As around the sun the earth knows she's revolving
And the rosebuds know to bloom in early may
Just as hate knows love's the cure
You can rest your mind assured
That I'll be loving you always
As now can't reveal the mystery of tomorrow
But in passing will grow older every day
Just as all that's born is new
You know what I say is true
That I'll be loving you always
Just as time knew to move on since the beginning
And the seasons know exactly when to change
Just as kindness knows no shame
Know through all your joy and pain
That I'll be loving you always
Change your words into truths
And then change that truth into love
And maybe our children's grandchildren
And their great grandchildren will tell
I'll be loving you until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky
Only part of the song, but the lyrics that we felt were right and proper for our wedding. To me, the part about our children and grandchildren was really important. Koji and I both loved how Songs in the Key of Life covered the whole multi-generational thing so completely, from talking about boyhood and getting in trouble with your Mama in "I Wish" to the miracle of having one's own child in "Isn't She Lovely", to the mention in "As" of not just children and grandchildren, but even great grandchildren. Family means so much to both Koji and I.
We were young when we got married. I was twenty years old, he was twenty-three. He'd graduated from MIT just a few months before, and we had recently moved to California together. Koji and I spent the next six years being kids together. A six year honeymoon, of sorts. We played and had fun, went camping, went to concerts, went to amusement parks, stayed up all night wandering around San Francisco, or driving out by the coast and sitting under the stars listening to the ocean. We had fun.
Somewhere in there, we decided we wanted to have a baby, and I got my IUD removed. (I can't believe I ever had one of those things in my body. Was I crazy?) We started grand efforts to get pregnant. Practicing was fun. Along about that time, I discovered computers at the local library. They had (don't choke) an Apple IIe there, and I would use Print Shop and Newsroom and other goofy ancient fake DTP programs to do stuff with. Took what I learned, applied for an office job at a tree surgeon, got it, and suddenly was using a Macintosh (back in the days when they were a rectangular unit with a five inch greyscale monitor built in) to do billing, payroll, IRS filings, Worker's Comp reports... it was crazy, but I learned.
And no baby was forthcoming. Every month the damn pregnancy test was negative.
My daughter is reading this entry over my shoulder and she just looked at me and said "You had sex monthly?" I wonder what she'll say when I tell her we had it a lot more than that. ;)
After a couple of years I bit the bullet and went to the gynecologist for my first full on exam in, oh God, years. Since I was 19. I had not had a pap smear or pelvic since I was 19. I'd had my IUD put in then, and it was a progestasert, good for seven years, and had had it pulled out a couple of years prior, when Koji and I decided it was baby time, so I just didn't bother. And the pap came back positive.
My GYN told me to wait four months and come back for another smear. That often an abnormal pap smear clears itself up in a few months, so standard procedure is to wait a few months and then re-pap. So we waited, and while we waited, we shut off our sex life completely. I was terrified, nearly catatonic with fear, and the last thing that I wanted to have happen was to get pregnant, go back, find out that my uterus was ridden with cancer AND that I was pregnant, and that not only did I have to have my works removed, but I had to kill a baby at the same time. Koji felt the same way. So we just flat out stopped everything and played the waiting game. Four months later, my next pap smear was even worse than the first, and we scheduled a cervical conization biopsy to see just how involved the crap was. My doctor cut the cone surgically instead of with a laser, as he wanted very clean edges so that pathology could see the full extent of the damage. He also took scrapings and biopsies of the endometrium and uterine interior.
I went home that evening achey and crampy, with instructions to refrain from "marital relations" until after my next check-up with the doctor. No problem, Doc. No worries there, bub. (Aside: my doctor was a Japanese guy by the name of Dr. Baba. He looked like he was about 80, which means he had to have been around 114. And according to every GYN I have had since, he was an incredible gynecological surgeon, some of them have really had to feel around to find the cone scar.)
Two weeks later I go in for my check-up and he says I've healed great, we can "resume marital relations" whenever we like. Oh, and the pathology report is in. It was early stage cancer, cervical only, nothing in the uterus or endometrium. The cone showed completely clear edges, he took a pap smear just now, will call me with the results, come back every three months for another pap smear for the next few years, then I can go down to twice a year for a while, then the normal once a year. Oh, and by the way, within the area cut for the cone, there had been a very small tumor that seemed to have been acting as a one way trap door. It was allowing my menstrual flow OUT, but preventing anything from getting IN, which explains several years of unsuccessful attempts at having a baby.
That night, Koji and I got nekkid, climbed into bed, and well. You know. I hope. But it didn't work out so good. It kind of hurt a bit, I was still sore. So we didn't do anything more for another month. By then, I had had a positive pregnancy test.
One hellacious pregnancy later, which I won't go into all of the hairy the details of, but let's put it this way: Amy almost didn't make it to this world, more than once. It was a risky pregnancy, I was sick, I nearly miscarried her, I DID miscarry her twin, I had premature labor that was stopped, I was flat on my back in bed for ages upon ages, it was really bad. I ended up with a Cesarean section, and a beautiful, screaming baby girl who hasn't shut her mouth in the entire thirteen and a half years since her birth.
I had severe post-partum depression, bordering on post-partum psychosis. We had no clue what was going on. All I knew was that I had a very hard time dealing with this baby, and I couldn't wait until Koji got home every day, because it meant I didn't have to cope any more. I admit that I was less than a nurturing mommy at that time. Amy spent far more time in her baby seat or playpen or crib than she should have, and far less time being cuddled and loved than she needed.
I am sure that this is a big part of why she is so very close to her father, who was always able to give freely of his love and affection, while I was stuck in my own head, lost in my depression and unable to pull myself out of it and let myself just really love my baby freely. I loved her, but I had trouble showing it. This has caused us problems over the years, Amy and me. Our relationship has always been kind of rocky and volatile. We blow up at each other, yelling or stomping around, at the drop of a hat. Very similar people, similar temperaments, Amy and me.
Then there was the computer. I got my first one when she was a couple of years old. No net, just crappy shareware games and programs. Turned my back on the house and family, went into the world of bits and bytes. Sunk deeper into my own head and my own depression. When Amy was four, for my thirtieth birthday, I bought myself my first modem, and that was the end of my family. Came online, met that utter arsehole who I am currently in the divorce process with, and spiralled down from there.
Somehow, though, through all of this, the one thing I hung on to was the sure knowledge that although I was lousy at showing it and expressing it, I loved my little girl. I loved her enough that I didn't pack my bags and move to Australia, not even when the runt told me several times that if I didn't, he would dump me. (I've got the emails and the logs to prove it. Of course, I didn't tell him to go to Hell, either, I can't figure out why. Masochism, I guess.) And I know that Amy loved me, still does.
As she has gotten older, I've loved watching her grow into a young woman. She is amazing. A talented artist. Give her a lump of clay and she can coax beauty from it. Hand her pens or paints, and she can put her feelings on a piece of paper or canvas in image form that is just astounding. Offer her the computer and Photoshop and she does gorgeous stuff. Give her a word processor and she writes poetry and stories and essays that bring tears to the eyes or smiles to the lips. Hand her a guitar or an ukulele (OO-koo-LAY-lay if you pronounce it properly, folks. NOT You-kah-lay-lee) and she can play beautiful music, music she composes herself, music she learns in school or from books or figures out from her own ear. But her own compositions are the best. She has perfect pitch and an incredible ear for what goes together, what sounds right, and her picking is out of this world.
She's generous. All her life, when she saw homeless people she would ask her father or me for some money to give to them. As she got older and had money of her own, she would give them her own money. She will give a friend who forgot to bring any money to school half of her own lunch money so that her friend can have something to eat. She will buy her mother a soda when she comes over for a visit, just because she thinks I might want one.
She's kind. When the four year old girl from down the row asks her "Will you play with me, Amy?" Amy doesn't scoff or snort. She looks at me for permission and she plays with this little girl, treating her with dignity and kindness and love.
She's loyal to her friends. When they need her, she is there for them. She offers them a ready ear, a steady arm to lean on. She can be counted on, even when they don't always treat her so well. She trusts them, even when they hurt her feelings. She's just like that.
She is loyal to her family. She loves her sister and her brother and doesn't use the word 'step' to refer to them. That word doesn't exist. She talks to her new brothers, all four of them, like they matter, from the very first time she talks to them, not like they are strangers, but like they are family. She took a little more time accepting Sam, because that former jerk of mine really messed with her trust, but she sees how happy he is making me, and one day recently she bestowed the ultimate accolade on him, declaring him "A Parent Person", making him one of the Fabulous Four, along with me, Koji and Debbra. And the other day she told him that she loved him, and nearly made her mother cry, the little beast.
Yesterday, we went to the mall together to get our picture taken. Thirteen years and we have never had a mother/daughter portrait taken. So I decided that it is way overdue, especially since I am moving away soon, and we will be seeing a lot less of each other. I wanted us to have a really good photograph of ourselves, something that we can both frame and look at. They took tons of poses and we ultimately purchased three. One of the two of us close together, smiling and happy. Another of us holding a teddy bear between us, our hands clasped together on the bear's belly. And the third of us sprawled on this big plastic yellow crescent moon thing, a silly fun shot. Scans to come this week some time. Got to go to Kinko's for that, since the runt stole my scanner when he stole my dog and much of the rest of my life - I need to thank him for most of that, except the dog. And the scanner, of course.
We had a good time at the mall, window shopping. Got an aloha shirt for Sam. Green ferns on it the exact color of Sam's eyes. Got ourselves sterling silver and garnet rings. Garnet is Amy's birthstone, and I have wanted a garnet ring since she was born. Now I have one. Our rings do not match, that would be too goofy, even for us. They each suit our personalities. But they will remind us of a really fun day we shared this summer of 2004, a day completely unmarred by argument or hissy fits.
Last night, I was talking to Sam while Amy got her Net Fix, and I was telling him how I had told Guthrie that I tend to be pretty strict, but that I don't like to be. That I am a person who can be your best friend, but if I have to get tough, I get tough, I just don't like having to do it. Then I called Amy in to the bedroom and asked her a few questions.
Me: Am I strict?
Me: Am I fair?
Me: When I'm wrong, do I admit it?
Amy: Yes, sometimes it takes you a while, though.
Me: Overall, do you think I'm a good mother?
Amy: 'Course, Ma. The last few years, we've become really good friends, too.
Made me sniffle, that last bit there.
She frustrates me no end. Makes me mad a lot. Makes me tear my hair out in frustration a lot. Worries me to death, especially when she starts hurting herself or acting depressed. But she fills me with joy, too. And she makes me proud. So proud. She is truly something special, an incredible young woman, who is shooting for the stars and will only be limited by whatever limitations she chooses to impose on herself. Her future is bright. Thank God.
She wrote me this poem last winter, when my marriage was crumbling and my sanity was on the brink of destruction.
I wrote this one for her when she was three years old.
I love you, Punkin. Love you lots.
Isn't she lovely
Isn't she wonderful
Isn't she precious
Less than one minute old
I never thought through love we'd be
Making one as lovely as she
But isn't she lovely made from love
Isn't she pretty
Truly the angel's best
Boy, I'm so happy
We have been heaven blessed
I can't believe what God has done
through us he's given life to one
But isn't she lovely made from love
Isn't she lovely
Life and love are the same
Life is Aisha
The meaning of her name
Londie, it could have not been done
Without you who conceived the one
That's so very lovely made from love.
(Lyrics to As and Isn't She Lovely Copyright Stevie Wonder)