When I close my eyes, I see Rara’s trembling arms as we stand and talk at her husband’s memorial.
I feel the Correctional Officer’s presence over my shoulder. The officer is quiet and soft spoken, and I thank her twice for her kindness, but I feel her eyes absorbing everything. I regret that she has to be there at all.
And I come back to Rara’s trembling arms, which reveal things that words couldn’t possibly: all the sadness, all the loss, all the anxiety at a life suddenly nothing like What Came Before.
I’ve felt ill at ease in my own life the last few months. It’s felt pretty all consuming, honestly. Read more…
My five-year-old suddenly became quiet during our playtime yesterday morning.
After a few minutes, I asked if anything was wrong.
“I’m sad your friend has to go back to prison,” he told me.
“Oh, sweetie. I am, too,” I told him with a hug. “But it’s not too much longer. She’ll be out only a couple of weeks after you graduate kindergarten … ” Read more…
I met Rara and her husband, Dave, a week before my second son was born.
Rara went to prison a couple of weeks later. Innocence doesn’t pay attorney fees.
She’s still in prison.
She was there when Dave posted that he had an infection a few weeks ago.
She was there when he died soon after.
Today, my husband, sons and I drove to Dave’s memorial.
My five-year-old, Li’l D, couldn’t understand how Rara had ended up in prison.
My husband and I answered Li’l D’s many questions until my husband finally said, “Some bad guys fight with swords. Other bad guys fight with paper. She met the kind who fights with paper.” Read more…
I’m paralyzed, I thought with mounting panic after slipping on a South Korean stairwell.
I couldn’t move my arm. Not even a twitch.
But, wait …
I could move everything else, so I probably wasn’t actually paralyzed.
I quickly ran through countless ridiculous scenarios on that stairwell before remembering my martial arts studies. At least a couple of students had dislocated toes in class. Our instructor had kindly relocated them with a count followed by a shove.
Maybe I’d just dislocated my shoulder in the fall? Read more…
Do you ever get to wondering where–and who–you were this very day on past years? I do.
Lucky for me, I have 19.92 years of blogs to peruse when this wondering strikes me. Unlucky for me, 19.92 years is a lot of time to write things that make current-me cringe and want to reach into the past to whack past-me upside the head.
Reading what I wrote from Japan ten years ago today is utterly perplexing. Today my life is husband and kids and software contracts and long drives and always juggling, juggling, juggling. It’s full and overwhelming and lovelier than anything I ever thought I wanted.
But before? Before, it was … stuff like you’ll see below. I showed it to my husband, who said, “Life is better now!”
I thought he was going to say, “Because you have us!” What he actually said prompted Consternation Face.
“Now you get to actually go to wrap parties instead of watching from the sidelines!”
Oh, sweet husband, you missed the point entirely! Yes, life is better now.
But it’s not because of wrap parties or Hollywood, sweet one.
It’s because of you and our wonderful little boys.
Semi-random premiere memories
May 21, 2005 Read more…
I’ve spent a lot of time skirting Tearsville recently.
Tonight, having read my five-year-old son to sleep, I saw what was clutched in his fist and smiled. Item one: a chopstick. Item two: beads from Sunday’s pride parade.
Returning the chopstick to the kitchen, I smiled anew recalling two memories freshly made there. (How happy my mom would be to hear I’m making memories in the kitchen! That’s twenty steps above memory-making while pregnant and clothing shopping with my husband.)
Tonight my older son, Li’l D, asked me to show him again how to use his brother’s new EpiPen. We sat on a wooden chair in the middle of our kitchen, swapping the test pen as he tried over and over again. “He could die without it, if he eats egg?” Li’l D asked as he shoved the pen against his leg.
“Yes, which means you could save his life, if he eats egg.”
Li’l D beamed with pride at being entrusted with such a responsibility, even hypothetically.
Just a night before in almost the exact same spot, my boys sat and played together on the kitchen floor while I prepared dinner.
My toddler, Littler J, began wailing. “What happened?” I asked Li’l D, a little sharply. (Never again will I ask, “What did you do?!” or any variation thereof.)
“I just tried testing the pen on him!” cried Li’l D, revealing the extended test “needle” as he pulled Littler J to himself and comforted him.
“Oh, sweetie,” I said with a tousle of his hair. “You use the test pen on yourself. You only use the test pen on the baby if he really, really needs it because he’s having an allergic reaction. It’s very sweet of you to be concerned.”
Li’l D rocked Littler J until he stopped bawling and started babbling again.
I am overwhelmed thinking of these small, enormous moments. Happily overwhelmed.
There’s lots of big, distressing stuff on my mind these days. But when I’m in the moment, this very moment of breathing and listening and feeling and wonder, instead of versions of others moments future and past, distress lives far away.
I find I probably don’t need to think more to solve my problems.
I simply need to be here more.
To be more.