Friday, July 27, 2007

I am typing this from my sister Emily's house in Northfield, population 2,000. C has earned good boyfriend of the century points by tirelessly playing frizbee, carting my nephew Eli around on his shoulders in the 90-degree heat, bringing my nephew Theo into Harvard Square to a bookstore and an art museum, letting the kids crawl all over him, letting Lucy, age 3, decorate him with Mardi Gras necklaces, playing restaurant with Anna, age 3 (she wanted to charge him $23.00 for coffee, cereal, and strawberries,)preventing Eli and Noah from throwing a little rubber ball up into the ceiling fan of a toy store, and other acts of heroism too numerous to mention.

I asked him if hanging out with the kids so much made him glad or sorry he'd had a vasectomy years ago, and he said, "I think I want another one." The truth is, he's great with children, much better than he knew back then. The other truth is that they're exhausting, they vacuum the marrow out of your bones, they demand every last ounce of energy and attention available, even from three attentive adults.

After lunch, C and I both passed out and were dead to the world, and only a 90 minute nap and a cup of iced coffee revived us. And we're just filling in around the edges, while my sister does the grunt work of parenting. I don't know how she does it, lifting, bending, feeding, disciplining, cleaning, driving, dressing, combing, straightening, soothing, scolding, and all the logistics. Plus, she works. I don't know how any parent does it.

Back at my brother's house, there was good news about my little niece Anna's health; she was given an all-clear, thank God and all the angels. And Theo is preternaturally precocious and well-behaved. After a very hot day shlepping through Harvard Square and the Fogg Museum, he said "My tootsies are barking." Anna has this very cute habit of saying "Helloo-o?" whenever she wants to get a word into the adult conversation. We have been up to our eyeballs in family since we got here and so far so good.

My sister bought me a haircut at a place renowned for their treatment of curly hair--it has become something of a religion among curly girls. Okay, now Noah wants to play cards, so I have to go.


mahnazd said...

I just wanted to say I love every single piece of your poetry I have read. And my favorite poem ever, and I mean ever, is the poem "i confess". I found it quite a long time ago, I can't even remember how, and I read it all the time, it's beautiful. I have been a fan for a long time, but never really looked you up. I can't believe you live in Oakland, that's so close to where I live. Anyway, I just wanted to say hi, and tell you how much I love your work, that poem specifically. If you have some time please do email me to say hi. I'd love to talk to you if you have the time,
Sincerely, Mahnaz

Alison said...

Thank you, Mahnaz, it's very nice to hear from you! I'm traveling right now--writing this from my Dad's comuter--and will have limited computer access for the next few weeks. I'll be in Africa! But I wanted to thank you for your lovely note. I'm glad you liked I Confess.

mermaid said...

Hey, what happened to my comment? Well, I can't type it up the same way again, but here goes.

Being a parent is hard work, and sometimes your heart gets dragged through mud before it is held up to the sun for warmth and understanding of your child and the situation.

C sounds like a wonderful role model. Can't always play the role we want, but if we stretch ourselves beyond our designated ones, we may just be a 'father', 'mother', etc. to those we love.