dear bowie :: 13 months ::

July 30, 2013 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Dear Bowie:
I wonder if you will have a baby someday.  Oh, how I will want to rescue you from any pain such as pregnancies complications or labor or the general pain of being a human.  Pain is good, it teaches us (if we have the courage and have developed the ears to listen) to discover, to seek out what we could learn of ourselves through it.

When I professed Christianity, I believed that all trials and tribulations are given to us by God to purify us, to make us holy, to teach us.  He would keep teaching us and teaching us through these trials until we finally turned from vice and relinquished our sinful will to His perfect plan. I suppose the philosophy is somewhat similar to what I have described above, except for a key difference for me.  Pain has no origin, it simply a byproduct of biology.  It doesn't mean anything other than the meaning we ascribe to it.   It is necessary to bring forth life, both literally and figuratively.  Just like the birth of our solar system came from the explosion of a star (don't quote me on that fact, ask your Father). Additionally, I don't believe pain in itself has a purpose.  It just is. But we can infuse it with meaning if we allow ourselves to see the benefit, the life, the new growth, coming forth from tedious and unbearably painful labor.

Sometimes, a lot recently, I look into the depths of your face and feel so terrified and so sad.  I'm sad because suddenly you are changed from my baby, most likely my only baby, and I feel that I somehow missed this last year even though I was there.  I was lost in pain and fatigue and adjustments.  The only way I feel a grasp on the year is through, well...ART...of course.  Photography and writing.  I need these desperately as handles to hold the fleeting moments.   I'm scared because each day of your life, you separate from me and discover your own life - which I am here only to facilitate. Suddenly you are a teenager and hating authority.  Then you are driving away to your first year at college.  Then you move out permanently, then you travel, marry (or not).  Then you stop talking to me.  I'm scared because I remember before I knew my own mother was a person and was mean or rude or hurtful to her. I think about the time after discovering she was a person and all the analysis, criticism...remembering all too easily and flippantly her mistakes.  I will very shortly be treated to this same mother/daughter scrutinization, and I am scared of what you'll find that you simply don't like. I don't want to be under your microscope, but I don't think I can avoid it.  It's all fatalistic, I suppose...but fears always are.   And to be fair to me, I am a young mother.  Perhaps I will maturate in these views, but for now...I feel my heart quicken with fear.

For now, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction when you look to me for comfort from a nasty fall or cling to my knees for food I prepare you.  I search your eyes for preference or attachment and come up short, which means (of course) that I "did it" wrong since you seem to prefer me less and less. But what do I truly want for you?  To want and need me? Is that the goal?  No.  Is it to want and need only yourself? Not exactly.

My supreme desire is that you will know the safety net of me under your trapeze-act of life.  Knowing it as you "know" how to breath, eat, and pump blood throughout your body.  I want you to proceed with life in deep security.  My being there to catch you requires nothing of you, including your preference or approval.  A gorgeous, epic goal, no?

But I fear for me.  I will say it.  I'm selfish with my heart.  I like to protect it, and your existence threatens to break it daily.  I worry for my heart.  What if you never acknowledge my tremendous sacrifices, will my heart break?  I fear I cannot bear up under the thanklessness of motherhood.  I proceed with these years with a selfish hope that one day all I've done for you will hit you hard and you will call me and weep with gratitude.   Or perhaps more that the gratitude buoys your heart enough to pour into your own relationships...that you, unlike me, will arrive to others in abundance (not in a self-defeating deficit) of a love that knows, a love that is enough, a love that changes the very nature, meaning, and purpose of pain.

                                                             Always your


a [birthday] weekend to remember

July 22, 2013 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Saturday: July 20, 2013:
~Cool in the morning, Hot in the late afternoon, Nearly perfect by evening.~

09:35am:    Quad americano and cherry danish at Fremont Coffee, in perfect solitude
10:13am:    Wandering the aisles of Fred Meyer, looking for camping gear, in perfect solitude
11:00am:    Eye exam and new contacts, in perfect solitude
12:15am:    Spa treatments, in perfect solitude
01:20pm:    Shopping at University Village with Bowie and Joel. New brassiere, new edition of "Jane Eyre" to add to my collection - my gift to me.
02:00pm:    Jess and Kelly over to cook a few meals (ended up just being cheesecake, not to my disappointment) for Jess's upcoming maternity leave (she's being induced as I type this!).
03:00pm:   Nap, in glorious solitude. After two glasses of Vino Verde
05:47pm:   Niki comes over to watch Bowie
07:12pm:   Joel and I leave for my birthday dinner at Spinasse (in our new-to-us VW Passat!)
07:43pm:   Sipping Campari at the bar, waiting for a table, dishing on the style choices around me
08:00pm:   The Clark's decide to spontaneously join us!
08:29pm:   Sat outside at a table for four, ordering the pasta tasting menu and pouring over the Piedmont region's (our favorite!) wines. Joel chose a Barolo, the table bought a bottle of Barbara.
09:49pm:   Impassioned conversation wherein I became overly emboldened by said Barbara.
12:06am:   We walk to our cars, full of pasta and wine and ease.
12:30am:   Cheesecake and tea
01:07am:   Blissful slumber

Sunday: July 21, 2013:
~Cloudy until noon, a perfect 72 degrees from then on~

08:00am:  Cuddle with Bowie in bed, pretend to sleep while she wiggles around
09:30am:  Waffles and coffee
10:12am:  Inordinately long shower, nursing a painful post-wine headache
10:45am:  Sit on couch, leafing through August's VOGUE while Joel researches car stereos
12:00am:  Head to Mom and Dad's, stop for a hot dog along the way
01:20pm:  Arrive at Mom and Dad's
03:37pm:  Lounge outside in the sun, reading, dozing
04:00pm:  Bloody Mary and phone call with little sis
05:45pm:  Bday dinner in the Orchard
08:00pm:  Ice cream pie and presents from family
09:24pm:  Leave for home
10:20pm:  BED.

Oh, and then THIS light.

Glory Be. Happy 35th Bday to me,


Bowie's first [real] summer

July 16, 2013 Candace Morris 0 Comments

I know I am supposed to keep it a secret, but Seattle has been UNGODLYGORGEOUS this fine season.  The sun persists so we almost get used to it, almost even plan on it - that is - until we decide to host a BBQ.  Never plan on Seattle sun.  However, we've had stretches and stretches of hot weather and it makes entertaining an easily-bored 1-year old much easier since we can sit outside in the swing or take a walk to the coffee shop or picnic in our backyard.

I was thinking about the ocean recently.  I was thinking about how sad it was that I hadn't seen it in too long.  Then, like a thunderbolt to the heart, I realized with horror that +Bowie Morris had yet to see any form of salt water.  Since she and I are both Cancer's, this means we are water signs.  This means we need water.  (It doesn't mean that at all, but I like to use a hodgepodge of metaphysical beliefs to compile how I feel on any given day. Don't judge.  People - we all - have done it for millions of years.)

Bowie wakes from her afternoon nap with a 4-hour stretch until bedtime.  I tend to begin a slow and steady leak of sanity in those 4 hours.  Joel usually comes home after the 2-hour mark, but by then I have exhausted my creativity in keeping Bowie entertained and happy.  We sit on the swing and wait for his bus to drop him off, usually.  But lately, I've been so near my wits end (and HOT! In Seattle, unlike Cali where I grew up, 5pm-7pm is the hottest part of the day, not 12pm-2pm) that we have been loading up and going to pick him up.

Yesterday, after just such a pick up, we decided to stop by Trader Joe's and grab a few food/wine items for a picnic at the beach.  It was a glorious day out there, the very place my little SIL was married 5 short years ago, Golden Gardens.

Between the beach, her obsession with raspberries (she will pick them right off the bush and pop them in her mouth, ripe or not), and feeding the chickens and Gma and Gpa's, I'd say this girl has it made.

 Sometimes, I even envy her.  
Then I remember that she can't drink wine.


i think i'm all better

July 11, 2013 Candace Morris 0 Comments

For years, and years, and years, I have been depressed. You can imagine my surprise when twice in one year, I heard from my caregivers (yoga teacher and therapist) that "My energy has changed."

Since I think "energy" is kinda bullshit...
(actually, I don't at all, but I am embracing this skeptical phase of my life wherein science and empirical evidence could more readily explain spiritual phenomenon, which of course it can't.  you can see my bifurcated dilemma) I had to ask them more pressing questions.

"I seem happier?"
"Should I stop coming to therapy?"
"Should I discontinue use of my antidepressants?"

So I suppose I am happier.  But am I cured?

I just know what helps when I feel the miserably futility of this life on this planet. Gorgeous and absurd, though it is. We are born, we love, we learn, we drink and eat, we work, we play, we read, we have sex, we make children, we make art, we eat and drink some more, we die.  Then our children love, learn, drink, eat, play, read, sex, art, procreate and die.  Then their children...

It's stupid!
But it's glorious in between.
I live for that in between and have staved off the cold scientific reality of our fate (which I am still working on finding comfort in, as my husband does) with a few tools.  I thought perhaps I'd share them with you, should you be looking for a way to remove some TODO from your life and add some TOBE.

TOBE Activity List for the Warding Off of the Sisyphus Complex:

1. Read.  A lot.  Don't buy books.  Max out your library card with book after book which will then give you a time limit for actually finishing these books. Take notes on these books.  Post reviews on these books.  Keep track of and share what you learn. Learn something totally new.  If you have personal gaps in your education, fill them yourself instead of assuming paying a University Ks of dollars is the only way to be an expert on something.  

2. Demand solitude.  A lot.  Do not say to your friends who are good at being alone "You are so much better than I am about finding time alone."  Do not martyr yourself for your children or for your work or for your friends or for your obligations.  Just get a babysitter and go to a coffee shop and read.  Just decide to go to lunch by yourself and write a letter to your mother or old friend. Just be okay with leaving your husband with the kiddos (or pups or house-ish responsibilities) and truly leave them...then take your solitudinous self out to stare at bugs on a lake or take a class you've always wanted to take but have instead martyred your desires to your children, work, friends, or obligations. Do not fill your rare moments of solitude with junk TV or dead routine.

3. Therapy. Antidepressants. Wine. Friends. Love.

4. Stop multitasking. If you go on hike and find the most precious bird carcass, don't update facebook until you get home. Be in the moment. There is some disagreement surrounding photography and if it removes you from or immerses you more in the moment. It immerses me, but I do have a tendency to be impulsive about sharing it right away.  I've tried therefore to take the photos, but share later.

5. Stop deciding that the most important thing in your life is to help someone ELSE be great.  If you raise your children in that example, they will only ever do the same.  Teach them instead that a woman cannot possibly do it all on her own, but with help and a strong village, a woman can stay smart, stay stylish, stay learn-ed, stay active, stay passionate, stay independent, AND be a kickassmother.  

Just be great.
Those tots (or friends or work or obligations) will keep up.
Trust them to allow you your own greatness.

I've been reading a lot.  My life has built-in time to do so, but that doesn't mean it's easy.  I could just as readily spend my reading time doing a myriad of other things that need doing, but SUMMER IS FOR READING.  There is a whole world of creative non-fiction I didn't even know existed.  Shame on me for being so closed minded for so many years.  Don'tassumethismeansI'llreadeffingharryporker.

I am happy, but I think I'll always be more comfy in shadows. That's okay.  Black is my signature color.

p.s. If all else fails, kiss a baby's cheeks.


Musings of a Mum: 1 year old

July 06, 2013 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Dear Bowie Andromeda,
Last week, we celebrated the anniversary of your birth.  We aren't really thematic sorts of people (excepting one year I had a 20s Lawn Party, can't wait to tell you about it!), so we kept it simple by inviting friends and family to come eat Gma's and Aunt Niki's homemade pies.  We had some lovely cheeses and crudités topped with a refreshing chilled lemonade, wine, and beer. You did remarkably well for being both sick and off your normal nap schedule.

Last week also marked only the second time you have been sick in your little life.  I fear I don't really expose you to many places where you would share toys with other children.  You were so pathetic, and it broke our hearts.  A cold turned into a cough turned into a fever, and we grew worried.  Despite our assurances that you were fine, we took you to see the doctor anyway and she assured us further.  All we could do was try to make you comfortable.

Even in your misery, you are a tolerant, patient soul.  You were content to sit quietly in my lap and still slept remarkably well for being so congested.  I am impressed with you.

One year, one year.  I feel the pressure to tell you something profound, but really I just want to spend time contemplating and writing to your little soul.  How marvelous it must be to see the world through those clear blue eyes!

You see Gma and Gpa's expressions of sheer delight looking back at you.
You see Daddy's bounding step as he comes up the walkway at the end of his workday.
You see my arms as the ultimate place to be, and I welcome you, for this will last all too shortly.
You see the kitty nuzzling up to your little body, eager for your not-so-gentle strokes.
You see good, healthy food put before you each meal.
You see fascinating and stimulating toys, new and old, provided entirely for your enjoyment and education.
You see your living quarters, full of books and clothing, blankets and diapers, rocking chairs and photographs...all for you, my Bowie.
You see your pup Sancho as he licks your tasty face - with you both shocked and delighted.
You see your other pup Freyja as she protects you from afar, giving you space.
You see your other pup Abbey as she lays beside you languidly, happy to be pulled and tugged and fed from your highchair.
You see Red and Moonie in their colorful way, making deep eye-contact and adoring you.
You see Umber and BC always giving you bits of their food, always ready to let you crawl on them, always ready for your happy face.
You see Aunt Niki rushing over after work to get even a small glimpse of you, to see you grow and marvel at your beauty.

A child's life, provided it should be good and giving, is so seemingly easy.  All is catered to you, all is yours.  However, since we were all children once, I do believe we know it is anything but easy.  It isn't easy to be confronted with bodily pains as you grow or physical limitations incohesive to brain activity.  It is in no way easy to be unable to express your wants outside of grunting, screaming, and garbled speech. It is not easy to understand the items that can or cannot be touched in any given house.

So for you, growing child of mine, I seek to know my limitless compassion.  I have also the understanding that your life is very good and will catch you when your frustration teeters you off the tightrope of development.

May your gaze be ever inward.
May your fascination, ever upward.
Your pursuit of both, indefatigable.
For our souls are the cosmos
And our cosmos are the souls.

Your Progress Report:

You are now an expert crawler, though I don't see you crawling much longer.  You love to stand and can even hold your own balance for 3-4 seconds, provided you don't realize you are standing unassisted.  I anticipate you walking sooner than later.  You don't particularly enjoy the feeling of grass on your knees, and yet you LOVE to be outdoors.  You therefore enjoy your version of a crab walk.

When you play inside, you actually like to just lay down and roll around, get up, stand up, lay down, roll around.  All in all, you are very chill.  You still enjoy taking any toy or item given you and raising it up over your head, behind your neck, and down behind your back.  It's comical.  Why do you do this?!

You now wave bye-bye.

You now say 'uh-oh' which I taught you one morning almost exactly as I taught cousin Clara.  For a few weeks, you said it all the time.  Now you seem to understand (all too well) it's meaning as you throw your cup down and look at me for confirmation of your word choice. "Yes, uh-oh indeed."

You also say 'ma-ma,' but feel it to be as yet indiscriminate. We are still working on baby signs so that you can express something other than ultimate frustration when you are done eating, when you want up, want down, or any other want in between.  You seem to be in a stage where you don't know what you want; you  cry when we hold you and cry when we put you down.  I can relate, child.  Don't worry.  You don't have to know what you want.

Quite remarkable to me is your new habit of playing with your ear and sucking your thumb.  You've sucked your thumb for 9 months, but the playing with the cartilage at the top of your left ear is entirely new.  This is crazy because that is exactly what I used to do!  Despite outgrowing thumbsucking (at age 10, much to my mother's chagrin),  I still play with my ear. How can this be genetic?!

You have this toothy grin that kills me.  You love to play independently, clap, and listen to singing.  If any music whatsoever is heard, you will move accordingly.  Dancer, perhaps?

You love cheese, I mean LOVE cheese.  You will eat anything, but if there is cheese on your plate, it's guaranteed to be the first item finished.  You also love watermelon and cheerios.  Oddly enough, you scarfed down ground taco meat, seasoned and everything.  You also love chicken curry. You had your first taste of Gma's pie, I do rather think you liked it despite your complete and utter meltdown at the birthday party.

[image courtesy of umberdove]
This month you got to meet your friend Allison and her lovely boy and husband.  You and Orion shared rather well, thank goodness...since you are nigh on betrothed.

Gma Mary also came to visit for your bday party.  Both Grandmas in one place! You loved hanging out with her, and Mum loved the help with a sick little lady!

We are all still getting to know each other in our new roles and new little person crawling loudly in the hall, and it's a happy place to be, this home of ours.