Sunday, July 21, 2013

Some SLC firsts

Night number one in the new house: I sat on my bed in my second story bedroom high above the quaint street below. My back nestled into the green pillows, and Sam nursed eagerly. Sun light streamed through the panes of the windows and warmed the skin on my arms. It felt like magic, soft and tingly. Such romantic scenes weren't possible in our gloomy basement apartment. My shoulders slumped in exhaustion and my feet ached from the manual labor of moving, but my spirit soared from joy and negated any physical discomfort. Between the solar energy dancing about my room and the soft infant in my arms, my eyes closed automatically as if savoring a gentle kiss. I opened them again and tried to memorize the unfamiliar silhouette of the Salt Lake valley mountains. Grey clouds rolled down from the north and drizzled light rain on the pavement. I stared down the street at the gabled roofs of my neighbors and felt transported to the stereotyped streets of suburbia England. Whistling the theme song from Harry Potter may have crossed my mind, but instead I serenaded Sam with a vintage tune from a soda commercial.

First shopping trip: After a few days of living in the new house I found myself without the internet I'd been promised. New to the area and with no smart device that could direct me around town, I was housebound until my husband came home with his phone. The refrigerator was empty and echoed when I opened it for a drink of water. The closest grocery store was a Reams a few blocks down the street. Although I'd never been to a Reams I was eager to check out my local options for supermarket excursions. With my Rowbabies safe in the arms of my husband, I ventured out alone so the motherhood fog about my head could clear. My blue car pulled into the Reams parking lot, and I surveyed the building. It was short, small, and old compared to the Orem stores to which I was accustomed. But it had produce and milk so I stepped into the shady lot, locked the car, and hurried inside as a light sprinkling of rain fell from the deep gray clouds. Once inside, the smell of decay weaved its way into my nostrils, and a bearded stranger eyed me grumpily. I was oddly comfortable as the outdated d├ęcor and elderly employees reminded me of the small towns of the Midwest. This was a jewel inside the big city, and as I picked out berries for Andrea's breakfast I felt my mouth pull up into a smile.

First breakdown: Thursday morning began with a slightly feverish toddler who refused to eat breakfast. A hour later she began to complain of some nausea. I sat beside her, with a nursing newborn in one hand and a barf bowl in the other, praying her stomach would hold until I could put Sam down on the floor. When he finished eating I laid him on his play mat and tried to address Andrea's needs. I fought the urge to call my mom. I stopped my fingers from texting my sister. What could they do forty miles away? No, I was alone-- alone in my pseudo-British community just down the street from a small town store. All the charm in the world could not erase the homesickness that was attacking my lungs and constricting my airways. While Andrea and I sat on the couch snuggling away “the pukies” I choked back tears and asked my little child if she would say a prayer with me. We knelt on the floor and through an episode of ugly blubbering I begged Heavenly Father to help my child feel better or give me the strength and ability to properly care for both of needy children. We said amen and the blue eyes of my sweet toddler penetrated my soul as she studied my face. She smiled a crooked grin and hesitantly asked, “You happy now, Mommy?” And leaning on her perfect faith I was.

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