Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Day I Stood Close to the Sun

A week ago today, I enjoyed a delightfully small, vigorous yoga class. At the end of savasana, I leapt up and looked out the window to see whether my friend Sue had arrived at the Starbucks across the street. There she was. Striped skirt, lemon yellow tee. I hurried to get changed, and ran downstairs, zipped across 5th Avenue to meet a woman, who until then, I had only known through her writing. Well, that and the fact that we have several other blogging buddies in common. Is it not said that we are known by the company we keep?

The funny thing is that I knew Sue was coming at a least a month before she arrived. I knew we'd meet at around 7:30 in the Chelsea/Flatiron district of Manhattan. Did I scout out a suitable spot to sit for a drink or nosh? Nope. So, as much as I think I like to have a plan, I guess I truly am a seat of the pants kind of gal.

We walked around around Madison Square Park, named for President James Madison, and the origin of Madison Avenue. I asked Sue if she had any preferences. She didn't, other then a stiff drink. Done and done! We wound up at a place called A Voce. It had a wonderful looking outdoor seating area (while I didn't plan an actual venue, I DID envision an outdoorish pub). We knew it would be expensive just by the look of it, but didn't want to wander much further. And really, in that area, it wouldn't's ALL expensive.

Upon being seated, we were presented with menus, cocktail menus and a wine list. It was absolutely huge. Sue suggested we guess what the most expensive bottle would cost. I, trying to appear as urbane as the city I was showing off, guessed around $800. Sue laughed, saying she was thinking $250 to 300. Sue has a fantastic picture of how wrong we were on her blog. You can also visit here to be regaled by their Wine Spectator rated cellars. Truly how the other half lives!

Sue ordered a Cosmo, I ordered one of their own gin creations that tasted like pink grapefruit. Very refreshing. We shared a fresh ricotta and warm bread appetizer, and set about getting to know each other better. We talked about blogging buddies we follow, and how great it would be to meet them all. Big life changes. Culture shock. Traveling, kids, marriage in general. It was a fantastic experience. We settled up, and walked across town to the 8th Avenue line. I misjudged it by a few blocks, sorry, Sue, I know you walked your feet off and didn't need that extra 3 blocks...but it allowed the conversation to continue. Sue was the smart one...she brought a camera to document the event. Here we are on the C train headed uptown. We would part at Times Square to return each to our own waiting husbands and sleeping kids.

It really is amazing to meet someone you've only read. What we write in our spaces is full of who we are as people: Our joys, our inspirations, the things with which we struggle, or maybe just news. In my virtual travels, I am reminded again and again of how similar we all are. Not nearly as disparate beings as we sometimes make ourselves out to be. It is a different sense of connectedness in this milieu than we experience with our circle of friends and family, but just as vital in some ways. This was my first experience with matching the actual to the virtual, and I sincerely hope it will not by my last.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Warrior I?

An angry, armed mob made two attempts to forcibly enter my home to find something or someone they thought, and indeed I was, hiding. Both times I was able to push them out. I am not sure who the would be invaders were, or what exactly I was protecting.

Upon vanquishing them the second time, I shouted, "This is my sovereign home!"

Those words seemed to either have some significance, or otherwise gave away my guilt because they caught the attention of the departing pirates, "Your WHAT?!?!"

I stood proud, victorious in my doorway. I threw down a red sheet or cloak that fluttered down the two or more story height at which I was standing. A moment later, another sheet, or was it a robe? came fluttering down from above me.

Then I awoke...bewildered.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I am Christopher's Mom

Twelve years ago this moment (it is now 11:20am EDT) I was in my 11th (out of a total of 14) hour of labor with my beloved son. He was taking his time coming into the world, and let me tell you, nothing much has changed in that regard! We didn't know until around noon or so that he was actually breach, and there was no way in hell he was going to be born in the conventional way. Upon seeing my little intrauterine Buddha on the sonogram screen, my OB's words were, "Prep the OR."

To which I responded, "I can't have surgery, it's my birthday!"

Which had to do with absolutely nothing at all. The OR was prepped, the child was delivered. He was silent upon coming into the world. Since I was behind a surgical paper tent, I could not see the child, and was absolutely terrified by his silence. Essentially, I made my OB make my son cry, so that I could be assured that he was breathing. But the second the stimuli was removed, he resumed his quiet. My husband was sitting at my right shoulder, which was literally tied down. Someone handed him my newborn son. He was beautiful. His dark blue eyes were open wide as he beheld his father. His hair was matted with goo, and though blonde, appeared quite dark. His skin was peaches and cream fair. But mostly what I remember is his big, open eyes looking at his father in complete silence.

I was so very full of my new mother self, walking him through the neighborhood. He was not even a week old. My belly stitched by not yet healed. I actually walked into my parish church to present my child to the almighty saying the words, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." Of course I prayed for his protection, as well. Now, on my yoga mat, the intention for my practice is almost always Christopher's peace and well being.

From infancy until around the time he was eighteen months old, Christopher didn't really cry much. He was a placid, happy baby. He rarely had to cry when hungry, his schedule was my sixth sense. He was, however, a picky eater. And he didn't sleep through the night until I forced the issue when he was 14 months old. By that time, I was going on 2+ years without even once sleeping through the night. It was taking a serious toll on my personality!

At around 18th months of age, we started a two year battle with ear infections. My poor baby! The fevers. The pain. The fucking medicine!! That child was miserable for such a long time. How we got through it, I'll never know. But they stopped as suddenly as they started, with no damage to his hearing, thank God. He's been really healthy ever since.

Today, he is a smart, wickedly funny kid who struggles with math. He is a little dorky and awkward, a trait from both his parents. He is empathetic. Somewhat excitable. I am so proud of the young man he is becoming. And I miss the infant that he was, when I could make everything all better with a hug, a snuggle, one more round of Goodnight Moon.

I am so grateful I share this day with him. It is almost like a secret language of twins. My son. My joy. The one and only force in this world that truly made me put someone else first, without thought or reserve. It is ironic, really, that he came into the world on my birthday. I always put so much stock in 'my' day. Don't get me wrong, I still really like my birthday. But now, I view it more as a passing of the torch. To step back, and watch him shine is truly my greatest gift both to give and receive.

I love you, my son. I am so very proud to be your mother.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Winding Down

The end of another school year and baseball season are near. The school year has been much more successful this year than last, but still, it will be nice for all of us to have a break from the homework wars. This summer we can just enjoy camp, some review, a couple of book reports and the beach. Thank the Maker, we've earned it.

Sadly, the baseball season is also winding down. Christopher plays his next to last game tonight, unless, of course, the threatened thunderstorms materialize. We had a make-up game last Sunday that was called in the third inning due to thunderstorms. With the heatwave we are experiencing, it will be a welcome relief, but it will wreak havoc with baseball season. His last game is scheduled for Friday the 13th, and the All Star game is Sunday, Father's day. His team is 5-3 and 1, if Sunday's game is not counted--good enough for third place. If the league considers the rain-shortened game official, then they are 5-4 and 1 with 2 games to go. A playoff berth is on the line here, and I hope they make it. His team last year missed the post season by one run.

Christopher had his first hit that wasn't a foul ball this year. It was an infield hit, and while he advanced the runner, he was thrown out at first. He received the game ball two weeks ago for the most walks on the team. His batting average is a goose egg, but his on-base percentage is phenomenal! Last year you couldn't pay him to swing at the ball. This year, he'll swing, but not at bad pitches. His fielding and throwing has also improved. He really wants to pitch at some point, so I think I'll work with him to do that. Maybe get him some lessons somewhere.

One our our biggest complaints last year and this was with the umpiring. Most games, our umpire is this old school, blind as a bat curmudgeon. If a kid says the word, "damn" he is thrown out--given how the ump calls balls and strikes, I don't see how you can fault a kid for a stray "damn!" If a player takes a leaf off the base while the pitcher is in his wind up, he is thrown out. But the man can't call balls and strikes to save his life. He also flubs calls on kids running the bases. Eagle eye Frank is his name. I think he has favorite kids, teams and coaches. I have learned to keep my mouth shut, but I do admit to harboring truly foul thoughts towards him. So, imagine my guilt when I learned on Saturday that the man is in the hospital with blood clots in his legs. This after he just buried his brother. Sheesh. Yep. I'm a heel. He's still blind, but I'm a heel!!