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Nine Months

Elliott Erwitt, New York, 1953

Note:  I clearly wrote this a week plus ago, but couldn’t find the above photo, and then forgot and so am late in posting it.

Archer turned nine months old last Thursday.  This month-day, more than any of his others, seems so significant to me, and I’ve been rolling it over and over in my head.  Perhaps because it makes everything even: nine months inside of me, nine months separated, and the last 18 months with my body almost wholly sustaining him in some way.  It has occurred to me that as every day passes he grows farther way from me, farther away from my body and that time we shared the same space, farther away from his little self who curved perfectly into my chest and stomach in those sleepless weeks after his arrival.  Matthew says I need to not mourn his aging so much, but instead be grateful for it, and I am.  I so am.  It’s just… with every new development, every passing month, I am aware we are moving toward a time when we will no longer revolve around each other.  His orbit will shift and rightly so, and widen, but for these months he has consumed my world, and I have been his North Star.

A board member asked me last week how old Archer was, and after I told him, this gentleman asked me, ‘How do people without children know they’re getting older?’

I told him I don’t know, not because there aren’t other ways to mark the passing of time, but because I have never been so aware of myself growing older as I have been since becoming a mother.  Growing older isn’t a bad thing, and neither is being aware of it (unless I am in constant mourning, as Matthew worries), but it does mean I realize that the farther Archer moves away from me, the more I must someday prepare him for the time when he will lose me.

There is absolutely nothing like the realization that because of you, your child will feel pain.  Because you asked for this gift, you must also prepare yourself for the consequences of what you have done.  And one of the ultimate pains you cannot protect your child from is your own death.

And yet I am so unbelievably grateful for Archer, for his presence in my life, and for these eighteen months in which we have perfectly, quietly, completely inhabited the same point in time.  In my mind’s eye, it is as though we have been housed within a dimly lit room, as in Elliott Erwitt’s photo of his wife and child, and now the door has been opened and the too-bright sunlight is now streaming in.  Through my squinting, I can see only my son’s toothy grin.

Matthew and I saw Ryan Adams in concert last week, and I’ve had this song in my head ever since.  Ryan was alone on a dim stage lit only by a red light, and the concert felt almost raw in how vulnerable each song seemed.  It was as though we were all voyeurs watching him strum the guitar or play the piano in the confines of his bedroom.

I so enjoyed being out with Matthew as we haven’t been in so long: my arm wrapped around his, our laughter absorbed by buildings, my heels clicking on the downtown streets.  Ryan’s voice was intoxicating, and the night made me want to go home and put on records in the candlelight, drink cheap wine, sit on the floor, and smoke and talk into the slim hours of the dark.

But we are grown-ups now, and so we left the concert early instead, and drove the babysitter home and wrapped our child in a blanket and let our whispers slip into the hardwood floors.

And that was just as lovely, only in a different way.

One of the many reasons 2012 will rock, my friends, is that the next Wes Anderson movie will be released. Enjoy!

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

 

- Mary Oliver

The “nom nom nom” is because I am now always making this noise after I eat to try to encourage Archer to stop making such a look of disgust after every bite of his baby foods.

So! Media! I’m still trying to get back in the groove of things like reading, writing, using my brain and generally watching anything other than Frasier reruns, but I have been doing better recently.

Example A: Watching the new Sherlock Holmes movie with my handsome partner in crime.  I in no way agreed to do this to see these two cuties interact:

Nom nom nom.  As you were.  I actually very much enjoyed the new film, although I was quite sad that they killed of Rachel McAdams so quickly.  Where’s Ryan Gosling when you need him?

Example B: Finally finishing The Cat’s Table by my secret way-too-old-but-still-ridiculously-knee-weakeningly-hot literary crush, Michael Ondaatje.  Ever since the sad loss of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., there is no author I’d jump the bones of quicker than Ondaatje.  I made a fool of myself like a school girl when I met him two years ago at Telluride’s Film Festival, and don’t regret it for an instant.  I mean, look at these eyes:

Are you even kidding me?  And now look into those eyes and then read:

He did not go back up on deck for a last look, or to wave at his relatives who had brought him to the harbour. He could hear singing and imagined the slow and then eager parting of families taking place in the thrilling night air. I do not know, even now, why he chose this solitude. Had whoever brought him onto the Oronsay already left? In films people tear themselves away from one another weeping, and the ship separates from land while the departed hold on to those disappearing faces until all distinction is lost.

I try to imagine who the boy on the ship was. Perhaps a sense of self is not even there in his nervous stillness in the narrow bunk, in this green grasshopper or little cricket, as if he has been smuggled away accidentally, with no knowledge of the act, into the future. (Two-page exerpt)

Nom, right?
Example C: A recent re-watching with aforementioned partner of the wonderfully sexy/beautiful duo of Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake in Friends With Benefits.  Here’s the thing: it’s not a great movie, and I know this, but I still enjoy it a lot.
Example D: My big weekend plans to go see My Week With Marilyn with the lovely Michelle Williams, who I adore and would give anything to have coffee with.

I am musing on buying a domain, to have my own space to write and post photos and links.  But I’m not sure whether to stick with “Questions & Anchors” or not.  Matthew says he thinks I may have outgrown it.  But the more I think and write, the more I feel like perhaps it does capture what I am thinking of in so many ways.  The questions that we ask ourselves, the questions that hold us back, and the ones that keep us moving forward; the anchors that ground us, the anchors that weigh us down, and those that threaten to drown us.

Thoughts? Bueller? Universe?

Also, apparently, I want to start writing more in the second person.  Let’s just go with it, shall we?

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