Rainbow is wiggled into her front carrier forward for the first time for a walk to Papa Murphy's pizza to acquire a pepperoni pizza, half olive, half mushroom. Two years have passed since the baby bjorn and I were constant companions, i found myself a shy bride when trying to figure it out. I buttoned Rainbow's arms so they protruded out raised just a bit, reminding me somehow of John McCain. She seemed to like it ok so off we went. Turning the corner onto 79th I see a mirror image of a baby travelling via bjorn toward us! As our distance lessened we exchanged understated, knowing smiles and the parents asked how old she was. Her eyes were open only a sliver like little crescent moons. When we stopped motion she expressed her uneasiness. The couple I approached like an oracle wore loose, natural weaved, organic cloth. he had long dreadlocks and wore the papoose. She had a gentle hum about her and said "She wet herself...or is uncomfortable." Then shared that they were on their way to return a Dunstan baby language book back to the library if I was interested. Decoding what each cry means to empower parents. The analyzed cry Rainbow had omitted was what I think of as a "recovery cry", after she gets all fired up she submits with a gentler sigh of a cry. Like a prophetess the kind woman shared her knowledge. But alas, to me it does seem a fairly safe bet that a baby cries a great percentage of the time for one of those two reasons...so is it really the cry that reveals the truth? I snobbishly chuckle internally thinking I've cornered the market on knowing my childrens needs. I assume these are two first time parents and I assume they assume I am as well. Alas I think of baby Sunny Carolina and her endless crying. Quite frankly I think these prophets might truly have had something I could have used if I had croseed this street 6 years ago in a linear co-existant world for this daughter I think in the same linear co-existant world was surely a red-head. Moses' early tears greatly caused by his weakened lungs....was "uncomfortable." Adrianna "wet herself" with her sweet coos? I pummel through my motherhood experiences and each of my children's needs and think of the baby we lost. What might he have cried for. I cried because I was "uncomfortable." Rainbow has already had two little colds. Before it was clearly apparent my honed skills surfaced and I recognized her cry being one of definite pain. Chalk one up for learnign something as a mother. Simple, predictable dialogue ensues when stranger parents connect. "How old is your child?" "What is her name?" "Oh, how fast they grow." Kind and sweet intentions but nothing more. The prophets offering was more. I might grow if I listened to others stories rather than presuming my experiences are conclusive. Next time I see a parent maybe I'll ask something new.
I will tell you who I am not. I am not the angst ridden, downtrodden spirit battling self. I am not the girl too weak to exercise. I don’t fear the indigo night, I get angry and I put on my new Nike shoes that look like they belong to Spiderman and I get out the door and run. That’s when I listen to Eli’s album. That’s when I find out who he is. I don’t hide my paints and pencils and new sable brushes in a chest. They come out every night and develop a human form in two dimensional form. I delight and think where I went wrong when the cranium is too big and the eyes are to close together. The nose is right on the money. I turn on an album I love and dance and move. I swoop levels and use my space. My living room is a stage for me alone. I imagine Bruce Springsteen singing for a crowd of a thousand. I think of some way that I felt like “Mary in high school” and I wring that feeling out of me when I kick a flexed foot forward. In my mind the form is raw beautiful. Bruce Springsteen at a democratic convention rally…crooning of hope and idealism. What’s so wrong with that? Dad’s my favorite dance partner. Dancing because its fun and you can do whatever you want. Democrats are generally bad, Republicans generally good. Liberals…evil. Conservatives…saints. What this country needs is one big free for all ball. What the world needs now is dance, sweet dance. Without planning the real me puts off laundry and takes the kids outside to gather veiny fall leaves. We make collages and spontaneously decide to make a pile which transforms into a big pot of stew. A melting pot. Then we jump in the stew. Some more of wha t our country needs. The shortcut to the bus stop and its leading lines and rusted foliage is my fallen memory. I photographed Katelin, leading lines, disappearing vantage point, age two there with her back to my camera and underwear.
I am a jukebox of an odd amalgamation of songs I almost know by heart. Rainbow is in my arms and is my safe audience. I don't remember the last time I sang out at the top of my lungs but I did for her and she didn't judge me. Cat Stevens, hymns, patriotic songs, primary songs, ballads from high school choir, This Land is Your Land, Les Miserables, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash. In the still of the night porch lights are on. "Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums where is a life about to start When tomorrow comes!" A guy in ripped tight jeans and a quasi-trench coat scissors by us. I wonder what he is thinking of. what worries him. Rainbow is swaddled in her soft baby fleece blanket from Grandma Christenson. She tries so hard to free her imprisoned arms. A chill wind tossles the purple and orange leaves in their own personal tornadoes, the trees look like flames. "All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside, Its hard, but its harder to ignore it. If they were right, I'd agree, but its them you know not me. Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away. I know I have to go. " From Rainbows desperate anguish cry the fire theory seems believable. Fire and going away. After six blocks her rhythmic cry subsides. An equilibrium is found. Her deep eyes have a tired smile. "In the beauty of the lily's Christ was born across the sea. With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me." Singing this I think of ward choir singing with my Dad and singing for President Hinckley. I sense Rainbow feels its peace. We pass by Holly's house. Should I stop? She's probably busy I convince myself. I look at the time on my cell phone. Audrey would be asleep already. "As testimony fills my heart it dulls the pain of day. For one brief moment heaven's view appears before my gaze." I block out my conscience and my own calibrated side reminding myself of the senior devil in the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis instructing dear Wormwood in the art of damning souls. Pacify the people with their own concerns, fill them with self doubt, and make them feel how unnecessary it is to reach out. Rainbow in all of her innocence cries out again, I use that as confirmation that Holly couldn't possibly want to see me with a crying child, potentially awakening her own. Alas Wormwood succeeds again as I walk by her house. This little girl in my arm has a flawed and hopeful mother. "At my door the leaves are falling... I go out to a party to have me a little fun but I find me a darkened corner but I still miss someone."