Friday, November 02, 2007

Surrender Bay

Scenes from the life of the mother of a four-year-old.

Yesterday morning, Mia was eating cereal in front of Good Morning America before school. Joan Lunden was going to interview Heather Mills about her meltdown the previous day on British television. They played a portion of Mills' emotional breakdown, to which Mia immediately said, "Oh, geez!" in disgust.

After I picked Mia up from school, I ran up to Hickory Cemetery to take some pictures of tombstones. A very nice gentleman from California contacted me earlier this week about his father who was a neighbor of my grandfather when they were boys. I went up to take pictures of his great-grandparents' stones, as well as a bunch of my own. I had to explain to Mia where we were going which evolved into a long conversation about the difference between the soul and the body and what happens to us after we die. She is struggling with the concept of the separation, just as philosophers have for millenia.
Sometimes I use the shower as a brief respite from the demands on me. It's like a little shot of me time in the middle of Mommy time. But not yesterday. I asked Molly to keep an eye on Mia while I hopped in the shower. I had barely gotten wet when there was pounding on the door. "Mommy, I have to go potty!"
"Ok honey, come on in." I felt a blast of cool air as she opened the door. She chattered the whole time, and we took turns making letter sounds for the other to guess which letter we were using. "Mommy, what makes a pa sound?"
"Hmm, that sounds like a p. Mia, what makes a sss sound?"
She always takes an inordinate amount of time going to the bathroom, but eventually she flushed the toilet (no problem there, the water pressure isn't effected by that). She was on her way out when I reminded her to wash her hands. She turned on the faucet, and immediately the water in the shower dwindled to a trickle. I had just put the conditioner in my hair.
"Mia, wash your hands." She immediately turned on the faucet while looking for the handsoap.
"With which soap Mommy?"
"The new stuff I just bought. It's on the counter."
"With the blue stuff?" Blue stuff? we don't own any blue stuff! The conditioner was starting to snake down my forehead, and the showerhead was putting out less pressure than I've seen babies do when drooling.
"No Mia, the new stuff, I think it's white."
"I found it Mommy."
As she finally turned the faucet off, I realized that I had forgotten to put a towel on the floor outside of the shower so I asked her to put one down for me. Suddenly I felt cold air whaft past my legs, and I squeezed open my eyes to see Mia throwing a towel into the shower with me! She couldn't get it all in, so she was kicking it and water was spraying out into the room. The panic in my voice quickly translated to panic in her voice as I stuttered out not to put the towel in the shower. That one was now a lost cause, so I asked her to put another one out for me, but not in the shower.
"Thank you Mia."
"You're welcome Mommy." She left me alone in peace. I was done in just another couple of minutes, and when I reached outside of the shower for the fresh towel, I realized that the bathroom door was wide open.
"Help, I need help please!"
Doogie yelled, "Molly, help Mom!" even though he was closer.
Molly yelled "What?"
This entire cycle of shouting was repeated three times before Molly finally came and shut the door and smirked at me while I hid behind the shower curtain. Upon getting out, I discovered the reason that Mia had taken so long going potty: she took all 12 rolls of toilet paper from the pack and made a huge tower on the floor in front of the toilet. At this point, I started considering Hawaii for my next break from Mommy time.

Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter is the story of Samantha (Sam) who has to return to Nantucket to sell the house of her hated stepfather after his death. But returning home brings up a lot of ghosts for Sam and questions for her eleven-year-old daughter Caden. This story could be seen simply as a romance, but it is so much more than that! Landon, Sam's childhood best friend, has been waiting for Sam his whole life, but secrets Sam has kept for far too long threaten to tear them apart. Sam is not your typical character in a Christian novel. She drinks, has poor impulse control, is sexually lax and not a great mom. But she's trying. Her entire focus is trying to improve her daughter's life and ensure that Caden won't have to be a house cleaner like Sam. Abandoned by her mother, abused by her stepfather, and pregnant under mysterious circumstances, Sam does everything she can to push away anyone who shows her love, especially Landon who wants so much to be everything to her. Sam makes mistakes again and again, getting drunk, flirting with strangers, etc, to avoid the closeness she could have with Landon. And through it all, Landon loves and forgives her. He is not a pushover; he gets angry with her, but as he tells her "Love isn't earned; it's a gift." The story is an allegory of God's love for us, but it's told without preaching or rigidity. It flows easily, and is an enjoyable read despite some occasionlly awkward metaphors. Have a friend who loves romances but isn't Christian or doesn't understand God's love? This book makes His love for us eminently clear. I look forward to the next entry in this series.
Have a wonderful weekend! Forecasters are predicting snow here on Tuesday. Gotta love Wisconsin!