Monday, October 4, 2010

Just the "bear" facts, ma'am

Jack and I were riding peacefully and quietly in the car today when he piped up from the backseat.

J: "Mama? Did you know I was bitten by a bear once?"

R: "Um, no. I did not know that."

J: "Well, I was. It was awful."

R: "When did this happen? Because I wasn't aware of it..."

J: (eagerly warming up to the plot) "Well, Daddy drove me out into the woods a few weeks ago, and there was a giant bear out there, and it BIT ME."

R: (thinking this has moved out of pretend land and into LIAR realm) "I'm pretty sure that didn't happen, because I would like to think that if you'd been bitten by a bear your daddy would tell me about it."

J: "It actually happened, Mama. He had VERY SHARP TEETH."

R: (setting up a trap) "Okay. Then I need to ask your daddy about this, because that's a pretty serious thing to have happen to you. I wonder what your daddy will say when I ask him about the bear biting you?"

J: "Well, he was pretty sad about it when it happened, and he probably won't want to talk about it right now." (dodges the trap!)

R: (thinks)

J: (waits)

R: (decides to fall back on the trusty old STINK EYE maneuver... fixes Jack with STINK EYE) "Jack Henry, are you telling me a lie?"

J: (matter-of-fact, meets STINK EYE with no apparent qualms) "No. I'm really not. I was bitten by a bear in the woods."

R: (flustered)

J: (waits calmly, still meeting STINK EYE with no fear)

R: (brings out the ultimate mother's tool) "All right. Let's just call your Daddy right this very minute and see what he says, okay?" (sits back and waits for a confession)

J: (begins to look a little shifty-eyed, finally) "Okay, but remember that he's VERY sad about it. He might not want to talk about it to you."

R: (fake dials) "Oh, hello Watson. I wanted to call and ask you if you've ever taken Jack into the woods where he was bitten by a bear with very sharp teeth? (pause) Oh, okay. Yes, that's what I thought. Hmm, I'll have to talk to him about telling lies to his mother." (fake hangs up and then turns to look at Jack with eyebrows raised)

J: (shrugs) "He probably just forgot."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


At this exact time eleven years ago, I was nineteen years old. I was also lying in a hospital bed for the first time in my life, and I was in labor.

To say I was terrified would be an understatement. I was still just a kid, and in the previous nine months I'd disappointed my parents, been the target of rumors and name calling, had vicious morning sickness, and I'd gotten married and moved more than 500 miles away from home to a place where I had no friends or family.

We had a few false starts on the whole delivering-the-baby front. Watson and I had raced to the hospital three times because I was feeling all Braxton-Hicksish and thought this had to be it, right? Can't be any worse than this, right? All mothers have free reign to laugh at my naivete. Finally, ten days after the due date, I was scheduled for an induction on April 13, 1999.

As someone absolutely horrified by the idea of spontaneously going into labor in, say, a supermarket or traffic jam, I was very reassured by the convenience of having an appointment for baby birthing. It also guaranteed that I would have freshly shaved legs.

I arrived at Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock, Arkansas at 7:30 a.m. The next ten hours were a blur of intense pain, Pitocin dripping, epidural needles, Burger King commercials that were making me ravenously hungry, measly ice chips, Watson reading/singing/talking to me, forceps, being told the baby was positioned the wrong way and was stuck, NICU team members lining up around the room just in case and sending me into a panicked bout of hyperventilation that earned me an oxygen mask and then...

There she was. My glorious baby girl. I immediately started crying, because for the first time ever, I heard my baby crying. Dr. Simmons held her up in the air. She was screaming like a banshee, she was the color of a ripe tomato, and she was clearly furious about the whole birthing ordeal. I stared at her. She stared at me. We both cried some more. The nurse handed her to me. She was crimson and puffy, smushy-faced and slightly cross-eyed. She was the most breathtakingly beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

Watson leaned over to praise us both and to ask what I thought we should name her. I thought about one of the names I'd suggested on a whim. One that sounded strong, courageous. Willing to take a bold chance chasing a dream. Sailor. Watson looked at her with tears in his eyes and nodded.

She grabbed my finger with her tiny little fist and started to nurse, and at that moment I was no longer a scared, unsure kid. I was a mother. I was Sailor's mother.

Eleven years ago today, Sailor Margaret Nichols was born. Sailor, who brings sunshine and poetry and love and laughter to every day. Sailor, who has her daddy's kind heart and determination and her mother's affection for books and tendency toward the dramatic. Sailor, who came into my life unexpectedly and gave it purpose.

Sailor, who is growing up entirely too fast.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Very Important Date

Sailor is spending her spring break in Alabama, so Jack and I have a week together. Alone. This is a precious time, when Jack gets me all to himself.

We went to the dollar theatre today to see The Princess and the Frog. Jack ate an entire box of Milk Duds and half a bag of popcorn, and he laughed like a crazed little loon at the onscreen hijinks. I guess it was pretty good. I can't be sure. I sat there for an hour and a half and watched Jack.

I watched the way he oh so carefully lifted the bottle of Sprite to his lips, struggling a bit with the 20 ounce bottle that was too big for his grip. I watched how he scrabbled around in the popcorn bag and was able to completely fill his hand with just four or five pieces of popcorn. I saw him eat the candy, saw him completely unconcerned with the smears of chocolate all over his face. I watched his eyes shine. I watched how he laughed with his whole body, little legs sticking straight out over the edge of the movie seat. I watched how he shuddered and shook when the "bad guys" caught the unwary frogs, and he scampered over to sit in my lap. I looked at his soft little hands as he patted my arm subconsciously, saw him seeking comfort from contact with his mother in a way so natural he didn't really have to think about it. I noticed the little dimples at the bottom of each of his fingers. I held him tight and closed my eyes, relishing how he still fits in my lap just so, and how when he leans back, I can rest my chin on the top of his head. He smells like Buzz Lightyear shampoo, and he's soft and slightly sticky. And I know.

I know with a certainty that stings my eyes and squeezes my heart that this won't last. So today, I spent an hour and a half just looking at my baby.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gonna Give it Another Shot

I'm very, very envious of my friends who blog regularly. Take my friend Mrs. Gilliland, for example. She's good, people.

Anywho, I'm going to make an effort to do better. Really! I think about all the precious moments with my kiddos that have already flown by with nary a word to commemorate them, and I am sad.

Because I'm nursing a cold from hell (this thing's got fangs and claws, and I'm not kidding), and because my brain has surrendered to the delightful, mushy stupor that my cold medicine provides, my first official Back In The Game post is going to be a cop-out. Pictures!

Jack, taken in one of those really lovely moments when you don't have a care in the world and can spend a little time just being.

And here, here we have Sailor. Sailor served as a Page for the House of Representatives at the Georgia State Capitol. In this photo, she's posing at the Capitol and making her plans for future world domination. This kid amazes me every day.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why must I do this to myself?

My own personal form of self-torture:

Sailor and Jack are in the rocking chair on my mother's front porch. This was two weeks after Jack was born.

Sailor and Jack are in the rocking chair on my mother's front porch. This is two years after Jack was born.