Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oh So Much. So Much.

It is "find the right pre-school and then get in" season. My first exposure to the NY school system, my first round at finding the perfect home away from home for Lily, where she will explore, grow, learn, play, nap, snack, sing and create. I bit off a large chunk yesterday, went on my first school tour and decided I'd give wearing my ring on the other hand a go. A tall order, a brutal test, got through the tour (though I did tear up at one point) and only lasted with the ring on the right for an hour and a half. Everything just means so much. I'm not sure why I switched hands for the ring other than I was anxious about questions I might get ie "where's your spouse/partner/husband" and I didn't have it in me on an already emotional excursion to field them. I'm not ready or interested in dating despite my crave for companionship I just thought I'd test the waters.
Not fun.
Tour fine, loaded with couples - but of course.
The school wasn't for Lily. Us. To cramped, too dark, and a taste of "let's plan your child's future now" aura. Whoa mama. Not ready just yet. Still wondering how the weather will be tommorow and the next. Still wondering what I'll cook tonight for dinner and fantasizing about having enough energy one day to cook enough home-made options for Lily (and me) for an entire week.
With vegetables she'll eat.
Would be so nice.
But I digress.
Went on another tour today and it was much more up our alley. Lily would thrive and have a blast. Great open space, warm, loving, personal vibe and so much for children to grab hold of, to discover and experience. Parents, too, much more low key which I appreciate because in this new world of parenthood I'd like to like the families of my daughter's friends. A different kind of dating I expect but with a beautiful common bond. My favorite two questions on the tour:
What are the ERBs?
Where does the food come from? (even better, the answer: The Kitchen.)
Cool. I can relate.
I'm so excited for Lily to have a cubby with a ziploc bag full of wardrobe changes - must explain it's only for emergencies, not to accessorize/change her look. (Last night she paraded around our apartment with a grass skirt - courtesy of West Coast Grandma - fresh from Hawaii over her Puma running suit, shell necklace dangling to her thighs, doctors kit - courtesy of East Coast Grandma - on her arm. The swish swish swish of her gait, beautiful.) I can't wait for her to make things, build things, and tell me when garlic bread day is. I can't wait to read the stories she's composed, and hear her day's review.

Back track.
Can I ask that in the Q & A?
Do you have Garlic Bread Day?

Good times ahead. There just have to be.

She already takes a class two mornings a week and she now sits cooporatively on a rug (preferably on the letter Y) and often before bed says to me Teacher. Class. Teacher. Class.

She is ready.

Love that girl.
Love her.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yes Girl.

Lily needs new PJs so online I went. I spent way too much time scrolling over various pairs with designs ranging from owls on branches to ones saying "Daddy's Flower Girl" and "Mom & Dad Love Me" but the one that got me was the pair that cheerfully said "Life is Sweet". I have never, in my adult life, been a fan of message tees and even more so for my daughter. I think she'd want world peace and I do think she loves laughter, love and rock n'roll but having a shirt that says those things seems a bit contrived. She's nineteen months. There will be a time when she can pick them out for herself and that will be her choice, her message, her "thing". But I linger on the clothes with messages that I'm not sure I agree with. They're designed in a moment of commercial whimsy, not profound prophetic spread-the-word intention. But I (and perhaps this is why I never did well on the SATs) tend to read too much into things and get caught up in what it all means. "Life is Sweet" being one of those.
And is it?
In many ways, life is sweet. Or rather, there are sweet things in life.
But that wouldn't sound cute on a pair of pajamas.

There Are Sweet Things in Life.

Not the same ring.
Not the same thing.

Knowing Alan was and is sweet. Sharing parenthood with my dearest friends and my brother is sweet. Lily is the sweetest being. Watching her holding hands, walking and sitting on stoops with her friend Jake is sweet. Hearing her say "I need strawberries" is sweet. Her pride in putting on her own band-aid is sweet. Seeing her at dusk this evening running barefoot down a dirt path, her friend Chloe at her heels was sweet.

But other things like war and cancer and death and poverty and the long long list of life's injustices, not so.

Ahh life.

Alan would never have said life is sweet. He enjoyed much of it but I don't think he ever would have subscribed to that notion. Hence his shirt toting the title of his favorite show, Curb Your Enthusiasm. Our approaches were different but I loved Alan's dry wit and wry take on life. There is much I love in life and I'm not afraid to immerse myself in it. Generally. Although finding my way back into life, post 7/5/08, remains a challenge of epic proportions.

Lily, thankfully, has no intention of curbing her anything.

She is a yes girl. She says it often now. Indescriminately, but I love it.
She is a do-er. A true lifer.
Drunk with life daily.

For now I think I'll stick to owls on branches, but I love Lily showing me how it's done.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Today. 09/08/07.

Today is our anniversary. Three years.
Just this morning Lily was identifying family members in wedding photos that I have framed and she noticed one was of Alan and Tio and Tia and Alan's friends in a subway station. Dubway? Choo choo dubway? Dubway. She is making so many connections and identifying everything in the world around her so she was ecstatic to see them in tuxes at the 102nd Street station. It was a very warm day, not unlike today, and Alan in his usual fashion insisted they'd train it to the Gatehouse, a landmark building in Harlem that had been around for decades but was hosting it's first wedding ever, for us. It was the happiest day of our lives, even Alan in his modesty was calmly excited - he had his Marx Brothers cuff links on and had made an impressive recovery from back surgery and some radiation treatments just a month and a half earlier. He danced, he played guitar and he sang. Just this one time, Alan stepped into the limelight and I'm so glad he did. It was an evening to remember.
Amazing friends and family and food and music. Love all around.

So much has happened since then and just yesterday I was reflecting on how difficult life continues to be. I have never felt so alone, isolated, and disoriented. And there is nothing anyone can do, it is internal scarring that keeps me at sea, no longer treading water but feeling as though I don't belong to any shore. My concrete world is life with Lily - she grounds me and fills me with warmth and unfettered happiness. But when I am not with her, I am lost. It is an agonizing feeling. So painful and so dull all at the same time. Two years out and I can do so much more, function so much more ably, but the disconnect is frightening. And I wonder if it will ever change. Missing Alan is excruciating, still. Just the other night as I read to Lily at bedtime I found myself looking down at us just as I hope Alan does. We were giggling, Lily was impressing me with her ability to identify pine cones, frogs, leaves, feathers and acorns in a favorite story and it was a bright and beautiful moment. I hope he saw it, and was able to see how happy we are together but also know how painful it is for me to not have him there in bed with us to complete the picture. He belongs with us.
We all belong together.