06 June 2019

first picnic of a new summer.


i have lost count of how many summers we've been meeting these same friends in this same spot, and there have been so many iterations by now: when ali was growing emilia and we were only dating, afterwards walking for affogatos and berries with cream, birthdays, the shade of a willow tree now lost, first summers of entire lives.

what i mean to say is: summer of '19 was welcomed by turtle pond with tim's lobster rolls and my strawberry galette, the soft thunder of feet on grass and one thousand trills of laughter spilling upwards into trees. what i mean to say is: i know how beautiful it is to notice the movements of people you love wrapped inside hours that shimmer before your very eyes. 

which is really all just to say that i love blurry photos best of all.

05 June 2019

flower child, rambling.


baby's dreaming on blue velvet in the next room and i am writing from the nursery, curled into the rocking chair nibbling buttered brioche and listening for the moka pot. it's funny to think of a baby who prefers to snooze right there in the middle of things, and not in his bed, but then, that is francis brown. he has always been so genuinely, entirely, interested in life itself. he has always been so happy to be here.

i have always wanted a moka pot. i think of buying one every time we return from europe and, this time, i actually did it. in my jet lagged, first morning home haze, francis and i strolled to zabar's with the express purpose of collecting a moka pot, still-warm scones, and clotted cream. on the walk home i told him this is how we can make it all last a bit longer. this is how we bring the world to our door.

this photo is the one i love most -- today, at least. it was the first picnic of a new summer and elinor tucked white clover behind his ear and he went on all night like that. i imagine our bones to be made of flowers, his and mine, for it seems that whatever we are doing, wherever we are, we hear earth whispering come closer and something tucked deep in our collective marrow flickers in response. it's all we want to do: be nearer to the flowers. we fill pitchers with peonies and press petals between pages and visit neighbors' roses. i study the central park bloom guide and plan our afternoon wanderings accordingly. when he wakes, we'll walk to the shakespeare garden and spend time with primroses.

it's another day at home with my baby, and not an hour goes by that i don't give thanks for that.

03 June 2019

days of may.


may was a stretch of fog and rain punctuated by pops of color in a world of green. we wore rain boots with the express purpose of splashing in puddles, and afterwards spoke of how that's just the sort of parents we want to be. there was the morning that i went to the bookshop all on my own and returned with a dusty stack: degas, renoir, monet's years in giverny. i like to scatter them across the floor of the nursery and point to lilies and dancers and nuances of dress. fantastically oversized, they are perfect for francis to splay across, tum-down, and he does. they spread under his tiny body like they are the map and he is the magnifying glass, like they are the ocean and he is the bird. and isn't that just how it is?

the verzellos visited from palo alto and we lived one glorious week together in new york: central park picnics and rowdy dinner parties and playgrounds, and the resulting magnificent sleeps for small boys. serendipity is tangling our paths all summer long, and i feel fed by that. there is the omnipresent comfort of deep friendship that is but a text message away, and then there is reaching over and squeezing her shoulder. 

may was the marvelous poetry of a boy who motions to wear his papa's belt twice-wrapped and his mama's hair ribbon 'round his wrist. of a boy who reaches up from his pram for his mother's hand on strolls and sits, rapt, to prose read aloud while he whisks bubbles in the tub. of golden curls peeking out from beneath a yellow bonnet. of blush peonies "because they follow lilacs" -- of a lamp "like the paris metro" -- of an airplane ride across the sea. 

someone (well meaning, highly curious) asked me when we will sleep train (we won't) and when i will no longer go to him in the night (when he no longer calls for me in the night) and when we will wean (when coming together in that way no longer serves us). i write this all down to celebrate that which is ours and profoundly original, as all birth and growth stories are: sixteen months, plus the growing season before that, of this, of us, of purpose divine, of my hardworking body, of my husband who shares my wishes and nourishes my courage, of my soul's impossible swell, of my homecoming, of his becoming. growing, nourishing, comforting, tending, loving in a way guided not by ticks of a clock or turns of a calendar, but by intuition. the first compass.

(mother: the first home.)
(her lullaby: the first poem.)

motherhood brings me to my knees. i look for no ends, no new beginnings, i only stand just exactly where i am and let the feel of him -- in my arms, atop the hill of my hip, at my breast, singing "maaaama, maaaama," his petals-of-hands blooming up at me -- wash over my senses and etch into the marrow of my soul. for it is all unfolding, he is growing, in a way that sinks language. and, anyway, wherever we stand, we are already on our way to someplace new. like this: i am pretty sure the last time he will wear his little vintage blue overalls has already happened. and this: i am pretty sure he chirped, "bless you!" when chris sneezed yesterday. oh, baby boy, bless you. you absolute angel of delight. 

31 May 2019

a study in roses.


we've been away and we've come home, and just in time for the roses, the exquisite coda of may, the closing prayer of spring. in shades of scarlet and peach, they sing their way up brownstone walls and spill over sidewalks between wrought iron posts. they speak and i pay attention.

it was two mays ago, two todays ago, that they bloomed with the news of our very own baby, and i will ever after look at them in this way: a love letter stating that i was going to be a mother. that i already was.

29 May 2019

papa & boy, wishmakin'.


they say you've got to make the memories you want them to have, and so it's: hopping into puddles, walks before supper, making wishes on dandelions and eyelashes and pennies, the words "why not" lived out loud, early strolls 'round the block to say good morning to the blooms, carousel rides, picnics under pink trees, candles at breakfast, poetry and prose and the sound of spinning records, meals around a full table, getting lost in museums and gardens and bookshops, cinnamon rolls at the first snow, making a song of everything, celebrating everything, putting our hands on earth, stories of stars and the moon and god and how i met his papa, bon dylan and iron & wine, edith piaf and the national, louis armstrong, simon & garfunkel, small posies in jam jars scattered about the house, airplane rides across the sea, true fascination with his every curiosity, et cetera, glorious et cetera.

19 May 2019

small things i want to remember.


musk and rose baths. rain i wished for. english muffins with honey and butter. iron & wine, circa 2002. the national, circa 2007. poetry and prose over breakfast and baths. their sing-song angel voices finding me through the window from four floors down as they strolled the sidewalk as father and son. eggs scrambled in butter with parmesan and chives. our third may together, if you keep count by the pull of the moon.

10 May 2019

he loved moth orchids best.


it is clear to us that my own love for flora now hums in the very marrow of francis brown's bones. whenever we need to breathe deeper or start again, i take him beyond our walls, into the gardens and trees of central park. we are the same in this way: outside, we find paradise within.

and so it was the cold day we spent at the botanical garden. we went for the singaporean orchid show, sharing nibbles of manchego and fig in our window seat on the train ride north. we stood in amazement under varieties uncountable, jewel-bright and climbing arches and towers to float into the sky. moth orchids the color of late summer peaches were the ones he loved best, and so they were the ones that i, too, loved best. i held him in my arms as he wriggled and stretched his soft body closer and closer, answering their whisper-soft invitation: "come."