The Red Dress Club: Red

The sun warms my arms, crisps my hair and settles onto my shoulders. I rub my aching lower back. My hands land on my thirty nine week pregnant belly, and stay there in the age old soon-to-be-a-Mama pose.

Do you see that one right there, Kayli? The deep lilt of my husband asking my daughter a question touches my ears.

Can I pick it? Can I? Four year old Kayli demands. A perfectly ripe raspberry is, indeed, an urgent matter.

My eldest and my husband lean into each other. Enveloped in hazy heat, hair melding, knees pressing into soft dirt with only a picking basket between them. Its greenness quickly disappearing under a mountain of plump raspberries.

My hands still holding my belly, my eyes grace Chloe, who is just two-weeks-away from becoming my middle child. Further down the row, she’s on her bottom, fully immersed in that heat and dirt. Never mind the white in her cotton dress.

She reaches into, under, and over the raspberry bush. She has a rhythm and a plan: every raspberry is hers. There’s nothing in her basket besides leftover juiciness.

Serious eyes.

Rosy cheeks.

Pursed lips.

Pudgy fingers.

Lift, pull, drop, pick back up, eat, lick fingers, repeat.

My heart hurts for her baby-ness and how short lived it will be.

I walk towards her, each hard-to-take step a reminder: We are five, she is not the smallest anymore. At the end of the row she peeks at me and I’m stilled by her eyes. They’re just so good! Is it okay? They ask.

Smiling yes, I sit down next to her, only briefly wondering how I’ll get back up again.

Chloe and I pick berries side by side. Our rhythm is matched, but with differing goals. I fill, she eats.

Within moments I feel the cool shade of Jason’s sixth sense that I need help behind me. I overflow with the sweet knowing that my world is right here as Kayli tries to slip into my lap.

We untangle, emerge from the dust and the berries, and find a new row to find our rhythm within.

I walk with my girls on either side of me; each claiming a hand. Jason’s stride matches ours as he pulls the large wagon only carrying four small containers of raspberries. His soft steps contrast the wagon’s loud squeaks.

My heart squeaks, too. How will I know whose hand to hold? Why would I stretch the shape of this foursome that we’ve become?

Our fingers pick. Our faces sun-soak. Our legs ache. Our arms tire.

We trudge back to the wagon and take in our treasures. Three overflowing baskets and one bare one greet our eyes.

Chloe splays her berry stained all gone fingers. They say I’m still-the-baby-of-the-family right now. And I savor every teeny tiny raspberry tinted inch of them.

Remembe(red) is a memoir meme. This week’s assignment is to give a memory of the color red. Do not write the word ‘red’ but use words that engender the color red when you hear them. For example: a ruby, a tomato, fire, blood. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

I don’t usually add a photo for these memes. And this week, I really shouldn’t add one because the assignment was to conjure red. Fortheloveofgod conjure it! But. But how could I not share this one?

Chloe, 2008. Two weeks before Brody was born.

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  1. What a great description and the picture is priceless :) I have some berries in my frig – I am going to savor them in honor of your story :)

  2. This story is so sweet. I feel your pain about taking away the youngest child so fast. Mine became a middle to soon too. At least it felt that way at the time. Now all 5 of us just fit.

    Written beautifully, as usual.

  3. I was really stumped with this post, so I didn’t end up doing it. Of course, I came to yours and could immediately feel the grace of your (seemingly) effortless writing. Jealous. :-) Such a sweet story. Not being a mother, I’ve not felt the pangs of guilt for these sorts of things in my life yet, but I could feel them with you here. “My heart hurts for her baby-ness and how short lived it will be.” I can ALWAYS count on you for such great material!

  4. i LOVED THIS, My eyes are misted over from the reading of it! really very very beautiful and i loved, ‘Why would I stretch the shape of this foursome that we’ve become?’ i too have 2 girls and one boy and your words here were my own for a sort while until our shape became 5 and i adore that now more than i can say! thankyou so much for sharing this i think your writing is utterly beautiful. Its the first time i have visited but i will again for sure!

    thankyou so much for visiting me over at my blog and leaving a comment, i am in utter agreement to it by the way…i longed for girls until i had my Busby Bill and realsied how blue too can steal your heart. much love Jane x

  5. I really felt this. Before my second son was born, my heart ached for the changes we were bringing for our two year old. Lovely images.

  6. You captured that anxiety I felt when our third baby was on the way. I tried desperately to cling to my soon-to-middle daughter’s infancy. It still seems to have moved more quickly than our others.
    With respect to the lack of the word “red”, I could visualize those warm, plump berries resting in the bushes and waiting to be picked. I could see the juicy red stains on your daughters hands before your adorable photo came into view. As usual, Gallit…just beautiful. (You might want to change ‘peak’ to peek.)

  7. I could read this over and over again. So beautiful and conjures up such sweet memories. Wonderfully done Galit.

  8. First, I have to say that the picture is so brilliant…there is no way you couldn’t include it! So cute!

    Conjure red? You definitely did that!!

    This is so beautiful. I’m in awe of the way you have seamlessly weaved in the simple story of berry picking and the thoughts of motherhood and expanding your family. Your imagery is very strong.

  9. I felt like I was right there picking raspberries with you and your family. Your words are always so perfect. You know just what to say to express feelings and the situation. And the picture? Perfectly sweet. Love it.

  10. lovely and incredibly descriptive as always. I can always see the motions so clearly, and the expressions on faces. You are so vivid in your writing. Grateful for another look into your family.. and what a great picture :)

  11. I haven’t done this prompt yet. I have ideas but the words weren’t flowing, so I came to read. I’m glad I did. I know the value of needing to know what doesn’t work in order to grow, but honestly, it all worked for me. I’m going to try though, so you can take it or leave it. 😉

    While I liked the italics for spoken words between kayli and her father, they don’t seem necessary anywhere else, but most especially the line “Lift, pull, drop, pick back up, eat, lick fingers, repeat.” You tell the story well enough that these emphasis would be felt without the italics.

    Your opening line really sucked me in. The actions of the sun and how they affected you are so very vivid. Everything is actually very vivid here, and its effortless (or seems that way). There’s no overusage (in my opinion) of showing over telling.

    “Serious eyes.

    Rosy cheeks.

    Pursed lips.

    Pudgy fingers.” I love this. In just this short explanation I see your daughter so vividly.

    I always enjoy coming here to read.

  12. Wonderful. I could really picture everything as it happened.

  13. This is a beautiful post, as all of your posts are! This really hit home for me because I have such a fear of having another child and ending Jac’s babyhood – as you say. The undercurrent of anxiety in this post really resonates with me.

    Visiting from TRDC.

  14. You have a most lovely way of capturing the quiet moments in life and imbuing them with such significance. The story of berry picking with your family, on the surface is a simple one, but the second story about a mother’s worry about her changing family, the fleeting grace of babyhood and the flashes of terror that can accompany great changes is not.

  15. Galit, I LOVE this. I;m with Charise…my daughter is four and I am still afraid of having another child. I think being the oldest of five gives me a different perspective on bringing another child into my own family. Thank you for sharing. It’s given me a lot to think about.

  16. You have captured what every pregnant mama has felt- the anxiety of Will I love enough? Beautiful memory. And I love the picture! Stopping by from Remembe(red).

  17. I think the picture is perfect. You had already brought home the image of red with the fruit and the heat. Why not just close it out with extra cuteness?

  18. Always so incredibly beautiful my sweet friend. I love the stories of becoming five. I love letting each one be a baby just a little longer. xoxo

  19. I loved this. As always beautifully written and an excellent peek into your family life.

    My only concrit is that I had to go back and read the initial part when you started talking about Chloe, as when you shifted from daughter to daughter I lost that in the words and was confused about which was which. Your eldest, your youngest – almost middle. I lost that somewhere – forgetting that you had two daughters with you. I don’t know if the shift was too quick for me, maybe it was the “voice” I was missing, since the italics are there for the thoughts of your younger child and the words of your husband and older child. I’m probably not wording this well, sorry. I’m just trying to express the only part that confused me.

    The rest of it was pure and perfection. :)

  20. Oh my goodness! I am hopelessly crying! This was so sweet! I am crying for the addition to the family two weeks later, the loss of babyness and the adorable look on her face with those red hands!
    Ahh to be young again and not a care in the world but the next plump, tastey raspberry!

    I can’t wait to take my boys berry picking again this year!

  21. Oh how I love these moments of pure love clarity. Hard on the heart though. Just one of the many things they don’t warn you about in “What to Expect…” Damn them.

  22. oh that picture is just glorious!!!! I loved every sentence of this piece….but esp this one:
    “Chloe splays her berry stained all gone fingers. They say I’m still-the-baby-of-the-family right now. And I savor every teeny tiny raspberry tinted inch of them.”

    what a gorgeous memory to share with us. xo

  23. “She reaches into, under, and over the raspberry bush. She has a rhythm and a plan: every raspberry is hers. There’s nothing in her basket besides leftover juiciness.”
    Every word was perfect, especially “leftover juciness:. Wonderful imagery!

  24. “How will I know whose had to hold?” It becomes a bit of a conundrum once we are out-numbered, doesn’t it? I only say this because I had the same thoughts when we went from two to three kids. But we figure it out, don’t we? Beautiful words as always Galit. xo

  25. What a sweet story! I bet those raspberries were just as sweet. This takes me back to that age, picking raspberries in my Grandma’s back yard.

  26. What a moving post. It’s so hard watching our children move through the milestones of life and to feel like we’ve helped move them along. I’m glad you guys had your perfect red day.

    I particularly liked how earthy you made this. Not just the red, but the dirt and the sun too. I can imagine being there with you.

  27. Oh Galit, this made me smile so much. I could see you and your family. Your writing needs no concrit from me.
    The many shades of red you evoked. The warmth of the sun.
    The taste of raspberries.

    And the picture of perfect satisfaction.

  28. PearslGirl says:

    Love it, love it, love it. Thanks for the picture as well.

  29. So precious. What a lovely memory! Thank you for sharing!

  30. You’ve nailed it.
    Such lovely words and vivid descriptions.
    The explosion of love you have for you children. Your husband is beautifully thread through your words.

  31. I must be the only one who didn’t worry about my youngest becoming a middle. Maybe because she remained the only girl? I did worry about my only becoming an eldest, though.

    Lovely, as always, Galit. xo

  32. I laughed out loud at the mention of barely wondering how you’d get back up again, then got misty at the question of whose hand to hold when there would be three. Wonderful!

  33. What a beautiful post. I love the questions/thoughts you have on going from 2 to 3. What great memories picking raspberries. We have a raspberry bush in our yard and our oldest loves to go out there and pick and pick….

  34. Awww, my first RemembeRED post was about berry picking with Max! :)
    I love this so much (big surprise, I know! LOL) and could feel the warmth of the sun and taste the sweet berries in your words.

  35. I spent many a happy moment as a child picking berries from various trees and plants, so I well remember the stained fingers. I really like your descriptions of the day, where you were standing in relation to your children, the movements of all of you toward a common goal: family.

  36. What a treat to see the picture at the end, though I didn’t feel I needed to because I was right there. I love how you gave this piece a rhythm and it played throughout, the rhythm of berry picking, the rhythm of life, the questions of how new life will potentially change it. Lovely.

  37. Galit, you have such a gift. I always feel like I am watching your posts rather than reading them. Just lovely.

  38. Really I don’t feel worthy of commenting on this post…but I enjoyed every moment of it. How will you know whose hand to hold? What a lovely dilemma :)

  39. So very sweet.

  40. I too found that the statement about not knowing whose hand to hold resonated with me. An ordinary outing can give us pause to worry about such things. Why is it that we have these beautiful moments that sometimes get hijacked by our deepest concerns?

    I love how you share such real-life experiences because it is reassuring that I’m not the only one.

  41. Great job with the prompt, as always. I love the picture at the end too.

  42. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    We picked berries when my sisters and I were younger. The youngest Kate always had the berry stained hands. Well done!

  43. If I didn’t love you I could totally hate you for being this good at writing.

    And my Grammy had a huge raspberry bush that covered her home. I was young when she sold it and moved to Florida (talk about caving to peer pressure) but I can still remember how exciting it was to pick and secretly eat those berries.

  44. We always kid that it’s a good thing they only weigh the buckets of berries, and not the kids when we leave the berry patch. I swear mine eat their weight in berries each time we go!

    I have such good memories of going berry picking with my kids. I can’t wait until this summer to do it again. And you capture all of those images so perfectly.

    Sigh. This post just warms me.

  45. This is a really beautiful story. I love where you say “Who’s hand will I know to hold?” I think that’s something that every mother goes through when adding to her family and you just said it so simply. A simple decision that is so complicated.

    I love your writing, thanks for sharing.

  46. Just lovely, Galit. Just lovely.