Sunday, January 15, 2006

And Grandma's Keeping Busy

The weekend felt eerily calm after the frantic action of the past couple. We hardly did any baby-related stuff at all. I washed a few loads of blankies and onesies and hung some things in her closet. I finally tossed the massive bag of gift-related rubbish that had been taking up space in her room. And today we picked up some Rx for China--including some sleeping pills so that hopefully I can be blissfully unaware of at least a portion of the 15.5 hour flight to Hong Kong.

Today I taught Family NIA at the new Toby Wells YMCA, and it was kind of weird. I was initially pleased to see a big turn-out of moms (and one dad) and their kids, most of them at danceable age, but as the class progressed the whole business started to seem surreal. Here I was leaping and prancing about, making noises like a cat or a chicken, and the kids either imitating me or sulking in the corner (they get tired and then cranky.) And the moms gamely waved their arms and kicked their legs, trying to keep up with me. But that's what moms do; they do stuff like act like a chicken with their kids. What's my excuse?? I was just the crazy lady acting like a chicken all by myself. And I don't even have the credentials to act like a chicken--I'm not really a dance teacher, and I have no experience with children's recreation or education. No, I'm just someone who enjoys acting like a chicken at a particularly advanced age for chicken-type antics. What does that make me?? A chicken impersonator???

Harumph. Later in the day David and I went to see "The Producers," having been unable to snag tickets at the cost of many hundreds of dollars when we were in New York. Turns out we needn't have bothered, though the movie was intermittently fun. I was impressed with Matthew Broderick's singing and dancing, and the cast in general, but it felt a little long for the premise.

Yesterday David and I drove to the OC to visit with my parents, Lindsey and Karl, Carrie and the girls, who were visiting for the weekend. It turned out to be a really fun day, beginning with a lively lunch at Pacific Whey, where Carrie told me that she and Ruo-Ruo have the same birthday (!) and Stella wanted one of R-R's photos for her own. It was raining, so next we headed to the Science Museum, which was like a mini-version of the Exploratorium, and had some really cool hands-on exhibits like a Laser Harp and a bed of nails you could lie on and another you could press your whole body into and make an impression. The best time was the Green-Screen Virtual Volleyball, where you watch a ball on a screen above you and try to whack it over the video net with your head or arm. I was laughing so hard and flailing so much I actually worked up a sweat!

My mom made a yummy dinner and some great desserts and it was great to just hang at the table and chat with Dad, Lindsey and Karl, which is something that doesn't happen a lot. But I haven't felt like writing in here as much since my chat with my mother while she was making split pea soup. She mentioned reading certain blogs everyday and when I said "And is mine among them?" she said, with a withering absence of delicacy, "Oh, your blog. It's like a Christmas letter." "A Christmas letter?" I repeated, wounded to the core. "It's so filled with detail. I really just like the main points."

Wow. Hard stuff from one's own mother, who more than anyone you'd think would want the details. I thought about all the Christmas letters I've read, which invariably have a brittle, cheery surface and a droning progression of events and accomplishments. Like class notes in the alumnae magazine, people rarely report anything "real," aka upsetting, embarrassing or just plain pathetic. It's true that I don't say every single thing that pops into my head; I am conscious of having an audience. When I first started the blog, it felt like a journal, but it doesn't anymore. It feels natural to use the second person from time to time. But I hope I am not entirely glib. That would really depress me.


Anonymous said...

Well, maybe your mom just isn't enough of a yenta like the rest of us!
I love your blog,and all its glorious details (Isn't that what you were impressing on your writing class -details, details?)!
Please, write on! I love this wonderful love-adventure you & David and Ruo-Ruo are on!!!
Best, Gail

Anonymous said...

sam: i love your blog, and your writing makes me feel that i know you and really adore you, even though we've never met in real life.

mothers say the most hurtful thing to their daughters, mothers who love their daughters and don't intend to hurt them at all, say things to them that they wouldn't say aloud to their worst enemies. my mom does it to me all the time. and sadly, i realize i'm now doing this to my ten year old daughter, whom i love more than my own life. maybe a psychiatrist can explain this phenomenon to us. is there one in the house?

my philosophy is that mothers experience their daughters as extensions of themselves, and therefore criticize them as harshly as they would themselves, often to devastating effects. i'm also guessing that the things we say are not always the things we mean. perhaps your mom is anxious about your leaving for the other side of the world to begin the most intense experience of your life, but just couldn't say that. maybe she reads your blog several times a day and cries the whole time she's reading it, because her baby is going to be holding a baby of her own in a few days, and the emotion of it all is too much.

in any case, i'm sure that your mom, like the rest of us - and moreso - thinks you're wonderful. keep 'em coming. and i love the soundtrack too ;-) xoxo jalan

Amy said...

You and I have discussed the power of voice. Your blog is such a wonderful imprint of your unique inspires me to really work on cultivating my own. Keep it coming girl!!!

Anonymous said...

Great seeing you guys. I can't wait to meet your daughter. I so love little girls (I know I keep saying that!) This place makes the best girl clothes:

Maybe you should intersperse Pro-Bush politics in your blog to get your mom to read? ;)

Sam, can you send me you email and snail mail address?


Anonymous said...

Hi Sam and David

A Christmas Letter written every day is an achievement not many could achieve. I manage it once every two years! Your journal is a delight, much more than a letter written once a year to inform all of all!

I toast your health, wealth and happiness for 2006 with your baby safe and sound at home in your nest.

Cheryl Rourke