After my mom died, my siblings and I laid a bouquet of daffodils at the spot of her passing.
I wanted to include a picture of that bouquet in a post earlier this year, but I couldn’t find the picture, though I spent hours looking.
My kids both fell asleep early this evening. I paused in the middle of doing some chores and decided I had to immediately compare pictures of my eldest son at five months with pictures of my currently five-month-old son.
There between pictures of my mom’s life celebration and my beloved friend Piete playing with my then tiny older son, I found the photo. Not when I wanted to find it, nor what I was looking for now, but perfectly timed.
One of my most popular posts was about who my oldest son is meant to be. Right now, it is my job to discover who I am meant to be. It’s challenging and thrilling wrestling with this question. While my more logical side scoffs at the idea of signs, my softer side is primed to read anything and everything with a sense of wondrous inquiry: What am I supposed to take from this moment?
Many months after I first wrote how I feel my mom still, tonight I feel enveloped in her loving presence. And while part of me thinks it’s absurd to read too much into finding a single electronic picture of flowers on a floor, another part of me feels like my mom is guiding me back to that room. Back to that dream of standing with her at its doorway, and my sense upon awakening that I could–as her daughter, the daughter of an Amazon–be or do anything … anything at all, except lose her.
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…