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Here’s a picture of where Drew and I spent a wonderful, relaxing 46 hours this weekend. Just 75 miles or so north of Manhattan (I’d call it “upstate,” but people who really live upstate would probably laugh), this serene spot is home to an old Victorian mansion-turned inn, a spa, a farm, and a delicious restaurant. The food there was off the hook and I ended up gaining back the four+ pounds I’d lost over the last couple of weeks. All we did was eat and sleep and lounge around; it was awesome. [Click to continue]
Jackson turns 1 1/2 in a few days! He’s clearly not a baby anymore and, while I’ve mourned the end of his infancy, I’m discovering that I much prefer mothering a toddler to mothering a baby. Jackson is endlessly curious, is fast to laugh, and expresses so much love for me and Drew and others that every day I think my heart may explode. That’s not to say that things have necessarily gotten easier, but, for me, they’ve definitely gotten better. And along the way, I’ve learned some pretty important life lessons: [Click to continue]
If you ever asked me to describe my childhood bedroom or recall my favorite hangout as a kid or try to remember the route I took to school most often, I probably couldn’t do it. And it’s not because I have a poor memory. I still know the birthday of the little girl who sat next to me in Mrs. Tachikawa’s first grade class in 1982. But the details most people remember about the homes where they grew up — the way the bathroom door would stick after a steamy shower or exactly what week in the spring the dogwood tree in the back yard would start blooming — are much fuzzier for me simply because I never stayed anywhere long enough consider it home.
By the time I left for college at 17, my family had lived in ten different addresses (and that’s not counting a hotel we lived in for nine months while we looked for a “permanent” home). Ten years later, I’d added nine more places to the tally, including two dorm rooms, one apartment I shared with a college roommate, three apartments I lived in alone, two apartments I lived in with a boyfriend, and one apartment I shared with a friend post-breakup while I (tried to) figure shit out. [Click to continue]
The following piece of creative nonfiction is part of a series I started on my personal blog a few years ago called “Alphabet: A History,” which is a collection of short, autobiographical vignettes, focusing mainly on relationships (familial, romantic, platonic, and self).
It’s July, 2004 — hot and sticky. We’re sitting in his backyard drinking Gin & Tonics and taking turns reading the latest issue of Vanity Fair.
“You have any beer?” I ask.
“No,” he replies, reaching for his wallet, “but I’ll buy if you fly.”
I stand up and take his money, my arms are full of freckles, and I’m wearing those Nine West flip flops with the little black bows and a shirt he later says makes me look washed out. My hair’s pulled back in a ponytail, and I’m wearing the cinnabar earrings I love. It’s before I lose one getting out of a car. It’s before the last time I ever see him. [Click to continue]
This week Jackson graduated from sleep sacks to a big boy blanket. I don’t know what it was about this particular transition since he started moving oh-so-quickly from babyhood to toddlerhood, but seeing him all curled up like this in his crib, his little hand resting gently on his new blanket, just crushed me. I took this particular photo during his first nap with the new blanket and seeing him lying there, so peaceful and dream-like, it was all I could do not to wake him and pull him to me and sniff his sweet baby head and say, “Stay like this, okay? Just like this.”
But I’ve thought that dozens of times since the day he was born, and it doesn’t matter how much I’d like to freeze time — or, on occasion, speed it up — things change, he grows, it all happens at its own pace, regardless of how hard I wish it wouldn’t. And I know one day he will be a man and I will be old and I’ll look at this photo and so many of the others that serve as frozen moments in time — moments I might like to stay in forever — and I’ll know he was happy (and so was I).
I don’t know what mistakes we’ll both make, how circumstances and time will pull or push us apart and back together and then apart again. I can’t foresee how our mother-son relationship with expand and contract and what challenges will test the bond we share. I don’t even know if he’ll always love me, or if my love for him will be enough to soothe his disappointments — I suspect it won’t come close — or register on his radar when his life fills with so much more than me.
I don’t know if this will be my only shot at motherhood and whether these milestones, big and small, like moving from sleep sacks to a blanket, are more than markers of passing time, but also markers of finality, one of many “lasts” I will have from now until I’m no longer here. Either way, I will keep trying to freeze these moments, or at least memorize them as clearly as I can, photographing them, one by one, and writing them down so that one day I can look back and say, “We were happy, you and I. In that moment, we were happy.” And that’s as good as most of us can ever hope.