Saturday, November 21, 2009

in florida

Oh, we are in Florida. And oh, it is lovely and warm. Today at the beach my father-in-law caught a baby octopus who was rolling around in the surf, put it in the sand pail, and Clark carried it around for an hour saying "pus" and trying to feed it his crackers.

We flew down here rather than drove. Clark hadn't been on a plane since we moved to Rochester when he was two months old. I was a very teensy bit anxious about how he was going to do since he is now a furiously active twenty-month-old. Generally speaking he was great. During the descent of the first leg of the flight Frances said, "I don't like this, Mommy." "Like what?" I asked. "The plane. I don't like this plane." Which I thought was weird since she'd been having a fine time. Then she burped a little and I realized what was happening, and I yanked the puke bag out of the seat pocket just in time. After that she liked the plane again and talked about how brave she was not to even cry when she threw up.

We were late getting on the next plane and in a big rush. Mitch had tossed Clark's blankie and Frances' puppy on the top of the stroller and I didn't notice them there before folding it up to check plane-side. Once we were in our seats in the very last row of the plane (the only windowless row--fabulous. At least the kids got to watch out the window on the first flight), Frances asked where her puppy was. I realized that it and Clark's blankie were most likely lying abandoned just outside the plane door, or on the dirty tarmac where they fell out of the folded stroller. I made Mitch run up and ask the flight attendant if we could get it still but they'd already closed the plane door. We'd never see them again. Somehow this undid me. I had already fallen down on the snack job and left in the refridgerator at home the bag I'd packed full of sandwiches, granola bars, goldfish, banana bread I made just for the trip, and apples. It was hard for me to let that one go, but I did. Then the missing blankie. Mitch said, "Cali, it's just a THING, and it's GONE. There's nothing we can do about it," which was true, but not any less upsetting. I realize both of these things were simple accidents and mistakes most anyone make if they'd also woken at 4:30 in the morning. Still, together they made me feel incompetent, like a crappy mom, like I wasn't providing well for my children. And, in fact, Clark couldn't fall asleep on the plane though he was clearly exhausted, and between shrieks he sadly whimpered gigi, gigi, which is his name for his blankie.

When we were getting ready to leave the beach today we told Clark that the octopus needed to go back to his home, that we needed to put him in the water and say bye bye. He was not moved by that idea and rather loudly protested letting go of his bucket. Then my mother-in-law said, "Clark, the octopus needs to go see his mommy. He needs to go find his mommy." And Clark immediately turned and headed for the water with his bucket of octopus. That idea he understood. Made me happy.

3 comments: said...

Cali, Vicki introduced us at the "Handmade Nation" screening. I think your blog is amazing. Your writing is raw, honest and heartwarming. I want you to know that you are not alone. I can't imagine that there is any mother who hasn't had some of the anxieties and feelings that you describe so vividly.As I told you, my daughter is 32 now, but I found out that motherhood never ends. That relationship still has unbelievable power- both for joy and for heartache. If you ever want to talk with a mom who has already walked your path, I would be honored to be a listener. And if you wish, maybe I can offer some perspective so that you know that the choices that you make now are not likely to be earth-shaking for your children. I was an elementary teacher and found that I sometimes projected onto my daughter the personalities of children I had taught. And guess what- she grew up to be a marvelous, fabulous human being. And I'm realizing that just as I don't need to take on any blame, I probably can't take full credit either! From what I'm reading, your children are very very fortunate that they got YOU as their mommy! Carol said...


Paige said...

Cali, are you sure you and I aren't long lost sisters???