Saturday, May 25, 2013

In Wonderland: Thoughts on Alice

Watching Alice

Maybe it was all of your awesome comments on my last post, or maybe it was a late morning talk with my mom and a nap while Henrietta napped, but ultimately today was better. Sam is still struggling to bounce back, spending his days in bed, for the most part. So it was all me again this afternoon. And somehow, I didn't hate it. She was giggly today. I bent and unbent my legs after our naps, and she laughed hysterically. I minced my fingers toward her nose and she laughed hysterically. I sang her little songs, and she laughed hysterically. I could get used to that.

It occurred to me that she might want to watch The Brave Little Toaster, a show I used to enjoy when I was a kid. But they didn't have it on Netflix, so we watched the old Disney version of Alice in Wonderland instead. She sat on the rug and watched it, really watched it, her face turned up to the television as if she were seven and not seven months. It's the first time I've ever put a kid's show on for her, and it was strange to watch it through her eyes, to see what it means that these movies are made for kids--bright colors, lively music, singsongy voices.

And then, when it ended, we started it over, because, why not? I sat her on my lap with a tupperware of Cheerios and it felt very peaceful and sweet to sit there with her, watching her chubby yet long fingers chase the Os around. On the second time around, Henrietta laughed at the part where Giant Alice cries Giant tears, then swims in them, and I started to think about that, about crying tears that get too big for us, so we have to swim in them. "Oh dear," says Alice. "I do wish I hadn't cried so much."

It felt good to keep thinking about Alice, to write out some thoughts, to put images and words together. Maybe it's a (prose) poem. Maybe it's nothing. At any rate, it's below.

Curtsy While You're Thinking; It Saves Time

Poor Alice. She's muddled about who she is. She's a monster; she's a weed. She's the white rabbit's Mary Anne. She's too big and then too little and too big and too little again. The world is bright and colorful and it sings for her, but it wants to tell her the rules, wants her to follow them without knowing what they are. Who are you? Who are you? They ask until she doesn't know anymore. Her dreams outpace her, menace over her; she manages to offend them. The hare celebrates nonexistence and the caterpillar blows technicolor smoke in her face. When she asks questions, it's clear she should know the answer.  I'm afraid I'm not myself, she says. I'm afraid. I'm not myself. Household objects grow eyes and legs and menacing necks. It gets dreadfully dark. And still her pinafore stays starched and white, her blue dress buttoned to the top, her hairbow in place, her diction and manners impeccable. She runs faster. Alice, wake up, she begs. Please wake up, Alice.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fearful Things

Henrietta, as best we can tell, is only afraid of one thing. She's not afraid of any of the things we expect her to be; she isn't afraid of the cats, or strangers (she lives for strangers), or the edge of the couch, or of falling while climbing our staircase. She's afraid of this little wooden train whistle that belongs to Sam. He put it in her room, thinking she'd find it charming, but the other night when he made it whistle, she burst into tears. Our willful little seven-month-old is inexplicably afraid of a train whistle.

I'm thinking about fear today, since it's what I felt for a good bit of it. And just as inexplicably, in a way. It's a fear I've actually been waiting for, a fear I've been anticipating for most of my life: the fear of caring for a child by myself at home during the day. I remember thinking about it a lot as a teenager and in college. I could not understand how I would survive a day with its mouth wide open ahead of me, all alone with a baby or a small child. I couldn't imagine anything more empty and depressing. I wanted kids; I just didn't know how I would get out of bed. (I think this was, in part, what I worried about when I left my job to be at home with Henrietta.)

I've been spoiled since Henrietta was born. Sam's had paternity leave, and aside from night-wakings, we've split this parenting thing pretty 50/50. We spend our days trading off taking naps when we really need them. When we need to run errands, often we all go together. We're so accustomed to doing this together that when we're on our own, we have trouble figuring out how to take a bathroom break; we're so used to just handing her off. It has not been a bad gig at all, really. I feel guilty for any complaining I've done.

But today, with Sam still recovering from his stay in the ER, I had my first taste of being at home for a good bit of the day alone with a baby who's on the move, which is somehow different from one whom you can set down and trust will be in relatively the same spot when you return from grabbing a glass of water. Sam is teaching one class in the mornings now, so he was gone from ten to noon, and when he got home, it was clear he was completely flattened by the chemicals they pumped him full of while in the hospital, so I sent him to bed. To bed until he woke up on his own.

On the move.
And the day yawned in front of me. And I grew anxious and lonely. What was I supposed to do? Nothing? Sit on the floor with her while she played? Strap her to me and do housework? Feedchangebathe her? Watch TV and eat cookies? Usually, I try to get out of the house. But it was raining pretty hard, so a walk wouldn't do it, and we were trying to get from Thursday to payday without spending any more money, and I didn't trust myself to walk the mall without spending a dime. Plus, I thought I should be able to handle it. I mean, what would be so hard about it?

I ended up holding her with one arm to my hip, and hauling out a mountain of laundry with the other arm, dumping the laundry in the middle of the living room, and perching her atop it. I felt quite clever for thinking of this. I turned on an audiobook, and handed her a brightly-colored sock whenever she fussed or her attention strayed to the fireplace or the room with the cat litter in it. This worked, more or less. It took an hour. And part of me thought, "Wow, that took an hour?!"And the other part of me thought, "That, only took an hour?!" There were so many hours to go.

On the laundry.
And the mean voice started in on me. "You should be loving this," the voice said. "What kind of a mother/woman/human are you that you don't love this? You know, Sam's better at taking care of her anyway. When she's with him, she chatters constantly. How come she's not talking to you? You must not talk to her enough. Think on this: If you were a good mom, what would you be doing right now? If you were a good mom, you would not be watching the clock, waiting for her nap, feeling exactly the way you felt at your first job at the taco shop, waiting for your shift to end. If you were a good mom, you'd probably be singing to her. You'd probably be giving her a bath, letting her splash and flap her hands.You'd probably have figured out some miniature craft appropriate for seven-month-olds, and the two of you would be doing it at the kitchen table, sunlight streaming through your cafe curtains. You don't even have cafe curtains."

I realized that we have next to zero support system around here. We have friends, but they're near the city, an hour or so away. And I have a few friends at church, but they have their hands full. In a week like this, when you begin it with a 911 call, you really need someone to help. You need someone to take the baby for a few hours while you reassemble the world. I even called someone to ask for help--which, folks, is huge for the likes of me--but she wasn't home, and by the time she got back to me, the baby was napping and it didn't seem like it mattered much anymore.

Except that when she did nap, I hopped on my computer to get some work done, and the whole time I felt my heart beating fast, anxious and worried. I kept having to check myself, wondering what I was feeling frightened of. I realized I was frightened of the end of her nap. Sam was still sleeping. I didn't know how many hours I had left in me.

When she woke up, I fed her and changed her, then let her climb the stairs to our bedroom, and the two of us woke Sam up. I broke my word, but it was five o'clock, and he'd been sleeping for nearly five hours, and I justified it as worry that he wouldn't sleep tonight if he didn't get up for awhile. But that wasn't it. It was the hours. I didn't think I had any more.

When I got Sam up, the three of us stayed on the bed for awhile while Sam slowly returned to the land of wakefulness, and I tried not to complain about his nap. Complaining about a gift-nap is so uncharming.

Sam and I got to talking about the train whistle, and Sam went to get it. We had thought perhaps she was just overtired when we last tried it. But today, in full daylight, just after waking from her nap, Sam made it whistle and she burst into tears again. She trembled and climbed deeper into my lap. Sam put the train whistle away in a drawer and carried the baby downstairs. I went in the bathroom to put my hair up, to get it out of my face. I looked at myself in the mirror for a long time.

Sam said, over dinner, that he felt like a bear who had been shot with a tranquilizer gun, slept for days, and woke up to find his paw had been amputated. So while he tried to help with our bedtime routine, he mostly sat in a chair, asking if she was ready for bed yet so he could sleep. I sent him off to sleep, and wrestled the baby for another two hours before she'd settle down. And while I wrestled, I thought about this blog post, which I had started, and I thought, no no, you're not supposed to be that honest. Don't finish it; don't post it; hit delete and go to bed. There's something wrong with you that you're afraid of a day at home with your baby. Talk to your therapist about it, not your blog. No one will relate. They'll have all sorts of advice you should have thought of already. You're too depressing, too sad. They'll say you're depressed. Maybe you are depressed.

(I went to bed without the last part of this post, and now it's 1 a.m. and I just spent an hour getting her back to sleep, and now I have it:)

This should be the part where I tell a sweet story about something special that happened that made it all worth it again. And I could tell it that way: After we pulled off her day clothes and before we put on her pajamas, I tickled the warm, soft skin of her baby torso and she giggled and I laughed. It was a lovely moment. But still, by the time I got her to sleep for the night, I rolled my shoulders and shook my arms like a fighter sent back to her corner of the ring. Leaving her room, the word in my head was "depleted." I felt depleted.

I'm not depressed. And I'm a pretty good mom. And she really is a pretty good baby. She didn't have any meltdowns and she napped beautifully. She's teething, but I know things could be so much more difficult, and that they will probably get more difficult. If anything, I'm still swimming in gratitude that my husband didn't die of a heart attack on Monday. Even imagining the magnitude of that grief mapped over a day like today is overwhelming. So we were an average mom and an average baby on a fairly average day, and this job is still the hardest job I've ever had by far. The day was lonely and long and difficult. And if I have anything to say to my younger, frightened self, it's that: this day was lonely and long and difficult. And maybe I'll get more help tomorrow, but even if I don't, I'm going to do it again.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Emergent Occasions

Last night, while I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I came in the living room to see Sam dancing with Henrietta to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He was swinging her around and tossing her up in the air and she was squealing with joy. Sam was shirtless, and I tried to talk him into putting a shirt on so I could take video of it, but he declined, and so I just sat and watched them, laughing.

When I finished the kitchen and came upstairs, Sam was sitting on the floor of her bedroom, and he was worried. His throat was tight and his left arm was numb, which are alarming symptoms when you're a man who had a heart attack at thirty-five, which Sam happens to be. I changed the baby's diaper while we talked it over--it being whether or not to take him to the ER. We prayed about it, and I felt more worried than I had before we prayed, so I talked him into letting me call his cardiology office. The doctor on call said what we expected: don't take a chance; he needs to go in. But she said something I didn't expect: Call 911. Now. Sam handed the phone to me so she could insist. And when I told her we were a two-minute drive to the hospital and couldn't I just drive him, she said the situation could change in an instant and there would be absolutely nothing I could do for him if it did. I needed to get him help, fast. So I hung up with her, and called.

I don't think I've ever called 911 before, and I can't say it was any fun. I wanted to ask them to please spare us the lights and sirens, thinking about our neighbors parting their curtains to see who was being hauled off. But of course I didn't ask that, and they arrived. First a cop, then a fire truck, then the paramedics. Suddenly, our living room was full of them, these uniformed men wearing their serious faces and standing with their feet spread apart, wearing their big manly boots, asking both of us questions and writing down our answers on index cards and refusing to be direct about the results of the portable EKG. The emergency lights bounced off the walls and strobed our faces, and I stood off to the side, holding Henrietta, pushing puzzle pieces out of the way with my foot to give the men more room. Sam and I looked at each other, sort of rolling our eyes at the whole thing. We were sure it was nothing. We've done this before. This was a lot of fuss for nothing at all. And yet, in the back of my mind, I know someday it may not be for nothing at all. We act as if it's that time every time. We have no alternative.

They strapped him onto one of those special chairs and carried him down the front stairs, and I stood out on the porch with the baby, waiting until they had loaded him in before I put her in the car to follow. I wasn't scared. Not really, though I wondered if I should be. The baby's eyes were wide, watching the lights and the men, watching her dad. And Sam tried to wave at her and show her everything was fine. I could see neighbors standing in the street with arms folded. I wanted to go up and kick them, tell them to go inside, for heaven's sake.

She cried all the way to the hospital. It was well past her bedtime and it was not her normal routine. Not by a long shot.

We sat in the room with Sam for several hours. The baby bounced on my lap until she cried, and I fed her until she slept and then slipped her very gently into her stroller, and then I rested my head in my hands for awhile longer. Once it became clear everything was basically fine and they had decided to admit him so they could do a few more tests in the morning, I strolled the baby outside and took her back home. We did our routine of waking and feeding, like we do every night, but I was so exhausted that I couldn't remember it come morning, and by nine, when I still hadn't heard from Sam, I started to think really insane things. I had called the hospital, and they transferred me to the ER, and then hung up on me. This happened twice, and I started to think maybe he had died and they were too afraid to tell me, so they were just hanging up on me. I got ready quickly, got the baby ready, fed the cats, and rushed over.

And this is the tedium of hospitals, the absolute insanity of it, the time warp of that space: nothing more had happened. It had been nine hours since I'd been there, and they hadn't done more tests and didn't really know any more than when I left. And we pretty much stayed in that limbo for six more hours. I can only handle that sort of thing for so long, and in the afternoon I got grumpy. I was exhausted, deeply deeply exhausted by entertaining the baby in that tiny room, exhausted by going back and forth to the nurses, asking if there was any progress or news or another blanket. I could feel myself losing patience. I set the baby down on the floor and she crawled around and I tried not to think of the floor being dirty. Nearly everyone who passed stopped to say how lovely and charming she was, and I'm so grateful for those people, since I very badly needed to be reminded every few minutes that she was beautiful and charming and perfect. When she finally slept, I climbed up on Sam's bed with him and rested my head on his chest, and the two of us dozed, but I wished I had a giant stroller that someone could tuck me into.

Sam's nurse was very blond and very thin and she had the most marvelous Northern England accent, and I didn't understand, dozing on Sam's chest, why I was not her. She had made my baby giggle (something I had not done that day) and she had given my husband one of those wonderful warm blankets and a couple of painkillers for his headache, and I wanted so badly to be fired. To just have someone fire me, and take over the whole gig--to be nicer to the nurses than I was capable of being, and then go home and do my dishes and get my baby ready for bed and tuck my husband in with a cup of tea, or whatever you give someone who suddenly might and then probably will not die any minute.    

Finally, they let us go. It had been twenty hours. Sam was grateful for his freedom. Somehow, I made dinner. I do not know how this happened, but it did. And then, after dinner, I sat on my couch again. Sam turned on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and danced with Henrietta, just as he had the night before, doctors and hospitals and heart trouble be damned. And I sat on the couch, smiling at him, taking the video below, feeling grateful, so grateful that he was okay and we were okay and we were done with the tedium and we were home. We were home. If you listen carefully, you can hear Henrietta squeal with joy.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day, Indeed.

When a woman delivered flowers Saturday afternoon--a giant yellow bouquet--and the card from Sam made me weepy, I thought, "Man, this Mother's Day thing is not bad at all." I know plenty of women who don't like this day much, or at least feel complicated about it (see this and this), and though I can understand this intellectually, for a moment, I didn't really get it.

But Sunday morning when Henrietta woke up at 4:30 and fussed her way to 6:30, I carried her into Sam and realized I understood at least part of the complication: was I supposed to be all mother-y because it was Mother's Day? Or was I supposed to pass her to Sam and get some sleep, since it was Mother's Day? Luckily, Sam agreed with the later, and I got a bit more sleep, but the whole day was kind of like that. I had a complicated day with Henrietta, while I think Sam had a pretty lovely day with her. In fact, the last thing she did before going to bed was climb all the way to the top of our stairs with Sam watching over her (13 stairs, plus a landing!). She got to the top and crawled into her room, and we clapped for her and marveled and it was very sweet. But I was off doing something with my Mother's Day freedom for most of it (spray-painting thrift store loot, if you must know), and so I sort of missed it. I don't know. It was a strange feeling all day.

Over the last week or so, she's become a completely different baby. She had those rough nights where she woke up every hour, sometimes twice an hour, and feeding her more only helped a bit. And then one day she stood up at the coffee table, just pulled herself right up and looked at Sam and grinned. On the same day, she suddenly crawled more efficiently that she ever had, and sat up more stably. It was a big day for her, after which she slept just fine, so I think she was up again and again trying to work out the logistics. She just turned seven months old, and I'll be shocked if it takes her until eight to walk. She's already taking steps around the coffee table.

So suddenly, my baby goes wherever she'd like. She's over here, stuffing an entire Target receipt in her mouth. She's over there, scratching the grate of the fireplace barrier. Church is suddenly sort of ridiculous, since she's not at all interested in sitting still with me. She's very busy. She has a full-time job.

Last Thursday she grabbed the cat's fur, and he turned around and scratched her face, and I watched her realize this creature she loved had hurt her, and it was crushing for both of us. We both sobbed.

Worse: yesterday, when she went to pet the cat again, and I went to stop her, I accidentally scratched her face somehow with my fingernail--scratched it deeper than the cat had. She was bleeding. And then she was crying this cry I had never heard before. I wanted to project all sorts of things into that cry--betrayal, confusion, like the central goodness of the world had turned on her. It was heartbreaking. Maybe the most heartbreaking moment yet. Happy Mother's Day, indeed.

All week, as I've worked to keep her safe and held her when she fell and tried to give her as much as I could that she seemed to want, I've thought, again and again (forgive me), "This s*** just got real." This is mothering on a different level. This is busy and scary and exhilarating. Part of me is longing for my newborn. When I see a newborn somewhere, it's difficult for me to believe that Henrietta isn't a newborn anymore. I look at her, and blink, wondering how it happened. But another part of me, of course, is thrilled with every day; it's just more complicatedly thrilling, if that makes sense--and probably deeper because of it, since everything is mixed together.

Back to her bedroom Sunday evening, after she'd crawled there herself from our downstairs living room. Sam took her pj's off, since they were making it hard for her to crawl, and she toured her room as if she'd never been there before, talking to us all the while. Sam sat on the floor with her, and I dug around in her closet, pulling out the next size of clothes to see if she'd fit them yet. I pulled out a yellow sunhat with bees on it, a hand-me-down from her cousin, and she crawled around in just that and a diaper. It was adorable, if I may say so. She clobbered a big teddybear she'd never noticed before. She pulled on a garland of stars I bought in Paris just after we married. She flashed her personality and her will around the room, and Sam and I were pleased with her, wondering how she'd be as she continued to grow up.  Sam said, "I like this. I like hanging out with you and with her." I agreed. As complicated as it's getting, she's beginning to feel more like my sidekick, my little friend. And the three of us are feeling more family-like. And I, I suppose, am the mother.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

(Green) Smoothies for Beginners

Green Mango Smoothie

Let me say this first: you don't have to be a hero with the green. You're eating leaves. You're putting leaves in your smoothie and drinking them. And as far as I'm concerned, these are bonus greens. Bonus greens! Two handfuls of green things that you wouldn't have gotten any other way. So I wouldn't start with kale (it's a little ... stinky), or chard, or dandelion greens, though all of these might be in your future. (Trader Joe's has a really nice baby-greens blend with kale and spinach and chard that I've been meaning to buy again ...) For now, try baby spinach. I mean it about the baby part. It's nicer; not quite so overwhelmingly green.

And then, you need to find your smoothie formula.

I think smoothies are personal things, you know? You have to find what you like in all sorts of areas--thickness and temperature and sweetness and fruit combinations and how much green you can handle. And I realize it's blaspheme in some circles, but I am not into banana in my smoothies. It takes over all of the other flavors and makes me sad. Also, I have yet to find a protein powder that I like that doesn't make things too frothy for me and doesn't cost one billion dollars, so I just use yogurt as the protein. (I am willing to be converted to protein powder ... and de-converted from yogurt, but I'm going with it for now.) And ever since I perfected my basic formula, I've been adding things here and there, coming up with some combinations I love. First, my formula. You're welcome to use it until you find your own.

8-12 ounces milk (I use almond--orginal, unsweetened)
1 cup yogurt (I like plain, full-fat (not Greek--too sour for me))
1 cup frozen fruit (berries, mango, strawberries, whatev)
sweetener of choice (I use 1/2 teaspoon of NuStevia--and I accept no substitutes, but that's maybe just me)
big handful (or two smaller handfuls?) of baby spinach

When I give them measurements, I mean I use the marks on the side of the blender. I pour the milk up to 8 ounces (1 cup), spoon yogurt in until it reaches 16 ounces, then the fruit up to 24--you get the idea. To make it a little thicker, more fruit. A little thinner, more liquid. A little colder/thicker, add some ice cubes. This isn't rocket science, of course, but I had to make a lot of them, tasting carefully, deciding what I liked best before I figured all of this out. This basic formula makes a good bit, but if you're having a smoothie for breakfast, then it's not an outrageous amount, to me. I often split the blenderful with Sam, but he is anti-green, so when I make it just for me and I end up with more than I think I can drink, I pour the excess in popsicle molds and whambam, I have yummy fruit popsicles.

Mango Lassi Smoothie

A Few Variations I love

*Green Mango: milk, frozen mango (Trader Joe's has awesome and cheap(ish) frozen mango), yogurt, baby spinach, sweetener
*Green Tropical: 8 oz pineapple juice, 1/2 cup milk, yogurt, mango, spinach (This is a good one for beginners. The pineapple really cuts the spinach. I can't taste it at all.)
*Kira's Green Pineapple-Lime: big wedge of frozen/fresh pineapple, tiny wedge of lime (with rind), 1 peeled orange, milk, yogurt, ice
*Scott's PB and Strawberry: milk, yogurt, a good-sized spoonful of peanut butter, a bunch of spinach, a half-dozen frozen strawberries (not too many, or it isn't good for some reason), a lot of ice
*Strawberry Oat: milk, yogurt, frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup oats, sweetener
*Mango Lassi: milk, yogurt, frozen mango, sweetener, a pinch of cardamom 
*Sam's Classic Berry (his favorite): milk, yogurt, triple berries, sweetener (I love a bit of coconut milk in this. And really, just about any of these are awesome with a bit of coconut milk, but Sam doesn't like it. Whatever with that.)
*Orange-Strawberry-Carrot (My new favorite!): 8 oz orange juice (instead of milk), 1/2 cup strawberries, handful of baby carrots or 1 peeled carrot (tried it without carrot--not as good!), 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup milk, sweetener (you need a little extra for this one, I find) handful of ice cubes

Orange-Strawberry-Carrot Smoothie
I could have gone my whole life without smoothies, sure. But they are such an easy breakfast that I'm glad I'm on the train. I feel sort of parched until I have one. They're an easy meal, really, not just easy breakfast. Sometimes I'll be out and about and I'll get hungry and I'll wonder if I should stop somewhere. But then I'll think of my smoothie and realize that's all I want, and I'll rush home to my blender. With a few slices of still-warm toast, it's a meal that brings me great (green) joy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Cathedral Without a Roof

Last week (or has it been two now?) my brother came into town for work, and brought along his lovely wife, and we spent two really sweet days with them in the city.

While my brother was in meetings, we picked up my sister-in-law from their hotel in Copley Square and went to find some lunch. We tried to take her to one of our favorite restaurants in Boston, but as we got closer we realized how close it was to the site of the Marathon Bombings. There were workers repairing the sidewalk a block or so down from it, and when we got to the restaurant itself, it was closed, and people inside were obviously trying to put it back together quickly, and a man was up on a ladder out front, retouching their logo painted on the outside of the building.

We kept walking, and I remember pushing the stroller, looking down at Henrietta's white lacy sunhat, and realizing it was so much closer than I had even imagined.

After finding another place to have lunch, we sat in the Public Garden, which is like a fairytale in the springtime, and Sam made Henrietta laugh hysterically by flopping a stick back and forth in front of her, and he said, "It will never be this easy again. I mean, I will never ever make her laugh with such small effort for the rest of my life." (And it's true; we've tried the stick game since and she gives us the this-is-really-boring look that she's been perfecting lately.) I took a million pictures, and it felt like the perfect sort of day. Even Henrietta seemed to be having one of the best days of her life. And we packed her back into the stroller and headed back to the hotel to meet my brother, and I stopped every few feet to take pictures of the blossoms against the buildings, then hurried to catch up again.

In Copley Square, I had Sam stop for a second so I could see the impromptu memorial. There were newscasters in front of it, wearing their most serious faces and serious hairstyles, and holding microphones, and there were all of these people walking around, adding things to the stacks of flowers and baseball caps and letters. I stepped into the area, and it was so quiet, so unnaturally quiet for the middle of downtown Boston. It felt instantly sacred, like a cathedral without a roof, that reached all the way up to the spring sky. I've never had that happen before in any memorial, but this was so raw, so new, and the space felt exactly what it was, like a monument to the sorrow of a city, as if these objects and offerings really did hold our collective shock and mourning. I walked slowly, feeling all of it, imagining the days these people had--whether they were nearby when the bombings happened and surprised and grateful to be safe, or whether they watched from home, eating dinner in front of the news, shaking their heads. I wish now I would have added to it, added my own token of solidarity and love, but I was too overwhelmed by it, and it felt almost sacrilegious to take pictures--like I was taking something when I should have been leaving something. It was, I think, the most sacred space I've stepped in for awhile.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Isn't it Incredible!: A Conversation with Sam

[Scene: Driving down I-95, both of us running on 3-5 hours of (interrupted) sleep. We're holding hands; Baby's asleep in the backseat. Our tiredness is tipping into punchy, making us feel more in love instead of less. (It happens ... on occasion.) Sam's just gotten off the phone with the cable company.]

Sam: It's just seven dollars more a month! And we'll get HBO and a million other channels and ... [sensing I'm unimpressed] they'll send us a parakeet! And a piƱata! And ... a new car!

Deja: Yeah, but you always reach the point where you'd pay them seven dollars to take away those channels.

Sam: I know, isn't it incredible?! The wheel of life!

And then we both laughed hysterically.