Sunday, March 18, 2012
Sendimentality: Celebrating Life's Layers
The plates again shifted and the sediment of years was momentarily dispelled as I stood at the kitchen sink with apple-scented suds tallowing my hands and sunlight and wind streaming through the window and listened as my daughter cooed in accompaniment to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack; the same soundtrack I played while furiously typing English papers, then -- years later -- staring blankly at the blinking cursor of the computer screen while mining for plot points. The soundtrack I eagerly listened to as the ushers led my relatives down the rose-strewn aisle and I knew my own slow walk on my father’s arm was not too far behind. The soundtrack I played on my laptop in the labor and delivery room at the hospital. After a day of labor and misplaced plans, that soundtrack helped me focus through the contractions and added an element of peace that even the harried midwives sensed.
I felt the scattering of the past five years as my husband and I lay on our bed the first night we brought our daughter home. While facing each other like book ends, we stared at two-day-old Adelaide Anne as if the next eighteen years of her life’s pages were unfurling madly between us. My husband and my knees brushed beneath the covers, and though it brought comfort, it did not bring that delightful shiver as the first time he took my hand as we drove away from the garish lights of the county fair.
Yet, in only twenty-one days, new layers are beginning to gently settle over the old. I remember stepping into our dimly-lit bedroom and seeing my mountain man rocking on the glider with our daughter cupped against his broad chest.
“Just come to bed,” I said, my eyes gritty with days’ worth of exhaustion. “It’s okay if she cries.”
My husband shook his head and looked over at me with such love crowding his eyes it was hard to imagine they ever had room for anything else. “I want her to know this place is safe.”
Then there was the moment I strolled down our long lane and found my husband sitting on the front porch while sipping a goblet of sweet red wine. I went over and sat in his lap, but instead of looking at the evening stars puncturing the sky or listening to the throaty hooting of the owl that predictably perches on our garden gate as soon as dusk blots itself to dark, my husband and I stared at the video monitor where the masterpiece of our daughter was asleep in her swing.
And now, even now, new layers are settling. My husband and I listen to Bluegrass while winding through the Blue Ridge Mountains on our way to the beach. My husband sucks the salt off of honey pretzels and sings the radio’s lyrics although he doesn’t even know the twanging melody. Our daughter is cradled in the backseat, and my heart swells with these new layers of life that have settled over us, for when my life ends and archeologists peel back the layers that have composed it, I don’t want them to see the books I have written or the to-do lists I have claimed; no, I want them to peel and peel and peel and beneath each new layer overlapping the old, I want them just to find love.