Last night, I couldn’t sleep. Much of it was my cough, dry and persistent with lots of pain. Odie bought some cough medicine, but he accidentally got the kind with alcohol in it, so I couldn’t take any. But I was also troubled by guilt. Even though Odie and I have nothing in our rental contract that specifies yard upkeep, we do let it get pretty out of control. One of the neighbors apparently mentioned it to the landlord, who emailed me a very diplomatic inquiry. I wish I could get out there with my yard tools and snip, clip, shovel and trim our yard into submission. But in the ninety degree heat, six and a half months pregnant, it seems like a bad call.
Our yard has two stages: dry, dead carnage and overgrown weeds. We live on a hillside, and the hillside truly needs a retaining wall built around it to keep the dirt and shrubbery off the road and sidewalk. Since it doesn’t have one, things can get a bit out of hand. It’s also quite a large parcel of land, so the job of keeping it looking nice requires a full-time gardener which we cannot afford.
So I sat in my chair watching “Law and Order: Los Angeles” late into the night and feeling bad about my yard. I’m proud to say that I resisted the urge to make and eat several grilled cheese sandwiches around midnight, and went to bed instead, where I lay restlessly for another hour.
I was thinking about Jack Nicholson, because I read on a gossip site earlier in the day that his daughter turned 21. Cynically, I thought about how her dad dates women about her age (or more likely “hires” women about her age). In a few years, his daughter’s friends will be too old for him.
Which led me to thoughts of Nicholson in “The Witches of Eastwick” and my “bloom” project/mission. (https://mrsodie2.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/the-bloom-project/) In the middle of a sleepless night, it occurred to me that when Nicholson as Daryl VanHorne tells Cher about his perfect woman, he was playing the Devil. This is LUCIFER describing the ideal woman. A woman ripe for the plucking by the temptations of Satan himself. And I had to chuckle.
Vanity. Narcissism. Sloth. Envy. Several of the seven deadly sins, all of which I am guilty. Although, not gluttony. See above where I did NOT make and eat grilled cheese sandwiches.
I rethought my Bloom Project. I don’t want to bloom. Blooming is temporary. A flower blooms for but a moment, then fades away and dies. I want to do more than bloom. I want to flourish. I want to burgeon, thrive, succeed, develop. I want to ARRIVE.
And, yes, I did look up “flourish” in a thesaurus.
As the daughter in my womb ripens, I put myself on hold in some ways. I have to avoid the retin-A products I would normally apply to combat the signs of aging. I cannot diet to lose weight. I must exercise carefully and moderately. On the inside, though, my thoughts of flourishing continue. This is my last year in my thirties. The last year of my twenties seems only months ago. Most women raise their children in their thirties and find themselves facing forty with an empty nest. I am a decade behind in this regard. I will turn forty with a three year-old and an infant. And a bikini body? Only time will tell.
Okay, not a “bikini” body. I have never been a bikini girl. I am too pale. It’s a commitment to sunscreen that I’m unwilling to make. A stylish one-piece suit and sarong body, with a wide-brimmed hat. That I can do.
This summer, I look forward to afternoons at our friends’ pool, watching the older kids do fearless, noisy cannonballs into the water while Odie supervises our two year-old in the shallow end. I will be doughy and postpartum pudgy in the shade, snuggling my sweaty infant and gossiping. Sipping chilled white wine in between breastfeeding sessions. Flourishing on the inside.