Monday, January 18, 2010

On Geckos and Rape, Butter and French Tips, Ganache (If You Can)

I keep buying butter and I don't know why. 4 boxes now, 4 sticks per box, 8 tablespoons each; It would seem that I have 128 tablespoons of butter in my fridge and I don't know why. Today is Monday.

Other things I wonder about: how one is supposed to clean dried milk from the spouts of sippy cups, the % of rat poop per raisin, why I study the row of soft scrubs simply to avoid saying hello to familiar people at the grocery store, paraben.

Yesterday I took Zoey and my mom to get a multi-generational mani/pedi, and yes, I wonder about this, too., i.e. why. But mostly I wonder how to tell Zoey that the world sucks. Do I tell her while the Vietnamese woman is painting intricate flowers on her tiny pink nails, each stigma punctuated with a crystal? Or later? When we are eating mac and cheese at the french boulangerie and her plate is garnished with strawberries? In January?
On Saturday there were Boy Scouts downtown collecting money for Haiti. I gave Zoey some cash and told her to give it to one of them, and then--I kid you not--we went to yet another french boulangerie where we shared a quiche and ate tiny little cheesecakes drizzled with chocolate for dessert. Zoey, I said, we gave that boy money because there was an earthquake in a country called Haiti. All the buildings fell down and people got hurt. They need help so we gave some money to try to help them. I can't say that she understood; she is, after all, not yet 4, plus she was eating chocolate. Then again, I can't say that I understand either, the news reports seemingly Flat Stanleys of a tragedy I cannot fathom fleshed out. I am 37 now. I eat chocolate most every day. Like I said, I have 128 tablespoons of butter in my fridge; I don't know where to start much less stop.

There was an earthquake in Haiti, I could begin, and the world is full of terrible realities. Sometimes people shoot eachother, other times they torture their dogs. Men rape women and girls and babies. Most people do not have enough food, many have cancer. I wonder how I came to know all this, that the world sucks. If maybe it was a slow realization, or a sudden epiphany when I was 14 and listening to The Cure in my bedroom painted Pepto-Bismol advertised as "adobe," (oh! the late 80's when I drew geckos on my binders). Of course I did not get my first mani/pedi until I was in my twenties, I think, though certainly there is no correlation between the two.

Last night Zoey crawled into our bed as she has every night since she could walk, and I could not sleep, her head hot pushed hard into mine. She is going to figure it out, I thought, this girl who is scared to get water in her eyes. Already there are monsters, and I wonder if that is just human nature somehow, to know that something ineffably terrible exists. There are no monsters in the house, I tell her, I do not allow monsters here, but she knows nonetheless. This girl who still has all of her grandparents, who lives in a home with a cat and a mom and a dad, each outlet plugged with plastic, this girl who knows the Spanish word for butterfly, who loves bananas and yogurt and unicorns. She knows somehow small, and I lay there thinking about how absurdly beautifully sadly it all is--adverbs, I know--but that's the way it seemed to me last night, everything modifying anything but something solid, and as I lay there I tried very hard not to picture her heart.
Happy Birthday to my mom (tomorrow), and please donate to the Red Cross if you can. (See? My mom has a red cross on her shirt? Drawing connections whenever possible in a pretty world where nothing makes sense and everything is.)

xo,
S

20 comments:

Sschraed said...

So true.. I have an April 06 baby too and going through the same monster thing and she just started coming in our bedroom in the middle of the night 2 weeks ago. Not sure why ! I want to shelter her from all that is bad but know it's impossible. This age is so vulnerable and you want to keep them so innocent in a world that is not. :(

Duel Living said...

Beautifully said as usual. With a mom like you...Zoey will learn to navigate the monsters in life. It all sucks, but the unicorns, and geckos...they make it all worth it in the end.
xoxox,
Brandi

Richie Designs said...

yes indeed monsters. I wonder daily about how to explain them as well [of course only to myself]

topsyturvydays said...

Lovely post. I worry all the time about the monsters that my boys may have to face (it is no easier with boys.) If only we could keep them in our little cocoon forever.

mosey along said...

Sounds like you need to make some cookies with all that butter. I've heard they're a surefire way to keep the monsters at bay.

And I frequently feel like surrounding my daughter in bubblewrap to protect her from what's out there, but I don't. I don't want her to live in fear, and desire her to be able to confront those monsters. But I will stand behind her and hold her hand, and give 'em my best glare.

krista said...

the best compliment i can give you is that i have so much swirling around in me and i have no words to define the swirl.
your words are all swirled up in me.

jennifer said...

puff pastry!
my daughter started to read right after her fourth birthday. we don't have a t.v. but once she was reading, there was no stopping her learning about the scary world! ugh. . .

Simply Mel said...

I know this is going to be a very simple reply for you, but my god, I love your words, they way you think, and how you say exactly what I think so often! Thank you.

Meryl said...

Thanks Susannah, for summing up what's been hovering around me for the last week. You always say what I'm thinking in a way that I could never articulate. Phew.

JennyA said...

we are ridiculously, extravagantly blessed....adverbs, i know ; p

Tobi said...

I too have these issues. Maybe monsters and excess butter should be handled the same way, one tablespoon at a time. I don't know.

benson said...

There's so much bad in the world that Zoey will figure it all out one day. You let her know what's going on and there you go...if she has questions she'll ask; and if she's pondering a great thought--you're the kind of mom who will be there to listen. For now...let's let her enjoy the good stuff...like butter.

Michelle M in KY said...

OH SUSANNAH...
Love what Tobi said...Monsters and Butter handled one tablespoon at a time. I think the butter is funny. I, too have been known to buy too many packages of chicken, not knowing exactly what I was going to do with them. But...to the point...I, sit there reading last night, with all the house quiet, peaceful...no monsters stirring and I thought to myself...how can this woman, who I do not even know be inside my head! You have a way of pulling out my thoughts, my heart, and my guts and plopping them on the table for all the world to see. How can you know all of my inners? My thoughts, fears, worries, etc...??? What you were able to capture is so very profound. My everyday waking moments exposed. I, think WE, women, Mothers, the Mothers who do it well have the same working parts, fears, insecurities, and emotions. Even those Mothers in Haiti looking for, worrying about, or who have lost their children. Their fear is the same as ours. We are one, us women, us Mothers. Muddling through the Monsters, the dark, the ugly underbelly with butter in hand ready and willing to ward off all of this bad. We're all connected...we Mama's, whether American, Haitian or otherwise and I so hope that we continue to see those unicorns for they are what gives us hope. Your writing moves me and I desperately pray more people find you, read you, feel you, and know you. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone in this world of crazy.

Never That Easy said...

This is so well written - I really understand the truth of what you're saying. It's so difficult to know what monsters await them, and that you can't protect them from all of theme forever.

Judy said...

As most are aware, I "don't do Birthdays"...don't like them, never did...too much pressure...and now, every year speeding past like a bullet and 65 seems a dream-how did that happen?
But, the BEST present I could ever get is spending time with my family...doing almost anything....a mani-pedi, reading "Fairy Secrets" while sharing Zoey's fresh in January fruit. Back-up to un-made N.Y.'s Resolutions and add..."Never let anyone take your photo while you are looking down at a book or anything else-especially when you are a day shy of the big 6-5. Gravity is NOT your friend after 40!"
I remember the desperate wanting to protect Andy and Sus from the monsters of the world. I still feel it and now it includes Zoey and unborn grandchildren. I've seen many of those monsters and I know of so many more but when I spend time with Miss Z., her GOODNESS feels like a shield-not only protecting her but me and all around her.
Thanks for my B'Day Outing and the great-smelling candle! Watching Zoey have her first professional mani-pedi was so good, they could have pained my feet toes to ankles in latex blue paint and I'd have still had a ball. That Z-Girl knocks me out. Her smile lights the world. And it cracked me up, it looked like she was used to having about 5 beauticians working on her head to toe on a daily basis.
Love, Mom

Tracy said...

Love this.

Elaina said...

I have a 3 year old daughter, and a 6 year old son, and so often I think about how we shelter them from the world, trying to work in some sort of understanding of how fortunate we are and how we can help others who are not -- while still keeping them sheltered. My son is now in Kindergarten and came home the Friday before MLK day and asked if I knew about a "silly rule a long time ago where people with different colored skin couldn't go to the same school". It was like the damn broke, and I could talk to him about racism and so many other issues. No, he's not ready for me to lift the curtain on the whole world that's out there, but in a way, it's liberating that he's ready to deal with issues that he does need to know about to be prepared for life. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think things really change in this regard at age 6. That's all. Love your blog. Love your writing.

ZDub said...

Just perfect.

And Happy Birthday to Grandma Glitter.

XO-Z

Weitzell4 said...

I wish blogs had a 'Like' button. I often just want to click on one so I don't have to think of a witty comment, but still let you know how much I "like" your words.

kathleen said...

This must be the heartbreak of having children - knowing the hurts that they cannot yet fathom will someday materialize.

Having a parent that loves you, however, that truly and unconditionally loves you, eases all the hurts in the world.