I hand her the pen, slide the paper in front of her, and she draws.
Then I stitch:
And snap photos. Today’s photo is taken on a squash plant in the garden my husband has cultivated this year. Or maybe it has cultivated him. You know how that goes.
Nancy’s daddy – my father-in-law – told me repeatedly that I make too much of things. An engineer by nature and by training, having me for a daughter-in-law was rather a shock to his system, me and my questions like “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and what would your leaves look like and how would you spend your days?” (which was one of the easiest, most elementary questions I asked him). He perplexed me, D did, and sometimes he annoyed me, but like any well-written piece of music, by the end of the score, everything resolved into an enjoyable, respectful, I don’t think “loving” would be too big of a stretch, relationship. But every time my fingers hover over the keys that would tell you what I’m seeing and sensing and feeling about a particular drawing or this project in general, I’d hear his voice saying those words from way back before the resolution part of the music, and I’d shush myself and cower.
I dreamed about him last night – D, my children called him. Andy and I were visiting D at his house, as was Donn (Andy and Nancy’s brother). I remember the house being very interesting from an architectural standpoint, and there was conversation, but I don’t recall anything that was said, just that we talked and it was amicable enough. The garage was underground, and ginormous hydraulic lifts – I remember there being three of them – raised the cars to ground level so we could drive off. While we were down preparing to put the cars on the lifts to take our leave, I thought of something I wanted to tell D, but when I looked down at the floor of the garage in the direction I needed to go to go back inside the house, there weren’t just oil spots, there were oil puddles – maybe even oil oceans – and there I was, wearing my size 5.5 white Keds. Every now and then, there was a dry spot of concrete, so I hopped, skipped, and leapt my way through the oil without getting any on me, and as I made my way through, I thought “See, playing hop scotch really paid off.”
And as I woke up (we’re back to real life now), something shifted – or maybe it snapped – it’s hard to tell. I came into the studio and wrote and wrote and wrote about all of this and just as I wrote the last sentence in my declaration, my womanifesto, what do you think happened as I laid the pen down? I looked up to see a hummingbird flying right in front of the window before me and take a seat on the Sunday-Makes-A-Week’s-Worth clothesline. I may not fully understand the dream yet, but I totally get the hummingbird action.
So let me tell you what I see in this one (which may or may not be what you see): I see a woman’s face, her profile, really. She has a pointy chin and nose, interesting lips that are smiling, I think, and eyes on the top of her head (which is not to be confused with eyes in the back of her head). Oh, and she has to-die-for long eyelashes, too.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. WATCH THIS:
When I turn #52 upside over (which is kinda’ the way I do everything in life, if you want to know the truth), I see a male with a mustache and receding eyes. His big head sits perched atop his miniaturized body, his head and body supported by his rather large-but-then-they’d-need-to-be-to-support-him feet. He’s talking – loudly, it would seem. Or maybe he’s pontificating or scolding or admonishing. Whatever he’s doing, his lips are moving and he’s putting some real air behind it, but I can’t make out a single word he’s saying.
She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning and read your way current.
And there’s a pinterest board, too.