Aug 29 2009

De La Soul

DeLaSoul_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85One minute I’m navigating back to school night, standing in line in the school gym, clutching myriad forms and checks, and sweating about getting my kid the band instrument choice he wants. The next minute I’m in the middle of a thumping sweaty rumpus at First Ave, right up close to the stage, crackin’ out my best, getting my hip hop on courtesy of these fine fellows. Dash and I went with Nanook, Gear Daddy, Crackerjack and Renaissance Man (happy birthday RM, fellow Virgo and lover of eighties new wave, good birthday, wouldn’tchasay?).

On this evening of all things back-to-school, the smell of hallways, chalk, and gymnasiums still fresh in my nose, we got SCHOOLED. We got old schooled, we got new schooled, we got knick knock paddywacked give the dog a bone, this old girl came rollin home. These professors of hip hop put on a great show. It’s the 20 Years High and Rising Tour, marking 20 years since their first and biggest album, 3 Feet High and Rising, dropped (see how I did that? I got the lingo, bitches) and they put on a show that emphatically said: we are still here, mother fuckers and thank YOU for still being here, mother fuckers! They went easy on the goof, heavy on the heavy, and scratched all the right spots with their genius rapping, sampling, scratching, and happy mahem inducing antics. It was really cool to watch a hip hop show backed by a smokin’ ten piece band (the Rhythm Roots Allstars) who really stood on their own but, combined with De La Soul, just amped it up to a whole other level. There were crazy bongo explosions (seriously, like three or four guys on bongos – awesome) and a full horn section affectionately introduced as Ghetto Brass (which made me chuckle given my afternoon of instrument wrangling with Saint James) and who floored us with a little Stevie Wonder: a bright, shiny, clear your sinuses, Sir Duke. Beautiful. Truly.

I’m not a professional, I don’t take notes, I don’t have the vocabulary or the knowledge base to really talk about music in a meaningful way but most importantly, I don’t want to miss anything. More and more, I’m finding that if I think about how I’m going to blog about something, it really takes me out of the moment, so I try not to do that. Ever. Consequently, I’m left with little more than ringing ears, a huge grin on my mug, sore muscles, and the vague notion that in addition to hopping us up on some good hard hip hop, these sampling geniuses tantalized us with a little Gorillaz, a little Steely Dan, a little Beastie Boys (Hey Ladies!!!), a little MJ, for sure some Run DMC. I know there was more, but I have a mind of swiss cheese.

And not for nothing, the last twenty years have been kind to De La Soul. They look great and they sound great. It was nice to be at a show watching guys our age working it out, and working it out really really well. It was an 18+ show, so there were plenty of babies in the audience to be sure. We even ran into Matt who works at the pool snack bar and knows to give us a heavy pour on the vino blancos, and bless his heart he was totally cool, casual and refreshingly not surprised to be running into a couple of pool mommies at the show. Every now and again they’d pan a big bright spotlight over the crowd going nuts and I amused myself imagining what Posdnuos would think of our little group dancing all dirty and freaky with our yoga arms up in the air and silly smiles plastered on our, ahem, super duper dewey and youthful looking faces. Every time I go to see live music I have a little age dysmorphia conversation in my head for a few seconds: Jeez, these people look like toddlers, ooh, hey, that one looks like a grown up St. James, cute! I should feel really old, but I don’t feel really old, what is wrong with me that I don’t feel really old? Fuck it, step aside slightly stinky, disaffected little one and watch a mama strut her stuff, WOOOHOOOO! 

Sigh. It’s true. It’s really really true. So my take away from last night?

Mirror mirror on the wall.

Tell me mirror what is wrong?

Nothing child, keep keeping on.

And on and on and on and on.*

*OK, so I took some liberties with the last two lines. Sue me.

Aug 25 2009

The take.

tomhandsA couple things for starters: as I sit down to write this post I have a song running through my head. A song which none of you know unless you happen to have gone to a Catholic all-girls school in the eighties. I say this with some confidence because it is a little known fact that the Catholics are prolific song writers and drop a panoply of new, uplifting, guilt-inducing ballads every year. Trust me, they’re really good at it. When my parish went all folksy acoustic in the late seventies, I knew there was something afoot and I was not mistaken. So my song? The harvest is plenty, laborers are few, come with me into the fields . . . Ringing a bell? Susie? Yes? If not, it doesn’t matter. Completely irrelevant.

The other point I want to make is that I know I am tormenting you with this whole tomato fixation and I apologize. The only thing I can recommend is some patience. Maybe go away for a while until I get this out of my system, which will be sometime around the first frost. Anyone who has been tuning in here for a while is familiar with my little obsessions: calamity, my knee, music, bacon, my son’s hair, tequila, my knee, calamity. Usually I move on in some fashion or another. Sometimes not. Only time will tell.

Earlier this summer I ordered a big cedar planter on line and planted two measly tomato plants and a pepper plant (respectively, Joaquin, Bruce and Pepe). I got a late start (blame it on the knee and the tequila) and had meager hopes for my teensy garden. In fact, in a knee-jerk act of proactive self-defense, I pooh poohed myself here

Well, I needn’t have gone to the trouble, because those tomatoes pictured above in my oddly chunky looking hands are the first of my harvest and they are freaking delicious! They burst in your mouth like little ampules of summer and there are a lot more where those came from.

The ever potent and mysterious confluence of sun, rain and neglect has yielded tremendous, bodacious, GIGANTIC tomato plants. Joaquin and Bruce have completely muscled out poor Pepe, who despite a lack of sun and nutrients, has still managed to squeeze out a few lovely peppers. Joaquin and Bruce scoffed at the cages I got from Ivory Tickler and are growing out of control, every which way. They are muscular, unruly, borderline intimidating. They look like they could snatch a small rodent scuttling by, eat it and use its tiny bones to pick their teeth. They look like they might grope you, should you walk by with a short skirt on. They look like thugs, unsavory characters, major bad asses. And they are loaded, loaded with tomatoes. I am fearful, but I am proud. I love them. Come see them. Just watch your ass as you come through the gate.

Aug 24 2009

Panic in the Disco. Happy Birthday to Me.

cardYesterday was my birthday. And it was lovely. I’m not one to make a big hooha out of my own birthday. But I must admit, it’s kind of nice when others make a hooha for me. 

There were flowers on the kitchen counter, which had to have been purchased sometime between ten at night on Saturday and seven in the morning on Sunday because Dash has been on call. A+ for effort, my love. Beautiful swollen peach roses and sunflowers. Sunflowers are so straightforward and happy – they’re my favorite.

There was a precious half hour alone with coffee and the New York Times.

There were sleepy birthday hugs. They woke up remembering.

There was a trip to the Kingfield Farmers Market and my window sill is bejeweled in tomatoes, glowing orbs of yellow, red, orange.

There was a  yoga class, which always does me a world of good.

There was a fortuitous bump into Salt and Pepper Polymath at the supermarket. He wished me happy birthday. I’m not sure how he knew.

There was a late afternoon trip to Bush Lake where some of my book club ladies awaited with their hubbies, resplendent in sun hats and laughter, vodka tonics and cheese. They sang to me and I felt as if I would burst from happiness before melting into the sand from embarrassment. Dash and I lingered in the warmth of the waning sun, long after they had all left, our toes in the sand, our kids feeding the remnants of sand speckled cheese to the seagulls.

There were phone calls and messages throughout the day from all the people I love.

There were grilled rib eyes, tomatoes sliced and drizzled, a little salad of farmers market radishes and carrot, thinly sliced, in a chive mustard vinaigrette. My perfect meal.

dash cakeThere was angel food cake with whipped cream and berries, rowdy singing and plenty of help blowing out the candles.cake

discoboobsThere was a dance party which ended in a crash. The portable disco ball is kaput, which is just as well because ever since we moved into this house I have been politely requesting a disco ball. A real disco ball. Doctor Dash thought he could mollify me with the disco boobs* he got me for Christmas, and it worked for a while, but I’m afraid that’s all she wrote on that one. 

There were tears and words of truth in the bathroom before bed. Supergirl was crying over the disco boobs, Devil Baby kept repeating that it scared her when they crashed and I hushed and shushed, promising another disco ball, a better disco ball, a real disco ball. Saint James took his toothbrush out of his mouth, looked me straight in the eye in the mirror and scolded: well this isn’t going to help us save up money for Costa Rica.

Touché, St. James, touché. But it IS my birthday.

*Coined by Supergirl.

Aug 23 2009

Happy Ninth Birthday Saint James

santiI stare at a blank screen. And then I let some days pass by, hoping for inspiration. Because what is there to say? You are nine. You are beautiful. You are boy. You are easy to me. And maybe that’s hard to write about. You are my perfect companion: smart, affable, introspective, handsome, funny, sweet, perceptive, passionate. You still snuggle. You still fold your long bony limbs up to climb into my lap – I put my arms around you and squeeze, like a giant gathering sticks into a bundle. You love your friends. You think nothing of holding hands, of throwing your arm around a buddy’s shoulder as you walk off in rapt conversation. You watch the satellite radio like a hawk, yelling change it, don’t change it from the back of the minivan. Music matters to you. A lot. You read like wind, plowing through books like you’re famished. Sometimes you are moody, sullen, secretive. Already? You still love stuffed animals, but you are over Pokemon cards. You still want to be a naturalist when you grow up. You are a handsome devil, but you have no clue. Your room is a mess. You spread everything out on the floor. Your voice is soft and your words are few, so when you talk, I want to listen. Your stories are silly and merry and sometimes I find myself just watching your face, letting that boy voice wash over me.

Your uncles think you’re a mama’s boy. And you are. In the best way. You love your mama. Sometimes you smother my arm in a million kisses when I’m walking by. You cling to me like a baby chimp. But I notice our paths gently diverging as of late. More and more, you are forming a boy-alliance with your dad. You talk about sports, about FIFA, about Barcelona and Messi. You miss him when he’s working late. You ask about him. You try to wait up for him. You kick a soccer ball in the yard with him and I wonder, watching through the kitchen window, look how happy they arewhat are they talking about? Boy stuff, I suppose. Guy stuff. And my heart feels squishy because I can see your trajectory: it is clear and it is good, but it leads away from me. You are a smaller, looser, clumsier, version of your dad – a puppet, a Pinocchio – and you watch and mimic, absorb mannerisms and gestures without even knowing it. Your future is written on your shoulders and in the cool blue of your eyes. 

You are nine, Saint James. You are still a little boy, still a mama’s boy. But not for long, sweetness, not for long.

Happy Birthday. I love you.

Aug 19 2009

You say tomato, I say woe is me.

tomEveryone is gushing about tomatoes these days. Yammering on and on about how perfect they are, heirloom this and that, just a drizzle of olive oil and some salt, dizzying profusion, vine ripened, sweet meaty flesh, panoply of colors, blah blah blah. Hell, I even rhapsodized about tomatoes about this time last year. Yes, people, tomatoes in August are amazing. I get it. There are a million ways to prepare them, but simplest is best. I get it. Eat them now or forever hold your peace. I GET IT!

You think I don’t understand? Me? The woman who would marry tomatoes if she wasn’t already married to bacon and Doctor Dash? Me? I freakin’ love tomatoes. I’m like the Mother Theresa of tomatoes. The wan, weak, mealy ones? I love those too. They’re all part of God’s plan, and if you have to throw ‘em in a low oven for some slow cookin’ caramelization to make ‘em palatable, then vaya con Dios, mis hijos, I’m in.

See the picture? That’s what I’ve had for lunch or dinner or both, every day since we went to the Mill City Farmers Market this past Saturday (which, incidentally, is my new fave market. Have you noticed a pattern? The last one I visit is my favorite. It has grown tremendously since last summer, but still maintains the cool, locavore, minimalist aesthetic of its founder Brenda Langton of Cafe Brenda and Spoonriver. Maybe it’s the backdrop of the mighty Mississippi and the brooding, cool-as-shit blue Guthrie Theater, but this market really feels like an open air temple to good, fresh, delicious food. And they have dim sum carts. And they have a delicious pig cart where you can get an egg and bacon breakfast sandwich. And they have mini donuts. And pies. And smoked trout. And live goats). I digress. I digress and I need to get back to feeling ambivalent and tortured about tomatoes.

I have been around the bend a few times and to me this shameless orgy of tomato goodness is bittersweet, although admittedly juicy and delicious. It represents the beginning of the end. Summer is waning, and tomatoes are like the glittery confetti at a New Years party. Tomatoes are the grand finale at the fireworks show. Tomatoes are the last hurrah. They are Mother Nature’s one last blast of love, of goodwill, of sweet summer warmth. She is saying good bye and like any smart woman, saving the best for last. (Fall harvest gourds and squashes don’t count, so don’t split hairs and mess with my metaphor mojo.) 

And because you, my readers, are empathetic creatures, you may be asking yourselves: Why, Peevish Mama, why, why must you be so sad? Why can’t you just enjoy the tomatoes? I would sigh a mighty sigh, my gaze fixed on an uncertain point in the middle distance, my eyes brimming with salty tears, and answer you thusly: I am enjoying the tomatoes, my little ones. They are perfection. They are poetry. They fill my heart and my belly in innumerable, indescribable ways. Tomatoes, my loves, are exquisite, yes. But so are these dwindling honeyed days of summer. And for all that fleeting beauty, I cry into my gazpacho. I cry. 

Aug 17 2009

Bubble Butt.

Supergirl has taken to calling me Bubble Butt. These days she can often be found hovering around my derrière, karate chopping or poking or jiggling said (allegedly) bulbous protrusions. I’m not sure what the appeal is, aside from the fact that my butt is most definitely more prominently on display these summer months, what with bathing suits and all. And we do shake our booties in our house. In fact, I often shout it out as an explicit instruction: shake those booties, shake ‘em, shake ‘em, uh huh, that’s right! My kids are half French Canadian, after all, and I need to cultivate the Latin in them as far as dancing goes, so we don’t end up with a family who thinks a big grin and a slow jog is an adequate substitute. It comes from the hips, child, but since you don’t have hips, well, shake the next best thing, that’s right. Shake it! Shake it, baby! Moreover, Supergirl’s face is pretty much at ass level, so it’s simply the first thing she sees if I happen to be around. I suppose it makes some sense – she sees asses, like we see faces. Maybe two year olds are fascinated by knees, only lack the words to say so. And we know twelve year olds are fascinated by breasts, only they know better than to say so.

To tell you the truth, it took me a while to even register the recent scuttlebutt. I am by and large impervious to being ogled, prodded and otherwise fondled by my offspring. Privacy and personal space are more than abstraction, they are downright fiction. One becomes accustomed to all manner of  sticky bodies scaling one’s limbs, digging their fingers in one’s ears, probing one’s clavicles and such. Moreover, after a hard yoga class, I can think of worse things than a bit of a glute massage while I’m doing the dishes.

imagesThe truth is, far from being offended or annoyed, I am heartened by Supergirl’s silly fascination because although she doesn’t necessarily mean it as a compliment, I am choosing to take it as one. Johnnny Depp captured my imagination when he used the term “high water booty” to describe his then girlfriend Kate Moss in an article I read over a decade ago. My buns may not go so far as to hike up their skirts to avoid the rising waters of the bayou, but say what you will about six year olds, they know their shapes. If Supergirl thinks there is anything “bubblish” about my buttocks then I must have, as of yet, escaped the dreaded “triangular factor” coined by my father and unwittingly illustrated by countless bathing-suited older women walking by us on the beach over the years; women whose slightly atrophied glutes had come to resemble a heart, a triangle, an upside down party hat, an icecream cone, an inverted volcano, a tornado, etcetera. So bubble butt? Ya, I’ll take it. And I’ll take another one of those mini massages too.

Aug 16 2009

I do believe you have a point, dear.

Doctor Dash can be a very wise man. There have been times in our marriage when he noticed things about the kids or put things into words in a way that made me stop, blink, and sheepishly acknowledge the lightbulb suddenly swinging above my head. I am drowning in the kids. I can’t see the forest for the trees, but he, with his hours away, sometimes brings a new perspective that is, frankly, right on.

lou stashExample: when Supergirl was about a year and a half old, she was a total wild child. She was a climber and a runner and her mission in life seemed to be to find the highest and most precarious perch from which to exhibit herself to the world. She always had a naughty smile on her face as she watched me staggering around below, trying to talk her down, ready to catch her if she ever slipped (she never did). She was (and is) a coordinated and strong little monkey with no fear of heights or speed. She was (and is) a girl in constant motion. We found ourselves gasping and clutching our chests, shaking our heads in exasperation, telling everyone who would listen what a “handful” she was. Until Dash wisely noted that if she was a boy, we would think nothing of her level of activity and risk taking, and that maybe we just needed to stop talking about it. Simply put, just because she’s a girl, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the right to careen through life at top speeds. Of course. Of COURSE! We didn’t want to change her, wouldn’t be able to even if we tried, so what was the point of belaboring the point? No point. Right. So we stopped making such a big deal about her hair raising antics, learned to trust her as much as she trusted herself, and have come to quite enjoy having that kind of kid in our brood.

caterpillarAs I’ve mentioned before, we have been trying to give Saint James and Supergirl some freedom to roam our neighborhood. We want them off the couch and into the brush. We hope that by giving them a little space, they’ll gain a sense of confidence in themselves, a healthy sense of safety in their surroundings, and maybe some smarts along the way. Earlier this summer, we let them walk two blocks to Sweet Jessamine and Ivory Tickler’s house to turn on their sprinklers while they were on vacation: a chore adventure hybrid – genius. Doctor Dash made the observation that the two of them seem to get along the best when they get to go out alone on their little excursions. Normally, Saint James and Supergirl are notorious, insufferable bickerers, making the Costanzas look like swooning love birds. They have turned quarreling into an art form, refusing to agree on anything, dividing the universe of ideas in half and planting themselves firmly on either side of the line. They argue, they parse, they quote and misquote, they poke holes in reasoning, they unveil inconsistencies, they split hairs, they tit for tat, they begrudge, they demean, they scoff, they tease, they bully, they quibble, they scrap, they wrangle, they aha, they I told you so. In short, they fight. Constantly. Except, it seems, when they go off on an adventure. Yes indeed Doctor Dash, I do believe you are right! What an interesting bi-product of our little freedom experiment!

They don’t exactly walk off hand in hand, but they do go side by side and it’s as if the expanse of the world unfolding in front of their feet makes them feel less chafed by each other. Simply turning the focus away from the other to a point over the hill or down the creek allows them to coexist in peace, at least for a short time. Or maybe, when they are walking alone, they feel a bit of us against the world. They always come back happy, having seen one dead animal or another, having caught some insect or another, or, most recently, having had a relaxing little visit with neighbors. Yesterday Supergirl asked if she could walk to Red Vogue’s and Salt and Pepper Polymath’s house with Saint James, under the pretense of showing them the tie dye shirts they had made at camp. They came back about an hour later, their smiles ringed with the telltale mark of blue Gatorade. I find it amusing that they walked over to our dear neighbors’ house, accepted a little refreshment, chatted them up, (hopefully) didn’t fight with each other, (hopefully) said thank you and good bye. How civilized of them. And all NOT under my watch. It’s actually a small miracle. And another interesting bi-product of our freedom experiment.

Thank you Red Vogue and SPP, for being part of a little world that allows them to feel big. And thank you Dash for discovering one small way to curb the bickering. Their mucky water shoes are parked at the front door and if you see them touching dead things in the creek, just know that . . . I’m kind of, totally OK with that . . . as long as they’re not fighting.

Aug 13 2009

Figure eights of boredom.

As I fold laundry in my sunroom, I watch a boy carve slow figure eights into the hot street with his bike. He is alone and sweaty. He is bored. His tires make the sound of rubber on cement, a crunchy hiss. He cuts his eights tighter. He tries to pop a wheelie. Where are his thoughts as his body moves through the thick monotony and humidity? Maybe far away, somewhere cold and dangerous, somewhere with polar bears and infinite blue crevaces. Or maybe his mind is close, motionless, baking under his black bike helmet, lulled by the sound of his tires and the physics of his turns. Either way these stolen moments of quiet are good for the boy. He wouldn’t believe me if I told him. So I won’t.

Aug 9 2009

Babies, Betties, and Young Dancing Bucks.

I think I had to get that big lump out of my throat so I could come back around and approach this last week from an angle a titch less mushy. We packed a lot into the seven days before Doctor Dash had to go back to Minneapolis and our basic modus operandi was: whatever it is, call us. We’re in. And it turns out, with out the constraints of things like, oh, work and babysitters, you can cook up a whole hell of a lot of fun. 

croninsOn our drive to Michigan we stopped in downtown Chicago for a night and got to hang out with one of my favorite people in the world, my brutha from anotha mutha, my college partner-in-crime: The Fox, his hilarious wife, Sweet Cheeks, and their three adorable kids. We thoroughly fondled the shiny bean in Millenium Park, walked around the city for a while, and had a delicious, albeit chaotic, meal of Spanish tapas at Emilio’s. Our collective six children were rambunctious and lively, but essentially as well behaved as could be expected. I have seen better behaved children, but they’re usually sitting in the shadow of excruciatingly boring looking parents. The first thing Devil Baby and their youngest did when we sat down, was to scurry under the table. We tried half heartedly to get them to come out, but abandoned the notion in favor of a couple pitchers of sangria and some good catch-up chatter. My favorite moment came later in the dinner, when the kids had started to fan out and scuttle around the restaurant: The Fox gingerly lifted the corner of the table cloth and tried to shoo the little ones back under the table. That’s exactly the kind of off-the-cuff, lesser of two evils, short cut, bandaid, whatever works in this moment parenting that we embrace, and precisely what I would expect from my friend who procrastinated his Heart of Darkness paper for so long that he actually entered the heart of darkness, turning the whole thing into a long, drawn out, tortuous extravaganza that still ended in a painful all-nighter. It brought me endless pleasure to watch him wrangle the two year old boy who was determined to give his mother a heart attack by pitching along the sidewalks of Chicago as fast as his short little legs would carry him. It was only a few chaotic, funny hours, but thoroughly soul satisfying. Everything that was quirky and funny about The Fox and Sweet Cheeks before they had kids, inflects their parenting and their family in all the lovely ways you’d hope. And now, we will make a plan to see each other again somewhere with long table cloths and no murderous taxis.

On the morning of the rehearsal dinner, a big shipment of roses arrived at the house, followed by the clicking heels and jingling bracelets of my mother’s best betties who came from Buenos Aires, Laguna Beach, D.C. and right down the road to help her make the flower arrangements. I roses jumped right in, happy to indulge in that loose, winding, gossipy chatter that magically flows from women in a circle, doing something busy with their hands. It’s not something I get to do often, ever really, but boy there is something about it that feels really restorative, really right. Women making tortillas, pounding cassavas, weaving baskets, painting porcelain, quilting, knitting. It’s a tradition to be reckoned with for good reason, and in short order, we had busted out a bunch of beautiful centerpieces. Then we piled into a couple cars and sped off for a quick, relaxing lunch at the club. What a girlie, indulgent, and downright delightful way to spend a morning. I miss hanging out with all these old girls.

Equally as delightful, but hitting other notes altogether, was throwing down with my brothers and their friends. El Maestro de Bife is six years younger than me and Golden is twelve years younger. I’ve met most of their buddies throughout the years, but they were just the little boys slumping guiltily out of our house in backwards baseball caps, the ones who nearly melted of embarrassment at the sight of my pregnant belly in Florida. They were cute, but they were sort of irrelevant. When I was partying, my brothers were kids. When my brothers were partying, I was, um, procreating. In an unfortunate hiccup of chronological irony, I had missed a whole chunk of their life revelry and I hadn’t even realized it. I needed to make up for lost time. In different permutations and combinations of my siblings and their fine feathered friends, we had feasts at my parents house, met them out for drinks, hung out on the boat, drank white wine on the sly at a dad band concert in the park, and reveled at a rowdy house party chez Peppermint Love, all before the actual wedding festivities had even begun.6253_913640524923_2246914_50751725_6559214_n

It turns out everyone has grown up into some serious hotness. They’ve all graduated from college, some grad school, some have girlfriends, some have wives, all appear to have jobs, and moreover, they’ve all grown into their skin. Without exception, they are fun, funny, easy and most importantly, ridiculously good dancers. Here’s a little talked about fact: it does an old lady good to dance with a bevy of young bucks. This is no secret to the dirty old man population, but ladies, I’m here to tell you, it works the other way too. I’m not sure what peculiar confluence of forces turned out such fine dancing lads, but I have yet to meet anyone my age who can throw down like these boys. This is not a criticism. It is a challenge. Prove me wrong friends. (Although I do have to give Doctor Dash props for having made the choice, early on in our relationship, to go from being a non-dancer to a bonafide dancin’ fool for my sake. He’s always game and I love him for that.) 

Moreover, Saint James didn’t leave the dance floor all night long – he was all eyes and ears and smooth little boy moves. He went so far beyond cute little kid dancing at a wedding, showed such promise, such young Jedi powers of concentration that one by one my brothers and their friends shimmied on over, showed him some moves and sent him on his way. It was tutelage at its best, a one-night apprenticeship in the fine art of cutting a rug, and now, so many days later, Saint James is still referring to the wedding as the dance party. Looooove that.

[Note: I would like nothing better than to insert a picture from the dancing portion of the evening, but it turns out that as soon as Larry Lee and his smokin' hot band started playing, I completely lost my wits, abandoning my camera in favor of the dance floor fray. I am hoping someone captured the magic and will share their pictures with me, and if they do, I will share them with you.]

Aug 3 2009

The Wedding

paI’m at a bit of a loss. I’m finding it hard to write about the Golden Delicious Apple wedding. It’s just too big. Too complex. Too lovely. It’s like my words are shiny marbles and a big jar of them has been upended, sending them pinging all over the floor and I’m trying to gather them up with thick woolen mittens, sending them scattering ever farther, slippery, shiny and elusive. Or maybe I’m a cowboy and my words are my herd of cattle who are acting mighty peculiar. No matter how hard I try, the cows just ignore me and mill around, some of them flop on to their backs, laughing hysterically, a little group of them is dancing over the hill yonder (where did they get those maracas?), impossible to wrangle. Or maybe my words are shards of a champagne glass, exploded into a million pieces after a dramatic fling into the fireplace. Pick whichever absurd metaphor you like, but I’m at a loss. For words. For once.

This wedding is the first in our family after mine and Dash’s exactly twelve years ago, putting us in the unique and lovely position of bearing witness from what feels both up close and far removed. I remember my wedding like it was yesterday, and yet so much has happened since August 2, 1997: four moves, two law firms, graduations from med school, residency and fellowship, four homes and three children. Not to mention all the minutiae of life that piles together seamlessly and invisibly to make a day a day, an hour and hour. How many diapers, cups of coffee, baptisms, first communions, bandaids, popsicles, plane trips, glasses of wine, first days of school, baby teeth in, baby teeth out, date nights, books, broken bones, middle of the night fevers, bowls of cereal, bike rides, frogs caught, screaming matches, kisses, hugs, counters wiped down, mosquito bites, apples, paychecks, birthday cakes, new shoes, dinner parties, walks to the bus stop, dances in the kitchen, piles of snowy boots and sandy towels are behind us? How many are ahead? And what else lies down the road?

How many ways are there to measure life?

I fully expected to have a lot of fun at this wedding. But watching Golden marry his beautiful bride, Delicious Apple, had the unexpected effect of bending a page in our book, of bringing into focus where Doctor Dash and I are as a couple and where we are as a family. I feel like we are pretty early in our journey together, yet look at all that has happened already. Everything Golden and Delicious Apple have been doing since they fell for each other in high school, every last detail of their beautiful and rowdy wedding, all of it, is so that they will have what we have. It all starts here. Everything is in front of them.

And although I clearly remember the feeling of just starting out, of excitedly setting off for our honeymoon, of settling in to our first home on St. Botolph Street in Boston’s South End, I can now look in the other direction, at my parents, and feel a vague heart wringing whisper of understanding for what they must be feeling. Chuchi and Lelo are a lot further on in their journey than we are and what a rich, complicated, brave and blessed journey it is. They are in a great place. They got to watch their Golden boy marry the woman he has always loved. They got to watch their other son, El Maestro de Bife, give a masterful toast, working over the room with more humor and tenderness than I would have thought possible in a single speech. They got to watch all their children and grandchildren throw down on the dance floor and love each other up. All their work, all their worrying, all their love has propelled them to a point where they can finally watch, and smile, and breathe a huge sigh of relief.

And now I see that every single thing Dash and I do, is so that someday we will have what our parents have: children who have grown up thinking love is a given, eventually realizing love is a treasure to be held close and cared for; children who hopefully find a love big enough to spark a whole other story, a brand new journey uniquely their own.

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