Happy Six-Month Birthday, Little Nephew

O —

You turned six months old yesterday and, even though it is cliched, wowza has the time flown!

Perhaps my most dear and precious memory of you is holding you the day after you were born.  You were so tiny, so perfect, and you slept quietly in my arms.  You, in fact, slept for so long that my arm fell asleep from holding you in position and your Grandma had to come rescue you before I dropped you on the floor.

I had not felt as much happiness as I did on that day before or ever since.  The second other happiest time was your mom and dad getting married.  I can still get teary about that.  Your mom, my sister, has brought so much joy into my world just by being herself and living her life, I don’t think she even realizes it.

Your mom keeps me updated with pictures and each one brings about in me an intense longing to be where  you are, wherever you are.  It breaks my heart now, that I haven’t been there for more of those memories.  You’re eating squash and you have your first tooth.  I can see in pictures that you’re going to be crawling any moment.

I think you don’t realize how fast a baby will grow.  Your mom even has you on a sort-of schedule now, and I think she is getting tiny bits of rest here and there.  You know her, though — there is always more she wants to be doing.  She has hit the trail of parenthood running, and I knew it wouldn’t be any other way.

I know you don’t realize it yet, but you are growing up in a great family of love.  Oh, there are so many people that love you, Mr. O.  It kills your grandma that she hasn’t been able to make it back for a couple of months and this whole time I have been sick, one of the main things I think of is that I need to get  better so I can come see you.  And you also have other grandparents, and aunts, and cousins.  They all love you so much and can’t wait to see you more often.

It isn’t easy taking care of a baby, or so it seems, but I want you to know that your mom is doing a bang-up job.  I  have never seen someone more coordinated, more competent, with so much love for you.  No matter what, you’ll always have your mom.  When  you get old enough, make sure she gets the edible peanut butter play dough recipe from Grandma.  There is nothing better.

I write this with tears in my eyes: because I am so happy you are a baby in existence on this Earth, that I can lay special Auntie Rose claim to, and because I wish circumstances were different and I got to see you grow up more.  Just know, Auntie Rose will always be there for you, no matter the time, the day, the event.  I will do my best to be a good aunt for you, Mr. O.  I love you dearly.


Auntie Rose


I Cooked. You Clean.

I picked it up at a junk shop (or thrift store, if you want to be more PC), and I would so love to show you an image but my technology is currently limited.  It is a yellow, rectangular magnet, about three inches by two inches, and on it is standing a happy looking woman with a plate of food in her hands, and beyond her is a big fat mess of a kitchen.

The caption says:

“I cooked.”

“You clean.”

I bought that magnet when I was just getting out on my own.  When I thought that saying would be the ideal way to share responsibility with a partner.  I bought that magnet before I had ever lived with another person (other than growing up with my immediate family).

I don’t know why I felt so strongly, thinking that this would apply to all my future domestic bliss.  When I was growing up, QoB certainly didn’t cook and then the Big Dawg cleaned.  She cooked and us kids cleaned.  When we graduated high school, I was pretty sure that Mom still did all the cooking, and at least 90% of the cleaning.  Fast forward fourteen years later, and Mom is still doing all the cooking, I clean a great once in awhile, and the Big Dawg might unload the dishwasher an even greater once in awhile.

So I didn’t have models for this behavior.  This, “I cook, you clean” behavior.  But it has always felt so right, so just, so key.  I have been in four relationships over the past 10 years, in which I lived with my partner.  Invariably, it has been, “I cook, I clean.”  And sometimes it really pisses me off, and a lot of times I don’t even think about it.  Because it’s.just.what.I.do.

It has become a lot less important to me over the years, and with DSB I have completely accepted that he is probably not going to clean the kitchen, even if I do make him country fried steak and mashed potatoes with gravy.  Who am I kidding?  He doesn’t even put his own plate in the sink!

And the 32-year-old Rose is okay with that, for the most part.  The 22-year-old Rose, the Rose who had never been through it for  herself, the Rose that was full of naive ideas about what relationships should look like, would definitely be at least mildly annoyed, if not downright indignant.  The 22-year-old Rose would pick a fight.

And that’s what Rose did, at 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, and so on.  Until recently, actually.  For many years, asking that the dishes be done, the partner not doing the dishes, and Rose doing the dishes herself caused a great many argument.  Until somewhere along the way, it just became terribly unimportant.

What became more important was that I was putting a hot plate of food down, of good food, delicious, nutritious food every night.  That I occasionally made a special breakfast, for no reason at all.  That I made chicken and rice when he was sick and made sure we always ate a vegetable.  That I made his favorite when he had a bad day, and that I knew enough to never, ever put sour cream in anything.

All of this for DSB, all because of how much I love him and want to do anything I can to create a corner of comfort in his world, even if it’s a 30 minute dinner during which  he can relax and forget about everything that went wrong that day.

I learned, I think, about taking care of DSB and our relationship, from my Mom and the Big Dawg.  I see her cook special meals for him, run to the grocery store randomly, sometimes every day, to pick up something that will be just right.  I see myself putting a hot dinner on the table every night, running to the store a gazillion times a week for milk, picking him up something special to drink when I’m out and I know he’s working.  Just, really, little things.

I have dropped the “you clean” philosophy part of my little magnet, even though it holds a place of prominence on my refrigerator.  My mom has always advised me to pick my battles wisely, and I decided at some point in time over the past two years that this wouldn’t be one of them.  I cook, I clean.  It’s ok, really, and for the most part I don’t even think about it anymore.  Until today, when that magnet fell off the refrigerator door.