Friday, August 12, 2011

Happy Changes

“Do you want to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, I ask Ivory.
“No. I only sing songs about animals.”
And a new song alights. This one is about lions.
For some reason my little girl will not sing nursery rhymes. She will ask for specific ones (at times), fill in missing words (at times), but will not sing a nursery rhyme.  Just last night she was sitting on the edge of the bed in my grandmother's basement singing to herself. “Happy Changes, Happy Changes, Happy Changes”. I have no idea where this song came from, but this is a classic Ivory song. She sings the moment.

Happy changes indeed. 
We just spent the day visiting with my Oma. Eating her wonderful home cooked food.. walking around her neighborhood and just enjoying her company.

We are on a road trip.

We left behind the mountains, drove across the plains, saw a few raindrops, a lasting rainbow, a sunrise and a sunset. We drove past bent over workers lumping potatoes into bags. We drove past bags of onions stacked high. We drove past the road side stands of water melons and cantaloupes.
Beautiful changes. Yummy changes.

I listened to Sylvan scream and scream as Ivory stared listlessly out of the window, my mama nerves about to shatter. He has a full belly, a clean diaper and is just bored I tried to remind myself. We don't usually drive. I have never used the car seat as a means of getting a child to sleep, instead I usually pick them up, hold them close and step out side. I slide my hand between the seats, and try to pat his belly to remind him that I'm still close. It works - temporarily. Desperately wanting some happy changes.

This trip reminds me of being not much older than Ivory. Sitting in the backseat of my parent's un-air conditioned station wagon. Driving across the United States. We did this summer after summer. Traveling from one grandparent's house to the others and stopping at state park after state park, national forests and battle fields. In the car with my brother, and then a sister followed by another sister. One summer the trips no longer were from grandparent to grandparents house but rather between my mother's house and my fathers visitation time. But all the same we drove across the country. These where mostly happy, but some not so happy changes.

I remember my thirteenth birthday. On that day, we stopped in Saint Louis. Our usual stop was the zoo, but I wanted to go to the art museum. My dad handed me a one hundred dollar bill and walked me to the front steps of the museum and let me go in by myself while he and the others wandered between cages of animal. My twenty third birthday was spent traveling back from our five week honeymoon in Europe... and I am sure that there where many more of my birthdays spent in cars. Memorable changes and some unremarkable ones.

The sky darkens and then is dark. Ivory is asleep, Sylvan finally quiets and we drive the last half hour in determination to not get grouchy at each other even though we have been sitting in the same car for the better part of a day.

We pull into my Mom's driveway. We are stopping only to drop off a few things and eat dinner before we drive on to my in-laws house. A tree has fallen smack dab in the middle of my mother's driveway smashing the roof, and it has to stay there until the insurance adjuster comes by. Some changes are jarringly sudden and followed by a draggingly slow bureaucratic mess. Both cars are stuck inside indefinitely.

“Happy Birthday, happy birthday, Happy Birthday.” Ivory sings as my mother brings out cake and ice cream. Her own version of happy birthday. I am a year older, and so is she. She is three, and she knows it. She is old enough to go to school.

After we leave the rolling mountains of the east, drive across the vast expanse of middle America and climb back up the road to our city nestled in the mountains there is a change waiting that I'm not ready for, but for which she has been begging. I will get to walk her to school for the very first time.


  1. LOVED this, Heidi! And happy happy late birthday! Hope to see you soon...

  2. I woke up this morning and found this page open. Hans was probably surfing last night ! I really liked it but it is also entering in people's life and intimacy. I'm not used to it ! Many times, Hans suggested that I start writing since we were in Japan but I never found the courage or desire doing it... Instead, I was making movies with our new i movie Mac software and I had fun ! I have been interrupted by Aymeric's moaning. Despite my short nights (Tiphaine asks her bottle of milk around 4am and Aymeric's sleeps all night through until 6am . Normally, it should be the way around ! ...
    Well, I guess I am going to return to my routine and wash clothings full of vomit and change dippers ! Fn,fun,fun....
    All the best and hope to see you soon. I'm impatient to see Ivory and Tiphaine as flower girls ! Laurélyne

  3. I look forward to seeing both of you ladies soon! (Latasha, I will be in stillwater on wednesday..)(and Laurelyne, I hope you and the family have a safe journey from france.)
    love, Heidi