Monday, March 16, 2009

On The Elasticity of Time (And Again)

*There once was a Zoey so bright,
Who grew up faster than light.
She set out one day,
In a relative way,
And returned on the previous night.

We bought a daybed this weekend at Ikea, spending money to make money. We bought the bed to stage our third bedroom for selling our house. And yes, for the very futuristic idea that years from now, maybe when she turns 14 and cars levitate and I can order a venti non-fat, no water chai latte from the surface of my sub-zero fridge, that one day the bed would become Zoey's big girl bed. Of course once we got home Time snapped its rubbery ass right in my face because Zoey demanded to sleep in her new big girl bed that night. Now. Then, the dilation of length, time, mass and energy sighing before my very eyes: my baby has become a big girl and I have become a puddle of particulate cliche. They just grow up so damn fast.
It did not matter that we had no sheets yet for the bed. It did not matter that the bed was not set up in her room, that she did not have her ballerina light, her night-night music or her books. It did not matter that I was not ready. Zoey, I said while stuffing one pink toenailed foot into her fleece heart pajamas, what is the purpose of the Federal Reserve? I wanted to remind both of us that she is still a baby, but then she answered, The Fed is the Central Banking System of the United States, created in 1913 by the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act. And that's when I knew it was over.
Okay, so maybe that last part didn't really happen, but she did watch 60 Minutes with us last night much too quietly, her hands folded in her lap just so, her eyes narrowing with doubt over Ben Bernanke every now and again. When did this happen? The Cult of Quick and Now and Oh, Grow Up? When did the alarm on my bedside table become an Atomic Clock? When did I care about who sleeps where? And why and how and who.
Nacho, my what, my cat. My baby of fur and tail and whiskers the quality of prized porcupine quill. Last night he discovered Zoey's abandoned crib and set up shop on the plush pink blanket and damask rose pillow, all purr and mine and lickety split.

Time is elastic and indifferent. Transparent, or maybe that's just me. In my town there is a woman of questionable mind who pushes her dogs down the street in a Graco stroller. They each have a blanket, one blue and one pink, I can only assume because one dog is a boy and the other a girl. The woman is friendly, chats you up if you stop to stare. And I do: stare, because I have seen my future, 30 years from now in the sting of a rubber band. I have known what it is to baby something, to love, to tuck in, to kiss closed eyelids like a prayer laced with faint capillaries.
Knowing that, I don't think I could ever not love, not tuck in, not travel to Zoey's marriage bed to tickle her back, not stand in the doorway with reassurances unasked, I'm here, Mama's here, right here, (her husband or partner sighing and rolling over, vowing not to come to Thanksgiving dinner at my house ever again). And suddenly, the particulars of the behavior of time as specified in the theory of relativity do not seem quite so questionable, quite so insane, dogs in strollers and cats in the cradle, kisses on eyelids and whiskers on kittens.
*Limerick a take-off on this one, published in 1923 as a critique of Einstein's Theory of Relativity.


michele said...

just beautiful! My little Charlotte turns 3 in July and I, too, am putting off the big girl bed in a big way.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

Beautiful. All of it. It's amazing how you can write about mothering and I identify, feel like I understand. I don't know how I could, but I can see my future self in you.

Also, that cat is lovely.

Lolo said...

Do you know the book "I'll love you forever"? I used to choke up every time I read that to my little ones. My youngest still knows the refrain and quotes it to me and then holds me when I puddle up.

Jen said...

We set up Leah's big girl bed with Dora sheets and all, and she was so excited about it, and she refuses to sleep in it. Oh well...I'm not ready for her to grow up anyways!

Lynne said...

Is there an award for the post of the month (or the year)? I want to vote for this one. Just beautiful. A blog to be proud of.
Thanks for making my evening special.

Charlee said...

Thank you. This will remind me to kiss my 7 year old twice as many times tonight and to linger a little longer in the doorway. Why do I need to rush off to attend the dirty dishes in the sink? Those will always be there, those big beautiful drowsy eyes will not.

Oh Brother! said...


That "cute" kitty? Nacho?

PURE evil.

I looooooove cats. Grew up with them my WHOLE life. I sleep best when covered in purring kitties.

But, THAT cat, THAT one... that cat WILL kill you if given the chance.

NO, you aren't THE one person he will somehow like.
NO, you are not immune because you're a "cat person."
NO, you won't win him over with treats or pets or even a good exorcism.

I LOVE cats and it NEVER even occurred to me to be afraid of a cat... not even the thought that a "cat" is something to be afraid of. Not even mean cats... but this one... Nacho is an attack dog. The hound of Hell.

He will growl. Stalk you. And attack you. Full on. (And that's just for walking into the house.) Yes, he will find you.

So, cute kitty in the crib? Don't be fooled, that cat just ate Zoey alive and decided to sleep in her crib.

Consider yourselves warned :)


Petunia Face said...

Oh Bro, Andy--
Don't be a pussy.

And I mean that in the most loving sisterly fashion ever. Nacho is a lamb.


Oh Brother! said...

Nacho is the DeNiro of cats- "You lookin' at me?"

Nacho is the Eastwood of felines- "You feelin' lucky, well, are ya punk?"

That lovable four-legged friend will kill anyone who so much as looks at him wrong.

Cute my arse.

Between that cat and me... you're right, I'm the pussy. (Oooh, can I say that? Can a guy say that? Or is that like some ignorant white dude throwing down the urban lingo with "Nigga" ... ouch)

Ok. I'm still the pussy... and if no one other than me admits their afraid of Nacho, well then, you all know WHO you are and WHAT you are (see above).


Maggie May said...

i love your limerick take!!

trinity said...

Fairly newish lurker here. This made me cry. My 'baby' is finishing college next year. It is just as fast as they say - it sails past.

Ana said...

i am with your brother on this one...Nacho is one pissy kitty...a "look but don't you dare fucking touch me" kitty.

michelle m said...

OK...OK...OK...I've waited and waited to post on your blog. Now, I know that we must be related. You jus reached into my brain and took the thoughts that I feel and plunked them right out there for the world to see. You and I share so many similarities and you are far better than me at summing them up into one sweet package and I Thank You for that. (Even the grotesque-vagina ones). Your wildly/wicked sense of humor and your uncanny depths of love for your child reminisse (sp?) with mine all the time.
Although I have 3 children (3 years old and 2 year old twins), and I am 37, I feel at times when I read your blog that we must have been sisters in another time. I've been back-reading on your blog and you continually crack me up and then have me weeping the next moment. It's strange how people can be connected without ever knowing one another. I am not sure how I arrived at your blog. I just know that I am glad that I did.
Michelle in KY

Gwen said...

amazing blog! So wonderful to wake up to. Somehow you always manage to pull the emotions right out of my brain and into this wonderful blog of yours! And in a way that is more interesting than 99.9% of the population could ever write. Thank you for a little light in my crazy world.

Bird* said...

so cute.

krista said...

no! please tell them to stop growing up, these little ones of ours.
while we moved this last weekend, my mom came up and spent the whole weekend and watching her with my baby made me feel all squishy in all my nerve endings.
i would peek in the bedroom where my mom was rocking my baby and softly telling her stories i couldn't hear and my ribs would fold their fingers over my heart and smile.