My First Book of Poems to be Published!
My book, The Goodbye You Dream Of, has won the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award for 2007. Please check back
here and at http://inredlight.blogspot.com/ for more information. The book will be published in October/November.
Check out Main Street Rag here:
thinking, thinking, always thinking...
July 31, 2005
She has been so bright this weekend, so full of laughter. Her sense of humor
is changing, becoming more robust and fully hers. She laughs wildly and unexpectedly as whatever strikes her as odd. Her favorite
signing video makes her giggle hysterically. Tonight she danced with her uncle for a long time for the pure joy of it
while the rest of us looked on in a post-dinner stupor. Her favorite phrases are "How about..." and "I do it!" She becomes
concerned when she hears other children crying and discovered today what fun cemetaries can be with all those pathways
to run down between the rows of headstones. Yesterday, I thought her eyes would pop out of her head they were shining so brightly
when she saw the row of candy in the check-out line. She puts her dolls to bed for naps in the hallway, realigning the covers
over and over (I hope it's not a sign of OCD). We go around and around in the morning walking her babies in the mini-stroller,
room to room to room. She likes to press her cheek to mine really hard as if she is trying meld us together.
July 29, 2005
This is harder than I thought.
The days are slipping away. Every day she does something new, says a word she has never uttered before or even heard before,
tastes a new food, finds a new way to bump herself up. We work, eat, sleep, get dressed, work, eat, sleep, play a little,
vegetate in front of Dora or Arthur or Elmo. Time to go, time to clean up, time to pay the bills. Slipping in a few minutes
of blog time is tricky. The day job flies by and when we get home, M. is so needy, wanting to soak up as much affection as
possible from Mommy and Daddy. And who can blame her? Who wants to cook dinner when their baby needs to be held, to
play? She will risk life and limb to wedge herself between me and the kitchen cabinet while I am trying to cook. Ugh.
May 21, 2005
Home alone with M. today. Was kind of looking forward to it--just the little
one and me--even though these long stretches can be a bit maddening. Sometimes I think there is no way I could be a stay-at-home
mom--I would go crazy being with a toddler all day. But I suppose the day would develop routines and rhythms. You grow into
these things. I'm sure such an arrangement will never come to be. I am the one who actually likes and wants to work. If anyone
stays home, it will be Dad. Not that I don't feel guilt about leaving M. 5 days a week. Every now and then I have the sense
that it is rather unnatural to leave your child with someone else. I never expected anything other than this though. My mother
worked full-time for as long as I can remember. And my ambition was never to be a wife or a mother. Today, after we finished
playing with blocks and before we went outside, M. insisted that we clean up. How shocking! Did you learn to clean up in daycare,
I asked? "Yes!" she shouted.
May 17, 2005
I am looking for a blank piece of paper. When I open the first notebook I
find at hand--half-sheet sized with a cardboard cover spiral bound at the top--the first page I flip to is dated almost exactly
one year ago. There are no other entries. I can't believe how easily I have forgotten where I was one year ago. Maybe I want
to forget. The entry is nothing dramatic. It says: "Slept pretty well. M. woke up a few times but stayed in crib. Still, I
feel sad, like I need to cry this a.m. It's a beautiful, sunny day but I don't feel it." This lament goes on for another paragraph.
I was recovering from a gruelling experience with post-partum depression/anxiety that had me feeling truly crazy, wondering
how I would get through day to day. I did get through it, but the effects never leave you. How lucky and happy I feel now
to have myself back.
May 10, 2005
So, a few days after I posted my thoughts on mothers developing a kind of super-empathy, I came across an
article on babycenter.com that confirmed my suspicions. In "Big Story: How motherhood makes
your smarter," reporter Catherine Guthrie interviews author Katherine Ellison about her new book The Mommy Brain: How
Motherhood Makes Us Smarter. Ellison says:
"This suggests that a rewiring of the human brain occurs once you have children. Some researchers
see it as evidence that motherhood makes women more empathetic. One scientist I interviewed says that moms learn empathy skills
with their babies that they can later take out into the world at large."
Okay, so maybe this is really no big revelation to most mothers, but it's kind of nice to see some scientific verification!
April 28, 2005
I was inside the metro today, getting off of a train and walking to the
escalator when the thought hit me: becoming a mother is a profoundly spiritual experience. That is the best way to describe
it. When you are a mother, your whole being is changed by the existence of a person outside yourself. The meaning of life
and death are forever altered. As a mother, you are at once pushed to your physical and emotional limits and expanded
into new perceptions and feelings wilder and deeper than any you could have imagined. It sounds like an acid
trip! I am so sensitive now, I seriously hesitate before squashing the bugs that invade our house now and then--because the
aliveness of even a spider or a cricket seems miraculous and mysterious to me now. (Cockroaches are another story,
however.) What I keep thinking recently is does everyone who becomes a parent have 10,000 times more empathy for the vulnerable
of the world? the sick, the oppressed, the downtrodden--especially children? You would think that having children would radicalize
people with super-empathy and energy to change the world. When you are a mother, don't you say, that child suffering with
HIV could be my child? I tell myself that parents do feel more empathy for strangers--they're just too
exhausted from parenting to take action.
April 22, 2005
Went outside after dinner last night into the damp air.
Now that the light lasts past 7 pm, we can indulge ourselves. Always naughty at the dinner table, M. needed to go out and
run off some energy. We leaked into the yard one by one--M. ahead, J. and I trailing after--into the kind of suburban neighborhood
that would have given us nightmares 10 years ago. The quiet is astonishing. Where are all the people? Where are the shoppers,
the tourists, the street people, the businessmen, the cars and buses, the couples with strollers? We have always lived in
the middle of things, on major streets where the constant rumble of traffic becomes a lullaby. Here we have birds,
trees, dogs barking, the occasional lawnmower or chain saw. I feel like we are camping. We live on a cul de sac, so M.
can run pretty freely in the middle of the street in front of our house. We are always only a few steps away. She wants
us to pick dandelions that have gone to seed and blow the fragile puff balls into the air. We pick and blow, pick and
blow. When J. does this it makes her screech with delight. He blows them up into the air and the separate white seedlings
float down like thin snow. It is chilly but M. refuses to wear her coat or hat. Soon the light dims and we herd her back
toward the house. She is spent and ready for the warmth of inside.
April 21, 2005
M. woke at 5:30 am, blinking in the greyness of our room.
Impossible to ignore her and her will to rise. I never tire of her face at any hour. She points me out of the bedroom
and into the kitchen, knowing exactly what she wants. I plunk her down in booster seat, which is never quite clean, then
peel open the tube of yogurt and set it down before her. She squints against the brightness of the dining room like an
old lady then picks up the yogurt and is happy. Her daddy floats in to check on us. Go back to bed, I tell him,
we are fine. He floats groggily away as I lean on the table and watch my daughter eat. Yes, I think,
we are fine.