Archive for the 'family' Category



And they’re going legit, folks!

In a surprise pre-holiday move, Mr. JMB decided to end months of will-they-or-won’t-they speculating by those of us on the sidelines and ask the GAOOG to be his wife. Wife!

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I couldn’t be happier for these crazy kids. Mazel, my friend! Mazel.

No!

Molly’s new favorite word is ‘no.’ Sometimes it’s a curt ‘no’ and sometimes it’s a very dramatic and emotional ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ What’s confusing (read: frustrating) is that sometimes it doesn’t mean ‘no’ at all. It might mean ‘not right now’ or ‘maybe’ or – despite all of the PSAs to the contrary – ‘yes’ (gasp!).

Anyway, just today I was revisiting a Slate article from earlier this year that a friend had recently posted to her Facebook page. It’s all about why we should be cool with toddlers’ freakouts and tantrums. After a four-day weekend home with a 20-month old (21 months today! Happy day Bear!), it was especially reassuring. My favorite part? This quote, from the all-knowing Harvey Karp:  “It is hard to spend all day with a 2-year-old, and they don’t really want to spend all day with you anyway.”

So true. This morning, as we were driving Mollybear to school, I turned around to face her in her carseat. I smiled and said, “Hi.” She smiled back at me, giggled and said, “No.”

A trip to the grocery store. Or how we spent our hours in exile from the open house.

AO has long wanted to check out Yue Wah, a grocery store on South Park. And we had to be out of our place today for an open house, so we thought we’d finally see what was inside. A little tornado warning was not going to deter us.

Yue Wah

Yue Wah

Do you see Bear? Anyway, I’m no expert in grocery stores, but this one seemed pretty nice. I especially liked that it was not crowded. Though that could have had more to do with the ominous skies and probably shouldn’t be relied on by future customers who might be reading this.

Horseradishy

Horseradishy

Hello panda

Hello panda

Plates and spoons

Plates and spoons

Snake-head fish

Snake-head fish

Coffee

Coffee

Fruit

Fruit

Bear kept insisting on putting quinoa in the cart.

Blurry quinoa

Blurry quinoa

Sauces

Sauces

And then we went out to lunch and Bear sat in her first booster seat. I know she was probably old enough for that rite of passage many moons ago, but don’t blame her for the delay. That’s on me. I hope I didn’t do any permanent damage.

Crayons and a booster

Crayons and a booster

Gems

I feel pretty blessed. I really can’t complain (though sometimes I do). I have friends who are like family and family who are like friends. I have a job that I (usually) enjoy. I live in a town I love with a little nuclear family we’ve created that is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Notwithstanding all of this love fest, I admit to getting a little down from time to time. And a little overwhelmed. I felt the overwhelming nature of things creeping up on me lately and I decided today – rather than letting it get out of hand and taking it out on those closest to me – that I needed to take some time off. I know this is a luxury that so many are not afforded, but I didn’t think I’d be doing those less fortunate any good by stewing in my overwhelmingness just for the sake of solidarity. So, with knowing that I had done triage on my work at the office and could afford a vacation day, I woke up and said to AO, “I slept really poorly last night. I think I’m going to stay home this morning.” He said, “Ok, but why don’t you take the whole day off?” The whole day? Done and done.

These hours off have felt decadent, blissful and all too short. I’ve stripped the bed and am washing the sheets, but I’m still in my pajamas and watching Income Property on HGTV. An hour or so ago I finished Sisterland. I’m still sort of sitting with it, but I declare Sittenfeld has produced another excellent book. It’s no American Wife, but what is?

For a long time while I was reading the book, I wasn’t sure how much I liked the story or characters, but I did appreciate the writing. But as I approached the end, I began to realize that I was relating to the characters and their struggles with love and forgiveness, for accepting their loved ones despite – and sometimes even because of – their flaws. I really have a lot to learn.

When Kate’s father says to her, “‘We all make mistakes, don’t we? But if you can’t forgive yourself, you’ll always be an exile in your own life,” I nearly cried. I hope I can instill this in Mollybear. When I read this, though, I did cry:

How peculiar, that morning we pulled out of our driveway on San Bonita Avenue for the last time, to think that Rosie and Owen wouldn’t remember living in this city, this house; if Rosie did remember, it would be only vaguely. There are, I have learned, so many gifts of motherhood, and so many sadnesses, and one of the sadnesses is the asymmetry of the family experience: that in spite of all the daily nuisances, and in spite of the unforgivable way I transgressed, these years of the children being little are the sweetest time in my life. And yet, for Rosie and Owen and Gabe, these won’t be their best years. They’ll grow up and go away, they’ll find spouses and have sons or daughters, and no matter how much we loved them, they’ll probably recall their childhoods as strange and confusing, as all childhoods are. The happiest time in their lives, if they’re lucky, will be when they’re raising their own families.

I got choked up again, writing it here. This is the happiest time.

Going home

By my calculation, I have now spent a total of twelve nights away from Bear. The first was a very awesome night of sleep when my mom and Sev agreed to take her overnight when M-Bear was only about 6 weeks old. Ah, that was nice. I still remember the text from my mom in the morning: “When are you coming to get her?” I think they tag-teamed staying up to watch her sleep all night because they were so worried something would go wrong. Thanks again, guys! Next up was the September 2012 trip Heather & I took to California to watch Brady get married in that lovely ceremony outside of Healdsburg. That was a nice, but quick trip. Then came a jaunt to Chicago for a January oral argument. In February, we went to NYC for two nights for Emilia’s super fun wedding.  In May 2013, I went back to Chicago for another argument. Earlier this month I spent three awesome nights outside of Guerneville with great friends in a kinda wacky house we filled with too much wine. And now here I sit in a hotel room in Elkhart Lake about to wrap up my time here at a work conference. On Monday, I’ll return to Chicago for two oral arguments scheduled for Tuesday. So, what do I think of *all* this time away from my loves? I’m not going to lie: sleeping in a big bed in a quiet room I don’t have to clean is pretty nice. Waking up on my own, without hearing crying or whining and having to rush out of bed to change a diaper and soothe my babe, is not bad. It’s refreshing to have a couple of days away.

All that said, I’ll be driving a little faster on the way home than I did on the way here (but not too fast, of course — state car and all). I can’t wait to get home and kiss some cheeks.


August 2022
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