottom against something.
It was an improvement but it still needs improving. We have the same mold, the same leaks and there is nothing more annoying than that shower. I remember when Stevie was sick and I had to work so hard to get her in and out of there. I also remember when she had a seizure and the medics had to come. They had to literally wrap her in fabric and drag her out, they couldn't fit to help her. It was one of the scariest days in all our lives. We thought we lost her that day.
I can't go there.
So I had this dream that the whole room finally gave and I called a contractor to come and rip the whole thing apart and make it right. He gave me this huge figure and I decided to save money by doing the demo myself.
I found a hidden in the wall a safe while I was tearing out a moldy piece of sheet rock. It wasn't a haunted house or bank style safe just one of those metal boxes with a lock you buy at the hardware store to keep your important documents and valuables in case there is a robbery or a fire.
I would never own one, not because I don't care but because nothing I value that much can be put into a safe. If the house burned and I could only grab one thing (this is assuming the kids were safely outside) I would grab my chest of photos. If there was a robbery everything could easily be replaced. I don't think they would steal Stevie's pillow, or her little pony. I don't think anyone would steal Noah's game ball or his baby shoes, not sure why they would want Aly's graduation picture or her folder of sketches I save from high school.
Do most people feel that way? I can't imagine caring about the normal day-to-day crap we accumulate over the years. I don't save. One year the mice in the rafters ate through a whole box full of baby clothes and books. I was sad but the best parts of that time are stored in my heart, this stuff was just stuff. I did get my revenge and the Clarks Pest guy sent the stinky little mice to heaven. I am not a fan of violence but I will not share my house with pests that destroy my safe haven. They can live outside, on the roof, in my trees. They can eat all the nuts and fruit they want out of my garden but do not come in and poo all over my house and keep me up all night making holes in my wall. I turn into the terminator. So much for being a pacifist.
Back to the dream: I find this make-believe safe and it is full, full, full of stuff. There are business documents, all hand typed, a bible, small toys, an old fashioned calculator that still worked, photo's of a man and a woman. There was a worn photo album of a little baby boy, he was very dark skinned. There were report cards and homework and from a catholic school, two paddle boards, and a box of clothing. The documents had mine, my sisters and Aly's names on them. It was very creepy.
I called Aly in and said, "Oh Aly there is a big box of vintage clothing in here you better come and see if you want it before I dump all this stuff" she came in with her usual real life attitude that lets me know that she finds me annoying and it is pure torture to have to pretend she is related to me. I pulled out a few things and they got her attention, then I pull out this beautiful yellow satin dress, very retro, very unique and she began to cry, she knew this dress...
Then I woke up.
I wanted to go back to sleep so badly. I wanted to finish the dream and find out what the dress meant and where all the connections were but I couldn't. I couldn't shake the dream all morning so I decided to write it down. I figure once I am less sleep fuzzy It will make more sense.
Right now all I want to do is take a big hammer to that back bathroom and erase every scary and sad moment. I want to buy a pretty shower and forget that the things that happened there happened. I only want to remember the look on Stevie's face when she would come out of a two hour shower all pink cheeked an smelling like flowers. She could never start the day without a lot of water and steam. She liked her hair washed and soft clean clothes to wear. She only wore cotton. She didn't like zippers or scratchy fabric and never wore anything made from an animal, not even leather shoes.
I think my daughter was happiest with a cup of espresso, a worn novel, her green chucks, a soft cotton T and sunny spot to nest.
I miss her.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Iva and I went to see Lisa Williams on Tuesday. For those of you who do not know who Lisa Williams is...
She is a medium.
She is one of those rock star mediums who has her own television series and performs for large audiences around the world. She is suppose to be really amazing.
She is amazing, she is funny, compassionate and beautiful. I am not sure about the medium part. I wonder if it is because it is such a big group of people and there is a lot of pressure. I am not a medium so I don't know how it works but it seems like it should work a little better. I always leave a little disappointed, not in the person but in the medium ship.
Iva and I went to the Elephant Bar before the show and had a great dinner and some killer Mojito's. I actually got light headed, they were very good but very strong.
We didn't get readings but someone a few rows in front got one that was probably the most touching of the evening. Her little boy Daniel died of a brain tumor two years ago. Lisa had his name written down even before the show. She got a few things correct, a lot correct actually. The mother who got the reading was very emotional and I could tell that this reading was very important to her.
Much of the reading could have been for me. I knew it was meant for her but there were so many similarities, maybe because they both died from the same thing.
When there was a break in the show I went to speak to the woman. I felt drawn to her and didn't know why, again maybe it was that we simply shared a similar journey. It was a little awkward, we cried, I gave her a copy of Pink Sky then I became psychic.
I said, "I know you" (there was something in her eyes that felt familiar) I don't know why I said it but I continued with "were you raised around here?" she replied that she was. I asked if she lived in Sunnyvale as a child and again she said "Yes" I asked what her maiden name was and she said "Lowenstien" I smiled and said "Oh My God you are Monica's little sister".
Monica and I met in fifth grade when my mother moved us from San Jose to Sunnyvale. I was a geeky, skinny, and shy kid and Monica was just as geeky, tall, pretty and friendly. She had a rag-tag group of girls who had a club. They passed me a note in class and asked if I would like to join. They made me answer questions like "what color was George Washington's white horse?"
I can't remember the names of the girls in our group...I know there was Thuy and Delores both Vietnam refuges. Delores if I recall had a home perm that went bad and Thuy was hilarious. We played tag football in front of Monica's house, had birthday parties at mine, Monica and I both loved photography and her dad built a little darkroom so that she could develop her work. We hung-out until eighth grade when my mother moved us one more time.
I stayed in contact with Monica through High School. She was at my baby showers and my wedding. Little by little we drifted apart and spoke maybe once or twice year by telephone. Our lives moved and changed but we were both still ourselves and connecting was always a really great experience.
After Stevie left I tried to get in touch with her but the number I had no longer worked. I looked for her online but I didn't have the energy to do the work I needed to to find her and let it go.
A year later I would be at a giant auditorium listening to a psychic talk to a woman about her son and this woman would be the bratty little sister of one of my best friends. This little sister grew up to be a beautiful and wonderful mother. I like her better now. I can not believe I recognized her after thirty years.
I might have to put this in my "maybe Stevie had something to do with this" file.
Monica and I spoke by phone, and have been emailing stories and photo's. She has no idea how good it feels to hear her voice and see how beautiful her children are. She cried so hard when she heard Stevie's story and I could feel her genuine sorrow. She has always been all heart, so loving and sweet, she is a really good friend and an amazing person.
Friday, July 18, 2008
I had a dream about Stevie last night...you have no idea how painfully beautiful that is to me.
In the dream we were riding in a car, I was driving, she was wearing a blue striped shirt and her hair was blond, cut into a bob, she was young about fourteen(?) She was so happy and smiling. I had no idea were we were going I just knew i had to keep driving to keep her there.
I kept asking her, "are you real, are you really real?" and she kept saying "yes mom I am real" I held her hands and looked into her eyes, we were laughing and it was wonderful. I started asking her questions and she told me not to. She just wanted us to be this way, and I did too but I needed more. I finally did ask a question, not sure what it was, turned to look at her and she was gone.
The dream is fading as dreams do and there is some part of me that knows that there was more that I can not remember.
I am so grateful for those moments of looking at her and knowing she was right there again.
There is a song Stevie loves "La La Lie" that Noah sang at a performance. In the song he sings, "I'm coming back to my girl by July" It has been stuck in my head and I can't get it out. I was so sure she was telling me that she would see me in July. I had dreams about the number 7-12 so I waited and nothing.
Last night the moon was so full I stood out on my front lawn and told her I loved her. I knew it would still be full on the 19Th (cemetery day for me) and I was happy about that. I don't know why the energy that a full moon brings makes me believe in things I thought I threw away but it fills me with hope and sometimes a little forgiveness
I know I write it over and over but I love that kid so much, we all love our kids and I love Aly and Noah but Stevie was not just my daughter she was my... I don't have words to explain it she was my anchor, my moral compass, my heart, my reason.
When people we love die we make them bigger because the space they leave in us is so big we have to fill it with great big things.
I know I do that with memories of her, I brighten them up, embellish them and sometimes I am sure I invent them without even realizing it. But who she was, and is to me is not something I need to make bigger, she is all of me.
I have never loved anyone like this nor will I ever again. Maybe it's creepy because it is something a woman would say about a man but there is no man on earth that I could feel this for, it is beyond that kind of love.
The love we have for our children is so primal. When we give birth to them we give birth to ourselves. They are inside us, outside of us and all around us. We live for them and through them. It is like a piece of us get's to live another posibility and we get to watch this happen.
I believe that every once in a while we give birth to someone who is not just our child but someone meant just for us that comes in the form of a child.
I didn't just take care of her, she took care of me. She was my teacher, always my teacher.
My regrets are always not listening enough to her. She had so many things to say and said them with a few important words. If you missed it, you missed so much.
I remember having dinner in Crocket with Sarah and the boys. Stevie sat next to Sarah. On this night Stevie opened up to her about cooking and Sarah said to me after dinner, "I think that is the first time I had a real conversation with Stevie" She was blown away by Stevie and the things she said.
The funny thing is that every time someone took the time to really listen to her they were amazed. Her teachers adored her and the praise became almost expected, Stevie loved it, she loved the validation. She worked hard, never doing anything fast, easy or sloppy.
When she was in seventh grade they had to do a report on a State. Stevie did Hawaii, every single island. Her Report was in a binder with photographs and drawings. When it was her turn to present she wore a flower lei and brought in pineapple and macadamia's for everyone to eat while they listened. She rocked.
When she was in fourth grade she wrote a play for the class to act out. In fifth grade she wrote a book that she read to the school.
She was shy believe it or not but she loved to perform, it was in her genes, she couldn't help it.
Stevie adored irony, innuendo, obscure puns, and witty observation. She often sailed over heads but it didn't bother her nor did she judge anyone.
She was secure in her intellect but she loved it when people got her, when someone noticed how bright she could shine. She got this wicked little smile on her face that is a tattoo on my heart, I love that smile.
Steve is back from Budapest, I wonder if Stevie travels with him? I imagine she leads him to the most beautiful places that he would otherwise miss.
So many people have copies of Pink Sky now and it makes me sad that the book makes them cry but the feedback has been wonderful. It belongs to Stevie.
If she were here she would have written a much better book, it would have been profound and technically perfect but she had to write it through me so it is less than perfect but completely wonderful.
Thank you for the book Stevie. Thank you for the visit. This love never stops. I was so afraid it would that time would erase you but nothing can, you are real, you are permanent, you are still here.
I love you lots, I love you snots
Friday, July 4, 2008
It is the fourth of July. We are staying home. We invited the neighbors over to jump on the trampoline, grill stuff and set things on fire when the sun goes down.
I know you didn't like this holiday. You had a dream that Aly caught on fire and it scared you so badly that you wanted us to stop doing fireworks and go to the movies instead. We didn't, instead Dad and his family just kept blowing things up. You sat inside with a video.
I love fireworks in the sky but like you I was frightened of the light-it-yourself stuff. I usually stayed inside with you or kept an eye on the boys from a lawn chair across the street with Sarah.
The food we will be serving will not be the food I will eat. Noah wanted Jello and hot dogs, baked beans and potato salad. I am trying to make this a good day for him. He has had a pretty crappy summer, he needs a good day.
Pink Sky was just delivered last night six big boxes full of our books. I will start shipping them out tomorrow. I can't believe how real they are. They would have never happened if it were not for you.
Stay with me sweet girl, when you can, if you can. Don't let me trap you, hold you here when you need to be doing something else. I swear I can feel you around me sometimes. I am not sure if I am going crazy, if I am just trying to survive or if it is real, it sure feels real.
Last night I was laying in your bed thinking about you and I whispered "Good night Stevie"
Just as I did dads cell phone made that you-have-a-message-tone from somewhere in the house.
I laughed then said "Geez you work quick, you are getting good at this, I love you bunny"
Then another tone just as I finished bunny.
I said , "hey how can I know that is you?" just then Dad turned the light on and off very quickly in his room.
I laughed again and said, "this is weird, is it really you?" He turned the light on and off again.
I felt so stupid, crazy and happy all at the same time.
I said "thank you baby I love you"
Just as I finished saying that the stop watch in your closet went off.
I fell asleep with a smile on my face and a heart full of you.
I will be looking up in the sky for you tonight, send me a shooting star.