Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mississippi and the Grace of God

A little something I wrote after last weekend's trip to Oxford...

Bethany cried because she just missed it that much. We were sitting in Taylor Grocery, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant about thirty minutes south of Oxford, waiting on our catfish dinners when I first noticed the tears.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“I just miss it”

“This is your home, isn’t it?”

She nodded her head and dabbed at her eyes. Moments before, an elderly man clothed in gray coveralls and a well-worn hat emblazoned with a CAT logo had shuffled up to the table next to us holding tired fiddle; they both looked as though they had seen better days. After he coaxed it through a melody none of us knew, we applauded his effort and he grinned a toothless smile. Through the mournful refrain of the fiddle, she saw her Granddaddy, the one I heard so much about, the one who also played the fiddle, the one who always had a quick smile and a good story. She saw her early years, spent surrounded by family and friends, and rooted deep in the Mississippi way of life. She saw her life the way it had been, the way it could have been- if things hadn’t changed.

Suddenly, I realized that this was more than a place. It was more than just a state on her birth certificate. It was more than a school she had attended. This was the only home she had ever known. It was always tucked away deep inside her heart- through all the moves and all the changes, across continents, states, and schools- this was her home and it would always be. This was her beloved Mississippi.

I looked around the restaurant and began to understand what set this place apart in her memory. Big round tables covered in red-checked tablecloths held plates of piping hot fried catfish and hushpuppies and sweating glasses of sweet tea. Families and friends gathered around swapping stories and letting their children dance in the floor to the homespun music of the house band. These people trusted one another, loved one another and were overly welcoming to those of us who chanced to visit their charitable domain. Never before had I set foot in the place, yet I felt more at home than ever.

From Oxford Trip

We’re all from somewhere; most of us even point to a place on the map we call home. I was born in Arkansas, and that’s just how it is. That’s where my parents happened to be living at the time of my birth. These folks were Mississippi born and they’ll tell you that it was because of the grace of God. That’s how they see it. I can’t say I blame them. Sitting at the table that night, I wished I was born there too.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Our Poem

I think every couple has a poem. They should, anyway. We have a song, a drink, a place, even a year, but it wasn't until recently that we had a poem. We wanted to share it with you- it's an old one, but it has become even more beautiful with time.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)

by e. e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

"i carry your heart with me(i carry it in". Copyright 1952, �© 1980, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust, from Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage.

Monday, August 20, 2007

So he hoofed and he poofed...

We have our last childbirth class tonight and I'm kinda sad - everything seems to be wrapping up. Ben and I were so excited when we found out we were pregnant - we honestly did not think we would be for a long time. This journey has been so exciting and utterly breathtaking at times (mostly bc I get jabbed in organs that are never meant to be poked and must therefore catch my breath!) At first it was so exciting telling people that we were expecting. Then my thoughts turned to "oh dear Lord I am so tired I want to crawl up and sleep on that rock" and I could have if someone would have let me - there is no way to ever explain the exhaustion that comes in your first trimester! Next was the countdown to the second trimester because I was told my morning sickness would go away (all day sickness is more like it!) then 'are we having a boy or a girl?' to our 4d ultrasound to our childbirth classes to the sit and wait until birth. With all of those milestones behind us, I guess I just dont want it to be over and I know that with every day that comes is another day closer to this all being over. Now, dont get me wrong - I'm so excited about having him (well not 'having' him - that's a different blog for a different day!) and I can't wait to meet him but there is something amazing about this 'being pregnant' thing. I love it and I know that Ben and I will have more children if for no other reason but to feel this way again!

So back to my original thought (I'm pretty sure I have adult onset add) Our last class is tonight and we are talking about postpartum and newborn care. Last week we saw a c-section and epidurals - no thank you to either one right now although I know everyone reading this thinks I'm crazy for even thinking I dont want an epidural :) Oh and I wish I had my camera! Last week, in a very dramatic demonstration, Ben was the 'mom' giving birth by c-section. you should have seen his 'husband' - a 300 lb black man - it was all so beautiful. LOL. Ben will kill me for posting this. I guess what I'm trying to say is, this experience has been amazing and I never thought it was possible to love Ben more than I do right now - he is the most amazing husband and will be the most amazing dad - Jackson sure is lucky. Ben has been at every appointment, every childbirth class (even participating as the mom in a skit - if ya'll know ben..this is not his usual 'thing') he has gone to the store anytime I have needed anything, rubbed my back, played with my hair...wait - now I know why I don't want this pregnancy to be over - I'M QUEEN OF THE WORLD!!! ok, back to reality. Ben is one of my greatest blessings and I can only hope that everyone has someone that makes them feel as special and as loved as Ben makes me feel.

I needed to get this into writing while I was still semi-sane so anyone who can hear me yelling at ben when he tries to 'coach' me through those awful breathing exercises during labor can refer back to this and remind me of how 'in love' I was just a short time before...


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Needles to Say...

“So this tube thing gets left inside your spine…”

Something’s not right. This person I never met wants my wife to hunch up her back like a cat and let him stick a needle the size of a PVC pipe into her spine? But it’s okay, the teacher assures me, they’ll only leave the small metal tube sticking out. Yikes! I’m getting squirmy in my chair just thinking about it.

We’re on week three of our one-night-a-week, four week childbirth class and tonight’s topic is Epidural procedures.

All of the veteran women in the classroom nod their heads and affirm that the Epidural was the best thing they ever did, but I’m still not convinced. The list of possible side effects reads more like a major surgery disclaimer than a ‘simple procedure’. Nerve damage, brain damage (WHAT??), paralysis, dural puncture, cardiac arrest. Did I miss something? I thought this was supposed to help. This is my wife and baby we’re talking about; my fledgling fatherhood instincts are beginning to kick in.

It seems like each week of this class, the outlook becomes grimmer. Horror stories, painful/gross videos, the passing around of medical instruments that will be used to bring my son into this world that look as though they could double as prison-camp torture tools. How is this helping me? Oh yeah, breathing exercises, *deep breath, release, deep breath, release, hoo hee hoo hee hoo hee…*

Ok, I’m better now.

In the midst of all of the talk of poking, cutting, pulling, sucking, I had a sobering thought: My mother must have really loved me to go though all of this for me. Watching Bethany face this with such courage has given me an even greater admiration for her. She has more courage in her little finger than I have in my entire body. One look at those epidural needles would make we want to forget the whole thing and just look into adoption, but not her. She’s known all along, and it never fazes her. That’s a mother’s love. The way my mother loved me and your mother loved you- we all have that debt that we can never repay. So, if you’re reading this and you are a mom. Thank you. Just in case your kids never tell you- you have my admiration.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Hotter than a pepper sprout...

Ben and I love the song "Jackson" by Johnny Cash and June Carter... we sing it all the time and even more so since we found out we were having a little boy. I know the song is not about a person - it's about a city... Jackson, Ms... Yay, we love mississippi too! Especially me since it is, in fact, the mother land :) We just love anything that reminds us of our little man...our little 'pepperjack'. Here is my favorite picture from Jackson's 4D ultrasound...something about that little face, what can I say... I'm in love.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Starting Out

Blogs seem so presumptuous to me. They always have. Perhaps it’s due to the hundreds of self-absorbed writers with whom I rubbed shoulders on a daily basis while in college.

In case you never take a class in creative writing, this is the drill:

- Get a writing prompt
- Go home and write
- Bring your writing back to class
- Exchange with others
- Go home and read the other person's work
- Critique what you read
- Return to class and share critique

And that’s pretty much it. Now, think of all the writer/artist types you knew or encountered in college- are you getting an image? Ok, now think about the kind of stuff those people talk about (e.g. How stupid Republicans are, how great homosexuality is, how cool Transformers are, the wrongness of the war, etc). Now, that’s what I had to read all the time. Now, I have nothing against the creative types, don’t get me wrong. I am one, after all. It’s just that we tend to have an inflated opinion of our own work. Blogs seem presumptuous because the very concept of a blog implies that people out there want to read what I have to say. That’s hard for me to believe.

Now, that being said, this is our blog. We started it to keep everyone posted on our new addition, Jackson Benjamin, due in October. There will be some random postings, pictures, and interesting links. Bethany and I both spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet (we both have jobs that allow require it), so we should be able to keep it very up to date.

Come back soon and often.