14 July 2005

free flow

last week, you could find me in a small town in illinois. I packed up the bambinos and spent a week at grandma and grandpa's house (while freedom-boy ward feasted on brown sugar pop-tarts, attended numerous midnight movies, slept peacefully through the night and ran recklessly through the house in his most rancid and ragged boxers, yelling YEEHAW). I could write for days about so many little adventures and have been stuck for several minutes now over the very thought. I want the words to flow effortlessly and form lyrically descriptive sentences that speak of cornfields and peaceful small-town nights, but I am so tired. and what is coming from my mind is this: it was good. it was not always easy, but it was good.

ava spent hours playing with my old barbie dolls (cher with her hair whacked off and the lovely and decaying farrah fawcett). she has been talking about this trip, salivating over these barbies for weeks and weeks. and when it came time to pack up and come back home, she did not want to go. who could blame her? we visited mema's best friend out in the country where we saw the most beautiful horses. infinite cornfields and aging red barns, it all really does exist. and yes, there was fresh air to be taken into the lungs.

the fabulous grandma that my mom is, she had cookies with pink icing and lucky charms cereal on hand. she read many, MANY books, dragged out countless old toys and helped ava to set up the mother of all barbie homes. we had a delightful time catching lightening bugs in the front yard to take with us at bedtime. and she stayed with the munchkins while I visited my favorite local thrift store (best find: little black vintage clutch for a dime. THAT'S TEN PENNIES, PEOPLE). she tirelessly followed ezra up and down the stairs while I grabbed moments of alone time in the cosmetics section of wal-mart. so many little acts of kindness, mom. too many to name. thank you.

ezra drove me a little nuts. actually, he drove me to a place of craziness inside myself that I have not visited in awhile. he was into everything and going full-speed at 73,000 m.p.h ALL THE TIME. the nights were the worst and I have not experienced such sleep deprivation since the first days he was born. I was jarred from sleep several times each night and often found myself standing and holding him at four in the morning. sitting/reclining in any way was not acceptable and often met with high-pitched screams and full-body protests. only when I was standing perfectly still did his little body relax into sleep. this is such a torturous thing to do when you're in that drunken half-asleep state that is usually so delicious. too tired to cry, I felt it necessary to devour as many little cupcakes as possible while watching the magic bullet infomercial in the dark. I've decided that everyone should own a magic bullet. and if you have to ask what the magic bullet is, then you are missing out on a world of goodness.

the ez had his moments, though. they were so ridiculously sweet that all the dark hours I spent in sleepless frustration must be forgiven. on one of our nightly walks in the neighborhood, he learned that if he held the pinwheel up in the air, the wind would make it spin. his little squeals of glee upon this discovery were almost more than I could take. we continued to walk through the quiet, my cheeks wet with tears. everything sounds different in a small town. I can say this because I grew up in a very small southern illinois town. it really is quiet, there really are the sounds of crickets. and people sit out on their front porches.

every moment seemed so full of some sort of something going on, something always happening. I'm having difficulty believing it all went down in the course of seven days. there was a lovely lunch with my best friend, such a rare luxury that I could cry just thinking about it. there was a visit with my great aunt louraine, one of the most fantastic women I have known in my lifetime. there was the momentous occasion of ava placing the stamps on her birthday party invitations and then the big walk across the street to the post office where she dramatically mailed them herself. there was ezra imitating mema and papa's dogs barking, learning to say 'thank you' and feeding himself (and everyone around him) ice cream for the first time. I never got tired of the sight of the old downtown movie theatre marquee lighting up each night. and my dad and ezra-- they were amazing together.

there's so much more. there was a trip to ryan's buffet that needs to be addressed, the discovery of some splendid vintage gift wrap (courtesy of my great aunt lo-lo) and my inability to allow ward to guiltlessly experience a little bit of freedom. oh, there's so much more but I'm feeling the need to stop here and possibly do some sleeping. it was good. it was greatness.



    missed you and your blog a ton!

    your words are flowing well despite you saying you're tired and i got a great sense of your week in the country with the family. it sounded lovely - 'cept the sleeping part - oh - poor you. but i've been there with noah - holding him (dead weight) my arms killing me and if i moved he'd wake and then we'd have to go through the whole process again. (made worse i'm sure by trying not to wake everyone). and i can totally relate that you felt it necessary to devour all those tiny cupcakes - i've done that many times when e is out of town and can put a good dent in a container of frozen vanilla yogurt. and my sister has a magic bullet and swears by it. in fact when she first got it she'd take it every where (almost) - it was hilarious.

    sounds like some lovely times though - cool idea to catch some of those lightening bugs and bring them to bed - i'd dig that! and a nice lunch with a friend - how nice. and your parents sound like wonderful grandparents.

    so glad you're back though and i'm sure ward is too!

  2. hurray! Luxie will not know what to do with herself once I mention Ava has returned!

    Ah, I wonder if we shall ever make that long journey to grandma and grandpa's house again. That drive is so horrendous, but the trip is so worth it.

    And I have to say that as wonderful as the trip sounds to have been, you have me shaking in my boots about my upcoming trip to MY parents home. Which not only includes hours of crying one's self to sleep (Luxie or me, take your pick) but also a three hour time change--yes, she awakens for breakfast at 4am. AAAA!

    But these are the memories that last a lifetime, right? So glad you are home! Cant wait to hear more about it.

  3. Just the thought of little Ezra holding up a pinwheel while you push him in the stroller is priceless. I so wished that I was there with you guys. It definitely was not THAT fun without you all.

    And by the way... who said anything about boxers?

    Tee hee!

  4. hey thanks, glamorous jo!

    jan, I missed you tons, too... I am laughing about your sister and the magic bullet. make no mistake, the allure is that it is so completely PORTABLE. I love that thing. I don't own one yet, but it's in my future.

    lulu, looking forward to hanging out with y'all again... hope you can make the trip up to mom and dad's sometime... I know luxie would have a ball! my thoughts will be with you on your upcoming adventure out west...!

    ward, are you trying to tell me that you were running around my house NEKKID?

  5. i have missed your blogs! you have a way of telling stories that makes me feel like i am right there seeing it all take place. it sounds like a wonderful trip. i have been saving all my barbies (and when i say i mean like 40 including kate from charlie's angels and the bionic woman) so my little girl can play with them someday. how fun. now i want to go visit my grandmama.

  6. thanks, meridith! it's so nice to be missed. I really look forward to your blogs as well...

    I bet your barbie collection rocks! you're smart to have saved them. I'm so glad my mom held onto mine. I had the bionic woman, too! she's missing some parts... too bad it's all the good ones. also in the big barbie suitcase: angie dickinson 'police woman' doll (I never really liked her), skipper (who 'grew' when you pumped her arms) and the lesser-known roller-skating tracey and super-cool darci. can't believe you had kate from charlie's angels! COOL! I had the lunchbox and wish so badly I had hung onto it. anyway, I could go on forever like this.

  7. Oh Andrea, please write more about it! I want to read about the pure smell of the air, that the loudest sounds you hear are the crickets, how vast the sunset is when it's setting over a corn field, and about how the grass and stars are a little more vibrant in Illinois.

    The pull towards home is so strange. I wanted so badly to get out of there (small town Illinois,) but sometimes I have such a longing for it. I have been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Gay Pride in San Francisco, Broadway shows, and the Taj Mahal. But my most thrilling moments have been sitting on Craig's patio at dusk in Central City, Illinois, taking in the stillness, feeling my shoulders relax, waiting for nothing but the occasional child to ride by on a bike, wheeling around all free and safe.

    Andrea, I enjoyed my day at your parents house so, so much. I didn't think it was possible, but I now have a deeper appreciation for you and our blessed friendship. Do you realize how many conversations we didn't finish? Each story led to another before the conclusion of the first. And that's just fine. If only we... Oh well. I will always cherish that day, and lunch at that great little coffee shop. Just the two of us with no place to hurry up and get to. I've decided that Heaven isn't in the stars, it's being with Ava when she makes me stop to count them.

    I hate to think of you being so exhausted, but congratulations to you and Ward. You are doing so much right as parents. I wish that day with you could have gone on forever, I really do. Get some sleep! Love you...

  8. nancila, what a day that was. I could've written so much more about it, about us. I am forever thankful for our time together... it was the highlight of my week.

    and it's funny-- I mean, I couldn't wait to get out either. I grew up knowing that I would eventually move to the city (and stay there), I really am such a city girl. oh, but there are inexplicable wonders to be found in small towns. you are so right- there is a calm, something so comforting about going back.

    girl, you are a WRITER. thanks for your lovely words. they mean so much to me.

  9. There really is something to be said about small mid-western towns. I've lived in one (not the same one but...) my whole life, except the short 18 months that my husband and I lived in the Kansas City metro area. It was that 18 month period of time that made us realize that we had to move back to a small town to raise our kids.

    I love life in this little town of 9,000. Big enough to have many comforts, but small enough that when someone says "You know, down by where the Smith's live," you know exactlly where they are talking about. I love that we can go to the farmer's market and events at central park and see all of our friend and their families because we're all at THE event of the day. And that at times like now, when I'm a bit limited with this ankle thing, that I have people who are so caring and willing to drive me where ever I need to go when ever I need to go there. There really is nothing like small town living.

    I'm so happy for you that you and your kids got to share that time together back "home". Thank goodness for the kindness and love of our parents, and knowing just when to let us act like the kid again and re-live some of that freedom of younger years, before kids, and mortages, and utility bills and... :)

  10. okay okay okay ... i know i'm in the minority here, but let me say this ...
    I totally and completely feel what Ward wrote when he expressed the fact that there was a memory made and he couldn't be there to not only witness it but be a part of it ... to see the smile on his son's face, to hear the squeals of joy and discovery, to laugh at the perfectness of it all ... and to gently wipe the tears from his wife's face ...
    I understand what you said, Ward. I understand what you missed.
    You are blessed with a wife that will tell you in detail of all that transpired. In a little way, you get to be part ... in a little way, you get to experience ... in a little way - you were there.

  11. I hear you, slim. and thanks for the reminder as all too often I forget what an amazing thing it is to be with the munchkins all the time. it may be hard work but it also means that I get to witness a little bit of magic everyday. I am appreciating your words more than you'll ever know.

  12. I recieved a magic bullet for my birthday, but haven't taken out of the box yet. I have a full kitchen. Is it really that good?

    Your mother sounds like a treasure trove who was pleased as bunch to get you to let her have alone time with your lovely off spring.

    As always wonderful descriptions you've been missed.

  13. It was pure heaven to have you and the kids here! What fun! One of these days we will have all of you here! Ava, Lux, Ezra, you, Ward, Kendra, Nate, and the surprise on the way. Thanks so much for coming! God bless you and it was a vacation for us to have you here! Love you...gym