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Saturday, May 28, 2016

True Stories

The only events I have manged to be early for, listed in order of occurrence are:
One of my babies, all grown up. 

1. My own birth

2. My second child's birth

3. My third child's birth

4. My fourth child's birth.

The events I have been late for, listed in order of occurrence:

1. My wedding

2. Picking up my first child from nursery school on the first day of school.

3. Picking up my third child from her flight from the airport.

4. Taking my second child's flight to the airport

All of these have a story, which of course, now seem very funny, at the time, not so much, I will share the early events, and maybe at another time the late ones. The early ones, were totally out of my control, the late stories, well, maybe not my best moments.

1. My own birth: I was born on the front lawn of the hospital on a warm June evening, six weeks early. I was the fifth child, so that may have accounted for the speedy delivery (to borrow a phrase from Mr. Rodgers).  So my poor mother brought me into this world just outside the front door of the maternity entrance to the hospital.  When she received the bill from the hospital, listed on it was a charge for the delivery room.  My mother was incensed. The bookkeeper at the hospital response was, " but it was such a mess, and the clean up was awful, and there isn't a line item for that kind of situation so we just called the delivery room."  I do not know what my mother's response was to this as she has never  shared that part of the story with me.  What she did share was this: an elderly woman from our church, who called every one "kid", said to my mother the next time they met, "Kid, the funniest thing happened the other day. I was vising Gertrude at the hospital, and a lady was giving birth on the front lawn, imagine that!"  My mother's response?  "you don't say, how funny" never cracking a smile.

2. My second child was born six weeks early in September. After visiting the doctor in the morning with my husband, and the OB saying to my husband, it's okay for you to go into work, it will be a while, and my husband taking me to my mother's with a fifteen month old in tow, I waited.  I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally at 3:00 pm I dialed the doctor's office and said my water is leaking a lot, and the doctor saying, get in here, and not being able to reach my husband, my step-father drove me to the hospital.  When we got the front door and I let myself out of the car, my step-father waved and pulled off before I could hardly get the door closed.  There I was, a waterfall with child.  I walked into the hospital, walked upstairs to the maternity ward, dripping all the way, and was admitted.  Someone finally found my husband, which meant he arrived about an hour and a half after I was into this process of having a baby, and when the nurse looked at him and said, "it might be a while, maybe you should go get something to eat" interrupted by me saying, "if you go, don't come back." Maybe not my finest response, but, there you have it.

3. My third child was born twenty-five days early. It was the coldest day in January, so I felt the need to go shopping and get a few baby gifts to be sent to friends that had produce new progeny as of late.  I still feel sorry for the young girl in the local children's store. The reason is, as she was wrapping up the gifts, my water broke. I mean really broke. I had a sneaking suspicion she was the one that was going to have to clean that mess up. I paid for the gifts and left to find out that 40 below zero and your water breaking are not a good combination.

4. My last child was also born twenty-five days early. My husband still accuses me of breaking the water with my knitting needle, but this simply is not true. I had been to the local children's store in the morning to send a few baby gifts as our friends seem to be children progeny almost as quickly as we were, but lucky for them, my water waited until I was home.  (They just didn't know about the bullet they dodged).  The water broke so loudly on that very warm May day, my husband, who is a good person, while washing windows, putting screens up, heard it several rooms away.  The arrival was forty-five minutes later, and happily for us all, at the hospital, in a delivery room, not on the front lawn.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Open Window

Proof positive, things have changed

The curtains are open today.  A sight I have never observed in the thirty years I have lived here. Mrs. B is now in a cubicle home, in a town ten miles away. As it is morning, the sun must now be shining on a floor not use to seeing natural light.  I wonder, does the carpet plead for shade? For of course, the wood floors are carefully covered in wall to wall wool carpet, or does it revel in it, like a sleek cat finally finding warmth?

On her moving day, I walked over through the wet, rainy day to visit her one last time as my next door neighbor. Her carefully cared for living room was covered in boxes, papers, and used gift bags all looking like a tornado had arrived, and stayed without welcome.

She was perfectly coiffed. She was assuring herself, as well as me, this was all for the best, though it was difficult to leave, she wanted the place in town, but it was too expensive, so this really was best.

I reminded her of when we first moved here, her mother, her little dog, Pepe.  She remembered how her first home was above her father-in-law's grocery store in the next town, and they only spoke Italian. The building of her home, how happy she was to have a house to raise her children. A boy, then a girl.  Her hearing aids in today, allowed for the conversations that in the past had eluded us.

All the while her son and daughter-in-law packed boxes reassuring me they would find really nice renters for the house. This intertwined with how much better this will be as they are't able to be there all of the time, and ...

Mrs. B's erect body slowly folding into a chair, slightly shaking, causing me to fight the tears, as I said, I will come visit you, bring my grandson, all the while wishing somehow I had more to offer. Her face lighting up, while tears leaked out, saying how much she would like that.

As I took my leave, after carefully writing down the address, phone number of her new home, along with the son's number, I walked  home, slowly in the rain, which seemed only fitting as my tears were falling in the same steady stream.