Last night I wrote about how I haven’t seen my friends enough since I had my second child.
Today my family and I joined our friend Rara and her mamasaur at a playground. We chatted while running after my kids, and in between my older son’s breathless entreaties to race him. (Spoiler alert: He always wins, but his races are just on the other side of fair.)
We all went to eat. My oldest sat next to Rara and nuzzled her as if they’d known each other forever; maybe they have. My littlest one didn’t so much eat as smear rice all over the table.
I cheered out loud when I saw her little dinosaur.
My continued cheering quietly as we said farewell. See you soon.
After returning home, I read her newest post. It answers the question, “Where’re you goin’?”
I didn’t know that earlier, when I told her I’m not sure where I’m headed. I only have the vaguest idea.
What I do know for sure is that I’ll be in good company getting wherever “where” is.
Today I visited with friends.
I haven’t done that much since I had my second child last year.
I haven’t had the time or energy. Since I already drive at least three hours each weekday, I haven’t wanted to negotiate drives further than five minutes away from home on the weekends. Weekday evenings have been completely out of the question.
My husband’s nudged me toward the door. He’s encouraged me to make time with girlfriends, suggesting it’ll lift me up like no words on a screen ever could. I’ve waved him off, thinking I was doing myself a favor by avoiding the drive, the time, the emotional output.
I knew my husband was right when my heart plummeted as my friends walked away today. I wanted to shout, “Don’t leave! Please! Let’s just stay here for another ten minutes! Or five? I’d even take three!” Instead, I quietly helped pack my family’s things with tears in my eyes. Read more…
I returned home from Oregon yesterday to one last letter from Rara.
Her days left in prison can now be counted on one person’s hands. Her own hands are now turned to preparing for life beyond prison walls.
Before yesterday’s letter, her last few letters have mentioned joy as something distantly attainable. Maybe. Someday.
In this short letter, she mentioned imminent joy:
Her exit point from prison, where her family will soon greet her.
I imagine wet eyes and shaking shoulders. I smile, because not all tears are bad tears.
I celebrate these (imagined but probable) tears of physically-connected, and too-long’s-over, and back-together-ness.
I’ll miss Rara’s handwritten letters, a little. So, so very much more than that, I will rejoice her return–in whatever way feels right to her–to this electronic landscape, and the freedom that supports it.
“I have black friends!” I’ve heard cried countless times. It’s made me want to ask:
But have you talked to those friends about race? Have you talked to them about racism, and the times they’ve been singled out–by silence, by microaggression, by rudeness only identifiable as racism if you’d experienced the totality of it?
Or have you assumed your friends have never experienced racism … because they would’ve offered up their experiences to you conversationally if they had?
White people are remarkably efficient at self-segregation. We have the luxury of choosing this, and then still pretending we have nevertheless heard and understood the experiences of those outwardly unlike us.
As I think about the future well being of my sons in this country, in this world, I think they will be safest in a future where White people don’t pretend to know but ask:
What have you experienced?
I already wrote my twenty-year bloggingversary post, but there is so much more in my heart as my family and I drive back from Legoland.
When I wrote that first blog, I had just graduated high school. I’d already spent time living away from home. I’d long since held my first jobs as a Chinese restaurant hostess and McDonald’s grill girl. Read more…
I was going to write “Dear Deborah” there, but realized that wouldn’t work for you, my June 23, 1995 self. You were so daring and bold that such a plain greeting would’ve chafed.
(I don’t mean to be sarcastic, by the way. It’s just that you’re so goshdarned cute in all your conviction you’re bad to the bone.)
Later today, you’re going to get bored. You’re going to wonder, “What can I do to make my webpage different than all the ones I’ve visited so far?” You’re going to contemplate starting a journal online (gasp!), and then just as quickly wonder if it’s a good idea.
It’s a great idea.
Now, hold your horses. I don’t mean you’ll be swimming in gold because you decide to add a .txt file journal to your hand-coded HTML site today. Some people will make money from writing journals online someday, but those people will not be you. You won’t have enough sense (or, most days, giggle fodder) for that, and that’s okay.
There’s something else you’ll take from it. Read more…