it’s august ‘19 and i have fantasized about this moment for so long. well, for many moments to coalesce, i suppose, and bring me this uninterrupted teeny slice of space to open this neglected (dusty, wah) website i built (and still isn’t complete so don’t look too closely) when i pregnant with baby number two and now baby number three is closer to turning two than i want to admit and holy shit. sometimes life moves slower than you would like and other times it races right past you, fast enough to make your head spin. especially when you’re a new mother to three (spirited is the word i think people today use) small humans who all happen to be boys, filled to the brim with endless energy and inquisitiveness about the world around them and you just race around like a slightly crazy jewish mother (forever now) on the tails of their ever moving atoms trying to keep up, all the while cooking and cleaning and unwrapping band aids and combing hair and clipping dirty, happy toenails because exactly one year ago we were packing boxes and moving around the corner to an implausible house on an implausible plot of land, one that spans an entire city block corner to corner and has been here, untouched since 1909 when it was built, literally with love as a gift from a father to his daughter. the bones of this house are solid. the wear and tear over the last century is only an affirmation to everyone who lived here before us - aware of its magic they tread lightly. the ceilings are high and the amount of glass that was thoughtfully installed allows anyone inside a perfect view out - a slice of garden there, a rose bush here. waking up every morning is woozy, dreamlike and that emotion often rests on me until three, naked children come bounding into the bedroom and our very real day begins.
it took many small miracles to purchase this property. help from parents who worked their whole lives and saved diligently, liquidation of our own hard-earned retirement and indeed, the family before us who never wanted to sell, who wanted to be here until the grave, whose half finished projects in the house and the garden are beyond evident - this never would have happened if not for their unwavering desire to keep the sticky fingered hands of out of town developers at bay. whose incessant greed and increased cash offers made it tempting, i’m sure, to give up and let in the wrecking balls and bull dozers waiting anxiously, engines revved. and so we cling to it, never quite able to shake the feeling that what we saved is vulnerable at any moment in our lives, any downfall, to the chainsaws. there have only been three owners before us, the original family and two others. a chicken coop, fire pit, sauna and veranda sit on this property, nestled between fruit trees and carefully selected shrubs and evergreens, everything build and planted with these few hands. and now we have the absolute delight and responsibility to keep and treasure all of it. our children and surrounding neighborhood friends play out in the garden, chasing the rapidly growing chickens (of course i did), sucking sweet cherry tomatoes, swinging under the apple tree and inhaling air faintly scented with jasmine. the automobile and semi-truck fumes of mlk blvd are just out of sight, the city but a few blocks away, easily accessible on the rare occasion we crave it.
i was sitting under the veranda (lovingly referred to as our forever chuppah) on a recent warm and lazy afternoon. the children were frolicking (mostly) and i was admiring the growth of the moon flower vines that i proudly and patiently planted this past spring. i held a lukewarm mug of black tea in one hand and was gingerly turning the pages of the ny times style section with the other and suddenly the familiar pang of lost personal time pinched at my stomach. it’s familiar in that on and off over the last six years of black out baby making, it shows up (as it should!) and lingers for a bit as a nasty reminder of life choices and sacrifices and compromises that having children are wont to do to a person. sewing for fun is only a phrase i get to utter at the beginning of community ed classes i am still lucky enough to teach and it’s muttered in jest - consciously self deprecating and usually placed somewhere between going over the supply list and suggesting the best places in town for fabric. and please, this is not a pity party letter to myself! i could write a novel expounding the adoration i have being a mother and the endless well of love i never knew existed before having children. but that is not all of me. there was a woman inside me trying to emerge long before any full term fetuses were and sometimes i think about her, wonder how she’s doing and what she might be up to if she still had loads of time to tinker with. especially now that our youngest is almost two and even though we’ve a long way to go before they’re all full fledged functioning (here’s hoping!) adults, he is definitely not a newborn any longer and with every day that passes, needs me a little less and that is frightening. because over the last six years i floated from one extreme to another and now feel more like a full time mother than any thing else. but the pangs still come. and they feel very real. under the veranda holding lukewarm tea i desperately longed for a group of women to show up, sewing machines and unfinished projects in hand. we would hang out for a few hours, sip iced coffee (of course!) and nosh on snacks that either i had time to bake or not and purchased instead but either way, garments would be tended to, fittings pinned and unpinned and there we would have it. under a gorgeous veranda inhaling air tinted with century old roses, we could remember for a bit the women we were, are, want to be again.
would you like to come? perhaps soon? how does the second saturday in september sound? let’s say, 10am-1pm? let me know. i’ll start brewing the iced coffee.
ps: the above illustration was done by the mega talented hands of one of my most beloved momma friends. her name is ivette salom, she is incredibly talented and i don’t think i would have resurfaced creatively without her.
pps: i am in no risk of being separated from my babies. the recent ice raids are atrocious. donating half of whatever this little garden party brings in to Act Blue 501(c)(3)