Then All of My Homecoming Dreams Came True

It’s funny sometimes, still living in my college town. Like when I feel a torn sense of  loyalty between students who need parking spaces and my yard which needs grass. Or when accosted by the college girl screaming about how I am gendering my children by letting them ride pink bikes, I’m half offended and half sympathetic – I remember taking that class. 

Before this road was a path for strollers, and then bikes, it was the quickest route to class, or the path to lunch, or the cut-through to Colonial Williamsburg. The bench on which I doled out goldfish, and now tie shoes was once the place we talked about changing the world, and what had happened on Dawsons Creek.

Homecoming  feels like a scene from Field of Dreams for me. When the people meant to be here, return to play for just a little bit. It’s crazy and mystical and always ends too soon. Now I guess I’ll  start planning for our 15 year, unless James Earl Jones calls them back sooner.

In the meantime, we’ll keep adding new memories to old places…

Hark upon the gale.

The Time of the Great Giving

We’re celebrating our ten year college reunion at Homecoming this weekend. My all time favorites are returning to relive the good times that we had and fabricate stories about the ones we didn’t. These people shaped my life so tremendously that my belief in the Sovereignty of God and my gratitude towards the Office of Admissions are both unwavering. I hope to have a tent on the driveway and my children dressed in green and gold with ribbons in their hair. Just like in the alumni magazine. We shall see. Tents are easier than children.

After Homecoming we sail into Halloween, where Sofia the First, and Sofia the First as a Fairy named Rapunzel Pinkie Pie on a horse, and Small Generic Consignment Store Toddler Fairy will run door to door unafraid of the frightnening decorations because we got caught in Howl-O-Scream again this year, and what is there to fear after that?

Four days later we celebrate the birth of a five year old, four days later the birth of a one year old, a few weeks later we’ll party like the pilgrims, then roll into another Colonial Christmastime with Grand Illumination, celebrate the birth of a seven year old (WHAT?), celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, and ring in a New Year. In that order. Eight weeks, three major birthdays, three major holidays, and a partridge in a pear tree.

It starts this weekend and this year, I cannot wait. Past years I’ve cried and gone fetal. It probably helps that there’s no c-section involved this year. But I’m excited to celebrate, really celebrate  – those friends, these children, this life, our God.

Olivia is having a “Land Before Time” birthday. This would have been really easy, say 18 years ago,presently it’s a bit more challenging. But  enter my new life motto: nothing is impossible with the help of a few Amazon independent sellers. (Who ARE these people with party cups made in 1989…?)

We borrowed this scratched almost classic from the library a few months ago. (Then we forgot to return it and it cost me 9.00 in fines.)

The kids rejected it. Possibly because, due to the library quality, one third of it was in black and white and silent. But I love the title. I’m stealing it for this season :”The Time of the Great Giving”. Much has been given. Much will be given. Let’s celebrate.

Here we go.

Ulta and Enough

Williamsburg tends to lag behind The Big Cities. We have not yet heard of juicing and don’t expect to see a Food Truck roll in until 2020, when the city folk  will have no doubt turned to the upscale veggie popsicles recently featured on “Shark Tank”.

That said,  Ulta recently opened.

Ohhh danger.

Ulta is like the product aisle at Target, but a whole store and hosting much fancier items than on the Garnier Fructis line. High end items (which we all know can only be so high end if they are called high end. Real high end people refer to their products as casually as I do Suave, and buy them in petite mystical boutiques far far away from Shoe Carnival. So I’ve heard.)

I walk in and I’m seduced. Filled with hope: here in this place lies some sort of balm, foam, or cream that can make me who I want to be. Who I need to be. Who deep down I am. Providing my hair is textured adequately.

Further complicating things, there’s a grocery store in the same quaint retail village. Grocery shopping emotionally tires me. Partly because I’m doing it every 3-4 days. Partly because I’m projecting into it deeper issues of motherhood adequacy keeping with suburban American norms. Read: I feel guilty that I’m buying Lunchables because they’re probably the same ones manufactured when I was a kid and who knows if that’s real meat or if I even want it to be? Besides is she eating any of it but the Oreo? Did any of us?

As for the baby food, I load up on those squeezable pouches, half scorning myself for not pureeing my own and half wishing I could feed everyone in sight out of a pouch. Want to come over for a pouch? Sweet Potato and Pear or Broccoli and Lentils?  I get to the cash register and am aghast at how much it costs to feed a family of five for, let’s be honest, 3-4 days. Then I realize I forgot the chicken nuggets. But do I feed them too many nuggets?

So…let’s just say the grocery store is a dark place. And when your Dark Place sits near your Weak Place…ohhh danger.

I finished grocery shopping this morning and I’m feeling raw, and cranky and vulnerable. But not vulnerable in the Brene Brown way. Vulnerable in the, what I need right now is to buy something that will make it all go away. I’m not a big shopper. But  I am an American and  I walk into Ulta and see the new Jennifer Aniston line and I think I’ve found the answer. A stronger, truth-telling me knows that J.A. probably sits somewhere  at that moment  with limp hair, eating a Lunchable, but I wasn’t feeling strong. I also am not wearing make up. Friends, there’s an uplifting point to this post that will encourage you to look beyond material desires, but I do need to insert that not wearing make up in a make up store with really bright lights and people wearing dramatic evening eyes at 10am…well ,it doesn’t always help things.

I bought a few items things promising  to  define and set free and hydrate and nurture and be my friend and left.

When I thought to myself how glad I was to have only Leila with me, I suddenly felt gross. I knew I wouldn’t have done my sadness shopping with the two older ones. Not after having denounced their choice of “Magic Rainbow Fashion Fairies Super Model Mania” for reading this week. Not after defining “marketing” in reference to the American Girl Doll of the Year. And not after very piously explaining that we do not buy new backpacks every year because we need to (somewhere in something) understand that we have enough.



I was caught.

I came home and put on my JCrew button down that I wear every day. The one that, when I realized I loved it, I almost went out and bought four more. But I didn’t. Enough. The one that, when I realized I loved it, I considered looking for its equivalent at the “real store online” becausu we all know that the outlet is lesser quality at a lesser price. But I didn’t. Enough.

Friends, it is a struggle. And I know not just for me. Purchasing has somehow become so entangled with desire and identity and fear and hope and all of us, we have enough. 

I spend so much time telling my kids they have enough. And so much time reacting to my belief that I don’t. But they’re 6 , 4, and almost 1, so they’re along for the ride, watching, learning.

Sophia announced she’d get the mail this afternoon and came back in with three political pieces…and an Ulta coupon. They know where I live. “I think it’s all trash…” she said. “UMM..hmm…” I murmured tossing the political stuff and keeping the coupon. (The product did work well…)  Ohhh danger.



I married into baseball,

and if I ever forget, I remember in October.

Baseball is on the TV, coming out of the computer, in headphones, interrupting brief phone calls while scores are shouted across airports.

I remember when I go to his office and see baseballs line the shelves – baseballs I box up and send out of the house every few months, having declared, years ago, when declarations felt important, “There will be no baseballs in this house. I’m going for an aesthetic here.”

I married in…and it’s been a slow assimilation.

For our wedding I had a wooden bat engraved and for our ten-year I had  a new one engraved and so in June I stood there in Dick’s Sporting Goods just asI had as an almost -bride and in horror realized that in ten years of marriage I had learned NOTHING MORE about bats. Why did they vary in price? Do I just go with the prettiest color? Why is this awkward sales boy not helpful???

I  can’t do the numbers of it all.  Batting averages, ERAs, on base percentages, slugging percentages, on base plus slugging…I glaze. I actually have come home from major league games, in major league stadiums, unaware who won the game. It didn’t matter to me. Is that wrong?  I can tell you what I thought of Cincinatti’s famous Skyline Chili, that Citi Field houses a Alyssa Milano-inspired women’s denim boutique in Section 306, and that whatever “Americana” means, Wrigley Field is it and has tons of it.

I can’t do the numbers, but I can do the stories. I know “Enter Sandman” feels more emotional than some other Metallica hits and I know why no one else gets to be number 42.

And lately, perhaps due to chronic fatigue, rapid aging, or my tendency to get overworked anticipating events in my own small life,  I’ve come to appreciate the rhythm.

It’s a slow dance these games. But they are steady and incremental. No halves in baseball, no quarters. No clock, help. us. all. Just three outs over and over again.

“It’s a big one tonight,” Travis will pronouce, rattling off numbers and acronyms and something about a wild card (Uno anyone?) On goes the TV, and even with all the hype of “post-season”  – it’s three outs and then three outs, then fourteen commercials for Taco Bell, and three outs.

“They just don’t seem to hit it that much,” I complained once. “Hits that matter at least.” Apparently the defense has the ball in this sport…meaning?

Meaning, in my nacho-eating, crowd watching, jumbotron- hoping analysis, in the end,  it’s those outs that complete the game. Hits are scattered in, raising the score, (slightly) elevating the excitement. But the rhythm remains. Three outs.  Sure, steady and one at a time.

Citi Field, June 2013.

(Yes, there is a baby strapped to me. Yes, I am totally thinking about that Alyssa Milano store.)