Such A Secret

It’s a story everyone wants to hear. The story about the day they came into the world. Like my mother, I handed those tales down to my children with great regularity.  I brought out the stories on long rides when the road was whizzing by. I molded them into bedtime yarns. I dusted them off and gave them new luster on request. But, I especially brought them out when they had a definite news peg – birthdays – like today.

It was February 28, 1994. It was just before one in the morning. I felt the stirrings and then the pain I easily recognized as labor. We called Jim’s dad who rushed over. We left him with our sleeping two-year-old, Katie. Jim put on his would-be paramedic look and rushed out to the car. I waddled after him. Once again, he flipped on his imaginary lights and siren and we were off, racing to the hospital, while I writhed in pain. Continue reading

Marking Time

My mother always said to me on my birthday, in her beautifully accented voice, “Joyce, darling, when you were born, the angels sang.”  In fact, the angels sang when all five of us were born.  She told us all the same story.  We waited for it.  We loved it.  But I did not hear the angels singing when my first child was born.  I thought I would.  Instead, I heard a nurse, marking time.  So that’s the story I tell my daughter on her birthday which is today.

It all started when I told my husband, 25 years ago, that I was in labor.  I believe he, a newsman, has a deep-seated desire to be a fireman or a policeman.  I swear I saw him flip on his lights and sirens.  I think maybe he had been dreaming about that emergency run to the hospital for some time… maybe since his youth.  Maybe that’s something men dream about like some women might dream of their wedding day. Continue reading

The Missing Sock

Who knew?  It’s a secret about parenthood people never talk about.  But I’m going to spill the beans right here, right now.  The secret is this: You will be chasing socks around from the time that baby comes home from the hospital until baby leaves for college. It hit me when I spotted a missing sock on the ground at the Oakland International Airport. The parents of the now single socked baby don’t know any of this yet. The baby and her socks are tiny but as that baby grows and more babies come into the family, one thing those parents will be doing among the millions of other things they’ll do for that baby and its siblings is — The Great Sock Chase.  And it lasts for about eighteen years — per kid. Continue reading

Wanted: My Son

Imagine my shock when I found out my son was a Wanted Man.  We stared at the mugshot together on the Wanted Poster, standing side by side. I could feel him next to me shifting in his shoes.  He’s a big 13 year old.  Fairly relaxed.  But this new information had rattled him. I could tell.

He was wanted for a crime he didn’t commit.  He was branded on that wall.  I wanted to protect him.  But, when they came and called his name I turned to him and said, “Are you ready?”  He nodded, enthusiastically, and shot me a big white, crooked smile.  He wanted correction.  He wanted straight teeth.  He gave me a little hug and he was gone.  Continue reading