Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Morbidly Speaking

Tomorrow we visit out attorneys to have our wills drawn up. (What does this mean anyway, drawn up?) We have selected guardians for the girls and picked executors and decided where our ashes will be spread someday. That was depressing.

The attorneys said that we shouldn’t make wills very personal. It should all be straightforward. Money and assets. This makes me sad because I kind of envisioned wills like yearbook bequeathals. Something like this: “And to Jenni in Jersey I leave my Pyrex collection and a stick of butter to grease herself out of the booth. Ten Jen Ten. I’m turning into the letter C! Never forget BBQ 2007! Twinz Rule!” In other words, an arcane and annoying-to-read private joke filled with references only understand by two.

And I also envisioned the reading of my will. A bunch of people sitting in the attorney’s office. They all listen patiently and quietly, dabbing the corners of their eyes with cloth handkerchiefs, blinking back tears by looking to the sky, while the executor of my will reads out who gets my pictures and my dishes and my books etc. Inevitably, someone will raise a fist to the air in a Why-God-Why? moment and let out a wail.

Apparently this only happens in movies, though I like my version better.

We may not be getting personal in the will but we did get all technical about our ashes, creating quite a little journey for the girls some day! Ugh, morbid again.

Back to the present: One of the pluses of staying at home with children is having the ability to catch each and every milestone. Ostensibly I will be here when the babies take their first tentative steps, when they utter their first slurry two-letter words and when they discover they can fling applesauce across the room. So what happens today? Nicole comes home from work, changes her clothes and then settles on the floor next to Maddie, who is having the time of her life on her play mat. Maddie sees Nicole, smiles and three seconds later, Maddie rolls over. It was as if she was saying “Ta Da! Look what I can do, Mommy! And I saved it just for you!” This is also the child whose first smile was at the ceiling fan. Is this a sign of things to come?

I realize my role as parent is to impart wisdom/teach lessons to the girls. But they are already teaching me a thing or two. I have to say I am really learning to live more in the moment, because you never know when your next moment is going to come when there are two babies running around (in a sense). This is hard for me though. I am such a pleasure delayer and always have been. For example, why eat a bag of Gummi Bears when you can wait to eat said Gummi Bears and look forward to eating said Gummi Bears for a long time? I am also a pleasure combiner. Why just eat Gummi Bears? Why not eat Gummi Bears while watching an episode of 24 and flipping through a magazine? I like to put off things that I look forward to AND combine them with other pleasurable things. If you know this about me you will really understand what makes me tick.

But now, there is no way to plan for pleasure. I feel like it is my right to eat one ice cream bar a night. And I do, one a night since the girls were born. I look forward to it and enjoy it the most after the girls are in bed and I am sitting on the couch in my pajamas and glasses watching some ridiculous show. But most nights this is not possible. Now I eat that ice cream whenever I can. Without the TV on. And not sitting on the couch. This may seem petty but it is huge for me. Letting go of plans, relinquishing power and letting the chips fall where they may. It’s a whole new me.

It’s the same thing with reading. I used to have to have everything just so to enjoy reading a book. Now I read a page here and a page there. I’ll hold a book in one hand and read two pages while rocking the stroller with the other hand. I read while blow drying my hair. While the girls nap on my shoulder. Whenever and wherever I can. Last night in the wee small hours of the morning I finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. What a great book. I thought it was weird that I read the part of the book that takes place on 9/11 on 9/11. Another morbid thought.

Anyone have any good book recommendations? I already read Water for Elephants, Memory Keeper's Daughter and Glass Castle, which seem to be the books making the rounds on book lists these days. On my night stand I have Away (Bloom), Still Summer (Mitchard) and The Tenderness of Wolves (Penney). On my to-buy list is Stephen Pinker’s new book on how language is a window into human nature. What else should I read? You know, in ALL my free time? (I like to have stacks ready to read). Middlesex? Is that any good? The Road, by Cormac McCarthy?

Pictured above is Maddie, showing Nicole privately what she can do. Pictured below that are Maddie and Avery. Notice Maddie is already torturing her sister by putting her finger in her ear.


calliope said...

hurrahs to Maddie for her new trick! maybe she just waited for N to come home so that she could have a bigger audience.

I love the idea of a will being so chock full of inside jokes. If I ever draw up one I will have to include a knock knock joke at the very least.

Audra said...

go maddie!

Motel Manager said...

I read The Road while pregnant - very good, very dark, though not as bleak as other McCarthy.

Recently I read Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. Loved it! If you've ever worked in an office environment, you'll love the way he's captured it. I read it in pieces during my son's short-nap phase, so you could definitely read it while blow-drying your hair, etc.

I am also a pleasure-combiner - eating Gummi Bears while watching 24 and reading Us would be a banner evening for me.

francesca said...

I loved Interpreter of Maladies - it's a collection of short stories, all loosely interwoven and about family, moving, borders, language, love, distance and connection. But definitely read Middlesex - I like the way it complicates the idea of strict reproduction of family - complicating the linear narrative as it complicates linear gender, sexuality, desire, truth - as it opens possibility for understanding in our present, it shows that we have to re-tell and re-understand our past. Definitely a great read.

nailgirl said...

BACK ROADS BY TAWNI O"DELL,The deep end of the ocean by mitchard,anything and everything by james patterson or Janet Evanovich. I also like rachel wells and Lee child. Yay too maddie!

K J and the kids said...

I'm so sorry you weren't able to hook up with us in NY. I do understand why you want to move out and get a backyard though. So many wonderful places to VISIT in the city....but that's it for me. Just a visit. I miss yards, and swingsets and streets that you can actually drive on :)

nailgirl said...

Oh I wanted to add that my idea of a good time is to read people magazine while drinking a margarita, or long island iced tea or you get the picture. I also like to eat those toasted ritz chips. That is bliss to me.

M said...

I have never commented here before, but since you're talking about books I felt I had to...
Middelsex is definately a good read! And if you haven't read The time travellers wife vy Audrey Niffenegger - DO IT! It is probably the best thing I have ever read. For you that doesn't give a lot of information, but for me it is a milestone (quite like rolling around for the first time ;-)) to be able to name ONE favourite book.