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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back to Writing

I've let my writing go idle far too long.
Not a coincidence that my last significant entry was just before I returned to work. In that turmoil of change and adjustment I found it too difficult to find the time and headspace to post updates. I had gotten too used to the luxury of thinking and laboring over my subject and fell prey to every writer's fear to put up too little substance--which is antithetical to this blog, which is not about my ego, but an opportunity to chronicle some of Z's first year so that I might share my experience with him throughout the different stages of his life. But when it serves as the only time to write, well it becomes too precious.

This is why I don't like to let go -- of anything -- because letting go always means a bit of a loss, a hand empty of a tangible object, a life left with a fading memory, or a commitment bereft of its once promise.

It was a long and unpredictable Spring. Topsy-turvy weather patterns and the newly established flurry of weekdays that are too short to fit more than work and the baby, and a string of weekends where there seemed to be always something going on. Lots of growing pains, for Z as well as Chris and me. We love being parents but how do we also remain who we were before? What has to go and who gets to stay?

They say the first year of a child's life is always hardest on a couple. Likely it's even harder on artists and unmarried partners. Throw in a new job, a new creative pursuit, lost friends and estranged family over existing baggage and it's suddenly a Dickens parallax. And through these highs and lows we trudge, and it's a lonely process as those who know us best find us changed forever and are forced to change their relationships to us. A lot of new parents told me that their friend group changed once they had kids, to other couples with kids; I wonder if it's also easier to develop and deepen new friendships rather than revamp old ones?

I feel so fortunate that with a few exceptions, I do still feel so close to my friends. The level of support I've received dumbfounds me at times. In the darkest moments when I'm crippled by the possibility of being a single mom, there is reassurance and encouragement. Even when we are acting stupid beyond belief, these friends are there to find lightness. I am so proud of the people in my life, and their generosity to Chris as well as me. I never know how to thank them, or celebrate them enough. It is my mission to raise Zenas to be as kind, giving and true as these wonderful role models he will have as his Aunts and Uncles. You know who you are--thank you so much and all of our love.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Suddenly, This Summer

Zenas looking very patriotic on his first 4th of July bbq with his hosts, Lori, Emily, Hunter, and Craig (not pictured).

Friday, July 1, 2011

10 of 12

"Which creature in the morning goes on four legs, at mid-day on two, and in the evening upon three, and the more legs it has, the weaker it be?" asked the Sphinx. I wish I hadn't been such a fan of the Greek myths to know how Oedipus answered.

At ten months Zenas is at the verge of walking--or so we are told, by those who seem to know how to read the signs. We've barely gotten used to the idea of him crawling, and the alarming speed which he's gained in just a few weeks. And he's been pulling himself up for a while now: on me, on Chris, the couch, the nesting table (thereby upsetting a plate of food to pour over his head), the dining room chair (which collapsed onto him), the other kids in daycare (who cry), our cats (who screech), and whatever seems handy within reach. His mobility and strength grows every day, but sneakily right in front of our inexperienced eyes who don't know how to measure its progress. But someone like Uncle Adam will come over and say it's the way he seems to slowly squat down from standing to crawling, not just plopping backwards, and it's that awareness of gravity and his own body that signals that most coveted (and feared) milestone. One of the defining characteristics of a "baby" is his inability to walk. Until he's bipedal, he seems still in that miracle stage of life; once he's upright, he will fulfill the scientific criteria of our species and officially be on his way to becoming a man.

Zenas in the last week learned to stand up from a sitting position. Learned, we say, but more accurately, self-taught through instinct and practice, and without an obviously conscious process. My son is not special or unique, but magnificent in that he is proof of genetic hard-wiring to develop such skills. And as new parents we can't help but marvel and celebrate what is so universally matter-of-fact as nothing short of the greatest accomplishment of our lives to have created such a creature.