Wednesday, August 24, 2016
All the research says that money actually does buy happiness if you use your money to buy experiences rather than physical possessions. One of the ways that this works best for me is in the anticipation of the experience. In July I was afraid of Chris going back to work, so I booked a room at the Madonna Inn for a week in October.
I got so excited that I actually used my kids' naps to research and pin instead of take a nap myself. Like a crazy person. Over the last few weeks, the anticipation of that trip has made me happy even when Jack is obstinate about sitting in his high chair to eat. I put Zoe on a blanket that looks like it will be right at home at the Madonna Inn, and even if she is going through a growth spurt, we’ll be in San Luis Obispo as a family in a couple months. nbd. We haven't planned anything fancy, but I like the feeling of something bright pink on the horizon.
I’m surprised at how happy I’ve felt lately, and I think one of the reasons (aside from a ludicrously supportive husband) is all the planning for this trip makes soul-bursting happy. And we haven’t even gone yet.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
|Taking Jules to Pacifica|
|Jack is very cautious on the river, but Sam helps everyone feel a little safer|
|Pretty sure Bek held Zoe at every possible opportunity|
It is a painful reality of the modern world that you can’t always work where your family lives. Sometimes your dad can’t be there if your daughter is born one week early. Entire years can pass by and you don’t get to hug your giant brother. You can’t have a regular girls night with your sister and mom and grandma. Your nieces and nephews aren’t around for weekend hikes. We FaceTime, we snap, we spend as much time together as we can, but it’s still hard.
It’s hard that you can’t always be with the people you love.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Before we even got pregnant we called our next baby Claire Bear, but after I was pregnant I knew she wasn’t Claire. We started calling her Busy Izzy, but after a few weeks Izzy didn’t feel quite right. We spent the first twelve hours of labor talking about calling her Jane or Amy or a dozen other names.
My dad wanted to name all three of his sons Philip, but it never happened. As they got closer to the due date, my brothers felt less like Phillips and more like Steve, Sam, and Spencer. When I was pregnant with Jack people asked if we had any names picked out, and I responded that we would call him Jack, unless he came out and wasn’t a Jack. You know how people say, “Oh he was born, and we just knew he was a Michael!”
“He’s a Michael,” or “He’s not a Jack.” What does that even mean? Before I had kids, all babies were the same. They all had the same newborn/old man look. All their cries sounded the same. They all acted with the same bewildering babyness. Phrases like, “He looks so much like his dad,” or “That’s my kid crying in the hall,” made no sense to me. I couldn’t imagine a world where someone could discern a baby’s name by sight.
Naming your child, to me, was just imaging the person they might eventually become. There’s a poem I love that concludes,
Naming the baby is a wayI’m not saying the process is without romance or magic, but for me, it certainly wasn’t a mystical insight into who that child would actually be.
of dreaming about a creature who is
almost but not quite. It is a way of
imagining the soul of a person you
are making but have not made.
The name is the first way you see
the baby: their title, the syllables
that conjure a shape from the lantern.
But for all my disbelief, our daughter is Zoe. I knew it when she was born.
I can’t explain it, but when we met her, there was only one name. It wasn’t anywhere near our list of possible names. And it wasn’t just the person I hoped she would be one day. It wasn’t just a name I could bare to repeat interminably. She is Zoe. I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know how it’s possible for a mother to know. But I know it still.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
I know it’s not as cool as being a Leap Day baby, but Jack’s half birthday is February 29. Aaaaand we had to throw a party to celebrate. It was more of a glorified afternoon at the park, but I’ll take any event as an excuse to mail an invitation.
I put The Best Confetti Ever in glassine envelopes, wrote the party details on the back, used this year’s Valentine’s Day stamp, and had them hand-stamped at the post office. I think it’s my favorite thing I’ve ever mailed. A couple friends texted me pictures of their kids having a mini-party with the confetti, which never even crossed my mind as a possibility. I don’t think I’d ever knowingly open an envelope with confetti in it because I hate cleaning. Hate.
You can’t really have a “theme” for a park day, but for a bit of a visual we had funfetti cupcakes, and few of those confetti balloons that completely took over Pinterest that one time.
At 18 months, Jack didn’t care about any of those details. But I’ll tell you what he did notice: we spent three hours at his favorite park, and Chris took the day off work (“He’s a Mormon, you know how they are about Leap Day”). That was enough for him to feel happy and loved, and that was the whole point.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
I love poetry, but I’m no poet. Most of the time that doesn’t upset me, but a while ago I wished I had the poet's heart because I wanted to write about the way Jack loves his dad.
It wouldn’t include the routine stuff, so it would miss out on the hundreds of father-son walks and the hours of early-morning board books while Mommy sleeps in the next room. All of that is beautiful to me in its quietness, but it’s not the poem I’d write if I could.
This poem would be about one morning two weeks ago. Chris kissed us goodbye and when he turned to wave from the driveway, Jack realized his dad wasn’t taking out the recycling or getting a toy from the car. Dad was actually leaving. In a panic, Jack scrambled to the door, grabbed one of his little blue shoes, and leaned against the window crying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy…”
His face contorted with a tiny lifetime’s worth of regret. If only he had thought of his shoes sooner, Dad might not have left without him. They could be walking down the street together, and he wouldn’t be standing here alone by the window, holding one shoe, begging Daddy to come home.
My heart broke, and I wished I could write that poem.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
|This is the last time we went bowling together. It was 2013, and I banged up my finger in a pretty intense game of air hockey. As you can see, this injury left me no choice but to bowl like a child.|
A few months ago I got a babysitter, we planned a very fancy night out, and then everything went wrong. Traffic was apocalyptic so we decided not to drive up to the De Young in San Francisco, then we got derailed trying to buy some theater tickets for a different night out, and then the bowling ally we impromptu visited was “full.” After almost an hour of driving around, Chris and I just went grocery shopping.
For a few minutes I was frustrated that nothing went right, but then going to Trader Joe’s felt like old times: just two kids, running errands together, and Chris commented that grocery shopping together on a Friday night felt luxurious.
At some point in college I learned that front lawns used to be a symbol of luxury. Because land was a source of income, having a front lawn that produced absolutely no strawberries, no grains, no grazing for livestock, said that you already had so much money, you could basically be wasteful. “You see this plot of land in front of my house? I DON’T EVEN NEED THIS.”
And I guess that’s what I’m doing now, being ostentatious about our night. We already had so much that we DIDN’T EVEN NEED to go to bowling. What a luxury.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
I’ve talked before about my (previous, since-abandoned) fear/disgust of pregnancy, but I left out some stuff because I come across as a horrible person. For example, in college I said that when I got pregnant I wanted to be locked up in the attic and not come down for nine months. I said it would be like “The Yellow Wallpaper” but instead of covering up post-partum depression it would be to hide my freaky-looking body.
There’s a part of me that believes that I cursed myself a little bit. Which, if you read that charming anecdote, I clearly deserved. In my first pregnancy, it was seven months before I could really go anywhere but the doctor’s, and every day I could hear 22-year-old Brittney saying, “Lock me in an attic.” Well, I wasn’t in the attic, but I still got what I essentially asked for. For months I cried next to a bucket, and I wondered if I might have been spared the pukes if I had just been a little bit less terrible when I was younger.
We’re almost four months into this second pregnancy, and I have no ambition to do anything, but I do I have a renewed desire to apologize to the universe or God or karma, and anyone who ever heard me say that stuff. I’m sorry I didn’t respect the miracle of life. I’m sorry I made insensitive jokes. I’m sorry for being such a turd. And even though I HATE the pukes, thank you for limiting my punishment. You could have made it much worse.