A Letter to Ros in 2019

Dear Ros, I took you back to school on Monday for the first time in almost a month. I was dreading it a little bit, both because I was strangely emotional about saying goodbye to you for the whole day and because I wasn’t sure how you would handle the transition. You strode into that building like you owned the place, and you were immediately greeted by the school director, who exclaimed how happy she was to see you back after such a long absence. “Did you go somewhere special?” she asked. You said nothing; there were more important things to discuss first. You held up a water-filled globe for her to inspect. Wordlessly, you shook the globe, and the Moana figure in the center was surrounded by floating sparkles. And, with a flourish, you pressed a little button that made the globe erupt into song. As “We Know The Way” echoed through the hall, you let the awed crowd gather round to greet you and admire your treasure. You swelled with pride. I did not have to worry about you that day.

Read More

About that Facebook challenge

I can only describe my first Facebook profile picture, because I have since scrubbed it and all other pre-weight-loss photos from Facebook. It was impossible to look at this picture and glean from it any real sense of what I looked like, which was, of course, the point. What it conveyed was a certain carefree ease, a happiness and boldness that I aspired to. You couldn’t see that I was afraid of what you’d think of me when you saw me.

Read More

The wall calendar of my discontent

While in Paris, I did something I have not done lo these many years: I bought a wall calendar. Between Google Calendar and the ubiquity of wall calendars as tools for soliciting charitable donations, my calendar needs have been largely met for at least the last decade. The Middlebury College annual calendar always features some really lovely shots of Old Chapel in winter and other such iconic seasonal landscapes. It makes a nice office-wall adornment, though I often forget to turn the page when the new month arrives. This calendar, on the other hand, is a Joan Miró calendar from the Grand Palais in Paris, an impulse purchase at the end of a meander through the exhibit halls that had been both too short and too long. Before I could think it through, my hands were on it, my credit card was out of my wallet, and I was signing here.

Read More

Vacation has found me.

I came into this trip expecting it would be fun, but that it would not necessarily feel like vacation. Flying to a foreign country across several time zones with a three-year-old is not anyone’s definition of relaxing. Parenting in public places with a big audience, parenting while jet-lagged in the middle of the night, parenting while subject to the whims of a foreign transit system which may or may not decide to close every stop you could conceivably get off at on New Year’s Eve (for instance): these are stressful things. At the same time, though, living in the not-quite-real world of Paris for a not-exactly-brief time - two whole weeks - is working its magic on me, because outside of the strict non-negotiable of parenting, there is actually nothing, and I mean nothing, that I have to do.

Read More