I think I can be accused of not living fully in the present. In middle school I kept a blog about how excited I was to go to High School, to have a rival school, to heckle the rival basketball team. And yet the second I got to high school, I was always one panic attack away from college stress that I didn’t go to my first basketball game until senior year. And I couldn’t wait for that basketball game to be over, because everyone else knew all the collective heckles and chants, when to stand up, when to stay silent. I spent an hour cheering out of turn.
A colleague at work recently gifted me—or well, technically she gifted Hudson with a copy of the book Harold’s Purple Crayon. The story details a young boy with a large purple crayon that he uses to draw himself into a story. He’s a new protagonist on every page, but in the end, he draws himself a window and a pillow and a bed.
My sister bakes cookies.
One night, I was staying at my sister’s new home in Utah, when I wandered upstairs for a midnight snack. The house was dark, save for the well-lit kitchen. The lights concentrated on my sister, Bethany, while she concentrated on cookies. Flour coated her cheek, mostly just a light layer of dust except for one thick stripe along her cheekbone. She had her hair pulled in a messy bun, potential flyaways tamed by a small, stretchy headband. She’s short and her counter is tall. She pounded and rolled cookie dough from a giant mound she’d been working on for hours while the Game of Thrones played in the background. I get to see her all the time, but she struck me then as particularly beautiful.
Today was one of the very first days of my life where I felt like all of me.
I write this post in Winnemucca, Nevada. It’s a small town, population >8,000, but a motel on every corner. There is one main street, and then other lateral streets are labeled First, Second, and Third Street. I don’t believe it goes higher than Fourth Street.
And believe it or not, it’s been in this tiny town, with basically only four streets, that I felt like all of me. Because today I got to be a mom and a teacher.
To start, let me acknowledge that this post makes a few generalizations, for which, I apologize. Ish.
Recently, I was at an airport traveling solo, when a white man (I feel like the term “dude” is maybe a more accurate depiction, if I’m being linguistically precise) popped down next to me, headphones in. He was groomed and professional. After several minutes of not speaking to me at all, he pulled out an airpod and asked me to watch his stuff. At the airport.
This post doesn’t end in a metaphor.
It’s just an image.
It’s just a little boy swaying on level two in a pastel swing, flirting with a mobile made of what appear to be stuffed mice. It’s ten fingers and ten toes, recently trimmed. It’s a little bit of drool. It’s blue-grey eyes with a puzzle piece of brown in the upper right iris. I saw that before anyone else did, and no on can take that gift away from me, even when his eyes give way to a soulful brown.
This post isn’t a metaphor; it’s just a squeal and a happy, guttural gurgle punctuated with hiccups. It’s a pacifier with a red dragon—named Drogon—lying on his tummy as it starts to give way to 4-month-old chub. It’s a peek-a-boo tongue, the occasional yawn, and Dumbo ears. It’s a rogue, perambulatory foot.
It’s not a metaphor, it’s just a moment.
It’s just a moment where Hudson happens to be exactly 3 months, 2 days, 11 hours and 58 minutes old.
This post doesn’t end in a metaphor. It ends in a full-body smile, a smile so big that it needs wagging feet and flailing arms to go with it.
It’s Happy Huddy in his natural state. It’s hard to imagine that life gets happier than this.
In a series of grueling experiences, I’ve had to learn how to sit with cognitive dissonance.
And just the other day, I was sitting in the car realizing just how good at it I’ve become. I’m the opposite of myself–or opposites exist within me, just… no longer oppositionally.
It’s 5:24 am and it is unclear whether or not i have actually gotten you to sleep. You have a noises I don’t yet understand, but it’s a good bet that every grunt belongs to the effort of somehow wrestling your hands to your face.
Baby, you love your hands. You use them as shields, as clasps, as antennas, as feelers. You need them near your face, preferably above your face. I thought I was going to love your feet most, but Hudson, it’s your hands that define you.
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.
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.