Monthly Archives: November 2009
Last night, I went to dinner with all but one of the members of my Growth Group (referred to as “My Monday Night Group” in Found Art). The absent member is exactly half-way through her first pregnancy, and last night was the night she and her husband went out to dinner to look in an envelop (secretly stuffed by the ultrasound tech) and find if they will be welcoming a baby boy or baby girl. Tonight, a huge group of us will gather at their house to be let in on the secret. I’m leaning toward blue (As in powder blue, Tatum, like the Charger’s uniforms).
But back to last night . . .
The seven of us met at Il Fornaio in Del Mar, and we sat in this tiny little back room, barely bigger than our table, and we ate a great meal and said goodbye to one of our members. Kara (KJ) and her husband Eric (EJ) and daughter Annika (AJ) will be moving to Nor Cal in a couple of weeks, and I realized last night I’m not as ready to let them go as I might have convinced myself I am.
Kara and I were pregnant together (our babies are one month apart), we walked through the harrowing days of infancy together, our husbands have started a business together, and over the last couple of years we have always spent Monday nights together. As was said last night, you can never replace a relationship like that.
Letting her go, though I know this move is absolutely the right thing for her and her family, is hard. Kara is a stabilizing force in all our lives. She’s like a steady keel that cuts through all the things that don’t really matter. I love that about her, and you don’t find women like that every day.
I have this wonderful picture of Kara sitting on my couch when she was 9 months pregnant and my twins were newborn. Lane is wearing a pink and red velour striped dress with little black leggings and she’s draped over Kara’s belly–arms and legs spread out and wrapped all the way around as if her body is palming Kara’s basketball-tummy. Lane has fallen sound asleep.
Every time I look at that picture, I’ll miss Kara. I’ll think about the many times she has fed me delicious food, the absolute life-saving introduction to the zella pants, the long weekend we spent in Tahoe with three crazy babies who didn’t know how to sleep yet, and the assurance I feel when we exchange a glance and I know — in that split-second moment — what it means to be in the presence of a real friend.
We love you, KJ.
Recent Inspirations . . .
Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris
Ponce’s Mexican Food in Kensington (green salsa)
Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See
Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
Project Runway (always and forever)
The $6 organic cotton thermal sets at Walmart for infants and toddlers (the striped ones are especially painful)
Trevor Davis’ (of Dr. Seahorse) crazy dance moves (he commits!)
They say writing a book is only half the job, that the real work actually starts when the last word is written. While not entirely inaccurate, I guess I’d just call this season Phase Two of the whole adventure. Not necessarily more or less work than the writing. Just a new phase.
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been visiting different places around town, celebrating the release, talking about the book, and just generally getting a sense of where people find themselves in the story. I’ve never done this before, so I’m trying to learn, breathe it all in, and not take it too personally when people fall asleep at readings.
A couple weeks ago, I sat down with a group of women from my church and we talked through the book, specifically what it means to find yourself in a foreign place, how you look at yourself when you are disoriented and in the middle of change, and how all that gets attached to God.
Through tears, I acknowledged my gratitude to these women for taking care of my family in very practical and humbling ways while I was writing the final draft of the book and the babies were so very itsy bitsy. Things were deeply intense then (I wrote the last draft of the book between the time the babies were 3 weeks and 3 months old), but somehow the work got itself done — no small thanks to many of these women. I was able to thank them for delivering meals, answering emails about naptime and nursing, helping when I didn’t even know what help I needed, and for all the many ways they said, “You’re doing great” and “We’re with you.” All while juggling their own phases.
This theme of gratitude continued as we commemorated the release a couple Saturdays ago (at the INCREDIBLE, oooh la la Electra Conservatory — thanks upon thanks to the Wasmuths) with glasses of Prosecco and a reading and lots and lots of laughing and loving. I was, yet again, surrounded and supported by many of the most amazing people I know.
And then on Sunday, I was able to speak at my home church, Flood, and say thank you, one more time, for the distinct privilege of being part of this put-your-arms-around-my-neck-and-won’t-let-go community. I loved getting to talk about Exodus 16 and the manna — the soul nourishment — God is still providing for us when we choose his provision and portion in our seasons of wilderness wandering.
And this Saturday, I will be at an art show downtown, Illumination, for a reading. The whole show benefits the children of Africa. It is going to be super. Dr. Seahorse . . . that’s all you need to know. Come one. Come all! (www.illuminationsd.com)
So, in my own way, while I miss the hibernating hermitting that categorizes the intense writing phase, I am on the steep learning curve of Phase Two, learning my way around as best I can, and discovering that this phase has its own gifts. Putting legs and arms and eyes and hands and feet and ears to the book. That’s really what I’m doing.
Oh, and changing diapers. I’m still doing that too.