Archive for December, 2013

Looking back on 2013. Mostly with glasses.

I was doing something a second ago. I’m sure of it. But what? Huh.

Betcha I was looking for my glasses. I’m always looking for–

glasses 2014 s

Oh, wait. They’re on my face for once! I should tell my husband. He’d be so proud. Or would he just say “Maybe you should keep them there”? Probably that. Darn.

I still feel like I’m missing something. Oh, I got it, I got it! I was writing a blog! Or I meant to, before I got distracted.

It’s the end of another year. That means it’s time for me to make note of things that happened this year, as I’ve done at the end of each year for the last decade, so that 2013 isn’t lost to my retention-challenged memory as “another year that stuff happened.” Read more…


Landscapes of the heart

The landscape of Los Angeles is very different from that of my childhood home of Eugene, Oregon. There, dark, damp trails were shadowed by tall evergreens; here, many dusty trails are lined by dry brush barely knee high.


Yesterday my husband and I took our son on a short hike at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. The scenery varied from that of the butte I hiked numerous times in youth, but the feeling was very much the same.

Come back here! parents yell.

(This time, I am the parent.)

You’re getting too far ahead! I can’t see around curves! Read more…

The gift of four beautiful words

I had no presents under the tree, but store-bought presents aren’t so important to me now that I’m old enough to buy the things that capture my fancy.

Last night, I gave myself the gift of endlessly rewatching one of my mom’s favorite movies, Night at the Roxbury.* While waiting for my son to awaken, I gave myself another gift: a chance to reflect on this time last year. Yesterday I was wistful that “my family” is far away, but revisiting last year’s Christmas post reminded me “family” is a much more expansive thing than I sometimes remember.

Watching my son methodically open his gifts, expressing greatest delight over a magnifying glass**, well, that was another lovely present. But it was four unexpected words that were my real Christmas gift.

opening presents

Read more…

Categories: Family, Love, Parenting Tags: , ,

On your first Christmas without her

Last week I rummaged up one of my old driving compilation CDs. Most of the music on the disc was from 2009 and 2010, but there was at least one song a little older than that.

I choked up a little to the beginning notes of Melissa Etheridge’s “I Take You With Me.” I’d been introduced to the song by 1995’s Boys on the Side.

“This is a beautiful song,” I told my four-year-old son, “but it’s a little sad.”

“Why’s it sad?” he asked.

“Well, to me . . . it means that sometimes you get to be with the people you love in person, and sometimes you just have to know you carry them with you in your heart. You, for example, are always in my heart.”

“And you’re in mine!” he cheered.

“That’s right. Because we love each other so much now, little pieces of that love will be with us forever, so that we’re always together, even when our bodies are apart.” Read more…

What report cards can’t report

The four-year-old class attendance book felt extra heavy when I picked it up this evening.

I opened the book to find my son’s name, then grimaced when I saw what was contained within: my son’s twice yearly report card.

I slipped the envelope into my purse and collected my son. I meant to hand the envelope unopened to my husband, because little that is important to me is ever expressed on these report cards.

My son began playing with a classmate. I watched for a moment before deciding, Why the heck not? If report cards aren’t important to me, why would I not at least glance at it as a curiosity?

I opened it and scanned quickly over its columns, noting agreement with some and wondering with amusement whose son some of the other marks were meant to reflect. When I was done, I tucked it back into my purse, prepared to deliver it to my husband for his perusal and signature.

I’d learned nothing about my son that I didn’t already know. Read more…

Growing our family tree

Early in my first pregnancy, my now-husband took me to a Belmont Shore diner and pounded coffee as he told me at length about his family tree. He told me about his mom’s efforts to trace their genealogy, including the difficulties in doing so before the 1865 because of–among other things–how many slaves’ genealogical records were destroyed in Sherman’s March, and how she’d rejoiced his college choice: “From slavery to Yale in four generations!”

After some time, he noticed I wasn’t saying much and paused. “I’m boring you to tears, aren’t I?”

I shook my head. “That’s not it. Actually, I was just thinking how awesome it is that our child is going to grow up feeling connected to history. For my siblings and me, there were effectively two generations: ours and Mom’s. I grew up wishing I had grandparents and great grandparents who could tell me stories about our history, but I didn’t. I think it’s pretty neat that this kid is going to know a bunch of generations, not just from names on a piece of paper but pieces of the people those names belonged to, too.”

Mama's generations

Mommy’s generations, then and now

I thought about this yesterday as I drove toward a prenatal appointment for child number two. Read more…

Just keep going

“You haven’t thought of harming yourself?” the nurse asked with furrowed brow as she reviewed my questionnaire.

“No,” I said, smiling. “I’m depressed now, but I’m not at risk. I understand what this is and why it is, so I don’t put much stock in it.”

“I wish it were like that with me,” she replied.

“It took me lots of time.”

There have been many days during this pregnancy that I have wanted to hide in darkness and emerge only for birth. Read more…

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