One both wonderful and maddening thing about living in a part of the world with four distinct seasons is that by the end of each one I am waiting with bated breath for the next. The anticipation and preliminary elation over the change of each season is thrilling and, in my book well earned. That's the wonderful part. But the being like so over a season before it ends is a bummer.
This past week I had a really weird day. Wednesday, over my morning coffee and email catch-up, news broke that a reporter and photographer for a Virginia news affiliate were gunned down, killed. It happened near the town where my parents and some close friends are from, where a good deal of my family live, and a place I've spent my whole life visiting. Each time these almost commonplace gun massacres occur, I've been thrown and emotional, but this one was closer to home. Both literally, and maybe because of the whole media sphere association.
A few minutes later I got a call from the doctor informing me that the results of my very recent mammogram came back and a couple things didn't look quite right. That sinking feeling. I was able to make a same-day appointment so the doctors could take another, a closer look.
I still want to do everything. Though I have Emerson and I'm not yet willing to spend a single night away from her, I still want to do all of the things. That I want to do. Within reason. My late nights partying in heels and stand and model clothes are gone. And I am happy – relieved – about that. Most evenings my preference is to eat in, watch my stories on TV and go to bed early. But the wanderlust, the hunger to travel, explore, adventure, that's still there. As long as Emerson can go with me.
So when my friend, Jess, recently asked me to zip off to Atlanta for a couple of days, primarily to check out a tomato festival there – and Emerson was totally welcome – the answer was a pauseless yes. It sounded perfectly reasonable. A few days out of town, a little road trippin' with a friend and my baby girl, a tomato festival – all on my old turf.
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I'm going to be brief today, but I want to give a big nod to the history we've made in the past few weeks here in the US of A. Healthcare and marriage for everyone! Punching it in with Cuba! BP has to eat it, big time! And a birthday! No, it hasn't all been positive. Some extraordinarily sad stuff has happened as well. But the optimist in me is hoping it all leads to a Greater Good. Movement forward. For the first time since I entered college, voted in my first presidential election and had my vote count (when Bill Clinton won his first term), I feel hopeful for, and a little proud, of my country. I feel like I'm a part of it; a rare emic approach to my United States. Doesn't it kind of feel like we're in the middle of a “Mercy Mercy Me” or “Turn! Turn! Turn!” video? Like, it's all happening. Now.
Man alive. Crack an egg on the blacktop because Summer is here, folks. This past week it's been far too hot – even with the air conditioning – to consider using the oven, also too hot to step out into the elements to grill. Plus, The Mosquitos are coming. Since my visual cooling aid, Game of Thrones (its Winter hath finally cometh), has wrapped things up for the year (RIP Jon Snow), I may very well have to seek out some Dr. Zhivago. All three and half hours of it.
I'm not complaining. Well, I am. But also, I'm not. I love Summer. I love all of my memories of Summers. But the thing is, those impressions I recall, when I really dissect them, were all before age twenty-five. Every damn one. The wistful recollections of cicada-filled dusks, leaping off twenty-foot high rocks into the river at night with reckless abandon, sitting out on my back deck in a tee shirt and cutoff shorts watching a thunderstorm, scampering around a field of grass at dusk trying to catch fireflies, camping with my friends in the woods, on the beach. I was wild and free. I know the smells, sounds and sights of those Summers like I know my own reflection.
The day after college graduation – the middle of the night, actually – my boyfriend and I packed up our dorm room, our then everything, loaded my car and drove to Atlanta to begin our adult lives together. We were a couple through most of college, lived in and backpacked throughout Mexico, traveled to Philadelphia to protest in support of Mumia Abu Jamal, to Cleveland to protest against the Contract With America, to anywhere we could see De La Soul, The Roots, Poor Righteous Teachers, and the like. We journeyed.
After about a year or so in Atlanta, we were pretty settled into our new post-college, kind of grown up lives. We lived in a sweet, little duplex, got a kitten we named Milo, and a plant or two. We had lots of good friends, and his family; a network. I worked in a so, so cool video store, and his DJing was picking up traction. We had the perfect, fun, action-packed and inspired early-twenties life.
I was recently in Chicago for a few days. My friend, Emma, was there for a business conference with her baby, Samuel, who happens to be precisely one week older than Emerson. Emma and I attended college together, which included a three-month 'co-op' in LA. She was a nanny in the Pacific Palisades. I, despite everyone's best efforts, could not get a paying job. So I crashed on the futon-couch-thing at Emma's friend's apartment in Brentwood – a stone's throw from where Nicole Brown Simpson had only just been murdered (the police tape was still up). I ended up working for free doing script coverages for Oliver Stone's production company, and was even an extra in Nixon. I played a sleeping hippie on the steps of the 'Lincoln Memorial' who was oh so rudely awakened when Nixon and whoever James Woods played walked past me. Regardless of being in so so shiny Heidi Fleiss-y LA in my early twenties, the intrigue of being in such close vicinity to the most humongous murder scene since Manson days and the seemingly cool Hollywoody-ness of the Oliver Stone/Nixon stuff, I was miserable. By the end of that Summer, I vowed never to return to the vapid cesspool commonly referred to as Los Angeles.
Beginning with my last trimester of pregnancy to just a few months ago (almost a year now), I have had a really hard time finding my written voice. What is usually cathartic, (en)lightening, and fluid has been an uphill - two miles each way, in the snow, barefoot – battle. As a result, there has been a glaring dearth of content and, worse, I feel like I haven't given you, or me, what we want to find or come away with here.
Emerson Rose is almost ten months-old. Just like that. Crawling, laughing, 'talking', responding, acting, reacting, selecting, loving and eating. This kid loves to eat. She's amazing. Almost as amazing: Spring has finally arrived - sunshine, warmth, green, flowers, short sleeves. As she was born late last Summer and spent her first few months being teeny tiny, and fragile indoors, Emerson has not yet been able to be IN the air. And what better a time for her to be with all this exploring and adventuring she's getting into. She squeals with delight swinging on the swing, is fascinated with the sandbox (and it's apparently very delicious sand), and the grass (with it's equally palatable dandelions), and is 100% happy on any and all walks in the stroller. And, man alive, this girl is head over heels for baths and swimming. We're even inflating the baby pool this week!
Valentine's Day has some significance for almost everyone. I know I have experienced practically every variation of this day of Cupid throughout my life. I can still remember running home from elementary school with my arms overflowing with those precious little cards with illustrations like squirrels saying, “I'm pining for you!,” signed by each kid in my class. And, of course, the little candy hearts with the text... 'Be Mine'.
My dad always tried to step up on Valentine's Day. One year, I was about thirteen, he gave me a red rose and a postcard with an image of The Beatles that read; 'Scooterhead, Happy V Day from the Fab Four! Love, Big D.' Oh, Daaaad... As an adult, there have been traditional romantic dinners and getaways with loved ones, the anti-Valentine's Days with friends, vodka and Absolutely Fabulous marathons, and just as significant, a year (maybe more than one) single and snuggled up tightly with my dog, Besito, watching An Affair to Remember (ok, The Notebook), with a bottle of Bordeaux and a box of chocolates (a pupcake for Besito). Sobbing. (Well, it is THE most romantic movie EVER.)