Monday, November 26, 2007
Posted on October 26, 2007
Just before I slipped into the operating room for my D & C, my Mama caught my arm and whispered, If you're scared chiquita sing a song. Think of your song right now and sing it loudly.
Under a fiery Autumn sun, I couldn't get that song out of my head as we planted the tree that my dear hermana Bgirl gave us in memoriam, a plant she chose especially because it blooms in the dead of winter even when the ground is hard, cold and unforgiving.
There is something beautiful about this kind of resilience, the notion that this tender creature can thrive under the harshest of conditions. Read more...
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Posted on October 26, 2007
Today is your tenth birthday. Happy Birthday. I'm your 27 year old self. I'll tell you how you can believe me. For you birthday, you are having a sleepover with 10 girls. You'll have a blast doing the scavenger hunt that Mommy made up. You'll get some great loot too. I don't remember it all, but I do remember the American Girl series and the Molly doll you got. You didn't think Mommy would get it, because it was pricey, but ten years old is an important birthday and she knew that. See, I am you. :)
I saw an ad yesterday that made me want to write to you. It may seem a bit late, you know, seventeen years or so, but I still think it's important. You know that boy, the one named Matthew who told you that you were ugly last week? The one that made you feel ugly for the first time in your life? That day is the day you started worrying about things that you shouldn't have. You started spending way too much time looking in the mirror, thinking your eyes weren't pretty enough and your nose was too big and you had been given the unfortunate butt chin from your daddy. You started spending a half hour picking out your clothes, hoping to at least look cool, instead of the ugly duckling you now believe you are. Instead, you should be playing outside with your friends, reading in your living room, or skating with your baby brother. These are the important things. Read More...
I realize Phoenix isn't technically a "mommy blogger," but dammit, what a great reminder to those of us raising little girls that they need to believe in their beauty. --Ed.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Posted on October 15, 2007
i don’t do ritual very well. i do not know how seriously to take it, whether it requires of me a solemnity and focus i can seldom sustain. i long for it, for the way it imbues acts with meaning, with signification, but i skitter from it too…unable to trust myself to do it justice.
but at 7 pm tonight, while i was in the midst of running out for circuit training class (a passing fancy, i fear), and Dave was giving Oscar his bath, i lit a candle.
we stopped for a minute in the noise and the haste and the splashing, and lit a candle in the bathroom and turned out the lights. we watched the flame flicker across the porcelain and cast long shadows on the wall, and we watched Oscar’s eyes grow big and black and full of magic. and we told him about his brother, spoke him by name. and we laughed a bit, and tears spashed in O’s bathwater, and duck silhouettes were cast on the tub wall. it was…kinda nice. to not split myself, on any level. to be there in the most mundane of circumstances, present at bathtime to both my children, the living and the dead. Read more...
Monday, October 8, 2007
Posted on October 8, 2007
We'd spent the morning at El Morro, the citadel in Old San Juan. My brother and I chased one another by the ramparts and into the damp and dark tunnels. The wind whipped our shirts into billowy sails. It's a magical place, El Morro. My brother had a new camera, and he took some shots of the fort, and then of me against the sea, my hand brushing back the hair that kept blowing about my face. When after our trip he developed them himself during photography class at school and took them home to my mother, she gasped but wouldn't say why. She framed one of them. One day much later she told me that they showed me exactly as I was, on the cusp of adolescence, one foot in planted in childhood, the other stretched out toward a darker and more troubling time.
As my brother and I waged pretend battles on El Morro that day, Karl Wallenda of The Flying Wallendas, one of a family of high-wire artists, prepared to walk on a wire between the towers of the Condado Plaza, not far from where we stood gazing first at the roiling sea and then at the sweeping view the citadel afforded of the city. Today I wonder if Wallenda felt that this was his last hurrah, because he was 73, or whether the risk-taker in him was ageless. Read more...
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Posted on September 28, 2007
She’s a natural, you know. She is competent to a fault, emitting a swift, cheery self-sufficiency that makes people think she’s not in need of anything. But there is something she does need, especially now: you.
She needs you to come home asking for her, for the baby, dropping your stuff in a pile at the door and calling to her I’m just washing my hands! in that way that tells her without seeing your face that you're smiling, like you’ve spent the day at the office willing the time to pass so you can get back to your girls.
She needs you to trust her, to follow her lead. By virtue of time logged this child is her domain. It won’t be like that forever but it is, now. Even if she’s at a loss, pretend she’s not — for however long it takes for her to find her feet. Read more...
Friday, September 14, 2007
Posted on September 7, 2007
World, please be kind to my little girl.
She is perfect as she is at this very moment. She is thoughtful and prudent, generous and kind, polite and sociable, clever and sweet, resilient and sensitive. I spend every day awed at how unlikely it all seems. How did I produce her? How did she learn to make friends so easily when I still stumble over small talk, at 32? When I was three I threw temper tantrums all day long. How is it she so easily follows directions? How did she learn to watch her step so carefully without ever seeming to lose out on any fun? How does such a tiny ribcage hold such a large heart? How is it that the smallest unkind word to herself or others moves her to tears, yet she bounces back from trauma without missing a step?
It's incredible. It's not just me, is it? She is an amazing person, the best person I have ever met. She knows what loss is, but she still throws her heart wide open every day. She is as sensitive as gossamer and yet tougher than old boot leather.
You and I both know, world, that you need a lot more people like Frances.
Today she is starting school. Read more...
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Posted on September 4, 2007
Tomorrow will be my son’s last first day of second grade.
It got me thinking about the bittersweet feelings that accompany every new chapter of our children’s lives.
The last first word they’ll every say.
The last first step they’ll ever take.
Usually these moments fill us with such unimaginable pride that we don’t realize until later, sometimes much much later, that there’s also a little sadness in the finality of those moments.
Tomorrow my son starts second grade.
Last night I laid in bed restless, anxious and sad.
I played my “movie montage” of his life, our lives as a family, in my head, from his first breath to him dominating my husband at video games last night.
I needed to feel close to him, like I wasn’t losing him. So I did something I haven’t done in a very long time, I went into his bed and snuggled him while he was sound asleep. Read more...