Sunday, October 26, 2008

Falling in Love...

I was at Tangerine yesterday. It was a quiet day but I had so many little things to do. At about four I was dragging. I someones bounced check to deal with, some restocking and cramps. I wanted to close early and go home but I stuck it out.

Mairead and Allison showed up just then, happy, young, smelling pretty and full of energy. They were like a breath of fresh air. They came in to shop, talk, and me a tiny black bag from Sephora, they both had funny little smiles on.

These two girls have been so good to me and I wasn't always the nicest person to them. When they were younger I use to give Alli a hard time. She and Aly would always be up to something and needing a ride to a show, Berkeley, Rasputin, wanting to take Bart to the city and give me a heart attack, stay up late and cook, come home from a show stoned, and generally drive me insane.

Mairead was sweet, she would come over and hang-out with Stevie once in a while and talk about her make-up fetish, designer bags, how she had to straighten her hair before she could curl it. She is a crack up and a little glam-girl.

I played the role of grumpy mom.

Now Stevie is gone and Aly is in her own world.

Allison and Mairead still come over, still email me and have found a way to comfort me while I am hurting so much and missing my girl. I don't know why they do it but they do and it is so beautiful.

It seems they read my post about running out of "Falling in Love" and not being able to find it anymore. It is just a bottle of perfume but it felt like I was losing another part of Stevie.

These two sisters who love to shop got online and found were the perfume might be and then went to several stores until they found and actual bottle.

When I opened the little bag they brought me that was what was inside.

They also brought me a song by The Plain White T's called 1234...They told me I would cry and I did. It is such a pretty song, and Stevie would have loved it.

If she could whisper into their ears she would have told them to bring me the perfume and the song and they would.

They would have it even if she didn't.

I like to believe it was three of them there yesterday.

Thank you girls...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I had a dream of a baby last night. Not sure if it was because I was thinking of babies or because I asked the universe to give me a sign.

I raised my brother and sister, then became a mom at 19. I have been taking care of kids my whole life. I always dreamed of having a house that was full of kids. We would all sleep in a great big bed and eat at a really long table. I would make stacks of pancakes on Sunday and platters of spaghetti for dinner. I imagined we would live on a boat and Christmas would be spent someplace snowy. We would have a big fire and kids in footie pajamas that tried to stay awake for Santa.

Steve and I started dating when I was 18 and he knew about this big family dream. He took it upon himself to fill me in on the realities of a big family, coming from one himself. There were six kids in his family. His mother was married to his father when she was 19, he was in his thirties. Steve is also older than I am.

I think he really thought he could talk me out of a big family, or any family for that matter. He was one of those kids who just didn't get enough of what he needed. His parents were both alcoholics and his mother had many issues around mental health. Both his parents died when he was young. Although I could see that the difficult times growing up for him were not due to having a big family but a big family that had more than it's share of struggles. Had he been an only child with the same two parents life would have still been difficult.

Steve wanted what his parents wanted but didn't know how to get. He wanted a great job, travel, adventures and freedom. He wanted to make art, write, act, and have a swanky apartment full of great stereo equipment. He wanted just enough of everything and not have to worry that that's all there would ever be.

I became pregnant by accident but I never questioned that it was what was suppose to happen. Steve reacted badly. I was determined and he figured out slowly that maternal instincts make Superman look like a wimp. We lived in a crappy one bedroom apartment, Steve was finishing school, I was taking my first college course.

From outside it seemed like we were doomed but I knew it would be OK.

I think all of his worries and doubts disappeared when he held Aly for the first time. He was madly in love with her and she with him. They are still very close.

When Aly was getting close to two I decided we needed to have another baby. Steve decided I was crazy. His argument was that we lived in a crappy one bedroom apartment. I did research on financing a first home and found a loan program that was perfect for us. Three months later we were in our first house and Stevie growing inside of me.

Steve was sure another child would ruin us but each child brought such happiness and good luck. He had a hard time seeing that. He had a harder time dealing with the attention the kids demanded of me and how I happily moved toward them and drifted from him. Our relationship changed drastically. I went from being a silly teenage girl who followed him where ever he wanted to go to a mom of two daughters who demanded we stay home and enjoy our babies. He wanted to be out and I wanted to be in.

I was young but I knew it was going to go fast, that we only had a small amount of time with them as babies. I stayed home with them instead of returning to work which gave us new financial worries. The pressure to provide and trade dreams for reality was hard on Steve. He still wanted all the things he did before but he is a responsible guy and knew he had a family to care for first.

We were so young.

I wanted those dream babies and we fought about it over and over. I never was able to convince him.

We would separate when Stevie was four. We couldn't agree on what was important. When I turned 27 I had a little bit of a melt down.

Two years later we reconciled, agreeing to put our family back together again. The baby argument began right away. Steve held strong for almost five years. In 1998 he got his dream job with the opportunity to travel all around the world. The kids were older so there was less demand on him to be home. He took the job and I had Noah.

It seemed perfect at the time. Then Stevie got sick.

Steve and I have always had an agreement. The house and kids were me. My job was to cook, clean, do laundry, shop, pay the bills, take care of the kids, school work, doctors appointments etc. His job was to work hard and take out the garbage.

I consider myself a feminist so part of me resented the traditional roles sometimes, especially when I didn't get enough sleep or had literally gone weeks without leaving the house. I hated asking him for help it made me feel like a failure. If I asked, and if he was available he would help.

I had dreams too. I thought I could do it all, and would do it all. It was much harder work than I thought. There were friends who had bigger houses, vacations and nannies. There were friends who had careers and parties. There were friends who wondered what the hell I did all day. I felt small sometimes. I missed the world outside.

At night when the girls were cuddled up in bed with me smelling like soap, milk and flowers I would feel like a shit for wanting anything more than that moment with them.

Although I had moments of self pity I also had moments of knowing that my turn would come. Maybe this was what I was meant to do and that could be enough. Being a parent is such hard work it is messy and heartbreaking but nothing, and I mean nothing feeds your soul like being a mother.

When Noah came...It was like he pulled us together. He is the glue in our family. I can not say enough how heaven-sent that boy is. Steve fought long and hard and he was sure that having a child would make our lives crumble...but he loves that boy with all his heart. We didn't crumble, Noah made us strong for what was to come.

Steve has now achieved all his dreams. He has jumped out of a plane, hang-glided, bungee jumped, swung from trapeze. He has traveled all around the world. He has a great job that pays him well. He owns a nice house. He has performed in theatres, has been in several independent films and is in a long-running commercial. His life is his, and he gets up every morning to play tennis (his favorite thing to do) has friends, watches football, eats meat (even though I would prefer us to be vegetarian) and sings with his friends and brothers.

I have been the person who has been behind the scenes, with the kids, creating a place for him to come home to. I am not perfect and I can be temperamental, moody and demanding. I am not the ideal wife, at times I am a terrible wife. If you asked Steve I think he would say that he wished I loved him better.

After Stevie died I stopped liking him. I think it was all too much and I could not handle his need and I resented his moving on so quickly. He is healthier than me in that way. He doesn't drag around old hurts and sad moments. He lets them go and moves onto the next. He has some kind of pain amnesia that I don't seem to have. It keeps him from getting stuck and being depressed.

I was learning to accept that three kids and the life we had was what the universe chose for me. It didn't mean that I gave up wanting a big family but I was getting older and Steve had a vasectomy so I didn't have a whole lot of choice. I could fill up that empty place in the nest with a career, maybe I would get to travel now or I could write a book.

I knew my family would not get bigger, but I didn't think it would get smaller. A dying child is never part of a life you dream for yourself, worse it is never what you dream for them.

Now I am trying hard to accept that this is my reality, what the universe has planned for me.

Now a baby is creeping in again. I admit I fantasize and pray that I can have Stevie back and that may be my main motivation. I have read that women who lose a child are usually pregnant inside a year. They are not trying to replace that child but the giant hole the loss of a child leaves is unbearable and a baby gives you hope and reason.

I try to explain to Steve that I am a woman like any other woman and this need is natural and normal. I am trying to honor it, I may not act on it but it deserves thinking about.

He is the same person he has always been and has the same arguments. He told me he would leave us if I tried to have a baby. He tells me that I am tired of parenting, burned out, that I need to move on. I think he is trying to punish me. He wants to be the person who gives me hope and reason and it hurts him that I am choosing a child that doesn't even exist over him.

I am not burned out, I am grieving the loss of a child. I am not the same me I was before because I feel broken. I still work hard. My heart, soul and body ache. I am trying to survive this.

There are ways to have a baby, even at my age, even without him. It wouldn't be responsible to do it perhaps but it would be even more wrong to let him try to frighten me. Every time I try to live the best life for me he threatens to leave. Maybe he should.

He loves me, the way he knows how to. He wishes that I would love him that same way but I don't. For me love is pure emotion, it is an environment, it is who and what we are in this moment. It is every second we have ever been. Love is pure and it needs and uncontaminated environment to grow. Love can't live where resentment, control, anger and fear does. Love is not sex, love is not need, love can not be demanded, or paid for. Love is not something you can talk yourself into.

For me I need love to feel passion, energy, peace, creativity, and strength.

Children understand it, they bring it with them and they teach it to us. Unconditional love heals like nothing else can.

I want a baby for some of the most important reasons and for some of all the wrong reasons. This decision should be mine, without fear, without guilt, without a price.

I feel like I am standing high on a mountain, at the very edge. I am all alone and there is something so important in this moment for me. It will take great faith to take the next step forward or back.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I dreamed we moved into a big house with many rooms. There was even a closet in a long hallway with a mop-sink in it! My bedroom had brown wallpaper with tiny little bunnies on it. I wasn't sure about it because they were bunnies and it was brown but the was something about it that was pretty. In a drawer I found pictures of that very room over time, and every owner had some kind of bunny wallpaper.

I asked you what room you wanted and you took me far away from mine and showed me a little room at the end of the house. I said, "You will be too far away from me I won't be able to hear you if you need me" You looked at me in confusion and I could hear you thinking, "I won't need you silly mom"

There was an old grampa who lived in the house, I guess he belonged to us, or came with the house I don't know but I like him. He looked like Vincent Price and had a Austrian accent.

Why do I dream the things I do?

In the dream you were there and I but I never did really see you, just knew it was you.

The opening was yesterday and it went well. So many friends came, it felt good to be supported. Everyone liked the shop. Your brother put on one of Sawsan's framing aprons and sold candy to his friends. TT rang everyone's purchases up and I floated around the shop talking to everyone. It felt unreal, like a dream.

I was so busy that I didn't have time to be sad or to even talk to you. Maybe that was best. Were you there Stevie, did you like it?

The Jennings bought us a huge Chinese dinner after closing. Shoshana looks so much like you and I find that comforting but I have stopped seeing you now that I know her, I see her and I like her. She seems so damn sad but I think she is an amazing person who doesn't know quite how amazing she is.

Aly didn't show, she can be so mean. I don't know why she is the way she is. I try so hard to like her and connect and it doesn't work. Her arrested development keeps me from liking her most days. I want so much for her like: a good school were she could learn to do what she is passionate about, great job she loves to wake up to, friends who inspire her, comfort her and love her. Someday I wish for her to meet a really great guy to be loved by.

What she wants is to be supported indefinately, freedom to do what she wants, when she wants without any consequence, a nose job, a boob job, more shoes, more jeans, a new car and money to fall from the sky.

I wish for her to be independent, happy, adventurous, loved, fulfilled. She wishes to be Paris Hilton.

Stevie how did this happen?

You and Noah are so grounded and smart. She is smart too but she pretends to be stupid so no one will expect anything from her. She hates me because I expect more and I can see through her silly game. I wonder when she will give in and grow up.

Your brother is going to sing a Jason Moraz song for the whole school. It is the song about words that you loved, the lyrics are in your scrap book from graduation. He heard the song on Dad's radio and loved it. He sings it so well.

My only complaint about the little man is that he can be stinky. You and Aly were never stinky. He is like a sweaty little puppy. He would go weeks without soap and water if we let him.

He loves to wear skinny jeans and those t-shirts you and I bought him a long time ago. They are way too small but he will not let me throw them away. He still has your Format robot T that you gave him for Christmas. Remember how it use to fit him like a night-shirt? Well, it now fits him like a regular shirt, the kid must grow while he is sleeping. When he wakes up his pants are always too short.

He is so much like you. I know he is not you, and he does not replace you, but he is definitely your little brother.

My "Falling in Love" Philosophy perfume is almost gone. I don't think they make it anymore. It reminds me of the way you smell. It also reminds me of your funeral, I sprayed it all over me so I wouldn't smell anything else, I just wanted you. You and I bought it at the Stanford Shopping Center when you were having treatment at Stanford. You wanted to go there all the time, you loved it, loved the shops...loved perfume, lotion, bubble bath and lip balms. We bought so much and I still have it all. I keep the Satsuma put away in a sealed box. I come undone if I smell it.

I miss you so much. How can a person be so lonely in a world of so many people. I am a very loved person and I am grateful but it isn't the same. My best friend in the whole world, my favorite person is not here like before. It sucks.

If you were here in your body you would be watching the Simpson's with Dad, Aly and Noah and I would be walking by the living room saying "Why do you guys watch that show is so mean and so full of sarcasm" The four of you would ignore me and I would keep putting away laundry and sneaking cookies.

You would be having fruit, eating it out of a little bowl. You would have some fat green grapes, an orange and maybe some cashiews. You would leave the bowl out, the peels in a napkin and a glass of something on the table. You would leave your shoes by the couch...The next day I would complain that you always leave a nest for me to pick up. I never minded Stevie, I loved your nests.

You would stay up late tonight and beat some old guys who think they are brilliant at Literati while you listened to MP3's. I would come out at about midnight and see you hunched over in this very chair humming and creating high point words.

Some nights I would stand there and look at you. I would wonder if you were happy. I know you enjoyed playing word games and listening to music. I know you loved to stay up late and have the house to yourself but were you happy?

I was happy to have you in my life, I was always madly in love with you, I still am. I always knew how lucky I was, I never questioned it. I also believed that my love could keep you here. Maybe it did but not forever.

Well my sweetest girl I am a tired mama. I got up very early this morning and all I want to do is lay in your bed and count sheep.

Sweet dreams honey-bunny, don't be too far away,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

and here I am...

The moon was huge last night. I walked all the way to the dog park and up the hill to look at, to feel closer to you.

I also drove to the cemetery on my way home from Oakland. For the first time it didn't feel comforting or good, it felt out of place and unreal. You shouldn't be there and I shouldn't be going there. We should be here at home planning for the opening on Saturday. You should be drinking a latte and bugging me to take you shopping so you will have something to wear.

This morning you should be sleeping late because that is what you do, then you should take a long shower and get the bathroom all steamy and messy. You should leave the blow-dryer out and your clothes all over the floor. I should be yelling at you to turn the music down and hurry up if you are coming to the store with me, we need groceries.

At the store you should be buying things you have never tried before, things I know you won't like and cost too much but I know how happy it makes you to try new things, discover new flavors.

Then we will go to Bev-Mo and buy a case of Pink Champagne because we both think it's pretty. At lunch time we will grab some Thai and talk. I will look at you and think "My God you are beautiful" but what I'll say is, "Stevie I think you are from outer-space" and you will smile because you know what that means. You know that I think you are unique, special, too wonderful to be human. You know that I am so proud of you, so blessed to be your mommy, and I love it that you are smarter than me and care about so many things that other people just don't get.

These are not secrets, I tell you all the time but there are different ways to say it and over Thai food and a tall milky tea "You are from outer-space" is what you say. You always got me, we could speak without all the words in-between. I thought that after you left it would be the same.

The shop opens on Saturday and I want to believe you will be there, standing right next to me saying, "Oh Mom, it is so pretty, I love it" but I won't be able to hear the words instead I will have to search for something else.

I called TT on the way home from Oakmont and told her I couldn't do it anymore, that I didn't want to be here without you. I meant it. I do it though day after day. I have to I guess, that doesn't mean I am happy about it but it is what I must do. The choice doesn't feel like mine.

I got up really early this morning and stood out on the lawn. It was cold and the grass was wet from the sprinklers but the sky was so clear and perfect. The moon was bright and high and close to the three sisters in the sky. Tom and Cindy have put there house up for sale and I wonder if it is because they are afraid to live next door to a crazy lady who stands outside in the dark in nothing but a T-shirt and her nine year old bathrobe, talking to the sky and crying.

I think I might be tempted to move.

I tell you over and over how much I miss you, and love you. I think you must be sick of it but if you are you will have to find a way to tell me. I want to be were you are, I don't want you to be alone and I don't want to be here without you. In this world full of people I feel lost and alone without you.

If I have to stay maybe you can come back. I will find a donor and have a baby. I will be one of those mom's who looks like a gram. When you turn 21 this time I will be...old. I can take you in a backpack to the shop. You will grow up surrounded by cute things and eat candy for breakfast.

I don't know what it is like to be without a body. I don't remember it. If there is a God you are happy now and busy. They have good cold-pressed, free-trade coffee, organic fruit and showers that never get cold. You can sleep as long as you want and travel to places that only you know exist. You never have to be sick, condition your hair, or worry about losing a few pounds.

I see you on a bike riding down a beach where the sand is firm and the waves are all foamy. You hair is long and auburn and wild in the wind. You are laughing and riding fast, barefoot and wearing your old cable knit sweater.

This is what should be, me on the beach watching you, and you so happy, so very happy.

Mama 0

Monday, October 6, 2008

Little Cakes...

When I take a shower in the morning I write you little messages on the steamy glass of the shower walls. I started doing it because it was so hard to be in the shower with your collection of soaps and shampoos. I would cover myself with your cotton candy soap and write you love letters in the steam. I write simple lines about the little things that are happening at home and how much we miss you. I fantasize that the words some how find you. Maybe there is a parallel world were you never got sick, or I did instead and the words appear to you when you take a shower and they comfort you.

This morning I wrote to you about the little cakes I made out of clay, no bigger that a quarter, complete with frosting, berries, tiny nuts and leaves. They remind me of you, something you would hold in your hand that would make you smile. You must have put the idea in my mind while I was sleeping because I woke up with a need to make them.

The shop is opening soon, on the 18th. I can't believe I am doing this, I feel ill prepared. What do I know about retail? Some days I wake up wondering what the hell I am doing and then I think I feel you telling me, " Relax mom, breath, it's happening, and it will be OK"

This little store is something you and I have talked about. I hope I am doing it right. Oh Stevie I wish you were here in your body helping me, shopping with me, talking me through this. I can see you sitting at the little wooden table concentrating on a catalog or telling me how much pink is too much pink.

I am trying so hard to get Aly to be a part of this but she thinks it's stupid, a waste of time and money. She still doesn't like me, I am not sure she ever will. I miss having a daughter who wants to be with me, who loves the things I love, who is my friend and my keeper of secrets. Tell me you are still that person, just without a body of skin and cells.

I am calling the shop Tangerine. It came to me so easily, from the Format song I loved that I stole from you..."alas you are my tangerine, my pussycat my trampoline"

I had a dream about Andrew last night, that he was here for an event and I was telling him all about you and he loved the story and wanted to know everything...then I kissed him. Sorry but he is so very cute. I am not sure if he is so adorable because he is or if it is simply that you found him adorable and I can see what you did. Sorry I kissed him (more that once) it is wicked but it was a dream, how can I possibly be responsible for what I do when I am dreaming?

I promise not to kiss anymore of your rock star boyfriends.

Sweet girl, what am I going to do without your chubby cheeks and cuteness? I am trying to be happy with this new you, this mystery, this in the air, my heart, my mind you. I can love you in any form but it is frustrating for me. I want to touch you, hear your voice, buy you clothes, hear your music come from your room while you are trying to find your shoes and put your hair up in an elastic.

This new you is so ethereal. I am never sure, never.

I have so much to do today, the days are busy as they should be. Your brother is such a comfort to me. He does not replace you but he loves me so completely. He understands this, how I don't know. He came for a reason, maybe it was to save me, to give me a reason to stay and not follow you.

There is not a day that goes by that you are not part of in some way. I am holding you close puddin' so close. Stay with me when you can but not if it keeps you from heaven.

I love you, I love you, I love you,

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Weddings, Beaches and Blankets

My niece Braina was married on Saturday. The wedding was in southern California so we loaded up the car with pillows, bottled water, books on tape, luggage and began the long drive.

I think this is the first "family" trip we have gone on since Stevie left. It was very sad not having her there...the empty space was big. Aly got car sick as usual, Noah fidgeted, Steve drove and I found places to pull over and eat.

We stopped at the windmill and had Anderson's split pea soup for breakfast, yes they serve it as part of your breakfast and it's actually good, and I don't even like peas. We stuffed ourselves full of pancakes, omelets, buttered toast and hot chocolate then got back in the car for naps. Steve plugged into his IPOD and sang to himself for a couple hours.

The hotel was beautiful, a small resort in a very unlikely place. Our room opened up to the beach and we took advantage of the sand and water before our suitcases were unpacked. Noah was smacked by wave and "ate shit like a pro" according to Aly. He got a little mangled so I took him to the pool while Aly and Steve body surfed for a while.

Jeff and Sarah were checked in and having a coctail by the pool so we hung out with them until dinner. Dave brought Lisa and Mahina over for dinner and we all watched the debates. It was a groovy evening. My SIL Lisa is such a beautiful person, my favorite McMoyler sibling. She is everything her brothers are not. It is nice to be around her feminine, smart, and funny energy. He daughter Mahina took my breath away. I met her for the first time that evening but I felt like she had been a part of my heart and my life forever.

I felt connected to her in a very important way, there was something about spending time with her that comforted me. She completes a circle, a female circle that I can not explain. She is not just physically beautiful but gentle, kind and has an inner strength that you know is hidden deep inside her. She feels like family to me, and I know I have known her before.

The wedding was on a big green lawn in front of a harbor full of sail boats. There was a big paddle boat waiting for us after the ceremony and it slowly took us around the bay in circles while we danced, ate dinner and cake, and drank (a little too much).

Aly taught Noah how to dance to a slow song and I can still see his chubby little sticky fingers holding onto her dress at her waste while he looked up at her with the sweetest grin. She had her hand on his little shoulder and was looking down at him like mother looks at a child. She tells me she will never have children, she doesn't think she is mama-material but she is. She loves that boy with her whole heart.

Noah is late for school so this post is a little rushed, I am leaving out good parts but I promise I will get back to them on another day.

I wanted to be sure I wrote about the package that arrived last night. There was no card but I knew who it was from. My childhood friend owns a blanket had to be her because inside this package was the most beautiful blanket. It was a woven portrait of Stevie, the night of the concert in her gold sweater. It is the picture where she looks like a grown-up, a picture that I only found after she was gone.

How Monica made it happen I still do not know but what a precious gift. It took my breath away, over and over again. Some part of me believes that Stevie and Monica had some kind of communication. Thank you Mona, you have found a way over miles and years to touch my heart.

Noah needs me to get him to school, I will post more later.