Tag - popular

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Knotless
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Don’t Know Much, But I Do Know Some
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The Artist
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National Geographic: Twins
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Back in Teletubby Land
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Words
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A Magnificent Boy

Knotless

We are off at the beach, sandy and sated by the sun. Being here is healing me day by day, even if this place, like most, is riddled with memories of a life long gone. How do you summarize 14 years of your life, what kind of burial do you give it? I sit by the water and offer chunks of it to the sound. The sunlight ripples on the water and I imagine my old life drift away, dappled and unrecognizable.

Later I lie in the hammock under a canopy of trees, the sky immense and clear. John races around me, up and down into the garden, while Sam reads in the grass (The Evolution of Man!). So much is possible but still impossible is to forgive in the absence of remorse.

I think about what I knew and what I know and the two blend together into one big knot and all I want is to be knot-less, to be stripped of all I knew and all I know. You can’t stay away, you’re drawn here. He’s no prize, I want to tell you. Who does what he did and for so long. Who does what you did and for so long? Well, then. I guess you’re each other’s prize.

In the meantime, I hold my children close and try to love the hurt out of them. Some days I think I am that powerful. Other days I know the truth. What else is there to do then, but to work this knot, worry and work and pull it. Try to untie it, turn it over and over, until the knot is undone, until I am undone and in the undone-ness, done with you.

Knotless.

So here we are at the beach, sandy and sated by the sun. We create new memories. John runs barefoot through the tall grass, his long legs wet with dew. He stops and turns his face to the sun, does finger puppets in the air. Sam goes fishing with my dad and despite the frustration of waiting… waiting… is so happy when he catches his first tiny fish. I watch my two long-legged boys, so full of love and joy and know that even if undoing this knot takes days, months, years — they are my prize.

Don’t Know Much, But I Do Know Some

Here we sit, you and I, across from a table at the bookstore. I am struck at how quiet and peaceful we both are. I peek over my newspaper and see you engrossed in your new book, “Don’t Know Much About the Presidents” (funny, since clearly you do). “Hey Mom, John Tyler had a lot of children,” you say. “Did you know that? FIFTEEN children! The most of ANY president EVER! Isn’t that amazing?”

I agree that’s pretty phenomenal, not to mention excessive. “What’s excessive?” you ask and I tell you it means an awful lot, a real lot, like he had his own basketball team of kids. You like that and laugh.

Then later, in the car, “Mommy, will you and Dad ever be together again?” I take a breath because it’s time and you are smart and you deserve more than half-truths. No, I say, your dad and I will never be together again. Your eyes fill and you bite your lip. In a flash I see a glimpse of the young man you’ll become — sensitive and strong and so much your own person. I pull the car over and climb in the back seat with you. I tell you it’s okay to cry and you do, holding me tight. I do too because I was you, six not seven, and I know how much this hurts, will always hurt. If I could make this hurt go away, if I could I would, but I can’t I can’t and it’s not fair, so not fair.

You look up at me and say, “But I know there’s something I know. The love. There’s a lot of love. You love me and Daddy loves me.” And I rumple your hair and tell you Absolutely. No question. Yes, always. And then you’re done and you ask if we can get to the library already.

We need more books on presidents, you see.

The Artist

Well my child? You sure have been busy. We were running out the door and I yelled “John, where is my phone, honey?” because truth be told, you use it more than I do. You stopped in your tracks and disappeared downstairs. When you returned and gave it to me, I was incredibly proud that you listened, followed a direction and brought it to me.

Then I looked at my phone. I scrolled and scrolled…Seven hundred and twenty photos of the TV screen? Seven hundred and twenty?

I’m thrilled you mastered changing the DVDs without breaking them — we did lose a few to your learning curve. I was curious why you kept changing the disks over and over and why you’d fast forward to a scene and pause it on a specific frame.

When I showed you how to take a photo with the iphone, 720 pictures is not what I envisioned, but wow. I see how you experimented and took photos from afar and then how you focused in on the details that you most love. Beautiful, just like you.

National Geographic: Twins

Happy New Year, dear readers.

January 2012 National Geographic Magazine

Jan. 2012 National Geographic: TWINS

My boys are profiled in the January 2012 issue of National Geographic Magazine. Pretty cool to have visitors from around the globe.

If you’re new here, welcome.

When we agreed to be interviewed for the NG story, life was a bit more predictable. Leave a crisis to change things a bit — stupid crisis is all me, me, me. It’s hard to focus when the fabric of your life is shifting. I must honor that shift, my writing feels contrived when I don’t. And yet? I’m in the thick of it.

You see why I haven’t written for some time. (And now I see that this is exactly what I should be doing.) I love this quote by Gilda Radner:

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”

Yes. Exactly. All in due time.

Back in Teletubby Land

My eyes open to your silly grin. As always, I hug a sliver of our king-size bed — you’ve trained me well over the years. Even when you don’t come bounding in at 2 a.m., I still awake curled at the very edge of the mattress and wonder why my body feels so tense.

There you are: peering over my pillow. You laugh and say,”Tubby custard!”

Really?

I have the odd sensation that I am in a video, trapped in Teletubby Land and you, John, are the eerie baby sun. Much cuter, of course.

“Uh-oh,” you say. “Mommy time to get up? Time to say hello?”

I will not lie: I had hoped we had seen the last of that foursome. Do you remember how you WOULD NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE without your Po doll in hand? There was the time you dropped her in a crowded store and we didn’t realize it until we were all the way home. Your daddy was so mad and so frantic to find her. (He did, of course, cursing her all the way.)

One day, John, you just stopped carrying Po. I placed her on a shelf with the others and three years passed.

And then this morning.

It’s the same but so very different. Back then you were silent — you certainly never recited lines from videos or locked eyes so intently with mine. So, yes —okay! I’ll sing with you! But can we leave Po at home today?

Tinkywinky. Dipsy. Laalaa. Po.
Teletubbies. “Teletubbies!”
Say, Heeeeee-lo! “Eh-oh!”

Words

At the pool during adult swim: 
I want to go swim big pool with Mommy Daddy Sam John?
Holy macaroni, a 12-word sentence uttered by a most quiet boy.

Time to eat scrambled eggs s’ghetti meatballs dinner time?
A most quiet boy who this summer is something else: a boy who wields his words instead of pulling me places. Not all the time, of course, but people!

Tubby custard, I want go airport library grocery store?
Most of the time I get the gist but sometimes…? He stomps and yells if I don’t understand. I so want to understand! As his language has multiplied, his temper tantrums have intensified.

It’s a beautiful puzzle.

A Magnificent Boy

He runs like a gust of wind, fast and brisk. Every now and then, he looks back to see if I’m still following. Of course I am, I’ve been chasing him for years. At last his hand is within my reach and I grab it, hold on tight. Any other time I would put the brakes to his elopement but I see his face and it radiates such pure joy, I allow him to pull me along.

And so we run.

We run hand in hand as the wind whips through our hair. Even though it is night and even though we are surrounded by crowds at a football game, I feel everything still into this perfect moment: me and my boy flying through space. I am part of his world in this moment. When he looks up at me, it’s as if in slow motion, his face a breathtaking picture of contentment, mischief and love. His face tells me more about what he’s feeling than any words could.

I feel the same desperate love lurch from my body as I did the day he was born and they gave him and his brother to me to hold. It’s so brutal and exquisite all at the same time.

I think of this as I read the results of his neuropsych evaluation, a report so stark, so black and white, I throw it across the room. I am knocked down by its coldness and surprised that my grief lies dormant so close to the surface. The sobs I hear, the sobs I cry are so violent — am I still grieving?

Expressive and receptive language skills roughly equivalent to those of a 2-year-old child; daily living skills…a 1-year, 10-month to 2-year, 5-month-old child; socialization skills…an 8-month-old to 1-year, 4-month-old child.

The gap widens the older he becomes.

I remind myself this is just another moment in time, a day in which John was at the tail-end of a strep infection. I remind myself that it is hard to test someone with John’s unique verbal challenges and that just like receiving that first diagnosis, he is still the same boy. I tell myself that I’m not a failure as his mom, as his primary teacher. It is what it is. And he’s a happy child, an amazing boy with abilities to be discovered over time. He is not this report. My grief lies in seeing anyone dare sum him up this way. Why oh why must he be summed up at all?

I remember chasing him across the football field and then how we ran together. I think of all the moments he reveals himself to us, moments of stunning technicolor, his soul bare for all to witness. What if I could gather all these moments, like a cup of jewels, and write my own report. I would start with: A gust of wind, a magnificent boy.

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