Tag Archives: oops50jane

I’m Getting Sentimental Over You!

Jane On a recent visit with my three sisters (our annual get-together), we got to talking about all sorts of things, including, of course, our children and how quickly they have all grown up.  One sister said the hardest thing for her about having her children grow up is that, in the process, she lost the little people they were at age 2, 4, 6, etc., as if someone came and spirited them away.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I got back from the trip and realizing that there is always a part of me that is half expecting those little ones to show back up, as if they are hiding somewhere in the house.  And thinking about them makes time compress and expand at the same time.

Lizzie and Parker in Roxbury, NY
Lizzie and Parker in Roxbury, NY

If I close my eyes, I can remember Lizzie, our first daughter, tromping into our kitchen in upstate New York in her favorite rubber boots and saying, “I ahna Goo-Koo,” (I want a cookie) or singing her way downstairs in the morning.  Same with Parker, next in line.  I can see him playing Power Rangers with his buddy Max or sitting at the kitchen table with his pirate ship and pirates and doing all the different voices for the various pirates and their enemies.  Becky is often sitting in her high chair (I think I must have left her in there a lot!), smiling at the thought of all the mischief she is cooking up to get her brother or sister to pay attention to her or standing at the bathroom mirror, cutting herself trying to shave her chin with her father’s razor.

Becky
Becky

Josie, the youngest, is always living in some story of her own making, like the millions of worlds she created for her dolls, or like the Madison Avenue world she inhabited one night in the bathroom, washing a hand towel over and over while singing out her version of the ad for OxyClean: “it gets your whites whiter and your bwights bwighter!”

Josie in Asheville
Josie in Asheville

 

So, the memories are vivid, but, if I think about it hard enough, they are not as fresh as I would like them to be.  And sometimes it’s hard to sort out what I really remember from what I have recorded in pictures and videos.  The hard part, I guess, about trying to hold onto memories of your children as little people is that, when they are actually little and getting bigger every day,  every memory is constantly getting replaced with a new one, each time the child does something new and different. (This is why I should have written things down in baby books!)  Before you even have a chance to catch your breath, the two-year-old version of your child is replaced with the three-year-old version, and you’re off and running on a whole new child!  Or, to state it more accurately in terms of how it feels, the two-year-old is replaced with the twenty-six year old version!

The "Men in Black" Christmas Card
The “Men in Black” Christmas Card

One great thing is that I still get glimpses of those earlier children in their new, larger bodies.  Every now and then, one of them will smile or laugh a certain way or turn their head at a certain angle, and there is the three-year-old version of themselves peeking out from behind their eyes or the six-year-old version looking worried and serious.  Same look, new source of worry!

Here’s to all the different versions of my children, in all their glory, including those little people who are hiding somewhere (maybe they will come back as grandchildren?) but especially these wonderful and strange grown-ups now inhabiting my world and saying they came from me and Tom!

Lizzie's Wedding!
Lizzie’s Wedding!

On My Son’s Graduation

JANE

It’s gotta just be the work of the big engine in the sky that speeds up time as you get older.  I know that, for the first year of our children’s lives, time crawled along.  It was slowed down by sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, worries about nuclear war and kidnappings–or about dropping the baby or not getting the car seat put in the car correctly.  Then, for about the next 5 to 10 years, it managed to move a little faster, but it was still kept in its place by dumb homework assignments, school sports events, and endless worries about everything.  But ever since all four of our kids hit ages where I no longer have to worry obsessively about every detail of their lives—these ages where they are pretending to be grownups!—time seems to have jumped right onto the fast track.  And it won’t let up for a minute.

Parker, Ready to Graduate!

 

So now, my son, Parker, who started out as a little, chunky, always meditative boy, fondly referred to as “our Buddha baby,” is not only 6 foot 6 or 7 inches (but who’s counting?), but he’s graduating from college!!  Forgive me if I just cannot take it in.  Maybe if I scream it out:  “Parker is graduating from college, World!”  Nope.  Didn’t work.

Taking a Break on the Road to Learn

 

  All I can say is, “How in the hell did this happen?”

 

 

Parker, Home Stretch

 

Wishing I Lived in Some Other State Today

My heart is heavy tonight, so heavy that I can’t think of anything funny or cheerful to write about. My state just voted in a totally unnecessary constitutional amendment–to ban gay marriage.

It is embarrassing to me to live in a state capable of doing such a mean-spirited thing.  It’s embarrassing to me that the people working so hard against the amendment had to point out how it would hurt not only gays but also  heterosexual couples–in order just to get people to listen.  It’s most embarrassing to me that the forces of ignorance and prejudice and bigotry won out, in the end, over the forces of open-mindedness, acceptance, and love.

I am ashamed to call myself a North Carolinian tonight.  And I can’t understand the vote–not at all. I don’t get it.  I don’t see how something this small-minded could get enough votes to pass.  I don’t see how anyone who thinks of himself/herself as a decent human being or a kind-hearted person could possibly vote for something that basically says to a neighbor, a co-worker, a colleague something like this:  “I may act like I like you, but when push comes to shove, I really don’t like you all that much–because in my heart of hearts, I am threatened by you.  You scare me, with the ways you are different from me, so I put up walls around my little, small-minded world, to keep you out.  I even think I need to change the laws of my state, just to make sure that you don’t ever have the same rights I have.”

We did this once before in our history.  This state’s legislators made special laws because of fear–fear that people that were different from them might contaminate their water fountains or swimming pools– fear that, worst of all, they might end up in their families.  Now we fear that granting gay people the right to be legally married (and have the protections that brings) will somehow hurt our own marriages.  (Maybe our deepest fear is that our children might turn out to be “one of them.”)  All I can say is, anyone who is that worried about marriage must be in a pretty shaky marriage to begin with.  We only fear earthquakes when we live on shaky ground.

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In years to come–and I hope it won’t take long–maybe just long enough to get all the old dinosaurs out of office and get young people in there who have grown up in a world where being gay is, frankly, not that big of a deal.  Maybe then we will look back on this vote, and we will feel ashamed to be numbered among the states that felt they needed  a constitutional amendment to legitimize their own bigotry.  We’re bound to overturn this law eventually–because, in the end, justice usually does roll down like water–but what a waste, in the meantime.  What a hateful, hurtful way to treat our fellow citizens.  What a waste of time and money, to put up an exclusive, gated-community kind of law that says, “I claim God as mine–not yours.  My marriage is sanctioned by the Allmighty; yours isn’t–because I said so.”

I read an article in our paper recently about a local soccer star who was unable to come out of the closet while he lived in North Carolina, even though he was the star first of his local high school soccer team–and then of his college team.  It took moving to Canada, where he played professional soccer, and living in an atmosphere of acceptance, for him to finally be able to acknowledge his homosexuality to the world.  In the article, he urged people to vote against the amendment so that young people like him might not have to hide themselves–or their love– away.  How many more young people will have to suffer before we get the message?  How many more gay couples will have to hide themselves away?

My state has let me down, and I am heart sick.

My husband said tonight, “Let’s move to Canada.”  I’m in.