My baby son sleeps on the floor next to me. I should be asleep, too, but I’m too full of wonder to sleep.
What will my baby son remember about his short first trip to Oregon? Probably very little.
But I will remember.
I will remember standing in the airport security line with him strapped to my chest. Realizing he is the same age my older son was when we flew north to say goodbye to my dying mom 4.5 years ago, and saying thanks that this time I flew for celebration, not farewell.
I will remember sitting in a hotel bathroom and whispering–so as to not wake the baby–about my brother-in-law’s first days of med school.
I will remember trying to wrangle my just-younger sister’s two kids in a strange city.
Y’all know I love making my terrible stick figure drawings.
Only writing a post in my car could keep me from adding stick figures to certain posts. Like yesterday’s, “Bullshit/No bullshit.“
In fifteen minutes, I have illustrated that post with my … crappiest … drawings to date.
It’s common to come across big ol’ piles of B.S. in day to day life. I do this often.
I have typically responded with great care and sensibility. Read more…
I like to keep swearing to a minimum here, but there are times it’s warranted. Like now.
It’s come to my attention I take certain insignificant things and invest way too much energy in them. Realizing this, I’ve decided that I’m going to start playing a little game I’ll call “Bullshit/not bullshit” with myself. It’s like “He loves me/he loves me not,” but for adults. And more cathartic.
If it falls in the “bullshit” category, it gets none of my energy. None. Zero. Nada. It doesn’t mean I accept it. It means I’d rather invest my energy in thinking about House of Cards or watching Scrubs.
SAMPLE BULLSHIT: Stoplights that take twelve minutes to turn green. The existence of clowns. Telecom companies. Being cussed at.
That’s about enough of that. The list could go on, but I’d rather it not. ‘Cause every second I spend on that list is one I could have spent laughing and loving. Not-bullshit is where it’s at!
SAMPLE NOT-BULLSHIT: Baby laughter. The smell of coffee. Conversation with good friends. Scrubs. My husband’s happily finishing his first day assistant directing. My brother-in-law starting medical school the same day. Unicorn, who truly is as magical as her nickname would have you think. My sisters, including Darth. Sunshine. Visiting family. Knowing I am loved. Singing songs I used to sing with my mom.
The list could go on and on, and will in my mind, but I have two little ones I yearn to hug after a long day away.
So I’ll leave you with a final item, the one that gave me the perspective I needed today:
The memory of my mom finding comfort in my baby son
What not-bullshit lifts you from grim moods?
Snap. Grumble. Bark. Glare.
It’s moments full of these things I remember as I try to fall asleep each night.
I drift to sleep certain that these moments reveal everything about who I am as a parent.
“Grandma just cannot speak highly enough of you!” she told me. “How you show him what’s real and important in this world. Not toys, not that he doesn’t have those, but what really counts.”
I never know quite what to say to compliments, so I murmured something unintelligible and waited for her to continue.
“And those pictures of you guys with your faces painted last week? What a hoot! Anthony tells me folks were giving you mean looks, but I know you and you didn’t care a bit.”
I laughed. “True. But you know what was funny? For all the people at Disneyland who gave me ‘come on, now’ stares, the ladies in the Whole Foods bathroom were in love with my pirate face. Who’d have thought?”
A couple hours earlier, I’d watched my son’s head disappear just beneath the water at a friend’s home swimming pool. I leaped in when he failed to surface, his hands waving slowly instead of in the melodramatic, thrashing way of film. Read more…
The three of us sat cross-legged on the kitchen floor, eating cupcakes through enormous smiles. My older son, Li’l D, simply celebrated a chance to eat cupcakes, but his dad and I were celebrating something else. Something too enormous and primal to celebrate sitting all proper-like at a table.
My husband had gotten The Call after several years of working as a television production assistant.
A couple weeks earlier, he’d turned down an offer to return to a show he’d worked before. He’d already accepted another 22-episode gig elsewhere. 22 episodes of assured work is about as secure as it gets in Hollywood, so the offerors understood. They wished him well and moved along … or so it seemed. Read more…
“I need to talk to you,” my husband’s voice informed me in voicemail yesterday.
I immediately feared for one or both of our sons. Anthony’s were terrified words, not excited ones.
But the next statement floored me. Absolutely floored me. The news wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it was just about as far from terrible as could be.
Just five weeks ago, I wrote about how I believed it wasn’t yet time for my husband to shut the door on his dream of eventually directing.
Yesterday, the door got held wide open for him. And those words I wrote five shorts weeks ago?
Who could ever have guessed how soon my unlawyerly faith would be shown so well placed?
There are still lots of steps ahead, but his feet are now pointed exactly the right direction.
“So what you’re saying is, ‘Don’t give up, I believe in you, you can do this’?”
I laugh. “Yes, that’s Hollywood for what I just said.”
“Lawyer,” he accuses me with a smile.
“She doesn’t come out and say it, but you know she is talking about a black man.”
“No, you don’t,” I contested my husband as we talked about this post. Our conversation about the single most useful book I have ever read, The Gift of Fear, had taken a turn toward how racial profiling leads people to make incorrect assumptions about safety. “And you know how I know? Because I had that same experience many times over during my Los Angeles bus-riding days, and it was always with creepy white dudes. Always.“
“Really?” my husband asked, surprised. As a black man, he’s faced plenty of suspicion based on the color of his skin.
“Yes. 100% of the time. The guy who tried to get me into his car at knife-point, because that was going to happen? Creepy white dude. The guy who was circling the block when I was on the phone with my sister at 2 o’clock in the morning and my phone died and my sister freaked out because she thought I’d been kidnapped and maybe killed? Read more…