16 May 2009
I ask for two things on mother's day: photobooths and cupcakes. more specifically, a quick trip to the photobooth at the ace followed by a stop at saint cupcake. these days, I have to bribe ezra to get him into the booth anyway so the entire afternoon works out rather nicely for all involved parties. I get a photobooth strip, he gets a cupcake. actually, we all get cupcakes. very win-win.
so we get to the lobby of the ace and I dig through the apocalypse that is my purse to find the three wadded-up dollar bills I have been holding onto for like, days. we squeeze into the booth, adjust the chair, spin it around a dozen times or so and settle in. then we look for the slot but it isn't there. instead, there's this:
I know. it's not a big deal. credit cards only now, big whoop. but it leaves me feeling deflated. the inside of an old photobooth is one place I don't want to swipe my debit card. I just don't. I would also like to add that it's especially tricky to swipe said debit card while balancing two kids on your lap. you might as well kiss that first frame goodbye but whatever. as we leave, I tell ward that I am not so good with small changes like this. I am no good with change in general but I'm particularly resistant to anything that interrupts personal ritual or tradition. this is something he already knows but I say it anyway. it makes me feel better.
parenting is a neverending exercise in accepting change. just when you've learned to navigate the rocky terrain of one age, a new one emerges. daily routines are forged and followed meticuloulsy but often shift in mercurial ways. learn to roll with it or suffer the consequences. I am mostly learning to roll with it. last week, ezra wanted to know what he was like as a baby. he wanted more than the pictures we have scattered throughout the house, more than the stories we tell him so we dug up the box of tapes in the basement and watched old video footage. let me tell you, I was not prepared. I was not prepared at all. to see ezra just five months old, all bright-eyed and doughy, gurgling, cooing and reaching towards an impossibly tiny four year-old ava. whose voice, by the way, is but a heartbreakingly miniature version of the one we now know. all kinds of soft and just the right amount of sweet. I'd forgotten about that little voice.
then we stumble onto something I'd filmed just one day before ezra was born. ava is wearing an enormous faded pink tutu that's been clipped in place with an old wooden clothes pin and her ponytail is the sweetest mess. the sounds of yann tiersen on the accordion fill the room and she is dancing. wildly. she spins, she bows, she balances on one leg then the other, she collapses melodramatically into a heap on the floor only to rise again and again. she is oblivious to everything around her, she is completely lost in this dance. my heart breaks at the sight of it. for a hundred different reasons but mainly because what if I hadn't decided to pick up the video camera that day? because there is no going back. because this girl, she has changed so much since then and the changes, they just keep coming.
balancing ava and ezra on my lap in the photobooth last sunday afternoon, I realized just how much they'd grown. I could barely hold the two of them on my lap. I remember how each one used to fit so perfectly in the crook of my hip, how I wondered if I'd ever not be holding one or the other this way. will I ever not have a baby on my hip? the answer is yes and that time is now. this is another small change I grieve. I know, change is inevitable. there's no stopping it and it's all I can do to stay as loosely rooted in the moment as I am able and meet each change with as much acceptance as I can muster. it's all I can do, it's all I can do.
but I am no good with change, I tell ward. repeatedly, I tell him this. I know, he says. I know.