Sunday, June 30, 2013


          See this woman in the photo? That's me, just about eleven years ago this weekend. I was about 41.5 weeks pregnant and had no idea what I was getting into. I had gone for an ultrasound and a non-stress test that morning to see what was taking the occupant of my womb so long to come out and introduce himself. My doctor assured me that my tenant had no intention of coming out soon and suggested we offer him a little surgical assistance.
         “I think the baby could be over ten pounds,” he said. “I think he hasn't dropped because he's just too big. I'd like you to have a c-section on Tuesday.”
         “Can I go to my cousin's wedding today?” I asked.
         “Sure. I really don't think that baby has any plans to be born today.”
9.8 lbs with a head in the 90th percentile. Thank God for c-sections!
         So for the first (and only) time in my life I went to a wedding in flip flops and no hosiery. I hadn't planned on going. I thought I'd be in the hospital, or newly arrived home with my infant. After all, this kid was due to arrive on June 22nd and it was already July. We brought Owen into that world on “the day before America's birthday” as he likes to say.
Preschool graduation. Six years have passed in the blink of an eye.
         On Friday, that baby finished his last day of elementary school. It's such a cliché to say that time flies. But man, does it ever! This week Owen turns eleven. In September he'll start middle school. He's been a strong and beautiful boy since the beginning. Now he takes my breath away with his intelligence, integrity, and faith. He loves loud music, great books, and games of strategy. He believes in equality and social justice.

He's a devoted brother and a wonderful son. And he's only eleven.  Happy birthday Sweetie! I can't wait to see what else you bring to the world!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Take THAT, Stagefright

           I know in most parts of the country, summer vacation is in full swing. But here in my little corner of the world, we have another agonizing week to go thanks to the hurricanes and blizzards that visited us this year. But the full-on crunch of homework and projects is finally winding down and has been replaced with field trips, science fairs, Hawaiian shirt days, and my favorites—school plays and concerts.
           Having been bitten by the performance bug when I was in sixth grade I get really excited to see my kids discovering the joy of being on stage. They had been reluctant to try, claiming stage fright (although how you can have stage fright without actually getting on stage remains a mystery to me). Several years ago I auditioned for a local production of “South Pacific” and there was a part for a child Owen's age. I asked him if he'd like to come with me and give it a try. He was wide-eyed with horror at the prospect, “I will if I have to,” he said. I assured him that he didn't have to and he was very relieved.
           During April vacation, he told me his class was going to be doing a play and he asked if I'd help him practice for the audition. After running a victory lap around the house, I settled on the couch with him to read his part. He wanted to be a palace guard—a small part that would allow him to wear his Halloween costume again.
           He got the part and last week after months of rehearsal, we finally got to see the production. He did a great job with the small number of lines that he had. (As we say in the biz, there are no small parts, only small actors.) But my favorite part of the show was an ensemble musical number where the entire cast sang and danced together. When the song began, he sang shyly and danced deliberately. As he warmed to the audience, the desire to entertain became greater than the fear of looking silly. By the end of the number he was glowing. Owen had discovered the joy of performing for an audience.
           When it was over, he ran up to us and said, “That was so much fun!”
           Yes Sweetie. Yes it is.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mother Goose and Me

           Every afternoon on my way to pick up my son at the bus stop, I pass a small pond. It's home to a variety of creatures—turtles, waterfowl, frogs, dragonflies. A few weeks ago, their numbers increased when four fuzzy new goslings hatched. They wobbled after their parents much like human toddlers, still getting used to being on their feet. If I got too close to them, they'd duck under their mama's wing while papa goose hissed at me to stay away.
           Yesterday when I walked past, I noticed they've doubled in size. They walk and swim on sturdy, steady feet—they practically strut. And their dad isn't quite so aggressive when I slow down to watch them. They aren't babies anymore. The beginnings of real feathers are beginning to show like the peach fuzz on a young man's face. They're tweens or teens by goose standards now. In a few short weeks, they've gone from helpless balls of fluff to geese on the road to adulthood. I couldn't help but feel a little sad on Mother Goose's behalf.
           My oldest son is finishing up elementary school this month. Next month he'll be eleven. He isn't a baby anymore. He doesn't seek shelter under my wing very often these days. I'm proud of the way he seeks out independence. It's a relief to not have to see to his every need—feeding, clothing, bathing. But I can't deny that eleven years have gone by much too quickly. Poor Mother Goose, I hope she has a girls' night out planned soon.