Thursday, July 30, 2015

Confesssions of Sponge-Woman

I admit it: I'm a hopeless sponge, drinking in my inspiration from the people, music, landscape and books around me. But mostly, people. When I come home from an event, I'm charged. I can be dead tired, but I'm supercharged.  There's something about talking with people, watching people, taking a clumsy step back and bumping into someone, then laughing about it and slapping shoulders that builds some happy sense of camaraderie. Seeing the way a lady dresses which highlights her elegance, the way she sits or stands or smilingly exits an entangling conversation, doing so as smooth and sweet as honey, the way her posture gives her the dignity of a thousand years, and her smiles and merry countenance the freshness of a mere girl - I cannot help but be drawn in and love it. Love watching people and learning from them. Immensely, I enjoy the charm of reforming myself on the way back home, and basking in the afterglow of the glimmering experience of faces and the buzz of conversations, the warmth of hearts affirming the other and such.
This summer perhaps more than others, I have thrived in mixing with my friends and family, because of realizing the sacrifice and effort it takes to see them, and because of recognizing, too, how much I need them.

 Last week JB and I sat on the couch one night, and though he'd finished work for the day the weight of burdens he'd carried throughout it seemed to hover on his shoulders like ghostly echoes of troubling business. He yawned and I sat there feeling like bursting into tears for no reason. It's that after baby thing, I know and knew then, but a gal hates it the worst to blame tears on some unseen, unknown reason.  I believe I'd rather cry over a split pea than to think I was crying for nothing. But there it was, that bothersome lump welling up at the back of my throat. He'd been talking a little, but looked over and he saw it, I guess. Maybe it'd gotten big enough to see through the throat itself.
"What's the matter, darlin'?" He asked and looked puzzled as we waded through a bog of silence. During this time I groped around in a muddy mind,  hoping I could rustle up a reason for why I'd been like this all day long - something that would justify it and have the effect of "Oh, I see why. Yes, I'd be crying too, if I were you," but it wasn't there. Just a gloomy grey all intense and miserable without reason or rhyme.
"I - …I - just feel dead inside…" I mustered, glaring through tears at the invisible Something that made me feel ridiculous and out of my right mind and petty. I thought of all the girls in the world who would look at my life and think it was heaven.  I looked around at our house, with bookshelves we'd bought with his hard earned money, the rug, the old hand-me-down couches that have seated many a person we loved.  There was the little table, given to us by dear friends all the way from Georgia, and there, the twinkle lights and photos and paintings and lamps - all the collage of things we've added that have made our little house more of a home. It is luxurious - not all the nicest things - but they are used and comfortable and - they're ours. I thought of how many people in the world now are hurting, suffering with real issues to shed tears over, and they bear it all bravely while I'm here holding a beautiful healthy baby, sitting on a comfortable (free) couch by a tall, handsome Texan with the kindest heart on the earth and I'm crying???
He reached a hand over and took mine, then asked about a trip. He said he'd work hard and take me to a church meeting in Memphis that weekend, 15 hours away from where we live, if I wanted to go. He wanted to. He would. I needed it. And he did. Driving hard during the day after work and late that night, and then some the next day, we got there. I've grown up going to this event. My family and core group of closest friends attend this event. Besides that, and the more important thing - though we don't always act like it's so - is the Spiritual aspect. Since having Bella Rose I'd missed four Sundays and at least that many Wednesday night services. My heart was dry and brittle and my insides raw from whatever eats at me when I'm not close to my Life - Source as I should be.
 I'm not dumb enough to think I don't need God for a full life. But if I were as cool as I used to think I wanted to be, I'd say I don't need people to be happy or full or inspired. That I could be one of those who seems to draw happiness and motivation from themselves. But I'm not. And honestly I don't want to be, because people are fascinating, with much to offer and to learn from. Visiting with my friends, hearing 6 sermons in three days, watching my family with Bella Rose and seeing my Grandmama, brothers and baby sister meet her for the first time - it all filled up an ache in my heart, so much so that days after I'm still experiencing the warmth of it. Still smiling over words exchanged, over memories fringed with wistful fragrance and still learning about growing as a person from my time there. When it comes down to it, I have to admit I'm a needy person. Needy of God and people and reminders of the very stuff I know, because I tend to forget it.

 "Look at those big feet! I still can't get over girls feet nowadays. Back when I was growing up, I always wore a five or five and a half, but all you girls run around in eight's or nine's! Looks like she won't be any differnt."

Mama's smart new glasses remind me of her high school year book photos. And her laugh reminds me of sitting around the table at the Grey Submarine, eating roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green beans and ocra from our garden and soaking in the general Sunday fest of stories and laughter with peach cobbler, coconut cake or homemade ice-cream and coffee to top it off. 

 This scene right here is as old as my memory and older. Grandmama, standing on her porch and waving us off with merry little chuckles and "I love you's" and "I'll see you next time's", "Don't forget your sandwich's" and "Debbie, did you get that package for Judy", will live as long in my memory, I hope, as it's been going on in real life. 

Left-Right // Melody, Merry, Dawn, Abraham, Mama (with Bella Rose), Daddy, Chris, Me, JB, Anne, Jay. And Yes, this is every time we take a picture. Me adjusting or staring mouth half open at the camera because I can't quit being a photographer just because I'm in the picture. 

 I knew he'd be the greatest Granddazzle. And he is. 

 "How about ye send me another picture of the lass?" Was a text from him the other day - he being in Ga and I in Tx.
Abe has always thought little babies look like "bald squirrels", so I asked, 
"You mean you want a photo of a bald squirrel?"
So I sent him one. He replied, 
"I find myself irresistibly wanting to give the lass a good squeeze and some sugar." 
I'm glad he finally did. 

 Dawn won't be called "Aunt". She won't have it. It's too "something". So she's Polly, and if you've ever read An Old Fashioned Girl, you'll see as well as I do, that it fits. 

 Uncle Chree, singing a song about how he was sure Bella was smiling because he was holding her. 

Uncle Jay vying for Favorite Uncle, and filling her in on a few of the  many stories he has to tell her.

 I guess it is one of the most heart warming things to see your family love someone nearly as much as you do. If ever a heart could expand a little more, mine did in seeing my family love this little person so much.  Are we a little baby crazy? Yeah. You could say so.
 But hey, I guess we've waited long enough.

Baby Cousins! Ada and Rosie Belle making fast friend. >>Don't let the sleeping guise fool you. Rosie was into it, big time.
I'm grateful for Mama who's taught me much and is teaching me still, what a joyful life and selfless motherhood looks like in action. 

And let me tell ya - My man?... Still can't believe he's mine. John Barrett Watson is the cream of the crop with a cherry on top, and somehow I got to marry him. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Our Little Watson Family

"It's still surreal to come home and be handed a real live little being with wide eyes and a wriggling body and little hands that grab onto my shirt." He'd just gotten in from work and stood in the kitchen holding Arabella as he leaned against the counter and smiled at me, then looked back at our baby - wonder and glowy love in his eyes.
They told me marriage would grow a person, and it has.  Grown me if only to see the areas I want to grow in, and how looking like Christ is a long way off. It's expanded my heart, seeing the way my husband loves our baby and how he patiently forgives and displays God's love for me when sometimes it'd be easy to dish back the wrong he's been given.  But at the end of a day when I've been moody or stressed, or down right snappy, I've found him perched at the end of the bed, motioning upward with his thumb for me to pick up my feet so he could slide a towel under and massage them.  Many times in the past year I've shaken my head with wonder, puzzling over why I don't get what I deserve, because this fellow is above and beyond anything I ever could.
Then there's Arabella.  At a little over a month she is beginning to coo and smile and every morning that I wake up to her, I have to put out a finger to touch her little self and make sure she's real.
Motherhood seemed like such a mystery from the outside, veiled to all but the ones who were inside its experience. Anne Shirley saw a similar veil surrounding marriage, and when Diana was on the brink of it, the evidence of it being Strange and Incomprehensible to Anne was all too obvious in Diana's dreamy distance to All Things Present But Fred Wright.
But Motherhood, as it was with marriage, slips onto a body like a shirt, and once in it, there seems to be nothing more normal and natural and uncurious about it than to BE it. To be married is simply the most unstrange thing.

The first year of marriage and the first month of raising a baby have come and gone quietly.  My heart is full to the brim. People have said and keep saying "treasure this time…they grow up so fast". We know it. We've watched her change every day - wrinkly hands and feet growing softer and more cushiony, thin lips growing into plumper pink ones.  Her round, swollen face growing less puffy and more oval, how she begins to follow our voice with her eyes - now turning her head - now she's turning over from stomach to side - now she is growing rolls on her arms and legs and is heavier to pick up from the bed - growing oh so much. And HOW do I treasure it - besides taking as much of it in as possible and feeling my heart 'plum swoll up t'bustin'? When people say it, I wonder if they mean "Stop time and ensure you let this phase soak in completely. When you're done being amazed by it, move on". Of course, they're not saying that. It's impossible to think any phase WILL soak in completely. I must settle for existing in a state of blissful wonder. The only way I've found to "ease the ache of joy", and help my heart expand a little more, is to thank God.  Every time she nurses, every time we sleep, every time she smiles, every time it enters my head throughout the day to do so - thanking Him for something incredible and priceless...for growing my heart to hold the joys He gives, for growing my marriage a whole year, for growing our family and our awe for Him.

"Arabella, do you know your daddy loves you? He loves you so much, darlin'.  In fact, did you know that you are my favorite baby in the whole world? There's lots of babies in the world, Bella Rose, but none of'm are as sweet to me as you."  JB walked the room with her and once again I realized life is made of "these small hours".