23 October 2018

3:51 pm light.

 i am home in a way i have never been before (i am Home in a way i have never been before) and have taken to noticing how the light paints itself upon these old walls, season by season, hour by hour. today it was the slow show just before four in the afternoon that tripped my breath in my chest. last light moving like a honey drip through south-facing windows, shadows long and slanted, the smell of cold apples and pine oil, our home resplendent with october.

18 October 2018

little things, and building a life upon them.

my stepmom snapped this photograph over the weekend, when she and my dad traveled to spend days with us. i like it for many reasons, perhaps the biggest being the fullness and contentment it sings. i love autumn and i love motherhood and the place where they dance is something of another world. it is holy and it is infinite and it was loved by me long before i ever lived it. 

we filled last weekend to the brim with all the best trappings of deep october in new york -- chilly walks around the neighborhood in our woolies, big breakfasts, thick coffee and almond croissants from the bakery we love on 76th street, a drive north to gather apples and see the colors. the afternoon of this photograph, we'd ridden up to the cloisters and discovered it was garden day, a lucky stroke of happenstance, since the gardens-in-autumn were what we were most excited to see. we were listening to a talk on beekeeping in the middle ages when francis got squawky and so i stepped away with him and leaned into his ideas: waving to passersby and sitting on the pavement and exploring in his scoot-scoot way. when you are coming up on nine months old, playing is learning. when i think about it, it always is.

last night we went to dinner at the apartment of friends. we carried roses and dessert, and tim made carbonara and chicken with anchovies and capers. afterwards, we sipped negronis and passed cookies and gelato and volleyed plans for christmas week. the neighbor dropped by and we toasted their new baby, a girl, born hours before. when the clock stroked late, we bundled and strolled home but not before ali handed down to francis a wooden xylophone their girls have outgrown plus a worn paperback tim thinks we should each read and discuss. 

and i don't know where i am going with all of this except to say that i see us doing these very simple, daily, almost miss-able things -- stepping away from the crowd with a cheeky monkey of a boy, sharing bowls of cream of wheat on dark mornings that never really get bright this late in the year, dreaming up what santa claus might bring for a first christmas, stopping for an impromptu date over sazeracs when baby has fallen asleep on the train ride home from the cheese shop, scribbling on the calendar a milestone check-up with the pediatrician, walking around the upper west side with a cappuccino in hand to see the stoops gussied up for halloween, unstrapping a sleeping boy from his pram harness and slowly carrying him up the stairs to his bed, the weight of him, just now, just like this, etching onto our bones for the rest of ever -- and i see us cloaked in our parenthood, in our marriage nearly two years on, in our life as three, and it feels like a jigsaw fallen into place.

09 October 2018

autumn, in full swing.

bird by bird, we are finding our autumn rhythm between these four walls and amongst the city blocks we call home. mornings find us on the floor of the nursery, building blocks and spinning records and sipping coffee in the grey-blue hour before sun's rise.

son's rise: some nights, he needs me like he needs air, and others he sleeps long, deep stretches, rising rooster-like, awaiting me in his spindle crib with a sunbeam of a smile and a laugh (teach me, you angel of delight). to scoop him from his bed on a brand new day, still-warm and smelling of dreams, is purest joy.

we see papa off to the train and we await his return, and in between, days unfold like this: milk, music, play, rest, repeat. i look at photographs of him while i wait for him to wake and i pray his dreams are sweet. there is always more milk. there is always more coffee. we bundle and walk to the swings, to run errands, to sit awhile and listen to ralph on the saxophone in central park. sometimes we walk to the coffeeshop i like in harlem. sometimes we ride the subway down to amble around the village (gracious, how he loves barreling beneath manhattan, shrieking with glee as though riding a rollercoaster). he drums wooden spoons while i cook. he perches amongst the peaks of mama-made mountains of laundry as i sort and fold. he scoot-scoots in circles on the hardwood floor while i scrub the bathtub. he flirts his way around new york city, gentle and friendly and charming, is he.

as francis grows and the light shifts, i see our days finding new patterns and our spirits finding new paths. there are evening walks, play dates with friends, sunday suppers, books, swims, plans for travel, things that are easy, things that are hard, conversations about politics and how nick is doing in senegal and growing our family, good bread, good wine, windows tossed open to invite october in. there is movement, and there is solitude. with a baby in the house, our homesong is a tune somehow sweeter, more purposeful, more content than before.

this season in specific, i am working out some knots in my heart in regards to the value of social media in our life. i ponder how to remain creative and connected, while protecting time and privacy and childhood. i have been keeping this blog for eight years now and my instagram for a few less than that, and it's always been a balance, the dance of sharing some things and holding others close, all while desiring to keep record of life as it unfolds, but lately i find myself craving more privacy. intimacy, even. i yearn for a time when you'd sit beside a dear one, their photos held in your own hands, and listen to their stories, your eyes locked on theirs. some days, i wonder if it is time to move on from this space in the name of a new season and shifting needs; others, i feel so grateful for the uplifting community i have grown here and on instagram, particularly as i have become a mother, and the way sharing my words and photographs nourishes a creative hunger, that i feel i need to refresh my approach, is all. for now, i am honoring the stirring and striving to simplify. seeking less of that and more of this, and always, ever holding space for beauty and grace and meaningful connection.

30 September 2018

notes from september.

eggs cooked in butter, baby in suspenders, baby's hand finding my mouth as his mouth finds my milk, a room with a view, falling asleep with my toes touching his, smell of birthday candles just blown out, smell of basil leaves broken between my hands, memories of maine, finding kinship in poetry, ambling about the apartment in his sweater, memories of winter and that sweater on my belly, the soundtrack to amélie, watching baby think very hard, watching baby sleep, waiting for baby to rise, joy in the first sip of coffee, joy in first felled leaves, a first balloon, a found shadow, two tiny teeth clinking on water glasses and shining like pearls, fern hill by dylan thomas, a posie of cream hydrangeas singing of eight whole years in new york city, changing light, the nursery becoming, an old letter box for a new year, a surfacing question: can it be that, in fact, i prefer sazeracs over old fashioneds?, uncountable small things i want to impress upon hearts, "this is where we dry roses to mail to friends, this is one way to love them -- friends, and roses -- out loud."

29 September 2018

boy & blocks.

so many motherhood moments i would preserve, sealed in amber bottles and lining miles of rooms or etched on tinted film and shining on walls i might wander like galleries, all of them pressed upon my soul for safekeeping, all of them at the ready for replaying on repeat, and good gracious this one is up, up, up there: boy, building worlds of blocks, soft belly, clever toes, arms stretching farther and farther, hands always, ever, seeking sun-stars-moon-heaven.

27 September 2018

weekend in new orleans.

it comes 'round once a year, and has for six sweet years now: megan, amber, and i circle a spot on the map and say, meet me there. one september back, it was kansas city, and megan and i each had babes in our bellies. this was a year for new orleans, and those babes are boys called oscar and francis.

we talked long, and we ate well: po-boys and pillowy beignets, muffulettas and rabbit jambalaya, nutella and peanut butter doughnuts, the tastiest cinnamon roll of my life. days, we poked around dusty antique shops and dodged humid afternoons with creamy sno-balls. we wandered in and out of coffeehouses for chicory coffee and café au laits and lattes infused with lavender milk and orange blossom oil. nights, we ate salty cheese and sipped sazeracs and listened to live jazz so stunning i put my hand over my heart. we facetimed with our babies – seven between us, and counting. we swapped stories and asked for advice. we laughed until we hurt a little. i felt surprised by how filling these days were for woman-me, having never been apart from my boys before, not even for one day. i felt dazzled by the charm of it all: cast iron and climbing ivy, streetcar bells and southern lore. i found comfort in the memories that washed over me, corner by corner, nineteen years after i walked those same streets with my grandparents, both now passed, though that doesn't really matter. i felt a swell of gratitude for these resilient friendships and the very fact of these weekends, reliable and life-giving as they are, season by season, year by year.

we're barely unpacked, and we're already dreaming of what comes next. there's talk of going west...

favorites from our stay:
+ beignets and café au laits at cafe du monde, every day
+ fried chicken and rabbit jambalaya at coop's place
+ cocktails and soul-achingly good live jazz at spotted cat
+ central grocery for muffulettas
+ cream cheese cinnamon rolls and vietnamese iced coffee from district donuts
+ treasure hunting along magazine street
+ cardamom cream and wedding cake sno-balls from imperial woodpecker
+ sazeracs, charcuterie, and live jazz at bacchanal
+ coffee: hey!, mister gregory's, spitfire

and a few more we would've liked to discover, had we more time:
+ po-boys at parkway tavern
+ cocktails at bar tonique
+ cane and table for rum cocktails
+ manolito for cuban drinks
+ nine roses for vietnamese
+ 1000 figs for israeli fare