From the monthly archives:

February 2013

About a year ago, my son grew to my height, and he has not shown any sign of slowing down ever since. He’s about half a foot taller than I am now, taller than his father even. It is a very complicated feeling whenever I am startled by having to strain my neck in order to see his face. It also makes it very difficult to hold his gaze and reprimand him when he sort of hovers above my head.

Up until now, I still see him as my baby. Well, secretly anyway. On paper I am all, “You are a teenager now. You have your freedom and independence. You need to learn to take care of yourself.” Honestly though? My heart does a toe touch jump when he lets us tuck him in at night as he lies in the bed that’s barely longer than he is now. He has to sleep diagonally.

They didn’t warn you that this day is coming. Probably because, well, one is supposed to have known better. Babies grow. Everybody gets older every day. Why are parents caught by surprise at all when their children all of a sudden stop being children?

Still, I marveled, “Nobody told me to be prepared for this! I am not ready yet!” when my 14-year-old announced from the bathroom as he brushed his teeth, “Mom! I need to start shaving! Kids at school have been making fun of my mustache.” I ran upstairs and we both stared at the shadow just above his lips in the mirror. Him of pride perhaps? I of shock. Did it sprout overnight? How come I did not notice it until this moment? I was at a loss. “Dad’s coming home tomorrow. He could teach you how.”

Lately he’s been full of surprises. Only that he did not recognize these to be significant watershed moments in his life. One never does, I guess, and leaves the commemoration and the commiseration over them to one’s parents.

“Hey mom, you need to sign me up for driving lessons. Ktahnksbye.”

“I am going to the [school dance] with [girl’s name unintelligible],” he announced casually and went back to reading his Mad magazine, leaving me breathless.

I am at a disadvantage as I did not grow up in this country. Many of these rites of passage taken for granted are completely foreign to me. My knowledge is to the extent of John Hughes movies that I’ve seen. (That, and Porky’s which was, coincidentally, the very first American movie I’ve ever seen on a VHS tape at a friend’s house when the parents were away…) I knew to remind him to find out the color of the dress the girl will be wearing. But that’s about it.

“Geez. You really need to help me out here. I’ve never been to a dance in my life!” I started to panic.

I did not know any men (or boys for that matter) until I was in college.

I did not learn how  to drive until I was over 25.

I have never shaved in my life.

I have never brought up a teenager before.

I have never had to watch somebody grow up so fast. Too fast.

I have never known this subtle, almost imperceptible yet keen once noticed, restlessness inside my gut of pride and fear and joy and sorrow.

 

Nobody ever told me.

No. They don’t.

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I have been prowling the streets of Poetry Foundation late at night, identifying victims. You could see this as an easy way out for a severe case of blogger’s block if you wish. But sometimes, brevity is gold, and Ms. Grossman masters it like a badass patron goddess.

 

I have to tell you by Dorothea Grossman

I have to tell you,

there are times when

the sun strikes me

like a gong,

and I remember everything,

even your ears.

It is not so much that I miss you by Dorothea Grossman

It is not so much that I miss you

as the remembering

which I suppose is a form of missing

except more positive,

like the time of the blackout

when fear was my first response

followed by love of the dark.

 

I knew something was wrong by Dorothea Grossman

I knew something was wrong

the day I tried to pick up a

small piece of sunlight

and it slithered through my fingers,

not wanting to take shape.

Everything else stayed the same—

the chairs and the carpet

and all the corners

where the waiting continued.

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I Hate Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2013

in random

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 10.24.20 AM

As much as I hate Mother’s Day, my own birthday, I hate Valentine’s Day more. To be completely honest, it is because these holidays set up expectations despite my resistance and I inevitably am disappointed. I am a Cancer so my natural reaction is to set up walls around myself when these days come around. Call me passive aggressive if you wish but the defense mechanism has been keeping me sane for years. If I don’t acknowledge it, it ceases to exist and cannot hurt me.

I am not giving anybody any Valentine and therefore I am not expecting any. I am however going to see Die Hard 5. I am genuinely psyched. Can’t explain why. Yippe-kiyay Motherf—! Also, I am buying shoes, and they will all be retroactively credited towards Valentine’s Day gifts.

I do however want to talk to you about love poems. Don’t fret. I am not going sentimental on you. I found a gem and want to share it with you. I guarantee it will make you smile especially if you hate Valentine’s Day as much as I do. Thank you so much. Oh, you are so welcome.

 

I Feel Horrible. She Doesn’t by Richard Brautigan

I feel horrible. She doesn’t

love me and I wander around

the house like a sewing machine

that’s just finished sewing

a turd to a garbage can lid.

In all seriousness though, my favorite poem happens to be a love poem, albeit a sad one. Whenever I read it, I could see myself sitting in a departing taxi, speeding away, as I turn to look at the ever diminishing object of my affection. My eyes well up. For naught. Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all. Try anyway.

The Taxi by Amy Lowell

When I go away from you

The world beats dead

Like a slackened drum.

I call out for you against the jutted stars

And shout into the ridges of the wind.

Streets coming fast,

One after the other,

Wedge you away from me,

And the lamps of the city prick my eyes

So that I can no longer see your face.

Why should I leave you,

To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?

 

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Note to self: Always bring Kleenex

February 4, 2013 therapy in session

I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately. Maybe for once it’s really not me that’s at fault. Maybe it’s The 2012 Best American Short Stories collection that I have been reading. I have cried suddenly and uncontrollably over several passages. None of them were overtly sentimental. Certainly for a collection of this caliber you […]

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