A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit schools across the state through a program called "Poetry Out Loud," a national organization that our state arts organization facilitates. I spoke to the students in a few different formats, gave them writing prompts, talked music and road time and tried my best to give them a chance to share their stories too. Because really, these kids, they're more interesting than I ever will be.
She took his hand and looked him square in the eyes as he lay there in the hospital bed, in pain, worried and frustrated. His thoughts and words were clouded under the mask of painkillers, and it was her job to check his vitals, help manage his pain and answer his family's questions about what was going on in our dad's body. Seeing him in that hospital bed, the man who was in his wool cap and on a horse just days before, laying there so vulnerable and sick brought back too many memories of that long January night just three years ago when his heart tore and we nearly lost him.
I've known my husband since I was 11 years old. He's been my best friend starting sometime around when I was 15 when he was old enough drive out to the ranch to talk horses with my dad, and teach my little sister to play chess. We went to college together, we got married and we've moved six times. We're about to bring a second child into this world together.
I woke up this morning to the baby in my belly kicking, rolling and stretching his or her arms, snapping me instantly out of a dream and into the reality of another day spent being a pregnant mother. Inside this dark house, long before sunrise, my other loves were slowly waking up too. I lifted my daughter out of her bed and got her dressed for the day while she worked on slow blinks, little hands pressed to her face to wipe away the night.
My mom hasn't been sleeping well. She says she wakes up in the middle of the night and lies there in the dark and breathes her fears and worries in and out — about her kids and grandkids and the unpredictable and uncontrollable things that happen to us in the circle of community.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. — This morning I drove Edie to town to daycare so I could get some work done. My husband was gone hunting in Montana over the past few weekends and into this week, and so I've been on my own a bit more, managing a schedule of deadlines, performances, doctors appointments and fun, calling on my mom and dad, sister, mother-in-law and daycare provider to fill in the blanks of caretaking along the way so that my husband can have time to do the things that make him feel like himself, obliging, of course, because he does the same for me.
Apparently when I'm pregnant I can't help but feel like I'm a ticking time bomb, waddling around counting the days until my world explodes into unmanageable chaos. So I have a tendency, I've learned, to try to manage the heck out of everything in my path in the meantime. I overbook my work schedule, I annoy my husband with reminders about unfinished house projects, I organize places like bathroom cabinets, I plan house additions and I deep clean the oven, (because apparently deep cleaning the oven is strictly a hormonal thing...)
Long ago, before the invention of the Internet, I would spend winter evenings sitting on the worn-out pink carpet on my bedroom floor, pressing record on a cassette player/radio trying to catch my favorite song so I could play it back, over and over again, and commit it to memory. Before that most of the music I learned by standing on the stage in the lunchroom/gym/music room of our little country school as our music teacher plunked out the tune to "The Old Gray Mare" on his piano.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. — It sits low, lower than the kitchen tables they make these days, its claw shaped feet at the bottom of the wooden pedestal look like they're clutching the hardwood floor. Without its three leaves it's perfectly round and could seat four for a card game. With its three leaves it seats six quite comfortably for a meal.
Yesterday I asked Edie if she pooped. "Pew Eee," I said, waving my hand in front of my nose, scrunching up my face. "Pew Eee Hondo," she replied, mimicking my actions and successfully blaming the dog for the first time.