Friday, February 3, 2012

Snow, Secrets

Last night we put two sick kids to bed early and watched Moneyball. We'd watched Drive the night before, and I'd spent the evening walking around the house listening to the song on my ipod and had even played it in the car en route to the library, driving purposefully but with my face all emotionless and blank. I like to pretend I'm in the movies whenever I'm alone. I've never been caught.

It's important you know we'd watched Drive because it's possible what happened next can be solely chalked up to SRGD (Sudden Ryan Gosling Deprivation). My husband was trying to enjoy the movie and I start tossing out comments like "Could we take baseball any more seriously?" and, "Could this movie be any more like The Social Network?" with a vaguely Chandler Bingish inflection. I don't know why I decided to become the movie's heckler, it was after all an innocent little movie, sweet and well-intentioned. I swear I didn't know until the credits rolled that Aaron Sorkin had written this, too. Like I said, it wasn't Drive, there was no Ryan Gosling or sweet-ass synthesizer music, or hot pink fonts. Billy Beane seemed determined to be unhappy and the scene--MILD SPOILER HERE--where the clouds roll in during the game and you-know-what happened really bothered me. It made me itchy. I get that we are trying to be romantic about baseball here, but come on. I just don't have it in me. You can't play "Kittens are being forced to fight each other to the death" music during baseball. Hath Jimmy Duggan taught us nothing? Also I was annoyed that I was born in 1981, I'm 30-years-old, and the vast majority of movies are still made about men. Yes, I know we had The Help and Bridesmaids this year, but Kristen Wiig and Skeeter Phelan can't single-handedly save Hollywood and can someone call Steven Spielberg and check if he's even aware that women exist? The last time I saw a female in a movie of his, Drew Barrymore was in pigtails and screaming.

We turned off Moneyball and I listened to the song again to comfort myself. Mr.V went to bed and I made a cup of tea and settled down with a Jacqueline Carey novel. It was close to ten and the house was dark. The snow had started outside. Mr. V had baked bread and I had a thick, warm slab of it drenched with butter and honey. It was a real cozy moment, where your bones just say "ah". From down the hall, I heard a small coo. I set down my tea. In her bed, Indy was crying.

Baby, I whispered. What's wrong?

She had an earache. Medicine and warm washcloths were given. Look, I said, pointing to her window. It's snowing. We snuggled up tight together. How sweet a mother I will be right now, I thought. We will just cuddle here until she is back to sleep. Indy sat up. "I'm just going to go lie down on the couch and watch Rugrats," she said. "Because I feel like I want to."

It was ten o'clock and she'd in bed for three hours. I am powerless to Indy. I settled her on the couch and turned Rugrats down low. Outside the window behind her the snow was thick like marshmallow cream. I felt my flirting illness settling deeper into my bones. Baby, I said. I'm going to go to sleep now.

Ok, she said. I'm just going to watch this for a few more minutes and go back to bed.

Yeah right, I thought, kissing her forehead and padding down the hall. In the morning I knew I'd find her there, the tv still on, my Indy dreaming away under quilts on my sofa. But I was wrong. A short while later a noise opened my eyes, and there she was in her room. My door faces hers directly, her nightlight was on, and I watched my Indy in her private world, in her owl pajamas, five-years-old and so good natured, whenever I tell her I forgot to put dessert in her lunch or the birthday party is canceled, she shrugs and smiles and says "Oh, that's ok!" I watched her climb up on her bed, on the flannel sheets, and pause to rest her elbows on the sill and peer out the window. She muttered something, soft as snow, some private world or language I could see only the fringes of, the essence like Avalon, shimmering in the mist. She blew on the glass and squeaked her finger through the fog.

Memorize this moment, my spirit said to me. So very seldom am I present enough to memorize. Brief flashes, laughter on a beach, my daughters in the spring, pink cherry blossoms falling in the breeze, landing in their hair, and they are holding hands. But now I have it, this memory, forever. Indy, five-years-old, pausing at her window to think thoughts I will never imagine, to spin dreams to be forgotten, to tread in worlds that I will never see.


  1. Oh, my. I love this post. It spun a web, with me and Ryan Gosling in the center. :)

    Truly, the image of your daughter was gorgeous.

  2. Sweet Indy :) Love her.

    And sweet writing, too.

    As always.

  3. This. This is lovely. It aches and rejoices and snuggles and dares. I love it.
    Also, just have to let you know that I pretend I'm in the movies when I'm by myself, too. Soundtrack and all. If I ever catch you at it, I won't say a word.

  4. Thanks, everyone. Your kindness is truly appreciated.

  5. This is beautiful my dear. I have a sweet 5 year old that I wish often I could see what she sees and take her hurt away.
    Now onto Drive.. ugg! I was going crazy with the songs using a KEYTAR!!?? and showing the very lovely red head's head exploding!! WOW and funny thing I watched Moneyball the night before and was thinking I could turn this off and be ok except for the fact that I know my mom would ask "didn't you just love it?"
    I think we have too much in common lol

  6. What is it about your writing that leaves me speechless? So often, your blog posts leave me with deep feelings that I can’t articulate, sometimes even tears, but no words to express the emotions. It’s kind of like that moment, after watching a really touching movie in a theatre, where instead of getting up to leave and talking to one another, everybody just sits there in silence while the credits roll. That’s how I feel after reading so many of your posts. Anyway, once again, this was a beautiful post. And Indy is a beautiful SWEETHEART of a child, and I love her so!!!


  7. Oooppsss! I don't know how I posted that comment twice, and now I don't know how to delete one---sorry!

  8. Oh, I just drank in that imagery. You see, I too have a five-year-old who so often I catch glimpses of her in her own little world. It's heart wrenching and yet so blasted beautiful to see them grow, am I right? precious little sweeties.

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  11. There are two subjects here. First, you say you put two sick ones to bed. Hope Ayla slept soundly. I agree with your mother, Jan, on how poignantly you write...her analogy " watching a movie...".
    Second, I have never been into baseball, I do follow football. And I wasn't sure about getting Moneyball, so surprised that I found that I really liked it--the determination to bring out the best in players known to be less qualified in some areas and giving them the opportunity and confidence to be part of a winning team. I found it aspiring that Beane attained his goals with what was considered the "underdogs"--known losers.
    And all with no romantic entanglements (deceit/betrayal), no sex--hot love-making, nude bodies (thank you)) just principles--good principles. A movie you wouldn't mind your kids watching.
    BTW, have you watched Rabbit Hole?

  12. It's not my fault! The screen kept telling asking me for a new word verification so I typed in the new ones--only later to find that I had submitted THREE posts and no known way to delete! Maybe you can delete some, Britt. Sorry for taking up so much of your comments space. Gramma

  13. Ok, one more time...did I not mention that Brad Pitt gave an outstanding performance in Moneyball? I could feel his emotions/his pain in just his body language..(known as "business" in theater language).
    And, did you see "Mrs Brown"..."The Queen," "Elizabeth"?


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