Monday, April 21, 2008

Not Rome

Weekday mornings I usually get up with C, (it's a way to make sure I getup) and we go get coffee, then I drop him off at school before heading home or on to whatever errands have to take care of. Today, I just came right back home with my iced coffee and little scones.

We live in a little development of rental townhouses in our little college town . It's a little bit removed from where all the college students live, a little bit more grown up. Unfortunately, more grown up means more babies, but we have mostly gotten used to that. Our unit is on the outside of a corner, so we can see down one street and up another. Just across from our unit is another couple, (I'll call them the Joneses) maybe a bit younger, but also associated with the university. He is a new/visiting prof, she is a SAHM with their toddler and baby, born in October, I think.

When I was infertile I used to watch them, as they took pictures of baby's first snow, when they traded in their sedan for a minivan. When I was pregnant, I watched them, too. As she grew bigger, toting around their little girl. Getting ready for the second. Once I was pregnant I could enjoy seeing them, thinking about what might be our future, how we might look to others, with our little boys in tow. This is not the only young family in our neighborhood, in our line of sight. I try not to look out that window anymore.

It's a gorgeous spring day in the midwest, and as I pulled into our driveway, I noticed that our barely landscaped front "lawn" had sprouted some color: two daffodils under our only tree. Two red/yellow/orange tulips by the bushes next to the stoop. I thought, Hmm, two.

Thinking about some of the recent posts about gardening, about spring budding, despite our losses I felt almost comforted by these two flowers, like our little boys were everywhere. Two.

And so, armed with my crack.berry, I decided to see if I could get a decent picture of either the daffodils or the tulips. I stopped for a few minutes, took a couple of shots, switched angles, thought, yes, that's good. That's nice. Tulips, for our two boys. Pretty.

I was putting the phone away, getting my coffee and purse out of the car as Mrs. Jones walks up to her driveway, pushing a stroller, and wearing her baby. Two. And I thought. How sad is this. How pathetic. I'm happy about two pretty flowers. She's got the real thing. She doesn't have to settle for flowers.


I am reminded of the metaphor that's used in special education circles, called "Welcome to Holland." It's about how parents of children who have special needs expected to go to Rome, they were packed for Rome, they had all the books and the info about the sights to see in Rome, and then they get off the plane and told that no, they're going to Holland instead. And Holland is still nice, very lovely, in fact, but not what they were planning. It doesn't have the glamour and glitz of Rome, but Holland is really a wonderful place to be.

The flowers are still lovely. I'm glad they are there. But they are not Rome.


luna said...

yeah, I'm definitely finding myself settling for flowers and tomatoes -- desperate that they don't die too. it's all we have...

I do love holland, but no, it's not rome. so when NOT in rome, do NOT do as the romans do? speaking of holland, your tulips are beautiful, btw.

Newt said...

You're dealing with this very gracefully. I would just hate that damn broad and her damn babies, and probably not even notice the flowers.

They're beautiful. I hope you get lots more as things thaw in the North.

Amy said...

No, they're not Rome but they are yours...I believe (don't shoot me!) that it is the boy's way of saying hey ma, we're alright!

Thinking of you and your beautiful flowers!

Much love, Amy

c. said...

I love that orange. Not Halloween orange - I loathe that holiday now - but a pretty orange-yellow hue. Your two tulips are stunning.

Holland is nice, but I really do hope you get to Rome. Just to say you did.

G$ said...

The tulips are lovely.
Welcome to Holland. We are nice here.


Tash said...

To me, the sad thing with this metaphor is that at least you get a nice trip someplace. I feel like my plane crash landed in hell.

Tulips give me angst -- they're the one flower I can never decide whether I want to enjoy outside, or just hack them off in a bunch and bring em in.

moplans said...

I hate Holland with a passion. I hate all the patronizing crap that is supposed to make you feel better but never can.
I am so sorry for the loss of your boys.

Sue said...

You guys are awesome. Thanks for being there.

I've always loved tulips particularly pink ones, but I really love the color on these. They remind me of those multi-flavor ice pops I used to eat when I was a kid -- cherry/orange, maybe.

Julia said...

the tulips are pretty. And your crack.berry seems to have much better resolution than mine. Drats.
Sorry the Joneses are right next door. That is just never easy.

Busted said...

The tulips are beautiful.

I always liked the Rome-Holland metaphor. Admittedly, I currently feel like our flights got diverted to Idaho - not as nice...looking forward to Holland.