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Tankful Addendum

1. jude does not have pinkeye, glory be. she “only” has a nasty ear infection, which totally explains why she has taken to saying WHAT?! (in all caps) to everything we say. i hope you can hear her say it someday. it sounds vaguely british, with a very hard ‘t’ at the end, and my mother would be so proud of the way she properly pronounces ‘wh’ as ‘hw’. all this to say, my poor kid hasn’t been able to hear worth a damn for a week, and it’s been truly adorable. HWOTT?!

2. below is what greeted this very early morning, as i stepped out on my porch to begin the day:

3. the fact that oprah was right. as my high school chaplain used to say in what seemed like every liturgy, “the attitude of gratitude ain’t no pious platitude.” [though my seventeen-year-old self was thoroughly annoyed by this pronouncement, and though my annoyance was only (and rightly) exacerbated by navy blue cardigan worn constantly over his otherwise black priest garb, the truth of it rings true now, sixteen years later.]

oh, and reader, i’m serious: so curious about your thankful thoughts, big and small. bring’em!

it’s been a week since i last posted? i had no idea. here i am, continuing to be a tankful, and for a lot of tings, such as:

1. uncle g, who can always be relied upon to pick up the rear when we are unwell. zig has a rotavirus that has given him copious diarrhea since last tuesday, jude has the crud (and burgeoning pinkeye…), clemdog has been vomiting for a week, and h and i are both meh. uncle g spent most of this past weekend entertaining the sick kiddos, applying lotrimin to raging diaper rash, and cleaning dog vomit, all while h & i either rested or caught up on cleaning various things. somebody give this man an award. or at least a hefty meat entree.

2. solid poo, the first of which, in recent memory, zig had this morning.

3. our pediatrician, who can see our children on a moment’s notice. like this morning, at 9:45.

4. netflix streaming the red balloon, which is currently blowing jude’s mind. “that is a cheeky balloon!” she laughs over and over. [aside: h watched it for the first time this weekend, and decided that the ending isn’t about transcendence, or ascendence, or even relief; instead, all the balloons of paris are taking young pascal “away” after finding him responsible for the death of their friend. kind of changes the whole story, eh?]

zig also enjoys the red balloon:

5. the fact that, when faced with simultaneous illness, my children snuggle each other:

6. imminent thanksgiving, even if we are quarantined to our house with no traditional fare, because we gots enough love and cheese and wine to get us through.

dear reader, what are you tankful for?

tankful tuesday.

lately, my brain has functioned a lot more crisply when i write things in a numbered fashion. (see last post.) in the spirit of crispness, and a stolen moment to write at 7:18 am, here is a list of things i am thankful for today:

1. rain. it’s coming. soon. like, within an hour or so. see?

the reality of rain makes my toes tingle. i’m investing a whole lot of hope into this kind of cleansing, of drought relief.

2. norton bodega malbec reserve. the oakiest, smokiest wine i can afford. it is the flavor of this autumn.

3. leaving work before 5pm sometimes. h sent me this pic late yesterday afternoon:

i immediately closed my laptop, dashed out of the office, and met my fambly at the park, just before sunset. we played until the sun went down, and then ate sandwiches outside. “we’re eating in the dark!” jude said with a giggle, delighted and bewildered by previously unknown possibilities.

4. stitcher radio app. its existence makes my commute a happy one, what with so many podcasts to enjoy. [not a paid endorsement.]

5. the marriage plot. mr eugenides’ most recent novel has made me hungry for fiction again.

6. my fambly (por supuesto). they are the centered breath in the chaos of my worries.

7. sandboxes. they are perfect props to showcase my beauties:


sunday morning. h is doing her sunday morning ritual: meditation at the shambala center, followed by a trip to the recycling center. the boy is asleep. the girl is running around the backyard wearing a superman cape, saving uncle g from some imagined bad guy. (so much of the imaginative play is about bad guys anymore, and jude always saves the day.) clem-dog follows them around, trying not to be nervous. in fact, he follows us everywhere now; he is our only dog anymore. we’ve become the kind of family takes the dog wherever they go.

i’m hiding out in my bed for a bit, deeply feeling the achy balance of gratitude and change. my hormones are raging like pms. but.

it’s not pms. it’s the fact that my son has weaned himself. he is a very communicative boy about his wants, and he does not want to nurse. in fact, he has taken to emphatically shaking his head ‘no’ when he sees my breasts at all. message taken, sir. i’ll put them away. instead, he drinks cup after cup of hemp milk. i’m still not used to offering a cup in the middle of the night, when he wails for teething relief.

he nursed for 13 months, the last of which was completely led by me. i know that we lasted a long time, that it is enough, that we “succeeded” in our breastfeeding relationship. but.

i project way too much meaning and metaphor onto my ability to breastfeed. i own this. i talk a great deal about it in therapy. my story is unoriginal in every way: as a working mother–away from home so much–i find great solace in being the (only) one to provide a certain sustenance to my son. this one act has served as a kind of “forgiveness” of all the distance–i.e. i am still being an actual mother to my son, despite so much separation.

and yet, over the past several months, i grew too busy at work to take the time to pump. my supply dwindled. of course he wasn’t so interested anymore. why would he be? [insert all sorts of guilt about priorities here, including this past week, when i traveled to california for work, pumpless, and didn’t even think about breastfeeding at all.]

i cycle back to the beginning now: i am all kinds of hormonal with this not-pms, as my body completely resets itself to fertile mode. and so i’m giving myself a little room–a little grace–to feel the bigness of grief, of time passing, of letting go. i know that only i hear the sweeping sad score. the melancholy orchestra plays just for me. it’s only a matter of time before my body rights itself again. in the meantime, i’ll give my boy his hemp milk in the middle of the night, and let the gratitude for those stolen moments alone be enough proof of my ability to mother him.

…and now he is awake.


happy november 3rd, everybody! in case you were wondering, no, i’m not participating in nablopomo this year. well, not in the blog every day kind of way. instead, i’m setting the bar to a realistic level: some sort of post once a week.

better than nothing, right?

and to kick it all off, here is my little superman realizing that yes, her mommy is, in fact, brobee.

more soon.

Belated, but…

Happy national coming out day! If you’re reading this, and are contemplating whether it is worth the risk to tell the truth of your life, let me settle it for you: it’s worth it. You’re worth it. And as Christians everywhere are so fond of saying: the truth will set you free.

If I had not told the truth, out loud, to my dear Marlei so many years ago, my children would not exist. How could I have known what joy lay in store? I couldn’t fathom it then. I only knew I could not stay silent. I opened my mouth, and here I am, so very alive and in Love.

Be encouraged. Tell the truth.


sunday meditation.

it’s a rare rainy day in this relentless drought, and i’m under the weather. i took ny.quil last night, and h endured an up-every-hour affair with two needy children, as i, the mouth breather, drooled on my pillow for eight solid hours.

i finally pulled an inconsolable jude into bed with me at 7 am, and i slept another two hours as she cuddled near me, watching the rain from my window, while zig and h began their morning together downstairs.

jude finally convinced me to drag my sniffly ass out of bed at 9, and since, we’ve slipped into a lazy, sunday, cyclical rhythm as a family. h has gone to bed for some uninterrupted sleep. the children are napping in shifts: ziggy then jude then ziggy again.

and so i’ve gotten to focus on my babies one at a time. jude and i watched the entire first superman movie together (superman is kind of her thing right now). we snuggled on the couch and had intermittent existential conversations: baby superman would grow up to become superman, but would he become a baby again? superman’s sun would go “boom!” and become a supernova, but then it would become a big, new sun again, right? right? right, mommy? already, she forces my hand to discuss resurrection and reincarnation, and we wonder together and shrug. then, she says, “look! superman is SO. STRONG. he’s AMAZING.” conversation over. whew.

i plopped jude into bed with h for an afternoon nap, and zig and i played cars, bounced balls, perused the illustrations in the frog and toad treasury, watched the migrating redwing blackbirds at the feeder, and rolled around on the floor together. and then he asked to nurse and nap…which brings me to now.


now, the whole house is asleep but me.

now, i sit at my dining room table, alone with a cup of a.veda tea. i’ve opened one window to let in the first fresh fall air of the year. outside, it’s nothing but loud birdsongs of relief, and a little drizzle. a stick of aloeswood incense burns, and i’m listening to my favorite pandora station: miles davis, mixed with some billie holiday and sufjan stevens. try it. you’ll like it.

oh my soul, how full you are.
there is nothing more i need than this.

happy sunday, my friends.


oh my son,
you are one.

at a year old, you are so much yourself. i fully expect you to be in twenty years who you are this morning: a boy brave, stubborn, cuddly, hilarious, a bit reckless, but mostly cautious, and deeply affected by music.

and zig, you are so independent. i readily admit my surprise at your tendency to crawl into the playroom to play alone every morning, just after breakfast. because, what one-year-old likes to be alone? but. when i peek in at you, there you sit, surrounded by books or cars or blocks, contentedly absorbed in your own little world. and then, after awhile, you come to me, book or car or block in hand, and invite me to join you.

…you don’t walk yet, but you are a fast, multitasking crawler. you can walk, two or three steps at a time; you’re just not convinced that it’s a viable mode of transport. take your time, son. you’ve got the rest of your life to be a biped. it’s totally overrated anyway.

music. you love yourself some music. all of those blipping, bleeping, tinkling musical toys of awfulness are less annoying because of your sincere enthusiasm for them. every day, you rhythmically move your arms from side to side as a computerized book plays “three little kittens” or “BINGO”, and you beam with the joy of a boy who’s found God. and your favorite song? “row, row, row your boat”. already, you sing it. already, you try to find the melody. you’re a bit atonal still, but earnest. mow mow mow, you sing. eeam eeam eeam. and that beaming smile again.

you are all kinds of communicative. your sign for “more” is exuberant clapping. you love to watch the birds at the feeder outside the playroom window. and you use both hands to sign bird bird bird. you sign “please” and “dog”, though no one taught you how. your favorite thing in the world is cats, and you yell CAAAAT when you see one, with a deep, guttural growl, kind of like a cackle.

you love books. you bring them, one in each hand, to your mamas all day to read. you feverishly turn the pages as we attempt to read every page, and then you sign more more more. book! you yell. more more more. when i ask you, where is elmo? the kitty? the bunny? etc, you purposely point to the wrong thing, and giggle uncontrollably as i say no! that’s not it! you’re a funny guy.

you understand everything we say, and follow detailed directions in such a way that we’re pretty sure you’re a genius. for example, say a few pairs of shoes belonging to different people are strewn about the living room. i’ll say, “ziggy, will you please put jude’s shoes away?” you will scan all of the shoes, grab jude’s purple crocs, and lug them back to their rightful place, in another room altogether. that’s pretty advanced stuff, son. i don’t know many teenagers who could pull off such a feat.

you are utterly obsessed with your sister, so much so that we have to work hard to keep you out of her lap all day. already, you are playing the pesky little brother role with aplomb. your poor sister can’t even eat in peace if you are on the loose. she’ll be sitting at the table, minding her own business while eating a pb&j, and suddenly you’re climbing her leg, planting enthusiastic, drooly kisses anywhere you can. noooo ziggy, she whines. leave me alone! i all done with kisses! i need some space! and when we remove you from her person, you arch your back and yell loudly in protest. so it goes, all day, every day.

(i promise that your sister does love you anyway.)

i am proud to say that you and i made it a year with breastfeeding, zigs. i wasn’t sure we would. since my job now demands more time away from home, i usually leave before you’re awake in the morning. that means i only nurse you at bedtime, and you tend to fall asleep immediately. i don’t pump anymore. there’s not much happening in the way of milk production. but the girls must not be completely empty, because you still ask for milk (emphatically, with the lifting up of my shirt and everything), and you still snuggle in for snacks. thank you for that, my lovely son. those moments redeem the hours away from you. separation melts away by osmosis.

in the event that you are curious about your stats someday, here you go:

21 september 2010-
8lb 4oz
20 3/4″ long
14 1/4″ head

23 september 2011-
24lb 8oz
31 1/2″ long
18 3/4″ head

and that head of yours? the one with the curly, unruly locks of reddish blond hair? it still smells like honey.

i love you so, mister isaac silas.


first birthday, first cupcake:

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