Sorry I have been AWOL – not that you even know, of course, but I feel such a loyalty to your future self, such a lifeline in these late-night letters. Life and work have taken over these past few months, and so have you. Gone are the quiet and slowness of your infancy, although I didn’t see it as quiet and slow at the time. Gone are those precious, lonely days that filled me up with words I had to pour out into the dark. Today, life with almost-3-year-old-you is a sentence that never ends. Just this afternoon, you lectured me on how to be a dog, on how a shiny computer made out of Legos can be programmed to fix a fallen tower of dominos, on why it is that Triceratops love to shake their butts. These days, when you drop off to sleep, I crash instead of writing. But as we celebrate our birthdays, three weeks apart, I wanted to dust things off and reappear.
Every time I get to New York City, the first thing I want to do, right after I set down my suitcase, is run. It seems like the only appropriate response to a place with so much gorgeous ground to cover, so much energy steaming up through the grates. Twenty minutes after I got off the subway this time around, I was huffing and puffing my way through Central Park in the fresh, sunny sweetness of a spring I hadn’t earned, happy as a clam. The words bouncing through my head like a mantra as my feet slapped Stateside sidewalks were “juntos pero no revueltos. Juntos pero no revueltos.”
Juntos pero no revueltos is an egg-inspired expression: together, but not scrambled. Together, but still independent. It’s used to describe that need for breathing room and independence in a romantic relationship, friendship, or most any situation. It’s been on my mind because I’ve been dreading this trip, only my third of any kind away from you, and the longest. I’ve been dread our un-scrambling, however temporary. Continue reading
“Ohhhh, no,” my friend said knowingly, looking on as she bounced her own baby on her knee. “Don’t ehhhh-ver look at your face next to her face up close in a mirror. Goes for your hands, too.”
But it was too late for me. I stared up at the cheap plastic mirror hanging over me as I lay on a play mat with you, two months old or so. I stared the way people stare at a car wreck. “My God, it’s horrible!” I said. “Since when do I look like this?”
I have thought a little more than usual about beauty since you were born – but not because of the effects of pregnancy on my body. It’s more because of the sudden awareness of age and imperfection that comes with producing a tiny, utterly perfect being. Next to your smooth toffee skin, I suddenly notice the years and beach trips painted on my own. I’d grown accustomed to my rough, perpetually cracked feet, but when I look at yours, with not a line, not a callus, I am awed. I don’t sit around contemplating this; I’m too busy working and cleaning and playing with Legos and enjoying myself and getting things done. It’s just been a shift in the background of my self-perception, so to speak.