"they say the owl was a baker's daughter. lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be." (Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5)

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Monday, June 11, 2012

The Carousel

In the final episode of Mad Men, season one, Don Draper talks about nostalgia as translated from the Greek, meaning, “the pain of an old wound”. A delicate but potent emotion, the twinge in your heart that is far more powerful than memory alone. And I can’t agree more with the sentiment.

I have an unrelenting nostalgia for early motherhood. That twinge pulls hard when I think of both my boys learning to walk. I would get down on my knee and open my arms real wide from across the room. They would come toddling towards me in their soft shoes, arms up, gaining speed and then toppling into me. So proud to have arrived at their destination! So proud of their new tricks!

I look at them now, still young but not babies, and I can’t reconcile their growing bodies and lanky legs, the ways in which they move, swagger, and saunter. One wants to be in a garage band. One wants to play Texas hold’em. They both want to learn to cook. And a twinge pulls.

Maybe it’s made worse, as I stand by and witness my adult stepson, embarking on his own great adventure, and my husband so infinitely able and full of grace, as he lets it unfold. All as it is meant to be. He’s calm and confident. And I watch him and I swear that just by taking the phone in his hand he gets larger than life, and while I listen to him talking to his son, I hear his words building strength in us all, so that we don’t collapse under the weight of the nostalgia. And instead of sadness, we are calmed by the inevitability of this next rotation on the carousel. We spin. We spin together from wherever we may be standing on this great wide world.

And so I learn (because he teaches me) that every moment since they first learned to walk, every moment has been a tiny spinning carousel. More about my getting down on one knee and opening my arms, and turning my boys, one degree at a time, so that they can run, move away from me and towards a different destination, arms up, into the great wide world. And on these tiny carousels that we create out of the safety of our arms, there are ups and downs, other passengers get on and off, but it never stops moving. Tiny motions, ever turning. Here … let me show you the way, point you towards it, ease your condition, guide you, love you, release you, protect you, honor you, welcome you home. The motion is delicate, and with each potent degree turned, the nostalgia lessens and confidence replaces pain, the twinge pulls less as the pride swells, and the carousel spins.

In the same episode, Don Draper says this about the carousel, “It’s a place where we ache to go again, to travel like a child travels, around and around and back home again to a place where we know we are loved.” And with that, I am hopeful that my children -- all of them -- know that as their carousels endlessly spin into infinite adventures, at its center, unmoving and steadfast, is home.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Because You Can't Make It Up (2) June 8, 2012

I had to leave some great quotes on the cutting room floor this week. I'm trying to keep the list to a maximum of ten, all of which were overhead, spoken directly to me, or arrived in conversation via text, email, or Facebook. They're all real. Did YOU -- or someone you know -- make the list?

1. "We want to show you something we've been working really hard on for the past three weeks. We're really psyched about it. Here, take a look. What do you think?"

"Oh, you'll have to explain it to me. What is it?"

"Um, it's a bingo board."

2. "The zombie apocalypse? Ha ha ha."

3. "Liam, I'll worry about cleaning up this room while you worry about cleaning up your act."

5. "Why aren't you texting me back? Are you asleep?"

6. "And a little later, we'll do a propane torch demonstration."

7. "This is what happens when you do it wrong; bad things, not good things."

8. "I trusted you because you're foxy."

9. "They're just going to collapse under the vast weight of the future anyway."

10. "I'm sorry. Her hair is simply beyond."

"One word. Sideburns."

"I know. Aren't the called lambchops?"

Friday, June 1, 2012

Because You Can't Make It Up (1) June 1, 2012

If I thought I would have the discipline, I would say that I would run this feature every week. Alas, let's settle for when the mood strikes me. Here are my favorite quotes of the week. Can you claim any of them as your own?

1. "Clearly, she did not go back and check her work. You always got to check your work. Just like math class."

2. "I would be about as proud of doing business with them as I would be of my wife if she were a circus clown."

3. "White socks and white sneakers with shorts. It's guy code for, "I've got nothing left to lose."

4. "Seriously? One more time and I will come to your house and cause a storm on it. You think things are rotten in Denmark now? I will do that. I would not be scared to do that to Denmark."

5. "Eamon, the cable just went out so probably the shower isn't working either."

6. "Exciting things are just not going to come in here and happen to us while we're sitting on the couch!"

7. "Just because they cannot reach the bar, does not mean you should keep lowering it."

8. "Well, the fact that we're sitting here with a Project Manager, a Program Manager, a Product Manager, and a Production Manager and no one can explain why is kind of funny, but it really isn't funny at all. Actually."

9. "You might be an unstoppable force but I am an immovable object."

10. "If I were you, I would have leapt from that window a long time ago. A loonnggg time ago, sister."