Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the Eve of My Birth

How lucky she is to be born on such a day. Most people cluck and shake their heads. "Rotten luck," they say. "Gypped on the presents." But no one she knows has ever been stingy with giving.

Is she the only one to recognize that she was born on a day of hope, in a season of hope? The winter solstice, smack dab in the middle of the Christmas season. The days are brimming with glorias and good cheer, with peace on earth, good will toward men.

This year is an odd year. Not odd as in strange, but odd, as in numbers. She thinks of the other odd years. Ten years ago, she was at the hospital with her baby, sharing birthday cake with the nurses. Twenty years ago, she was packing to go to Italy for a semester. She got married in an odd year. She graduated high school in an odd year. She graduated with her MFA in an odd year. She gave birth to her second son in an odd year.

She wonders what this year will hold for her. Something beyond the ordinary? Well, at least she hopes for it. After all, starting tomorrow the rays from the sun won't have to stretch quite so far to touch her.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Why I Write for Children, Part I

The stage is clear. The microphone is ready. The girl, in second or third grade, stands there in a black shirt, ripped-up jeans, and high-heel black boots. The music starts. She shakes, she shimmies, she moves around from stage left to stage right, back and forth, clearly mimicking the rock star du jour, strutting and prancing.

My heart aches for her. Be ten, little girl, be ten. Exchange those high-heel boots for mary janes. Take off the ripped jeans and don overalls. Spend your time climbing trees instead of memorizing bad pop lyrics. Play with your dolls. Write a letter to Santa. Stay young while you can. Don't wish away your childhood. Before you know it, you'll grow up.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Things Learned Over the Past Two Weeks

Number one:
When her mother was afflicted with a headache, the story goes, her grandmother stomped on her mother's foot to take her mind off her headache. Or something like that. Perhaps she only offered to stomp on her foot? Anyway, the theory behind it is apt: the greater pain makes the lesser one fade away. While her mind has been anxiety-ridden, awaiting news, she decided to figuratively stomp on her own foot. Throw a party. Invite everyone. Suddenly other worries take back-seat to figuring out how to squeeze a zillion people into her house.

Number two:
Her right arm is shorter than her left arm. With thanks to Power yoga for this tidbit.

Number three:
Her left foot is bigger than her right foot. New Dansko shoes. Thanks to the shoe salesperson who humored her and took out three different pairs of the same size so she could try them all on. Still, it leaves her wondering if her left side is gargantuan in comparison to her right side? Does she look unbalanced?

Number four:
Mutes for trombones do not make good missiles. They dent the walls, and break the glass in framed pictures. Lesson provided by Gingerbread boy #1.

Number five:
Tempering semisweet chocolate is much easier than tempering dark chocolate.

Number six:
You can still plant daffodil bulbs in December in New Hampshire (she has yet to learn if daffodil bulbs planted in December actually grow, though).

Number seven:
Pine pitch comes off one's hands with a vigorous application of olive oil, followed by soap.

Number eight:
The secret to a fuss-free breakfast for the ten and under crowd is, apparently, Healthy Mornings with red berries.

Number nine:
Living with a broken furnace is costly. Being able to regulate the temperature of one's home is priceless. But it really only cost $309.

Number ten:
Audrey Hepburn's sparkly eye shadow in "How to Steal a Million" is available for purchase at your local drugstore. Now, if only she could buy Audrey Hepburn's secret to removing sparkly eye shadow...