I have a few thoughts about the nature of daylogs, and I'd like to share them. I know noding about noding is pretty tired as a concept
, but please bear with me for a moment or two. Thanks in advance.
I've caught myself thinking about the daylog section of E2 as a "ghetto", but it's dawned on me that I'm in the company of regulars like glindsey and borgo. All I can say is that if the daylogs are a ghetto, I have some of the finest neighbors I could ever imagine.
I think that Raising the Bar at E2 has, on the whole, been a burr under the saddles of most noders, and I mean that in a good sense. It's spurred a lot of folks to contribute writeups that will be solid and lasting, particularly some of the factuals that blend well-researched topics with personal anecdotes and experiences.
The only drawback I've seen to Raising the Bar is that some subjective stories that are compelling enough to have a rightful place in the larger nodegel have been relegated to the daylog section of the site.
Then again, I think of writers like iceowl and riverrun who have managed to lift personal experiences from their own lives and make them worthy of the front page. I'm inspired by their talent and discipline, because it allows anecdotes and subjective tales - which are what drew me to E2 in the first place - a home in the greater part of E2. Iceowl, riverrun, radlab0, icicle, prole, and so many, many others are people to emulate when writing about the tiny, priceless jewels that string together to make up our lives.
But for most of us, daylogs are and probably always will be a repository for Our Stories. As much as I appreciate blogs and live journals, daylogs are infinitely precious to me. They are home to many of the people I am most fond of, and they are a place where opinion and personal anecdotes can roam free.
It's my hope that dayloggers will feel less marginalized in the coming months and years in the life of E2, because their contributions make up the heartbeat and blood of this site. They are reminders of our shared humanity, community, and experiences.
Sometimes it's a little bit frustrating to write a daylog that details a very momentous event and be forced to place it under a string of dates and numbers, but in a way I am glad for that restriction. It allows for the people who read and love daylogs to act as pearl divers, to daily submerge themselves in the honest and naked emotions that reside in this little niche.
Sometimes I also wish that daylogs didn't require their writers to post them as hidden writeups. When I give it a little more thought, though, I realize that the hiddenness adds to the overall feel that daylogs require a treasure hunt, a game of hide and seek for grownups.
You may now return to your regularly scheduled daylog.
Last night my mom and I drove up to my sister's house. Elizabeth's home is situated on a piece of property that overlooks the Snake River and the property on its bank where my parents make their own home.
The house is on a hill just tall enough to take in the entire Treasure Valley. On clear nights you can see the lights of Boise over sixtry miles away. The view from her back deck is something amazing. The river looks like a blueprint of a quiet corner of Eden, and the sere beauty of the hills that surround the house makes you feel as though you're in the middle of true wilderness. Come to think of it, you sort of are.
Her husband George had the house designed with a healthy portion of enormous picture windows, all of which open the house to truly breathtaking views. (One of the prettiest vistas is most accessible if you're sitting on the toilet off the master bedroom. If you leave the door open you can see the entire hillside and the sparkle of the Snake River far below. One of Elizabeth's friends calls it The Crapper With A View.)
Sometimes my sister wakes up to a perfectly framed picture of a herd of deer serenely munching her lawn, a family of skunks trundling across the gravel drive, or an enormous covey of quail and their chicks scurrying along the dirt road that leads to their doorstep. A few times the neighbors' cows have made bids for freedom and wound up distracted by the temptingly lush grass that surrounds Bit and George's house.
It's the kind of grass your feet sink into gratefully, a lawn that's perfectly tailored to the pudgy toes of children.
It took George a long time between building his house and landscaping the immense yard. The first two yeears they lived there, Elizabeth's constant request was for grass, for flower beds, for green, and the piles of dirt mounded outside of her kitchen door bothered her no end. George finally got around to it during the months that Elizabeth was pregnant with her triplets. They were anticipating three sets of little pink, fat feet, and George wanted them to have a lawn to play on.
When Elizabeth lost her babies, George made sure to keep the lawn and flowers growing. The landscaping was a silent promise to Elizabeth (and probably himself) that he would not let death climb in the picture windows, that their home would always be surrounded by growing things, things that both promise and deliver life.
Elizabeth is pregnant again. She wasn't supposed to be able to do that, was told by doctor after doctor that the only way she'd ever be able to conceive was through test tubes, glass dishes, sterile labs.
It's been two years since three of the five embryos the doctors placed in her womb took root, grew, and slipped out of my baby sister and away from us all. Those doctors should never have tried five at a time, should never have forced my sister to deal with the unthinkable choice of "culling" a multiple pregnancy. She was given the option of a selective abortion as soon as their three heartbeats, faint and strong as the beat of hummingbird wings, were detected by ultrasound.
She couldn't do it. She'd waited so long for those babies, loved them instantly. She couldn't choose to let go of just one, not while they all slept their dreamless sleep inside of her.
We found out later that in most fertility clinics triplets are considered a failure. Implanted embryos, however many are introduced, grow at a normal rate, unlike natural multiples. Natural sets of twins and triplets are smaller, more manageable, less of a strain on the body of the mother.
Sometimes I wish that the doctors would have been firmer about the necessity of selective abortion, told Elizabeth the risks, allowed her a better chance to let go of one to save the others. That might have saved her the crushing anguish of delivering those three babies - all alive, just a few weeks too small, too fragile to breathe on their own for more than a few precious minutes.
Elizabeth says that her choice would have been the same, though, and I believe her. She's a risk-taker at heart, and she loved all three of her babies on sight.
So Mom and I have a nightly ritual of visiting Elizabeth and her baby up on the hill. We take a short evening walk with the four dogs - an obese and haughty chihuahua, a genial if hard-of-hearing black pug, and two miniature dachsunds.
The dachsunds, Rascal and Daisy, are sisters, littermates. They're getting on in age, but on walks they are fearless, indomitable. Rascal in particular is a Chaser of Beasties More Wee Than Herself. She defends us all from the menace of rockchucks, cottontails and badgers, occasionally (and disastrously) spooking the odd skunk. She's been known to tear after startled deer. We always wonder what she's do if she managed to catch a doe.
We walk and we compare our days, share our thoughts, try to solve the solveable problems and vent about the unsolveable ones. The sunsets here are spectacular, so sometimes we walk in silence. Sometimes silence is all you can manage in the wildly colored wake of the sun.
We walk a leisurely half-mile, up the gentle grade that takes us higher than the homestead. The river is smaller from up there, and at that time of day it is usually draped with pink and orange streamers of reflected sunset.
Always we come home to the back deck. We sit quietly and allow the evening to arrange itself around us like the soft folds of a velvet cape. Lately a mama cat has made her home beneath the front deck, and each evening she anxiously and watchfully leads her three tottering puffballs out onto the lawn. We keep an eye out for hawks and wandering dogs. We sit near her and are very still so that the kittens wobble their way over to us, curious and new and downy. We know Mama-cat is nervous - she chirrups and mews over her brood - but she allows us to touch her babies anyway, to hold them in the palms of our hands. I think she understands that we mean them no harm.
We name the kittens. The creamsicle-orange one we dub Hector. The white one with the siamese points is Fluffernutter. The light-colored calico, dappled with greys and soft browns, we name Khaki. We sit on the grass and marvel at how tiny and perfect they are.
Foxes are active tonight, and when we settle back into our seats on the deck we listen to their eerie yips and tinny howls. Their cries sound far more human, more like the voices of children, than the mournful howls of coyotes. Elizabeth says the mother foxes are calling their wandering kits to come home. Their language is chilling and urgent, high and wild: Back to the den; come, my little ones; it is warm and safe here at home.
We watch the stars until the Milky Way surprises up yet again with its outrageous and immodest beauty, and then there are millions too many to count, and we are glad for it, for the bright familiarity of the constellations.
We wish on shooting stars, and our wish is always the same: Please let this baby live. Please let Lucy make it home.
When we refer to the baby, it is always by her name: Lucy Grace. She is solider that way, more real. Lucy for my mother; grace for what Elizabeth was given to conceive. This is a child of grace, a gift, and we are holding our breath for her arrival.
God, breathes Elizabeth, and it's half prayer and half exclamation. If only Lucy bakes just a little longer.
Halloween, my mother replies by way of answer. If she makes it to Halloween, she'll be okay.
All of us notice a falling star simultaneously; all of us make our silent collective wish.
Halloween is our incantation, our touchstone. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, but these days it's informed by so much more than the promise of candy and mischief.
Elizabeth is exactly at six months now, and if she did have a premature delivery, Halloween would be the most ideal date for an unwanted occurence. Technically Lucy will be viable in less than a month, but we all hope for a full nine.
I hate that word, Elizabeth sometimes says, "Viable". In the hospital they kept telling me that the triplets would have been "viable" if I'd held on to them for another two weeks.
Sometimes when she talks about those first three babies I can hear the self-blame in her voice: she feels that she should have "held on to" those babies just a little longer, that somehow it's her fault. It isn't rational, but how much guilt really is?
I always remind her that there was nothing she could have done, nothing that would have prevented those babies from coming too soon, and she sometimes looks at me as though she understands that. Most of the time she doesn't look at me at all.
These days there's an optimistic feel tempered with dabs of anxiety. Because I live with my mother I know how much she fears another miscarriage, but she does her best to be strong for Elizabeth. Some nights more than others Elizabeth needs us to reassure her, needs to hear the litany of "it'll be all rights" and "don't worry yourselfs". It's most important that these confident half-promises come from my mother, I think because Elizabeth knows that she herself was once safe inside of Mom and that Mom understands all the leaping joys and crushing doubts that attend pregnancy.
I am not having children of my own. I decided this a long time ago, and I've been surprised at how personally I've been taking Elizabeth's pregnancy. I dream about babies a lot, dreams that are both profoundly unsettling and oddly familiar, strange and comforting.
In my dreams they are always my own babies, always infants, and always able to talk. Sometimes they babble, these dream-babies, managing only a few words through the organic static of baby-talk. Other times they speak full sentences, adult thoughts conveyed in clear and high baby voices. Often they tell me what I want to hear, what I need to hear: Lucy will be okay. She will make her way to Elizabeth's hungry arms. She will survive.
Elizabeth loves to pull up her t-shirt and feel the breeze on her ripening belly. It seems she's getting bigger every day. She's one of those women that likes being pregnant; she never really had morning sickness and she enjoys the alien yet familiar feeling of Lucy rolling and kicking inside of her.
I laugh at the comical sight of her round, white belly gleaming in the moonlight, and Elizabeth pretends to shoot me the stink eye. I ask if Lucy's moving around tonight, and she is; I cross the deck and tentatively place my hand on the lowest part of my sister's belly and am thrilled when I feel a barely discernable yet insistent kick. It gives me a tight anticipatory feeling inside my chest.
I imagine Lucy Grace whole and laughing and solid, tripping across the summer lawn, her toes curling around the blades of grass, her feet tickled by the green carpet. I imagine her picking a bouquet of flowers to bring to her mama. I silently will her to grow, to be healthy, to come into our lives and stay. I silently remind her that she is welcome here.
I count and hoard these moments, the seconds where Lucy makes herself known, tells me herself what I most need to believe.
Yes, I'm in here; yes, I live. Yes, I am coming soon.