09/10/2014

In which I write loud letters from the bathroom Parenting

Permalink

I can’t tell you how many times I hear the Lost in Translation quote in my head. It doesn’t sound like the movie, it sounds like a dear friend of mine from my First Real Job at Portland Public Schools; “But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk… and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.”

Jenna told me this when her own baby was only a few years old. I remember so vividly because I hadn’t had children yet, but the idea stuck with a tar-like dignity that warms in the sun on certain occasions.

Tonight was such an occasion.

The nine year old girl had asked for some time to take a bath; a legitimate luxury given the schedule most days. Tonight was a fine night to do so, so we answered with a “Of course!” like any parent who can finally grant their child’s ridiculously small wishes.

About thirty minutes later I sing-sang up to her that it is time to get out and hello, was it me she was looking for?

11/02/2014

On birthdays Parenting

Permalink

My mom always made a big deal over our birthdays.  She would make a homemade cake and in very-detailed, time-consuming, 80’s perfectionist manner, decorate our cakes in secret under a banner of birthday wishes and streamer-lined dining room lights.

It was difficult for me to understand her when she told us all she wanted for her birthday was a cake. “A fancy cake?” we used to ask. “No, just a cake. That’s all I need.”

It wasn’t until last year that I believed her. Last year I sat at my brand new job, day two, in a corner struggling through onboarding. I didn’t realize how lonely it was to have nobody know it was your birthday. I realized, I don’t need a cake, or a party, or presents, or a big todo, but the value and warmth of someone saying, “Happy Birthday,” is highly under appreciated. I know people leave kind things on Facebook, but call me old fashioned, Facebook doesn’t seem as sincere as a person using their actual mouth to say, “Happy Birthday” with their eyes and a warm smile.

I’m clearly getting old. Authenticity is a hallmark for all that I value now. Well, authenticity and a clean laundry room. Before this I had a different take on aging.

I gave her more than butt dimples Parenting

Permalink

It’s really obvious that my daughter is her father’s kid. I knew it from the 20 week ultrasound where we got a profile shot and realized she had her daddy’s pug nose. (Incedentally, this did not keep me from having dreams that she was a black baby four feet long when I birthed her.) The first thing we noticed when we saw her, just minutes old, was her olive skin tone and perfectly shaped mouth, all thanks to Daddy. She was perfect. She was everything you’d see if you pictured Mr. Flinger as a little girl. With hair.

This bothered me somewhat as all I got to contribute was a large scar on my belly, some wicked post partum depression and butt dimples. Yes, I have two dimples above my ass and now, so does my only child. I’m so proud to pass that on.

I know many families that always say, “Oh, she looks just like so-and-so” while the other side will say, “She’s a spitting image of you-know-who.” I hate to tell you this but one of you is wrong. Obviously the child looks more like her mother (or father) and you’re reaching for straws with “but her eyes look just like Great Aunt Jane’s.” Does anyone even remember Great Aunt Jane? I didn’t think so. Nice try.

I don’t have that luxury. When Mr. Flinger’s family goes on and on and on and on about how she looks JUST LIKE HE DID when he was little, I have to bite my lip because, well, she does. Mr. Flinger, with his long seventies flowing golden hair, really would’ve made a very pretty little girl. And now he does.

So when my family wants to contribute something in LB’s personage we stretch it a little far. “Oh, her personality is so like you. Oh, the way she rolls her eyes? SO TOTALLY YOU. Oh mah gah, did she just give me sass? That’s you!” Thanks. I gave my daughter her bitchiness. Add that to butt dimples and I’m a real genetic winner.