I asked Seth to take some photos of Foos, I needed them for her birthday invitation, I said. He took these in like two minutes, and I am in love. I remember when she was a newborn wondering what she would really look like when she was no longer a baby blob, what her voice would sound like, what her teeth would look like. I have been staring at these photos for a long time, there she is, a person. She doesn’t need me as much; she closes the door when she wants privacy; she reads and writes on her own. She doesn’t even let me paint her nails – she can do it on her own, thank you very much.
She is a dreamboat feminist, book loving, queen of words. She makes throw-up sounds whenever she sees a Donald Trump sign and wears a Ruth Bader Ginsburg pin on her jean jacket like a badge of bad-assery. I’ve caught her belting out Sleater-Kinney in the car and Nina Simone in her “garden.” The other day, I overheard her ask her dad if he would watch “The Farts Awaken” with her (The Force Awakens), and I could not stop laughing. She wants to pet every cat, kiss every dog, rescue every stranded worm. She is a fantastic little person, and sometimes I can’t believe I get to be her mother. Her 5th birthday signals a lot of changes; she will be in school most of the day in the fall, and after five years as a stay at home, no social life/money having mom, I have to get a job. I am super nervous for both of us (my resume is so sad), but I am so grateful I spent that time with her.
Foos is feeling better, life is humming, our children are dreamboats. I have recently reconnected with my maternal family, many miles, half-siblings, and borders away. It has given me a lot to think about, and on the whole, made me happier/gloomier than usual. But my life, my day to day, remains the same. There is a disconnect between the world in my head, and the world which I touch with my hands. We have a wall of windows in the dining room, and every plant in that room, thrives, grows, multiplies. I want to be that wall.
A sweet moment in a week where nothing went the way it was supposed to. Trips were canceled, plans postponed, elbows were burned baking, feelings were hurt, pages went unturned, toddler flew off scooter, too many calls from student loan sharks, bank account emptied. But at least there were records, my forever outfit, and my Banjo. Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis has been stuck in my head for days since. It’s the little things right?
This weekend we piled everyone in the car, including the dog, and drove south to Sarasota, to see Grandma, Pepaw, and the gulf. Seth and I snuck away for a date to the Selby Botanical Gardens, which were excellent and merit a second visit. The kids spent most of the time at the pool, where any trace of Foos’ paternal wasp roots were overcome by a conspiracy between the sun and her mother’s caribbean melanin. I loved it. We took a backwoods way back home, which made me nervous. For reasons I cannot explain, I feel ill at ease in America’s open spaces. The barns and depressed towns don’t conjure up any feeling of nostalgia or even beauty, only of mild panic and fear. Seeing a Trump sign for the first time displayed proudly on somebody’s lawn, didn’t make it any better. It may as well have said “I hate gays, women, and people of color.” But we made it back to our nest safely, and I’m sure the only memories which will remain of the visit are of family and love.
We spent Thanksgiving in the Blue Ridge Mountains, returning to the yurt in Anna’s farm. This time it was a little different, we brought Silas and Banjo, our pup, along. The trip was just as good. The ride there was a comedy of errors; driving the wrong way for an hour, with the poor kids crammed in the back of the car with our car sick dog. Eventually, thanks to a vet tech friend, we discovered the magic of dramamine.
Our first day there, Thanksgiving proper, was spent roaming the hills and climbing fences. Yelling at my four year old to slow down! Filled with worries of a broken ankle while simultaneously overjoyed at the sight of her transformed, pissing in the bushes, running free. It was also the last day of my 20’s, and I spent that afternoon reading Philip K. Dick on the yurt porch and drinking wine. Shamefully, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said is the only of his novels I have read. We started watching The Man in the High Castle, which is based on his novel of the same name, and I thought it a good reason to read the book. It was also my first time reading a book on a kindle, and there were many times I caught myself licking a finger in preparation for turning a page that wasn’t there. It almost felt like books were my phantom limb.
The farm on the mountain, a place built for poetry, with its never-ending signs of renewal was as good a place as any to end a decade and start one anew.
This was the pumpkin Foos carved with her father. It didn’t last long. They did a bad job of removing the guts and seeds, and after a couple of days on our stoop, tiny enterprising flies made a home of it. When I finally decided it was time to get rid of it, I consulted with Foos and she, alarmed by so many little flies, just looked at me and said yes, momma, go ahead. When I picked up the pumpkin its flesh was soft and warm from sitting in the sun. The flies, not happy i had trespassed, crawled on the flesh of my hands, and became the sound in my ears. I felt guilty, but I tossed it in my trash can. Just like everything else was or will be, it was gone, but at least I have this picture.