Monday, May 30, 2011

to cali and back

I love where I'm from. It's electric. It has a pulse. A bass beat blaring from a lowered Honda. People shine. They strut. They get into it.

We hopped on down for a forty eight hour adventure. It was supposed to be just me and Sol but at the last minute my mama surprised us and bought Elie a ticket. I had a special date with my sisters to celebrate Wendy's 50th. Glee Live, baby. A singing, dancing, Staples center spectacular. L.A. in all her glittering trimmings. And damn can those kids sing. And jam. Brittany S. Pierce is a force. I sure do love talent.

That followed by expensive, yet ever so deserving drinks and snacks. Freakishly good mescal and honey and chili number in a tiny, retro glass. Spicy fried polenta cakes. Enough already!

And my kids rocked it hard on the planes. It's a surprisingly easy trip. All they want to do is socialize. They're super good at that. Sol and I did some serious aisle strolling. He really likes it when the plane's at a bit of an incline and he can run downhill while putting out his hand for people to high five. He gets quite an array of responses. Some people think he's a hoot. Others are not too down with his personal space invasion. I keep on an apologetic, hey-what-can-I-do smile on throughout.

What else? Enjoyed train travel down to Little Tokyo. L.A.'s so much swankier than it used to be and it's fun to revisit old neighborhoods and take in all the swankification. I love it. L.A. was a bit of a pit when I was growing up. There were plenty of places I wouldn't have wanted to park my car during my high school escapades that are all shiny and new now. I think I parked my car in those places anyway because I was always attracted to mildly adventurous dangers. But now I can bring my children into those 'hoods and not even feel guilty!

In a few weeks we leave for a grand family tour. First a week in Jersey for a wedding and a Kessler hunkerdown. Then I head sola again to LaLa land to see all of my peeps and share my children with their many admirers. Until then, it's time to enjoy the electric green that is this June, the bursting buds, the last days of one, wild year.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

my toddler

I think I'm going to be one of those mamas that's nursing her kid when he's, as my friend Jody put it, doing simple addition. I never thought I'd go this way. I remember being in a parent teacher conference the first year I moved to Missoula. The mama had her four year old in her lap. He took a bite of bagel. He looked up at her. Milk? He articulated clearly. And out it came, right on the other side of my desk. Just a little something to wash down the carbs.

I love how groovy Missoula is. I'd never seen the likes at a parent teacher conference in Los Angeles. Hell, the parents barely even showed up to those. I had to wander the 'hood, knocking on apartment doors, trying to get a five or ten minute conversation in while these mamacitas dealt with their tremendous lives, stirred a giant vat of refried beans, five children underfoot in a one bedroom apartment, all big, needy brown eyes, the sound of Mexican radio blaring from the windows above and below.

Here we are blessed in many ways. Have bike trailers and farmer's markets. All claim to be kinda poor, yet all eat organic. Have tremendous educations and bright children. Hike trails out our back doors and then meet in the park for play dates. We spoil our children in our own, extremely attentive ways. And we tend to nurse for a long, long time.

There are quite a few reasons why it could be argued that I wean. Sleep being the first. A bit of autonomy the second. But when I say, "How about a little nurse?" and Sol chuckles like an old drunk, I know I can't give it up. When we've been in the bath but a minute and he dive bombs across my body for my boob and Elie shouts, "Watch out mom! Here comes Soli!" and we all get such a good laugh out of his determination, I wonder how I could ever deny him. This is a kid, too, who eats anything. We're not exactly in it for the nutritional value any more. He gained the weight he needed to gain and I think Dr. J's off my back. But there's something about this one thing. Maybe it's because I know it's the last time I'll use my body this way. My body that is so impressive. The way she works hard and makes milk and goes to a three hour inversion workshop, her core trying, trying to do what it used to. Thank you, humble body. Thank you for serving us all so well.

gorgeous birthday pics taken by Aimee

Monday, May 16, 2011

year one: a reflection

I have been a mother of two for a year.
Hands down one of the most rewarding, love-filled, ethereal, exhausting, brilliant, beautiful and challenging years of my life. I had my first night away from my children on Saturday. I haven't felt that peaceful inside in a really, really long time. I savored silence. Stillness. The quiet places between time, between words, between thoughts. Nothing was jolting. No sudden shifts in mood. The cries in the night. The whines from an over-tired girl. Just old friends, just warm water, just the celebration of this journey that we've been on together for a while now.

I really missed Eliana. I really missed Sol. I was ready to return. But I don't feel totally ready to re-enter. Halfway through the eggs and oatmeal and crusts being cut off and jacked up coffee grinder and No I wanted my polka dotted rain boots, not my ballet shoes! and dog scratching at the back door and general upheaval that is a morning in my home, I wanted to run. I wanted to scream. I wanted to take out my hearing aids, throw off my glasses and bury my head in the pillow. I didn't want to listen or help. Feel or care.

I wanted another night at the hot springs. I wanted my coffee in silence. I had a taste of the that sweet nectar and I wasn't ready to go back cold turkey.

And, honestly, the day hasn't gotten a whole lot better. I've settled into it. The time away feels thoroughly distant. Elie and I had our first real fight in months. The baby screamed through the whole thing. I was so thoroughly pissed, it seemed absolutely irrational.

Didn't you just get your alone time? Your away time? You should be back rested and rejuvenated, all Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp rolled into one. Blessed and sweet, thankful and shiny.

Instead I feel all edgy and raw, like there's so much to unpack and so little time. Those hours in deep conversation, warm water, the wooden deck that wrapped around and kept the wind at bay, the perfect setting for a perfect meal, our new favorite bottle of wine, poetry and honesty and depth, friendships uninterrupted, I need more of that. I crave it. Need it like sunshine. Like water.

There is so much to this time in my life. Those women I was with, those friendships, they were wholly founded on our collective understanding of this immense time we're in. We were pregnant together, sat through birth classes, cat cowed and chanted, brought each other meals after the babies came, listened through birth stories, sleep stories, the stories of firsts, of marriages faltering, reviving, of selves breaking apart and coming together. Then we all went and did it again and the layers deepened, the branches grew heavy with new fruit. And for twenty four shining hours we were able to enjoy each other in our rawest form. Ourselves without all that. Even though, of course, it was all there. With, yet without, all the new and intricate and tremendous layers.

I don't have anywhere to go with this. I want to write down how I'm feeling so that I might move thorough it, but also so I can remember how valuable that time was for me. And really quite simple, when all is said and done. The children did great. Jeff was a rock star. I came home. And we began another Monday.

Friday, May 13, 2011

uh oh

Solomon's birthday coincided with the return of the sunshine and all things green. Missoula has transformed herself overnight. All of her inhabitants walk around with giddy grins after months and months of the grimaces brought by too much gray and white. I again wholly proclaim, I love it here.

Mother's Day was a mellow, sweet affair. Downtown gave us plenty to do and between parades and pony rides, we were pretty damn satisfied. The all you can eat sushi dinner, all in the name of Japan disaster relief was a perfect ending. Oh how Els loves her fresh salmon. Sol seems to be more of a tempura guy.

The best thing about the return of the sun is that our house multiplies in size. Where once we were stepping on each other and tripping over down coats, we can now enjoy our yard, our deck, our swing. And that gives Sol all sorts of new things to get nutty about. His first words beyond Mom and Dad, "Uh oh...!" Uh oh is right.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


We threw a good shindig for Soli's first. The best part of it all was I really enjoyed myself. He really enjoyed himself. Elie and Jeff seemed pretty darn happy too. I am committed to enjoying every party I throw for the rest of my life. I refuse to be a haggard host. So once people arrived I stopped worrying about whether or not the tortillas were warm, assumed people would get their own drinks, and kicked back.

Everyone who was a part of Solomon's arrival into the world was there. The rain stayed away and we actually enjoyed my yard, albeit in puffy coats. And the placenta. That amazing, beautiful organ I could have played with for way too long. It's probably good I wasn't left alone with the thawed, bloody placenta because I could have got really lost marveling and handling it. It was brilliant. But we had guests...

I haven't downloaded my pics yet, but Casey sent me these beauties. It's a way to get the ball rolling. Brilliant memories.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Year Ago Today

A Year Ago Today

A year ago
the arrowleaf balsam root
raised their unwavering
yellow heads,
beacons of happiness,
of the welcome brightening
that is spring.

A year ago
your sister
danced in a pink tutu
across the hard wood,
sang her ABC's with
pride, entertained and
while we waited.

A year ago
I heaved my heavy body
through another day.
Read to the children about a
miraculous bunny named Edward Tulane,
entered the world of the story
with my whole
the whole, ephemeral self
that is the forty week
pregnant woman.

She is beyond herself.
She both floats above and
burrows deep.

A year ago
I took myself to lunch.
Oh how I love Bernice's
red pepper spread,
that perfect ratio of
turkey to swiss to
fresh bread,
a quiet bit in another,
full Monday.



A year ago
I took a 4:00 bath.
Perhaps early,
certainly earned.
My belly rumbled and stirred,
the cramps I've known
for twenty years,
amplified and familiar.
The belly of a woman
is always up to something.

A year ago
I thought

this is it.
Called a friend.
We sat together
in the soft yellow
candlelight and
listened to my ladies
held their harmonies,
created safe,
holy space.

A year ago
I pressed my whole self
into the edge of the couch,
cat cowed on my mat,
paced very, very slowly.


A year ago
I let them lead me to
my bed.
Let them tell me
what to do.
Let me tell me.
Let you.

Gripped the etched bed post,
understood the ornateness
the carvings on the wood,
in a whole new way.
The bed.
The bed of your birth.

The wisdom of a midwife
and a woman and a
for light.

A year ago
there were three
mighty surges.
A big boy
The wide shoulders.
The ecstasy.

And there you were
in my bed.
In my arms.

My perfect son.
My life


I saw Jeannie today for the first time since our six week check-up. It kinda felt like going home. You develop such an intense relationship with a midwife. I hopped up on the table like I was at an old friend's house. Jeannie was so kind. Told me that she's done over a thousand births and doesn't remember many, but can remember Sol's perfectly. That made me feel pretty special. Made me savor those memories even more.

I'm having a little party for him tomorrow. Of course, while it's 60 degrees and sunny now, the forecast for tomorrow is cool and rainy. The lilac tree I bought to plant with his placenta sits on my picnic table. And while the weather perhaps won't be ideal for the kind of ceremony I want, I'm going to go with it anyway.

Planning gatherings can be a challenge in our small town. We have so many friends, old and new. Jeff and I decided we wanted this party to be about Sol. About the few friends he's made, the people who have grown to love him and the people who helped bring him into the world. It's a party more focused on his birth, my birthing day, and then how things fell into place from there. And even though I've been fairly discerning about invites, I still will be making something special for twenty or so friends to dine on tomorrow.

The fridge is packed. The house a disaster. I'm tuckered and need to take a few minutes to sit. Then it's off to grate carrots for a cake, whip butter with cream cheese, marinate the pork. Because life is about ceremony. And he's only one once.