Braids, Not Chains

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Most of my favorite writing happens in bed. Each morning promises something different, and it’s a promise—not a swear, not an oath, not a hint. A promise feels more honest; it feels more hopeful.

This particular morning, there’s a round window high above me, casting the most perfect light on Hudson’s profile. His nose is short. I guess I’ve never realized that before. Hudson’s in our bed because we’re visiting family, and we’re sharing a room. He woke up in his pack-and-play too early, and hoping to get another half hour of sleep or so, we brought him here.

Titrate

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I like so many things about fall, but the chieftest of which is putting a bare foot onto the first cold floorboard of the season. I like hopping into a hot shower to wash off the shivers of the morning instead of the sweats of the night. I like the first authentic sweater.

Square

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I realized tonight, while hunting for a pen, that somewhere in the dusk of recent memory, I’d replaced my journals with planners. I’d had every intention of making a tidy square in tomorrow’s box that I could check off as soon as I bathed Maeby. But my epiphany gave me pause. I stopped. I took a mental inventory: on the wanting scale, how badly did I want to bathe Maeby, or rather, how badly did I want to write in my planner that I needed to bathe Maeby?

“You can let go.”

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I could feel anxiety in my toes this morning. Sometimes, though not always, that’s where it starts. It’s like those cartoons characters who wring their hands with stress, almost maniacally. But I’ve never seen anyone actually do that. For me, it’s much less theatrical, but more realistic—I wring my feet. Point and flex, point and flex, shuffle shuffle shuffle.

Let’s Have Some Stars

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Maeby is mad at me. Today she made a pass at my chocolate protein bar, which is like a brick of poison for her (because, chocolate kills dogs, and also because Protein gives her urinary tract infections). Being the good mom that I am, I leapt for the protein bar and disentangled it from her jaws. It was an unpleasant experience for both of us; Maeby’s favorite food is chocolate and she really resented my forceful robbery. (To be fair, she robbed me first.).

Hudson

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So, I made a baby. He’s resting up against me, propped up with pillows, after he fell asleep during a feeding.

I made his feet. I made his tiny hands, I made his lopsided ears, and my heartburn made the healthy layer of hair that covers his whole body and gives him little sideburns. For 39 weeks, I sculpted and created this specimen. Last night I realized I recognized this boy on the outside to be the same boy as the one on the inside. He’s the same boy that didn’t kick much, but instead dragged his foot across my tummy like a matchbox car while I chased it around with my fingers. This is the same boy that I made.

All That I’ve Met

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A few days ago, I brought Maeby inside from a morning piddle and found my grandma with her arm around my father singing, “My home’s in Montana, I wear a bandana, my spurs are silver, my pony is grey! When riding the ranges, my luck never changes, oh yippee ki, yippee ki, yippee ki-yay!”

She’s commissioned the entire family to learn it while she stays with us this winter. Recently, we were all indulgently singing along, and my father pulled up a quiet Youtube video of ambulance sirens which could only be heard by Maeby. The sirens prompted Maeby to howl along while the rest of us were Yippee Ki-Yaying. We all giggled happily afterwards, but there was a subtle profundity to the experience too.

Share

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I woke up this morning in, what I realized too late, is my very favorite place in the entire world. I’m actually still here. I have to soak it up, because I’m here for the last time.

I’m in the middle of my bed, snuggled in between my husband, who’s arm is tucked under mine like a teddy bear, and Maeby, who has been grunting lately when she doesn’t get her way. She just let out an expressive groan when I dove (gently) under her belly to find my cell phone so I could capture this moment with words. Technically, there’s a baby in the middle with me too. He’s doing little flips in my tummy as we speak. 

Hard Things Can Also Be Good

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Tonight on my way home from tutoring, I saw a hardened old, grocery store clerk snarl at another employee while arranging a strange winter display of watermelon outside the storefront. And just when my mind was made up about said curmudgeonly store clerk, I watched him secretly slip an ice cube from his watermelon display to an aging golden retriever passing by on the street. It was a quick reversal of thoughts–from resenting this old man for yelling publicly at a coworker, to loving him for sharing an ice cube.   Of course as frequently happens when a pregnant person experiences two emotions too close together, this little gesture made me tear up at the crosswalk between 92nd and 93rd street.