Musings of a Mum: 25.5 Weeks

April 25, 2012 Candace Morris 4 Comments

The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence.  Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.
(How do you like your new official nickname? It is, no doubt, one of millions to come).  It's been a very cerebral week.  I've spent time reading one of your father's heroes, Carl Sagan.  I've also devoured Rilke, started a new work of fiction that is extremely (and delightfully) philosophical.  I chatted with your Uncle Goat wherein we determined a new conclusion for the grand purpose of life.  It's also been a relatively positive week regarding pregnancy and the general state of my mind.  I am thankful for these times, for it is only after the release of pain that the flood of compassion overwhelms my spirit as I ponder those still in suffering.

Many people have a very clear vision for their lives.  From a young age,  their strengths and talents are apparent; they have parents who nurture and encourage this gift.  I was one of these people.  I always wanted to be a teacher.  I pursued this dream with resolute determination for 15 years.  This dream lasted only 3 years, and when I quit, I felt utterly and completely defeated as well as existentially lost.  I had done what I assumed I was "made to do" and although several amazing relationships were born and I learned immense lessons about myself, it was now over.  I had no future.  Now, after recovering, I don't care to return to it, but I do crave that sense of purpose.  Sparked by this conversation with Uncle Goat, I began to wonder if some people just are not born with a strong existential direction.  Perhaps their answer to "what does it all mean" or "what are my biggest dreams" is something more subjective than "I want to be a lawyer" or  "I want to be a professional musician."  What if their answer is "I want to help people" or "I want to be a healthy person."

This notion stuck with me as I began to realize that I too have been searching for a purpose anew.  My answer, for this time and place, simply is that I want to learn, learn, and learn some more.  I want to assimilate as much about peoples, cultures, literature, science, writing, psychology, wine, cooking, technology, mothering, decor, movies, books, travel, fashion, and photography as I possibly can in one lifetime (it can also be helpful to remember that a purpose in life does not necessarily equate to a career in that particular area.  Jobs are different than purposes, unless you are one of the lucky ones). Additionally, I want to learn other's opinions of the above, learn to listen better, learn to be less judgmental, learn to be kinder to myself, and learn to accept the moment.  I've found a new purpose.  I hope to employ this knowledge to counsel you come your existential crisis - to remind you that there are many visions and many paths any human can take.  I don't want to sell you an American dream, "If you can dream it, you can do it" because that's just simply untrue.  But I do want your dreams to be big, full of hope, and to help you find ways to achieve what your life on this beautiful planet has inspired you to pursue.

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.

This week, I want to dive into a vat of mangos, eat 20 cakes,  consume lots of candy, and gorge myself on breakfast sausage (randomly enough).  I have been sleeping well (after some serious and comical arranging of pillows), and still enjoy my nightly bath with Epsom salts to ease the muscle tension in my back and legs.  My yoga instructor recommended several poses for SI joint loosening, and she encouraged me to perform them daily as well as to be sure and move every 45 minutes.  What a difference!  I wake up, have my cereal, stretch for a few minutes, and begin my day.  My body seems to be screaming, THANK YOU!  It feels euphoric to be out of pain, even if it doesn't last long.  We've also been trying to walk more, since the weather is glorious and we live so close to Greenlake.  You are moving SO much throughout the day.  You seem to enjoy post-meal workouts, and I am beginning to adjust to the sensations (which once felt disgusting.  Pregnancy in general is pretty disgusting to me, so it's nice to have graduated beyond that feeling).

This week, I said to Joel , "Oh man, our girl's gonna be so cute."  He looked at me knowingly with a hint of "what have I done" in his eyes and said with resignation,  "I know.  I know."  We are in for it.

It's been "all Bowie all the time" since Saturday.  I hope you know how much he loves you.

Oh you pretty things
don't you know your driving
your mamas and papas insane.
-David Bowie

I saw your eyes in a dream last night.  My goodness they were clear as glass.  Who are you, sweet star?

The Voice


Musings of a Mum: 24.5 Weeks

April 19, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

Baby Star,
It has only this week occurred to me that you are an actual baby.  I have felt you move in baby-like ways, and I have experienced my soul growing another soul - which may be why my soul feels especially depleted these days.  Well, just as I nourish myself for the two of us via food, drink, and movement, so must I double-nourish our collective soul.  It feels good to experience the reality of you for my excitement at this new life change is directly correlated. I am an excellent adjuster, but I am a rather terrible imagine-r.  The anticipation of something hard is almost always worse than the actuality of enduring its reality.  This is in part because we are simply not equipped at the pre-stages with tools to endure the changes.  It is only when immersed in the reality of our situation that the universe grants us what we need to know.  For instance, I doubt your Aunt Kelly would have thought she was strong enough to endure breast cancer, but she was.  And she did.  And now, she knows more about what she can endure than ever before.  Oh how worry steals our ability to just BE.

When I was but a child, I asked my mother how I would ever possibly manage to pay all my bills.  Cute, but indicative indeed of my tendency to worry about the future.  She said the strangest thing back to me, "You don't need that ticket yet."  Her mother  passed down that phrase from a story of Corrie Ten Boom.  Apparently, Corrie begged her mother to hold a train ticket weeks and weeks before their actual trip.  It wasn't until they were standing on the platform of the railway station that her mother handed her the ticket.  She simply didn't need it before that time.  I remind myself of this constantly.  I am sad to lose my current lifestyle, but eager to know how I will perform in the new one.  I want to make future decisions NOW based upon the sad lack of information I have to actually make those choices.  We have to wait for life to give us what we need, for it always does.  We can plan and hope, but borrowing emotions from the future always results in an inability to enjoy life as it exists NOW - in this very moment.   This includes accepting myself as a worrier - embracing and loving it while gently nudging it into its right place.

We are losing Jessica's mother very soon.  This grieves me deeply for many reasons, but as it pertains to you, I am very sad that you will never meet her.  She has been a magnificent example of motherhood to me.  Every time I think of cooking, I think of pouring a cold glass of Chardonnay because of her.  Every time I imagine an adult relationship with you, I imagine Jessica and Denise's relationship.  She is fabulous, trusting, truly interested, wise, talented, serving, and beautiful.  You will know her by legend and the turquoise ring Jessica gave me that I plan to bequeath you (it was Denise's mother's ring), but you may not know her indelible hospitality which immediately puts people at ease.  I could begin now to mourn her passing, but it has not yet come.  I will therefore discipline myself to stay in the moment, remember that each day she is still with us.  I will not mourn what is not yet to be mourned.  There is this moment, my sweet Scout.  Only this moment.

I have a confession to make.  I am usually a wayfarer for self-care and stomping out that ever-present internal voice of self-condemnation, but the physicality of pregnancy has uncovered another wellspring of self-hate I wasn't aware of.  I've never liked that I am physically lethargic and fail to do much about it.  Well, pregnancy has me confronting birth (hello physical toil!), which makes me confront myself as I anticipate and prepare my mind for the marathon.  I know I can and will do it, but I am afraid of panic and losing my peace.  I have discovered that I still really despise myself for giving up so easily, I hate that I feel physically weak and pathetic.  I feel judged and incapable. and keep wishing I were someone else.  This - to me - is the most blasphemous of all vices.  The universe put so much time and history and thought into the making of me, how DARE I request a change.  It is not for me to pine for something impossible, but rather I hope to find a way to love what is already existing.  This is my deep wish for you this week, as your soul gathers energy from mine.  May it be given the most generous portion of self-acceptance, self-love, and self-admiration possible.  For it is within this that you will most deeply be able to love others.  I was prideful that I had self-love figured out.  I am humbled yet again by this life.  How beautiful it is.

Have some fun in there, but please ease up on my low back. 
The Voice


He said, "Let's go to the beach."

April 18, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

Daughter, Feet, Ocean
Golden Gardens in Spring

mari au printemps

I did comply.
I thought of my niece, who begs her mother to take her to the beach.
I bathed in nothingness while my hair blew wispy about my face.
I laid my head in his lap and felt close, so close.
I watched a family of five children carefully for tips.
I waved to a toddler running absentmindedly toward our blanket.
I ate grape after grape.
I heard a woman singing along with a guitar.
I anticipated the yoga class in which  I would later finally find relief for my back.
I stood at the water, admiring the Olympics.
I praised myself for my gorgeously pedicured toes.
I marveled at the differences in humans.
I felt him approach me and gently nudge me home.

All of these things, they are what the living do.
I'm living for two.


Monday's Evening Walk

April 16, 2012 Candace Morris 3 Comments


Sunday Brunch

April 15, 2012 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Sunday Brunch
Decor at Tilth
Dutch Baby with Arugula and Grapefruit + Homemade Bacon
Corned Beef Sandwich with Choucroute

We love to go out to eat, as you probably well know by now.  Since our days of spontaneous, non-children meals are numbered, we are taking full advantage of it.  Sunday mornings are usually spent at our nearby diner, but today we decided to splurge and try something new.  Good Gods of Cuisine.  Tilth delivered and then some.

I ordered the Dutch Baby Pancake with Arugula, Grapefruit Syrup, and Pistachios.  It was so surprisingly good!  Joel had the Corned Beef Sandwich with Mornay, Choucroute, and Duck Egg.  We added a side of their homemade bacon, and I had to stop myself from licking the plate.  

Have a delicious Sunday,


The Heavy

April 13, 2012 Candace Morris 1 Comments

The doctors tell us to prepare for the end, but my being fights it still.  I chide myself heavily for denial.  I berate my desire to swoop in and save her.  I sit uncomfortably in moments of guilt where I forget that anything is wrong.

The only truth I cling to is that there is no correct way to grieve.  There is no manual for death, no perfect thing to say to the family, and no ideal way to endure.  We are as we are.  We survive, we compartmentalize, we create coping mechanisms, we lash out, we drink too much, we don't sleep enough, we find faith, we lose faith.  No analysis, no questions, no higher road to travel.

We just have to be.

As I stare at the kitchen window,
looking at nothing and everything.
Suddenly, I realize how perfect the flowers are.
How fragrant the wind is.
And how all is a gift to help us endure
the unthinkable.

I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone
Rainier Maria Rilke

I am too alone in the world, and not alone enough
to make every minute holy.
I am too tiny in this world, and not tiny enough
just to lie before you like a thing,
shrewd and secretive.
I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will,
as it goes toward action,
and in the silent, sometimes hardly moving times
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know secret things
or else alone.
I want to be a mirror for your whole body,
and I never want to be blind, or to be too old
to hold up your heavy and swaying picture.
I want to unfold.
I don't want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
And I want my grasp of things
true before you. I want to describe myself
like a painting that I looked at
closely for a long time,
like a saying that I finally understood,
like the pitcher I use every day,
like the face of my mother,
like a ship
that took me safely
through the wildest storm of all.


Musings of a Mum: 21-23 Weeks

April 10, 2012 Candace Morris 4 Comments

Baby of the Femme Kind-
Your father jokes about how I have basically morphed into three big bumps.  C'est vrai, c'est vrai.  You are taking over and I keep reminding myself this means you are a healthy little bugger!  You are roughly 11 inches long and just about the size of a large mango.  Yummy.
I've begun the initial diagnostics on the room you will be occupying.  Someday I will show you the diagrams.  I've decided to leave most of my books in that room, since that kindof counts as a theme, right?  Well, it's not a surprise that you will have the most beautiful room in the house - you will just love the morning and afternoon light and that wonderful purple/gray wall.  
We've started our 7 weeks of birthing classes.  I've was quite nervous at first - as I always am at new social situations - but the people are so nice and like-minded.  We are doing these ice-holding practices which are to teach ourselves about pain management.  Your dad has found that interesting.    You know, sweetie - as with anything hard in life, it is so very tempting to ignore fear or block out negative feelings.  Sadly, the avoidant personality will be well-taught to you, it's in your DNA.  Humans do not like unpleasant things, and while I wished I could be one of those "I'm so looking forward to birth" kinds of mothers - the ones who look gorgeous sweating and exude an other-wordly peace at all times - I simply am not.  I dread and fear birth, but one thing I've already discovered through these classes is that we learn much of how we feel about birth through our culture, and this culture depicts birth as this sudden, comical thing that happens to women while the idiotic dad is fainting in the corner.  In realizing that it wasn't my fault that I dreaded it or couldn't visualize it, I uncovered a new little pebble of hope.  That pebble will serve as the beginning of the cairn I plan to build as my defense against the dread of birth.  I refuse to go through life, much less pregnancy and birth, without sifting through every possible richness that experience presents.  
Have you felt this delicious sunshine through my skin?  Seattle has given a true Spring, and the air is fragrant with Daphne and Azaleas.  I find my my mood lifting and hope returning more and more.  I am rather suddenly craving things like blow-pops and starburst.  Chocolate sounds kind of gross, and I cannot GET enough protein.  Pineapple, ice water, and the strange green smoothies your father makes are on my radar - and always cheeseburgers.   My headaches have subsided, to be replaced with the awesome tearing of abdominal muscles.  It has become increasingly frustrating to confront new incapacities.  Last Saturday, I had an ambitious list that resulted in a tear-soaked husband and a nap.   But when we find weakness inside, we learn to rely on others.  Joel was fully capable of assisting me with the household duties, but I hated asking him to give up his days off to do so.   These are the nuances of communication and expectation that change with each stage of life, no less pregnancy and child-rearing.  Dear Pride, let me introduce you to your demise. 
So much love from up above,
The Voice.

Let me leave you with this:

Already my gaze is upon the hill, the sunny one,
at the end of the path which I've only just begun.
So we are grasped, by that which we could not grasp,
at such great distance, so fully manifest—

and it changes us, even when we do not reach it,
into something that, hardly sensing it, we already are;
a sign appears, echoing our own sign...
But what we sense is the falling winds.
A Walk - Rainier Maria Rilke


a toast to the circles

April 01, 2012 Candace Morris 3 Comments

When Joel leaves, even for one night, I get the smallest taste of how different my life could have been.  I realize how incredibly hard it is to fall asleep without him snoring next to me, and while that other life would have certainly been full of its own treasures, I know more and more that a life without Joel - well, I'll have none of it.

I am usually the one travelling away from home, and in that circumstance, I think it's easier to be distracted from how much you miss your lover.  When you are the one left behind, new mysteries of self-independence await.  All at once, you realize how simultaneously capable and incapacitated you are without your partner.   When I hadn't heard from Joel for the entire day, the self-pity began to gnaw at my pregnant heart (for those of you who are interested, pregnancy actually re-situates the heart chakra, exposing your vulnerabilities to everyone you meet.  It's not just the hormones that make pregnant women emotional, but the energy shift).  

"Why isn't he calling me?  Worse yet, this means he's not even thinking of me.  Why doesn't he read my to-do lists?  Why doesn't he bring me flowers, why do I always have to buy them for myself?"

After a few hours of this, I stopped.  Something inside me saved me and I determined to remember Joel's needs above my own.  Considering what I really wanted was for him to refresh his soul, how could I begrudge a day where I am not his first thought; a day where work doesn't consume all of his words; a day where his very best friend - the forest - nurtures him back to himself.  A day where his huge hands don't have to carry all three of us.  

I began to feel a slowly increasing empowerment, for it was in this realization that I found my hands big enough, strong enough to hold us.  And then I remembered that on his walk home from a 11-hour work day Friday, he picked me a small cherry blossom.  Marriage is very rarely about grand gestures; it is more the desire to share beauty in small ways throughout your days.  I don't want him to think of me as something to do, a relationship to upkeep, a woman to romance.  Instead, I want him to romance himself and in so doing, truly make me swoon.  Who knows if he picked that blossom because he was overwhelmed with appreciation for me.  Perhaps he picked it because its beauty struck him, and if beauty reminds him of me - I am romanced to my very core.

Where there is a stone of discontent blocking your path, there is its underbelly of lasting happiness.  You must pick it up to discover its flip side.

I'd like to propose a toast.  Mimosas Up (I wish):
To the odd realizations that your breakfast has many, many circles.  I count 25 in this photo, you?
To knowing who you want.
To the solitary midnight baths where the poetry flows.
To the blessed gift of waking up adjusted to your current life exactly as it is and in full acceptance of how it will change.
To music's way of filling the emptiest of spaces with nostalgia and hope.
To finding a way to live with and learn from depression.
To coming home to zero junk mail and two letters from your best ladies.
To the fruit toppings bar at Portage Bay.
To kissing babies.
To cooking for yourself.
To you, for being so strong.

Sometimes I swear I can see my atomic particles.