The Apple and The Tree

There was zero chance that this week would go smoothly for Carlos. Too much change happening at once. He’s moving up and moving on from the school he has attended since he was 3 months old. He started off cranky today and it went downhill from there.

And if I’m being honest, I’m having some trouble with my feelings, too. Neither of us handles change very easily. Each time he has moved rooms–from babies to crawlers to walkers to twos to big kids–my heart has clenched up in fear that he’s going to hit a bad spot and fail to thrive.

He’s reached the end of the hallway–his time at this school is ending. It really hit me yesterday. The teachers are switching out the door decorations and the displays in the hall. Time for a “back to school” theme with a tree and a basket of apples under the tree, with each kid’s name done in glitter on the construction paper apple. Carlos’ apple was tucked in his cubby, brand new and never to be hung on the wall.

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He’s switching all the way to pre-K. We both are. I’m going to miss these kids so much. There’s Addy, who has been my friend since the day I saw her through her tears. There’s Sid, the Christmas Kid. Maggie who gives me hugs every day. Patrick and William and Magnus and Jonathan and Crawford–a pack of little blond boys who are hard to tell apart. Bailey and Emmie and Arly and Alya, who all want to be Elsa. Charlie, who reports to me every day whether Carlos has behaved himself.

Carlos and I were both out of sorts today when we arrived. I think it showed, because when Addy turned to wave at me, she said, “Hi! Your hair looks pretty today! Hi! You look pretty! Hi!”

The kids were coloring starfish and shells, ready to make a sandy scene on some ocean blue paper. Except for Carlos. He yelled and curled into a ball. The noise startled him and I think he was mad that it wasn’t outside time. I tried to cajole him, convince him, persuade him to sit in his seat at the lady bug table and participate. He wasn’t having it. I rubbed his back while he flopped on the circle rug. I followed him to the trucks center and told him to join the group. Nope. Not happening. No way.

So I detached from the struggle and sat my own butt down in his tiny blue chair at the lady bug table. I handed out crayons and marveled over the lovely coloring that each child had done. Tiny, dark-eyed Alya showed me her careful purple starfish. I told her that purple is one of my favorite colors. Carlos came over to see what we were doing, but yelled when I spoke to him. I sighed and shook my head.

Alya caught my eye and said, “Carlos is being…very Carlosy today.”

Yes, yes he is. This class of kids is used to seeing my kid pitch a fit, throw a tantrum, melt it down. I’m sure some of them will be relieved that his noise will be somewhere else.

But he’s doing his best. He’s just…Carlosy. Thank you, tiny girl, for reminding me to see my son for himself. He’s being Carlosy and I was being too Ashleyish to remember that. Poor kid has A LOT going on. End of summer, linguistic leaps, new school, friends leaving. He’s still learning how to navigate the world of groups and sometimes coloring is just too much to ask.

We’ll get used to a new classroom and a new routine. I’ll make some friends among the new kids in pre-K and Carlos will too. We’ll both probably kick and fuss a bit and express our anxiety in different ways, but we’ll figure it out. After all, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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Loving Your Mammy Isn’t Going to End Racism

Back in college, I was asked to sit on a discussion panel about race. I remember feeling honored to be asked, but I only recall one thing that I said that night. We were deep into the session and people began to get honest about the way they saw racial divides showing themselves on our little campus–in the classroom, in the dining hall, on elected boards.

At that point, a young white woman who was a well-known campus leader took the floor and said, with exasperation shaking the bow in her hair, “I just feel like we’re LOOKING for a problem here. I mean, nobody’s stopping anybody from sitting where they want to in the dining hall. I’m not a racist if I want to eat lunch with my friends. I mean, I was RAISED by a black woman…I love black people!”

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I remember my friend, Terri, catching my eye and looking like she was about to bust. I spoke up and took a chance on satire:  “I loved my Mammy too but that doesn’t fix the problem.”

The punchline worked. It got a good laugh and kept the discussion on track, without saying, “Sit down and shut up, Miss Scarlett.”

And it was true–I did spend several of my formative years under the care of Ms Jenny Mae Bray**, better known in our town as “Quicker.” She never liked her given name so she went by her family nickname, a reminder of how fast she got things done. Quicker watched us while our parents were at work. Now, don’t get any highfalutin’ ideas–we lived in a single-wide trailer with some wooden steps on the front. She had full reign over us and what Quicker said WENT. One time Joe snuck out into the yard without Quicker’s permission and she spanked him with my Bolo Paddle until it cracked in two.

Quicker was a giant presence in my youth. I lost touch with her after we moved when I was in second grade, but my memories of her are sweet and rich. When I was all grown up and in graduate school, Mom took me by to see Quicker at Baby Sister Argroves’ house, where she was working. Later that afternoon, I saw my brother and said, “Joe? How big was Quicker?” He blew out a long breath and said, “Oh man, she had to be six feet at least and maybe 225, 250?” I held up my hand at my shoulder and said, “She comes up to HERE on me! She’s tiny!” We marveled at the truth that time had revealed. And we agreed that we still wouldn’t try any foolishness while she was in charge.

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Yes, I loved Quicker. I still remember how, when she gave me a bath in the green tub, she squeezed the washcloth filled with warm water on my shoulder. I do that to my children and think of her. I remember the smell of her egg custard pies and the way she would put a little pat of butter in the center of each while they cooled on the kitchen table. I remember the smell of the iron and how she sang to herself while she ironed shirts in the center of our tiny living room.

I loved Quicker, but I didn’t know her. I only knew the narrow part of her life where it intersected with mine. That’s why I said what I said on that panel about race at Wesleyan. Loving one person through a narrow lens doesn’t mean you understand what life is like for her or her family or her race. Proximity doesn’t equate to intimacy. That’s why the first step in joining the discussion about race in America is listening. Widening the lens that we’ve used for so many years to “see” our neighbors, our friends, our beloved.

Spoiler Alert I’m about to talk about a scene in “Go Set a Watchman.” Yes, I read it. Go ahead and judge me.

A lot of people didn’t want to read Harper Lee’s “newly discovered” first novel because they didn’t want it to change the way they saw the characters that we’ve all grown to love from To Kill a Mockingbird. How could Atticus be a racist? How could Jem not be around? How could Scout be a grown woman drinking booze and kissing men?

In reading another view of them, from 20 years past the TKAM storyline, I might have to widen my lens. Kind of like getting to know someone like Quicker, who had been a big part of my life, but only on my terms.

The scene that most moved me in Watchman was when Jean Louise visits Calpurnia at her home. Calpurnia’s family has suffered a great blow with the arrest of her grandson. The situation is made hopeless by the racial politics of the time (because if the racial roles were reversed in the car crash, and a young white man had hit a drunk old black man, no charges would have been filed). When Jean Louise shows up at Calpurnia’s knee, she is devastated to find that Calpurnia “is wearing her company manners.” Jean Louise is not welcome; she is cast out into her whiteness. In shock, Scout cries, “Cal, Cal, Cal what are you doing to me? I’m your baby, have you forgotten me? Why are you shutting me out? What are you doing to me?”

And Calpurnia answers, “What are you all doing to us?”

With those words, Jean Louise’s lens is shattered because Calpurnia insists on being seen in her entirety, not just as a part of Scout’s life. “She loved us, I swear she loved us. She sat there in front of me and she didn’t see me, she saw white folks.”

Quicker took good care of me. Because I loved her, it’s my duty to honor her too. To seek to understand. To listen. To widen my lens. To right what has been wrong.

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**Edited to change Quicker’s name from Strozier to Bray. My mama corrected my memory. I think the fact that I didn’t even recall her name correctly is a great comment on the point I was trying to make: I loved her, but I didn’t know her.

My One Woman Show at MoMA

Some days, you end up rolling around on the floor in a black muslin bag at the Museum of Modern Art; some days you don’t. TODAY was my day to writhe around on the floor for the edification and entertainment of a crowd of spectators. It’s all Yoko Ono’s fault (she’s used to the scapegoating so we’re cool).

The day started out so normally. A bagel in the hotel lobby, some visiting with other bloggers, a little bit of squealing and much glee. Normal. Then a short walk to the museum where I promptly headed for the Jacob Lawrence “One Way Ticket” exhibit featuring his 60 panel series on the Great Migration of Southern Blacks northwards in the first half of the 20th century.

But I got lost. I went allaway up to the sixth floor instead of stopping on the third and I wandered straight into Yoko Ono’s exhibit “One Woman Show.” I was about to turn around and ask a volunteer for directions because when you’ve seen one apple rotting atop a plexiglass column, you’ve seen them all. (I kid, I kid…kind of) I’ve had positive encounters withe several Ono pieces over the years, but I wasn’t much in the mood for her today.

11143323_10206036801192114_6007822362586092663_oThen I turned a corner into a little room labelled “Bag Piece.” Two walls were lined with small photographs taken of Ono’s performance of the Bag Piece at an art festival four years before I was born. In the corner of the gallery, a large black fabric sculpture moved smoothly like some kind of alien creature. I assumed it was an armature covered in fabric and preprogrammed to move according to Ono’s design.

However…as I stood there watching the bag move through its poses, I realized that there was a person inside. The figure stretched and posed and swayed and slept, all in the burqa-like confines of the black bag. A small sign next to the platform read “All are invited to participate in the Bag Piece.”

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I was genuinely moved as I watched the creature move about inside the bag. There was no way of knowing whether it was male, female, young, old, like me or not like me. Having grown a couple of babies, the imagery of the Bag Piece reminded me of carrying another life. It also made me think about how we go from an insulated womb state where we are unlabeled and intact before we have to leave the bag and take our place in the world of labels and assumptions.

The creature in the bag slowed into a Cobra pose then twisted around to a sitting position. The voluminous black bag wiggled a bit until a foot popped out. As the crowd giggled, the foot turned towards the sound, and the big toe nodded hello. Then another foot. The waves of fabric  pulled back to reveal a tall, thin young man–a MoMA employee. He asked if anyone else wanted to give it a try.

Rampant enthusiasm, people. It’s gotten me into many a pickle, but today it got me a One Woman Show at MoMA.

I kicked off my shoes and climbed under the bag. The black muslin was very thin, so even though I was completely shrouded, I could see the outlines of my audience. I discovered that there was a mirror behind the crowd that I could use to watch my own performance.

The platform backed into a corner, so working on the womb idea, I tucked myself into a little ball in the corner. I rocked and swayed. I slid across the surface towards the audience. I stretched up and did some belly dancing arms (another leftover of rampant enthusiasm). I worked the edge of the platform, coming as close to the viewers as possible, but still hidden in the bag. Inside the shroud, I smiled silently. Only movement. I slithered up the wall and back into the corner. Back where I had begun, but different.

I decided my time was up. I threw off the bag and let myself laugh.

Art isn’t some serious exercise in remembering names and dates and movements and theory. Art is about slowing down to look, whether from inside the bag or without.

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Ten Things That Have Changed Since My First Trip to New York

It’s been 10 years since my first trip to New York City. That first one was to get me out of the house a month after Richard died. My sister invited me up for a long weekend in The Big City. We ate at Gramercy Tavern and Olives, went to the 9/11 Memorial at the old church in the Financial District, shopped at a spring market in Grand Central, and watched a movie about the cosmos at the Museum of Natural History. We took naps, too. And when I was alone, I stared off into the middle distance as much as I could.

Today marks my fifth trip back and I’ve noticed how much has changed in ten years.

  1. When I saw these ladies getting on the parking shuttle with a big white garment bag, I asked, “Are you the bride?” She said, “We BOTH are!” They had been planning a wedding in New York for a year and what do you know…now the rest of the country has caught up with marriage rights. They’re getting married on a yacht in the East River in a few days. Upon hearing us chatting about the wedding excitement and the family who were coming up to join them, an older woman on the shuttle asked the women, “Are y’all related?” The bride on the left replied, while pointing at herself and her beloved, “WE are getting married. To EACH OTHER.” Congratulations to the brides!11722374_10206033616832507_9117213094123706062_o
  2. I had to laugh as I unpacked my suitcase…black black black and some white because it’s July. The first time Gay and I were here, she said, “You’re easy to find on the sidewalk because you’re the only one wearing color.” I guess I have absorbed the cosmopolitan ethos. Back home, I wear stetchy pants and ratty tshirts to Lowe’s and I don’t bother shaving my legs. So am I donning a costume in NYC? No. This is me too. This is me in the city. 11722362_10206033617072513_8208619435308855923_o
  3. My first destination: FAO Schwarz, which closed its flagship store off Fifth Avenue today. So these friendly guys are looking for work as of tomorrow–boo! It’s sad to think that the Big Piano will be stuffed in some warehouse in Jersey. The inside of the store was bedraggled pandemonium. In the candy department, employees from all over the store were filling up bags for themselves while the candy manager winked at them and waved them past the register. Vivi had asked for a kitty cat, but I couldn’t find a damn thing. The shelves were picked over (check out the carnage on the animals display: the only thing left was vultures and buffalo, so I took some artistic license.11731946_10206033617312519_9184465898704853515_o11055340_10206033617432522_5444387858262326674_o
  4. All the cabs are hybrids. And every corner is jammed with sleek black Uber vehicles picking up riders.11754513_10206033617752530_7682751707270265633_o
  5. I know my way around. I understand long blocks and short blocks and uptown vs downtown. I also know when it’s time to duck into Central Park. Thank you, Mr. Olmstead for a place that has enough leaves to hear a rustle, enough space to catch a breeze, enough shade to cool the summer. Come to think of it, I’ve learned a lot more about “enough” in the last ten years.11696452_10206033618952560_1816815408202875408_o
  6. I have this magical device that fits in my purse and holds books. And today it has a book by Harper Lee. I struggled with whether I would read “Go Set a Watchman” because of the shadowy nature of Ms. Lee’s participation in the publication. But I couldn’t resist. Here’s Jean Louise’s explanation of why anyone would bother living in New York City:11700833_10206033618392546_372709162543578818_o
  7. I know macarons have been around forever in France, but DAMN I’m glad they have become popular over here. This is what $12 of macarons looks like when you buy them at the Francois Payard Patisserie in the food halls under the Plaza Hotel (which now flies the Fairmont flag and a Saudi flag). I chose: dark chocolate, Coca-Cola, vanilla bean, salted caramel, cassis and violet. Well worth the splurge, especially when nibbled on a park bench while reading Harper Lee.11011276_10206033618552550_1911206272660339177_o
  8. Broadway theaters have always sold wine, but someone got smart and started putting it in these sippy cups! Nothing says “Wednesday night and Mama’s out on the town” like a $20 sippy cup of pinot grigio and a great seat at “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”11143715_10206033618712554_5498486685376702554_o
  9. I have another amazing device in my purse that can be used to text a friend for a show recommendation, order a ticket to said show, transfer money to pay for said ticket, find directions to the theater…and take a picture of 45% of my head.11731572_10206033619192566_2403069933438020804_o
  10. That first time I visited this city? I was so worn out and sad. I’m not anymore. I’m grateful. For everything that was–thanks. For everything that will be–yes.

Hello, Friend. I Am Afraid of You.

Me on Day One of my first BlogHer!

Me on Day One of my first BlogHer!

Two years ago, when I went to BlogHer for the first time, I didn’t expect much. I’d only been writing for a few months and I knew that I knew pea turkey squat about the world of blogging. I met this one really cool woman, Heather, who was starting a blog, too. When I asked her what she wrote about, she said, “Well, I’m not really sure what my niche will be…” I looked at her with my gob hanging open and replied, “You’re a lesbian vegan parent of multiples, one of whom has special needs…and YOU can’t find a niche? I’m screwed.” Heather and I were standing on the Expo floor, surrounded by sponsors who wanted to establish relationships with bloggers–maybe like us?– who could generate content about their products. Air freshening candles, tapioca pudding, car seats, vibrators, seltzer water, hair care products from Best Buy…what the ever lovin hell?

I couldn’t figure out where I fit in. Then on Friday night, the Voice of the Year keynote blew me away. In the midst of all the expo noise and the SEO tips and the social media optimization strategies, these women were recognized for getting up on stage with a microphone and telling stories. I had found my niche. Telling stories.

20140725_210343So last year, I went for it. And I got a spot on that stage with that microphone. The entire trip to BlogHer14 in San Jose centered around that seven minutes on the stage. By that time, I knew I could sustain my blog. I knew I could tweek widgets and self-host and run ad code and learned even more about those things at the conference. But the whole conference was pre-VOTY nerves and post-VOTY high.

Something different happened after last summer’s conference. I kept my place at the blogger table on social media. I friended other writers and I followed people so I can learn from them. My friend, Dee, said, “Why are you liking stuff on a site about natural hair for Black women?” Because Patrice at Afrobella is a pro. I’ve been watching how these women build community by participating in their communities on line.

In the days leading up to BlogHer15 in NYC, I’ve found myself more anxious than I have been at the previous trips. And that’s completely weird because I know far more about blogging and branding than I ever have before. I’m not looking for a niche, or the spotlight this year.

I’m looking to meet my friends.

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I want to hug A’Driane’s neck because for a year I’ve been learning from her about how to raise boys with quirks. I want to see what shoes Luvvie will be wearing and I want to vote for her Red Pump Project HIV charity to win The Pitch. I can’t wait to see the dress that Alexandra ordered from China–it’s a gem of a clustercuss. I want to talk happiness with August and books with Thien-Kim and parenting with Vikki. I’ll listen and learn from women who aren’t like me. I’ll go to the Queerosphere party and I’m going to dance at killer karaoke like a white woman who learned her moves from Molly Ringwald sometime in the mid-80s. I want to hug the ones who are hurting and promise them that they will be OK.

All of those connections that we’ve been building over the interwebz for 12 months will have to step out into the light of day. I don’t know what anyone’s voice sounds like. I don’t recall who is tall (well, Arnebya is) and who is short (Queen of Side Eye…ahem). I know Casey is handsome and her daughter is fancy. I’ll find these dear people in a crowd and then…

I’ll be me. Simply me. And I’ll be present. And I’ll be OK, too.

Because what I realized today is that this anxiety stems from some whack idea that when I am seen in the light, I will be revealed as that awful person that the voice inside my head sometimes tells me that I am. Even if that person isn’t real, if they don’t exist anywhere except inside my head. I might be the sum total of the worst parts of me instead of the best parts of me.

Hello friends. I am afraid of you because of how I might judge myself in your presence. But I have found my niche among this band of storytellers and I am thankful for the place at the table.

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The good fortune I took to San Jose

 

You Saw Me

crying graffitiOne day, I walked into Carlos’ classroom with him. A little girl I hadn’t seen before was sitting all by herself in the book nook. She wore a pink plaid sundress, white sandals, and a big white ribbon in her hair. She was crying so hard that the bow bounced up and down with each shake of her little body.

The teachers and the rest of the class were going about their business. I’ve seen kids sitting alone like that before at the Calm Table, where they go to get away from the bustle of the classroom when they need to regroup. But this little girl wasn’t just sniveling or glowering–she hiccupped with each little sob.

I’m lucky to have a job that doesn’t mind if I’m 15 minutes late…later, so I sat down next to her on one of those tiny chairs. “Hey, are you OK?” I asked with my hand on her back.

She snurfled out a, “I…want…mommy.”

“Oh, sugar. I bet you do. Well, I’m Carlos’s mommy. Would you like a hug?” She bobbed her dripping little chin and slid over onto my lap.

“Is this your first day?” She nodded. I asked her name and she told me. I patted her back and rocked her a little bit while the rest of the kids thundered around us.

I asked Carlos to come over and say hello and he did. I told her the names of the other kids but she shrank up against me when they got too close. She wasn’t ready for them.

She held a Barbie picture book in her hand so I asked her about it. For a few minutes, we talked about books and what kind of shoes we like and how purple is her favorite color.

When it was time for me to go, she wobbled a bit but held up. I hoped she would be there in the afternoon when I picked up Carlos so I could congratulate her for being brave. But she was already gone by the time I got there.

It took a few more days before we crossed paths again at drop off time. I walked Carlos out to the playground to join his class and a bright shiny girl waved across the distance. I waved back and called her name. She ran up to me and stopped about a foot away. Just beaming.

I said, “Hey! I know you!”

She giggled and said, “You saw me when I was crying!”

We’ve been friends ever since. Her choice of words has stayed with me–“You saw me when I was crying.” She could have said, “You gave me a hug” or “I sat on your lap.” But she experienced that moment as “you saw me.” I was struggling and you saw me.

Isn’t that what we’re all crying out for? To be seen.

Sometimes it’s easy for the mean voice in my head to convince me that I am The Invisible Girl. That I could sit right down in the center of the big spinning world and cry my eyes out, but the world would whirl right past me. It’s not true, but that mean voice is an inveterate liar.

To see someone. To walk up and say, “I see you there.” It’s the simplest of gifts.

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The Space Between Things

Last weekend, the Cool Kids were hanging out in the deep end of my pool. Floating there on foam noodles and drinking wine out of plastic cups with girlfriends–a little hour in heaven. Wise Heather shared the news that her new job was pretty much a done deal. Good for her, but sad for us who were hoping that she would work someplace close enough to meet for lunch.

I asked, “Is the drive going to bother you?” and she dropped a truth bomb: “It’s nice to have 30 minutes in between BAM and BA BOOM to think my own thoughts.” Ain’t that the truth?

She got me to thinking about the space between things, the moment when we’re going from Point A to Point B (and if you’re like me, using that time to anticipate out all possible problems that might arise between Points C – ZZ). I think my days have left me short of breath lately because I’ve shoved more and more work and worry into the space between things.

This little gem floated into my Facebook feed last week: tumblr_n74fyou6W81r0sn0fo1_1280

Well, hell. I haven’t observed Items 1-4 since my kids were born. Trying to, but…damn. I pride myself on answering emails while I’m on the phone and checking Facebook while I’m walking the long way to a meeting so that my Fitbit will approve of me. Multitasking is supposed to be a good thing, right?

Not so much. Not when it’s ALL THE TIME.

Today at 4:55 p.m., while I adjusted user permissions on a site and posted news stories and sent an optimization idea to the developer and questioned the life choices that have led me to use words like “optimization,” I also texted G to see who was picking up Vivi from day camp. Ding! He was already on the way. OK, I could get a feeeeeeew more things done before fetching Carlos.

But I made the mistake of glancing at my desk calendar and seeing BLOGHER in big yellow letters next week. NEXT WEEK? Shit, I need business cards. So I flip over to a website to design and order something fresh and amazing that’s going to be The Ticket To Next….but the logo I want to use isn’t the right dimension and the website warns me that my design will have “possible white space.” No worries. I can fix it with some clever cropping in this other application over here…

Next thing I knew, I looked up and it was 5:25 p.m. and the Mom Guilt kicked in. “Please don’t let my baby be the last one waiting in the room, sitting over in the book corner while the teacher mops the floor.” I grabbed phone off the charger, chugged down the last of my 100 oz of filtered water, slapped the Fitbit to see how many blinky dots I racked up, sighed in disappointment, shoved the stack of bills that I meant to pay on my lunch break back in my purse for another day, I turned to the whiteboard behind my desk and crossed of ONE DAMN THING from the long list, even though I kept the hammer down for the last seven hours, since I got to work after my early morning dentist appointment for a filling.

I turned out the lights and locked up the office, Mom Guilt squeezing my chest until there’s no room for breath. Turned left to take the stairs and walked past the scale that stands in the hall. Checked the Fitbit again. In the stairwell, I held on to the railing because no one would find me there if I slipped and fell. Last one leaving. Then the “You’re going to die alone!” fears stop in to say hello because why not? All my kids will remember is that they were the last ones picked up from daycare and the smell of mop water will trigger depression for the rest of their lives. As I stepped out into the sunlight, I tallied all the phone calls I need to make…that I never seem to have time to do. Like to check on my own parents.

Two minute walk to the car. Just enough time to catalog all the things I meant to achieve between last year’s BlogHer and this year’s. And I forgot to lose fifty pounds. AGAIN.

Got in the car and the gas light came on. I need to find a way tomorrow to drive across town to the place where I can save 50 cents a gallon on gas with my fuel points. That’s like eight bucks. That matters.

It’s a three minute drive to get Carlos. The first thing I see is a note taped on his cubby, and it’s not just a note, it’s a note with a STAPLE in the corner, a multi-page record of his transgressions. He’s been fine for months…now this shit AGAIN in the last month before he starts Pre-K.

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He beams to see me and gives me a gigantic hug. Four other kids line up to get hugs, because I make time for that. As we make our way to the car, the weight of the note makes me think that I should start the “Good Choice/Bad Choice” speech and break it to Carlos that he’s not going to have screen time tonight, but part of me just wants to have a few minutes of happy with my happy kid while he’s actually happy instead of immediately talking about that time six hours ago when he was angry.

Where is the space between things for a working mother? In music, it’s called a rest. In painting, it’s the negative space. In graphic design, white space. Where is the space between things that gives me room to breathe? That, in its emptiness, gives the heart a place to stand in order to see the life as I’m living it?

Sometimes when I find myself standing in front of the refrigerator, foraging for junk, I realize that what I’m really hungry for is a big gulp of breath. A heaping plate of rest. A space. A pause.

Know what I’m saying? What do you do to maintain the space between things?

IRONIC POST SCRIPT: I looked up the principle of “the space between things” in art. The Japanese have a word for it, and that word is…………..”Ma.” I guess my kids have been yelling at me about theories of Japanese spatial design for all these years.