16 May 2011
when I was a kid, I used to wonder if it was possible to hold onto ordinary moments. you know, if you tried hard enough. if you closed your eyes and memorized every single thing about it, painted the scene in great detail in your mind and then just willed yourself to remember. could you? in twenty years? remember the way you bent down and scratched your knee while you waited for the school bus to round the corner. remember the way that peanut butter and jelly sandwich tasted while you watched an episode of good times. remember the way your skin stuck to the back of the station wagon seat while fleetwood mac played on the radio. because where do they all go? all the seemingly forgettable everyday moments? the thought of losing them all terrified the ten year-old me. no matter how unremarkable they were, I wanted them. I wanted them all. I still want them all. thirty years later and I have really only managed to hold onto what feels like a few measly scraps. for whatever reason, only certain moments stick.
so I thought about this earlier as I sat in the parking lot of the grocery store waiting for my husband to pick me up. I thought about how hard I tried at age ten to hold onto things, how hard I still try to hold onto things-- how I take photographs and make lists and scribble thoughts onto the pages of a hundred different notebooks, how carefully I've integrated this practice of preservation into my daily life. I am indefatigable. and then I sat there in that parking lot and did what my ten year-old self used to do. I memorized the moment. cool concrete beneath me, sun on my face. left hand on a cart filled with groceries for the week, giant bin of watermelons just a few feet away. old squeeze song coming from the grocery store speakers, me singing along. quietly, under my breath. one moment folds into the next and then it's over. and I am left hoping maybe this one will stick.
13 May 2011
these are the books that I read over and over. tirelessly, joyfully. these are the books that I loved so much it hurt.
1. maria tallchief by tobi tobias. purchased in first grade at the school book fair and the beginning of so much for me. filled with gorgeous pencil drawings of a dancer who was born on an indian reservation and went on to become a famous prima ballerina with the new york city ballet. I spent hours examining the drawings. hours and hours and hours. and even though I have long since parted ways with ballet, I still want to slip inside this book and become maria tallchief.
2. peppermint by dorothy grider. a litter of kittens is born in the back of a candy shop and all of them find a home but one-- a sickly little white kitten named peppermint. oh the heartbreak! I could not take it. which is probably why I read it again and again. also? pictures of pretty candy in big glass jars plus pictures of fluffy kittens= total win.
3. little majorette by dorothy grider. baton twirling was never really my thing but the pictures of the costumes in this book had me reconsidering. oh, that bright red two-piece number with the white fringe! and the fancy majorette costume that patty's parents surprised her with at the end! SO. GOOD.
4. I know a story by miriam blanton huber, frank seely salisbury and mabel o'donnell. pretty much your basic collection of classic tales here-- i.e., the gingerbread boy, the three little bears, little red riding hood, yadda yadda yadda. but the last story in the book, the boy who went to the north wind, was something special. there was a magic stick and a magic goat and a magic tablecloth and wind that actually talked and a boy and his mother who had nothing but got everything in the end. the best, people. the best.
5. popular party games edited by alison m. abel. purchased at the school book fair in second grade and the very beginning of my lifelong obsession with party planning. there's a price tag on the front with 30 cents marked on it and the initials A.C. scrawled next to it. which means I must have tried to sell this book at one of my mother's many garage sales. which, if it had actually sold, would have been nothing less than tragic. there are important sentences underlined and specific game titles circled and entire paragraphs crossed out. it's a little piece of second grade andrea and I die when I think of how easily it could have ended up in someone else's attic.
6. flicka, ricka, dicka and the strawberries by maj lindman. checked out from the local library repeatedly and then purchased at an antique mall somewhere in tennessee a good twenty years later. to be clear, I loved all the flicka, ricka, dicka books. all of them. I was also a big fan of the snip, snap and snurr books. because please. old-fashioned storybooks about swedish triplets are meant to be adored. however, this particular flicka, ricka, dicka book just about did me in. every time. the story: flicka, ricka and dicka (in adorable matching red and white dresses, mind you) go on a picnic in the woods. along the way, they fill their baskets with wild strawberries which their mother has promised to pay them each a silver coin for. at some point, they lose track of time and end up horribly lost. which is when they stumble onto a sweet family who takes them in. fyi, this family has nothing. they're walking around in ratty clothes and bare feet so in my 7 year-old mind, they have nothing. but you know, the mother keeps the tiny home clean and clearly, they're kind, humble people. the kind of people that just sort break your heart. so anyway, the mother sends her daughter (who just happens to be the same age as flicka, ricka and dicka) back into the forest to help the triplets find their way back home. when they return, the triplets tell their gorgeous (blonde) swedish mother everything. they tell her they want to use their silver coins to buy the girl a new dress and there's a whole page devoted to the shopping (which I loved) and of course, they pick out the most perfect dress ever-- crimson red with white polka dots and a little white lace collar. in the end, they take it to the girl, along with a basket filled with apples and jars of strawberry preserves and milk for the baby (who you just know was starving) and oh people, it was beautiful. and I don't remember crying but I bet I did. I just bet you I did.
10 May 2011
06 May 2011
sometimes photobooth frames capture exactly who we are in a particular moment. not always, but sometimes. I'll admit, when the booth first spit this strip out, I was a little disappointed. ezra did exactly what I told him not to do-- that is, move in close and make the crazy face. four whole frames of variations on the crazy face. but the more I look at this, the more I love it. because it's exactly who we are right now. ezra, all goofiness and loose teeth and straw-like bangs. ava, all smiling eyes and soft preteen edges and the kitty cat hat she won't take off. and me in the background-- loving them both so much I can hardly stand it, trying so hard to hold onto them like this but failing miserably. because you can't hold on, it doesn't work like that. so you grab them and put them in a photobooth every once in a while and when the strip comes sliding out, you silently celebrate your triumphant (albeit small) attempt to stop time.
happy mother's day, y'all.