This week has been one of the strangest on record. We went to work Monday like normal…but by Tuesday morning it was a different world. As we mentioned in the previous post, a good friend of ours died on Monday. Between our own shock, the sadness in our community of friends and supporting Ken’s loved ones…we didn’t have a lot of time to ourselves this week. On top of that, my cousin Bradley and his whole family (wife Cara, daughters Alora, Brittan and Zara, and son Max) came to visit.
Ken’s memorial was on Thursday night at the Tower (Anne and Jeremy’s place) and I have to admit being suprised about how much better we all seemed to feel after the event. Ken’s friends flew in from all around the country- New York, South Dakota, Chicago, Los Angeles. His parents and sister were there. Many Bay Area friends came. Altogether it made for a really nice tribute to Ken’s short but dynamic life. Howie put together a slide show. People shared their stories of Ken.
We were so lucky to have the Wogslands here in the days after Ken died. Not only because they were wonderful caretakers for Eliza while we were at the memorial…but also because their vitality and humor was a really healing presence for us. Their kids are all growing up. Brittan and Alora are almost as tall as I am and the smartest 11 year olds I have ever met. Maxwell and Zara are also so cute and so fun. As the two youngest in the family and only 2 years apart they operate as a little team. Their bathtub time was probably the funniest part of the trip.
Eliza continues to baffle us with her physical development. Howie and I took her on a picnic yesterday where she climbed around in between us like a real toddler. It was amazing to see her let go of my leg- hang mid-air- and then reach over and find howie’s leg to lean. She’s also taken to leaning with her back against the couch…facing toward the playroom like a barfly searching the club for a possible date. Howie commented that it’s not so much that she’s learning to do new things…it’s that walking and talking are like her ‘prime directive.’
She might be part Cylon. Ken would like that. He’d think that was pretty great.
More later. Many hugs! Howie and Kate
Bluebird of Happiness July 23, 2009
Howie and I lost a close friend on Monday. We will probably write more later. But we thought we’d re-publish this post. This was the second post ever on the foreverendeavor. Ken was a HUGE fan of Eliza and babies in general. When he met her, he wept like an 80 year old grandmother.
gmail chat with Ken Blackwood in May 2008
Ken: kate, tell me some jokes
me: knock knock
Ken: i need laughter – whos there
me: i’m pregnant
Ken: hahahahahahahha thats good
me: no really i am
Ken: get the FUCK OUT!!!!!!!!!
Ken: HOLY SHIT!!!! REALLY?!!??!!
me: yep really really not so funny any more eh? 😉
Ken: oh congratulations times 100000
me: thanks man! we’re stoked
Ken: not it was an awesome way to tell me
me: started a blog will be sharing it soon
Ken: on the e-internet
me: yeah it’s called “the forever endeavor”
Ken: oh man im about to cry im so happy
me: that’s terrific yeah it’s early so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we make it across the finish line into second trimester territory then things are less scary and pukey. Thanks for your happiness!
Ken: im so happy when did you find out
me: there’s a hummingbird in our tree out front with two eggs in her nest. you should see it it’s so cute. we found out last week
Ken: like you guys
me: i know its totally my totem animal
Ken: how far along are you
me: 7 weeks
PM Ken: you gotta baby swimming inside of you. how did you know?
me: no period, boobs sore, took a test, oh and we were trying 😉
Ken: i know ! way to have unprotected sex!
me: right! okay man, i hope that helped
Ken: it realy did
me: i have to go thogh becausse i’m trying to finish a grant. let’s see you soon-and you can rub my not so big belly
Ken: k awesome! bye
Miles of Milestones July 15, 2009
Tonight I was making dinner in our new kitchen. Corn chowder. I’d just had a phone conversation with my brother, Howie was at Safeway grabbing an extra bag of frozen corn, Eliza was upstairs howling for my attention. I let her cry and babble and carry on for about 10 minutes, then figured I would go see what she was hollering about. As I rounded the corner, I saw my Eliza standing in her crib like a wee infant criminal wearing the most shameless grin ever. It was the first time I’ve ever seen Eliza stand up completely on her own.
These last few weeks we’ve blown through some major baby milestones. Two weeks ago Eliza started with the “Da-da-da.” Actually she started saying “A-da” but it quickly moved on to a consonant-first pronunciation. She’s now moved from “Da-da” to “Ma-ma” and “Da-ya” and “Wah-ya.” Her first consonant sound was “gi”- I would say to her in a French accent “Oh, so you are a leetle boy named Guy?” and she would reply, in the affirmative, “Guy!” But these new consonant sounds actually have English meanings…which makes them so much more exciting. Even though we know that she’s not really meaning what she’s saying…we swoon when she touches Howie’s face and says “Da-da.”
At the same time that she started saying “a-da” she started rocking on all fours. A couple days later she began to test out moving her arms and legs. Her first attempts almost always ending in a face plant. However, after many hours of practice she crawled the first time on the 4th of July when we were skyping with Howie’s sister Elizabeth and her kids. She crawled right to the computer and started typing.
Once she started crawling, she was also sitting up. And when she was sitting up she wasn’t doing those random trust-falls that used to make me so nervous. She was sitting up happily holding her balance. When she was done sitting she’d fall forward on to her hands and crawl away.
Yesterday she crawled over to Howie and used his leg to pull herself up into a kneeling position.
And then today, she’s all the sudden standing, hands-on-the-bars, grinning at me as I rounded the corner.
There are other milestones too. Elizabeth and Karl (Eliza’s godparents) were married in New York this weekend by our friend Annie and in the presence of their East and West Coast families. It was a beautiful and much-anticipated ceremony after 7 years of dating. I just kissed them good-bye so that Howie could drive them to the airport for their 25-day-long honeymoon in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Next week the Wogslands will be here. Then, Eliza and I are attending a second wedding on the east coast . Desaray and Lauren are getting married in another Quaker ceremony. We’re also going to see Mamie, Natalie, Eliot and Hannah (my niece). Hannah is starting high school next year and is now several inches taller than me.
The last several years have been shaped in large part by the making of plans. Planning to get a degree. Planning to graduate. Planning to get a job. Planning to get pregnant. Planning for the birth. Planning for returning to work. Planning for the weddings. Now I look beyond August and I have no plans. I’ve even chosen a long-acting contraceptive (for all those of you who are wondering about the timing of a second child).
Writing all of this feels like a big long sigh. Tinged with some relief and some sadness. For the first time in my life, I really have no plans…except to be in my family and wait for Eliza to take her next step.