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Pickle Me This

June 6, 2009

Clearest, starkest brilliance

“Motherhood is a storm, a seizure: It is like weather. Nights of high wind followed by calm mornings of dense fog or brilliant sunshine that gives way to tropical rain, or blinding snow. Jane Louise and Edie found themselves swept away, cast ashore, washed overboard. It was hard to keep anything straight. The days seemed to congeal like rubber cement, although moments stood out in clearest, starkest brilliance. You might string those together on the charm bracelet of your memory if you could keep your eyes open long enough to remember anything.” –Laurie Colwin, from A Big Storm Knocked It Over

That I’ve read an entire book over the past twelve days means that all is not lost. And indeed, there have been numerous “moments standing out in clearest, starkest brilliance,” though these don’t include the hours we spent in the Sick Kids Emergency when Harriet when just four days old (she was fine, thank goodness, but that experience was like staring straight into hell), her much too-much weight loss that has had both of us struggling to make up for it ever since, that I may have cried as much as she has, and the overwhelming dread at the thought of her Daddy returning to work on Monday. But we’ve enjoyed taking her out for her first walks in her carrier, trying to figure out what she likes (not much, but we suspect being in her carrier is a comfort), getting massages from Daddy, midwife visits where she’s gained an ounce every day, the sun shining through the windows, all the support we’ve had from family, friends and our most excellent neighbours, and that she’s received so good wishes from all over the world. Harriet has also received post every day, though she’s not yet old enough to realize how exciting that is. We’ve also been fortunate that I’ve come through my surgery so well and easily. My crush on the surgeon went into high gear in the days after her birth (which, in spite of the operating room, was as gorgeous as any birth could be, and I don’t feel I’ve missed anything) because he looked like Paul Simon circa 1970s, and because of what a good job he’d done, and what a beautiful baby he’d delivered (though about three nights ago at three o’clock in the morn, I was sorely tempted to go firebomb his house). It’s been a very difficult time for all of us this past while– I’ve never been much inclined to work hard at things I’m not loving, and this isn’t a job I can pass along to anybody else. Though I’m finding, ever-increasingly, those moments standing out in clearest, starkest brilliance when I don’t want to.

5 thoughts on “Clearest, starkest brilliance”

  1. Suko says:

    What a charming blog you have! I'd like to add you to my blogroll.

  2. Steph says:

    I hear you, Kerry. Hang in there. It gets better and easier. And there always, always those moments to cling to.

  3. starrlife says:

    It is a wild ride those first years! Some make it look so easy but, for me, I was never really a baby person so I was afraid of myself. I had no idea how the love would turn me inside out! I think you and Laurie Colwin have it down.

  4. metro mama says:

    It is incredibly hard. Writing and talking about it helps. It gets easier.

    I'm so impressed you've read a book already!

    I'm starting mat leave in a few weeks. I'd love to get together one day to chat books.

  5. Rona Maynard says:

    It might be hard to believe this in the fog of sleep deprivation, but Harriet will get out diapers some day. She will sleep so late that you wonder what she was up to last night. She will have lots of things to do with her voice besides cry–in fact, she will argue like a trial lawyer on a tear, thanks in no small measure to you and your love of words.

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