A Letter to my Son about Pursuing Passions

Dear, darling Coltrane,

I have brought you to a writing workshop put on by the North Carolina Writers’ Network at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

You have been mostly good so far, looking around, hanging in the Ergo. A few grunts, paci in, paci out. But just moments ago, as everyone settled in quietly for ten minutes of writing, you threw up all over me. Thanks a lot, bud. A nice, clear, “UURP!” and the wet sound of spit-up as it spilled out across my thigh.

I have used my lovely scarf from Bangladesh, a gift from my treasured former student, Ipsita, to dab it as best I can, but there is a clear wet spot. And now, I stand at the side of the room, rocking and swaying, displaying my soiled jeans for the room. Though, mercifully, no one is really looking; their eyes are directed at their pages, absorbed in the immediate world they are creating. I’ve left the scarf dangling long, uneven, in an attempt to cover the damp stain. I think it’s working.

Your eyes are red-rimmed. You are so tired, my dear. GO TO SLEEP! STOP EMBARRASSING ME! And now you are digging your fingers into my lips – your little arm extended fully in this reach for my face. And you laugh as I feign to eat your tiny fist. Bells. Music. An angel’s song – your laugh. SHHHHHH!

Now you are trying to put your paci in my mouth. Is this a new milestone? Are you feeding ME!? Six months old, this guy.

Oh good. Now you are trying to poop. You’ve been making a strong effort all day, to no avail. Will now be your big breakthrough? Timing, my man. Really.

Your lips purse, thinning at the edges and pushing out in the middle as though the rosebud center of your mouth is being drawn by a thread. The shape of your face triangulates in the labor; it flushes with red. Brows bow to each other, eyes look past me, faraway.

Oh good, relax. Nothing. A fruitless endeavor. I’m sorry your tummy’s not feeling good, baby.

Minutes go by; I’m swaying and listening to writers share their momented stories – unedited, fresh, and I glance down to see the whites of your eyes. Thank you, beneficent son, the familiar fluttering of your eyelids signals baby sleep. Strong at 7pm, not so much at 4am. But right now, right on schedule, 7:15pm, you nod out and I can sit, still involuntarily swaying in my chair, to write this – not the prompt given, but something I’ll tell you when you are three, like Maya, and wanting to hear stories of your own babyhood.

“Well, Cole,” I’ll say, “that year I stayed home with you, and I tried every day to shape my life to be the writer I knew I could be. So I didn’t miss the workshop, despite not having baby watching arrangements. Maybe I would just stand in the back and listen, but I wanted to be where the writers were. And you threw up all over me. Thanks a lot, buddy!” You will laugh at how gross babies are. And I will be proud that I showed you that I showed up to be who I wanted to be, even when inconvenient.

I love you,

Your Mama

April 1: Almost new baby time


April showers bring

May flowers. And May brings you,

Bambino Dingo.



A to Z Challenge: This month, I will be writing a haiku (sometimes a senryu – same syllables, not marveling at nature) each day save Sundays for the 26 letters of the alphabet as part of the blogosphere’s A to Z Challenge.



New Year, New Kid, New…

When we first told Maya we were pregnant, we asked her what we should name the baby (we are not going to find out the gender.) Her immediate response was “Bambino Dingo” – to her, these were nonsensical sounds, but they were two clear-as-a-bell words, and they almost made sense! It stuck.

Bambino Dingo - due May 8, 2015
Bambino Dingo – due May 8, 2015


Maybe I should have had kids sooner.

Of course, I don’t really mean that, because I want the exact kids that came together in the exact moment to make exactly Maya and Bambino Dingo (I may be making a big assumption here, as I have not yet met Bambino Dingo yet, but I’m willing to bet that he/she is exactly who I want.)

But I feel like I didn’t even begin figuring out my life until I had kids. I know it’s been said before, but I DID NOT know how to appreciate my open schedule and time before. Having a kid forced me to prioritize and be more productive, and my life has improved because of that. I am more purposeful. However, I wish I had figured that out sooner. Thus, I should have had kids sooner.

I did not put off having kids until my 30’s so that I could “accomplish more” before I did so. I did not travel more or produce more, or really focus in on anything. I wish I had known better (though I’m sure someone told me.) I was busy just being and bouncing around and hanging out. And now I’m in spitting distance of 40. I thought I’d have more done? Built? Collected? Grown? Accomplished? Seen? But 40 is the new 30, right?

I spent a lot of time at the Reservoir Bar
I spent a lot of time at the Reservoir Bar











I was definitely building the blocks of me in my 20’s, but I was not yet purposeful. I was actually pretty passive. It’s a big part of my personality – maybe a little too go with the flow.  But I am actively trying to change that now. I want more, and it looks like I’m going to be the one to have to make that happen. Wish I’d known that before my only free time was nap-time. On the weekends. Which is when I do the dishes.

I should have been writing...
I should have been writing…

More what? Of course it would be sweet to win the lottery, etc. (Oh, the travel!) But what I’m really thinking is that I want to do more, make more, plan more, to stop sitting around. My mind turns almost constantly with ideas and scenarios.

I hope to take the next year off with Maya and Bambino Dingo, and I am so excited, but I am afraid of me. I am afraid that without a boss and deadlines and 160 medium-sized people needing me to be accountable, I won’t be. I am much more disciplined for others than I am for myself.

So that is my challenge in 2015. Be less like me.

Just kidding.

Strive to be a more present and productive me. Plan more, do more, create more. Plus meet my new kid. That will be a cool new part of 2015 also.