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About Face

They pound into the backseat like an explosion, popping with energy, youth and hormones and the car heaves with the extra weight. I give a small smile in greeting but then concentrate on the road. I am just the driver. My job is to not say a word, suck in as much information as possible and deposit them at their destination without calling any attention to myself.

It’s hard when all I want to do is stare at them, at their maturing faces and expressions, but of course that would be weird so I just stare straight ahead wondering about these almost unrecognizable creatures who I have known for years.

I sneak glimpses through the rear view mirror at the angular lines and skin dotted with the blemishes. They are morphing into new people every day, every second. I want to study them and find the little boys who I remember. Where did the curvy cheeks and smooth skin go?  The sticky smiles? The Hot Wheels and Pokemon cards? But really, where did the years go?

My son sits in the front seat next to me and keeps me in line, changing the radio to a more preferred station, giving me a stern nod when I start singing along. That is not on the list of things moms are allowed to do. I comply, of course. I want to be allowed to chauffer them places. I want to get to know them as they are now, these little boy men.

I arrive at the chosen house of hangout and watch them shoot out like firecrackers. They remember to thank me politely and I know their mothers would be proud. My own boy jerks his head to the left, momentarily tossing his surfer long hair off of his golden eyes to give me a sideways glance and a shy smile. “Bye, mama.”

Oh that face. I wish I could preserve it, set it in stone, hide it away in my heart and in my house and never have anything change. He is so beautiful and I know he will grow and become a handsome young man like they all are, but I have just this moment become desperate to stop time and hold on to this boy. I’ve already lost the baby who nuzzled me, the sweet kid who clung to me, and soon I will lose this face as well.

It’s almost too much but life forces me to accept that. Because I know that while I can capture a moment, I can’t capture my boy. He will grow and change. He will rise and fall. He will love me and leave me. And all I can do is sit back and be grateful that I’m along for the ride.

I love this boy!!!!

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Boys through nov 2009 024 IMAG0261 430 IMG_0286

My baby turns 13 this month. Puh Puh Puh. I love this face. I love this boy. Always.

This face has my heart, no matter what it looks like. Always. Happy almost 13 baby.

Congratulations! You have a girl! Nah, just kidding.

His tie was the kind you find on crazy people. Or comedians. Turns out he was both. Except he was also one of the OB/GYN’s in my practice. We were supposed to rotate through all the doctors, since technically, you never knew who would be on call when you went into labor. Somehow, I didn’t get around to meeting Dr. Biden until I was 7 months pregnant.

“Hey there.” He said, sliding his stool in between my open legs. “How’s my girl doing?”

My husband and I exchanged a glance. We had never met this doctor, and he was looking at my vagina. He couldn’t be talking to my vagina, could he? That might qualify as inappropriate.

Wait. Maybe he meant the baby? But we had decided not to find out the sex. We were big into the surprise, no matter how much it irked my grandmother.

“Excuse me,” I interrupted. “Are we having a girl? We don’t know the sex.”

He dramatically rolled his stool away from my open legs and snapped off his rubber gloves. I closed up shop, and sat up, looking at him expectantly.

“Oh, I don’t know.” He shrugged, “But that’s all I deliver.”

What was he saying? My husband and I looked at him apprehensively.

“Yep. I got two girls at home, and that’s all I deliver.”

Was I in the psych ward? I couldn’t stop staring at his Sylvester and Tweetie tie. Someone was definitely a bit Looney Tunes.

“Okay,” I braved cautiously and slowly. “So… what if I have a boy?”

“He does it.” He pointed to my husband.

“Me?” Howard asked, appalled. You couldn’t take Howard’s pulse, without him getting woozy.

“Yup, you.” He stood up to leave.  “Got any other kids?”

“One. A boy.” I answered automatically, still confused and distressed by this entire encounter.

“What’s her name?”  He asked, with half his body out the door.

“It’s a boy.” I repeated. “His name is Tyler.”

“Well, she’s going to be a big sister soon!” Wide crazy grin, and he’s out.

“What the hell was that?” I asked my husband.

“That was crazy.” Howard concurred.

“Do you think he was just covering up for accidentally telling us the sex of the baby?”

“Definitely possible.”

“I really hope he’s not on call when I deliver.”

“Copy that.”

March 22, 10:30am.

I got to the hospital already 7cm dilated. Howard ran thru 3 red lights to get us there, which is so impressive for my by the book attorney husband. If I wasn’t about to have a baby, I might just be turned on.

Through major contractions, I struggled to answer the questions required from a nurse who was as impassive as I was aflame. While I grit my teeth and writhed in pain, she apathetically repeated her unanswered question. “Allergies?”

Before I could scream my answer, a new question from a new voice interrupted.

“How’s my girl?” I heard, taking my pain to a whole new level.

My doctor had arrived.

“If you think you’re in pain,” He joked. “Try being shot three times.”

WTF? My face must have been quite the contortion of agony and horrified bewilderment.

“Oh yeah,” he continued, moving to lift his shirt, “want to see my scars?”

“No!” me, my husband and several of the nurses shouted simultaneously.

“Ignore him.” One of the nurses said to us, “He’s always messing around.”

“How bout you and I mess around?” Dr. Biden said suggestively and I think my amazement actually momentarily overrode my contraction.

It went like that for bit, one inappropriate comment after another. We were assured multiple times by the nurses that he was in fact a real doctor. And a good one. When the time came, my baby was out in three pushes.

On the last, I saw the doctor pull back from my body and motion to my husband. “Come here, now.”

My husband, already woozy from just being in the vicinity of a bleeding person, looked as if he were going to pass out. He shook his head.

“Come on, someone has to.”  Dr. Biden pulled away from my body further, and there was a beat of panic in the room.

Shakily, Howard moved in, seemingly at the last moment, and brought our baby out into this world. With the help of a nurse, he placed our newborn on my stomach.

“Congratulations! You have a girl!” Dr. Biden announced.

“We have a girl.” I thought, full of emotion and joy.

“Uh, no we don’t.” My husband’s voice interrupted my baby is out of my vagina euphoria. I snapped back to crazy, hormonal new mom.

“What the hell do I have!!!???”

“I’m looking at penis here.” Howard said and we both looked at the doctor wearing his best ‘who me’ face.

“What? I told you, I only deliver girls.”

Happy birthday, my feisty, green-eyed boy with the mischievous smile and fetching charm.  You could put the sun out of business, the way you light up a room and warm my heart. You have been the happiest surprise right from the start.

*When I went back to the office at 6 weeks, I heard Dr. Biden was out on medical leave. I’m betting on psychiatric.

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Can you stand that gorgeous face?!

Can you stand that gorgeous face?!

 

Go Cougars!

Go Cougars!


I was going out for my sister-in-law’s 40th birthday in two hours, and was curled in the fetal position on the living-room floor with barely enough energy to lift my head. One minute I was battling dragons with Julius; the next, my eyes were drooping. When Julius’ dragon swooped in for the kill, I fell over onto the carpet. It was one of those exhausted mommy moments, where even trying to stay awake was torture. I needed to sleep. I would cry if I couldn’t.

I closed my eyes. Semi-conscious, random thoughts ran thru my brain. What will I wear tonight…? How much did I eat today…? I must have dozed, (probably because of my boring thoughts) because I was startled awake by someone sitting on me. It was Michael. “I want milk, mommy.”

“Go way.” I mumbled, but he may not have heard me, as my face was mushed into the carpet, slightly dampened with my drool.

“Mommy I want milk,” He repeated and started bobbing up and down.

“Get off.” I complained in an unflattering, whiny voice. Michael just continued rocking back and forth. “Okay. Okay.” I shifted my body, causing Michael to slide off and sat up. Adjusting my eyes, I looked at the clock. 5:48pm. Crap! That woke me. I was supposed to leave in less than half an hour. I picked myself up and went to dress. (Yes, I got Michael milk, don’t worry.)

It took 15 minutes to get myself to the door and the next 15 minutes to actually step outside it. At 7 and 10 years-old, Michael and Tyler, are better about me going out than little Julius. With him, there’s a drawn out routine of mounting anxiety, 20-50 massive hugs and kisses, until he finally puts on his brave face and backs slowly away waving “Bye-Bye.” He looks like a water fountain with someone holding their thumb over the nozzle, one second away from bursting.

Finally, I closed the door on Howard and the boys, and walked to the car swinging my overnight bag. My former fatigue had abated and was replaced with the caffeine-crack called FREEDOM. I was liberated! No making dinner, cleaning up, getting milk, playing dragons, mediating arguments or bed-time duty tonight! I picked up my sister-in-law and friends and drove to the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue, singing the whole way.

We are checked in by a pretty girl with an accent (Scandinavian?) and go to the room to drop our bags. The room is modern art deco, but all the pictures on the walls have a similar theme – sex. A little weird, but the mattress is cushy and plush. I could be happy just staying here and going to bed. Now that turns me on. I am old. I am tired. I am a loser. Now just hand me my book and bowl of ice cream and get out.

I don’t say this of course. We’re here to celebrate. Howard’s baby sister is no longer the teenager with dark lipstick, bad bangs,  oversized clothes – and the messiest room. Now she’s a natural mom, with the most gorgeous hair, genuine style – and the messiest room. Some things don’t change.

After visiting the roof bar and going to dinner, we are finally ready to go out. It’s 10:45pm, my usual bedtime. The night is gorgeous. There’s a huge line to get into the club at our hotel. Pause. Should we even leave the hotel? It seems pretty popular. Why waste time and money to do the same thing we’d do right here? I look to my cohorts. They are already stepping into a cab. Apparently, I think like a suburban mom.  We head downtown.

I remember a time when getting proofed was nerve-wracking because I was using a fake ID, then there were a few years of smug pride after I turned 21 (take that bouncers!). By the time I was 30, I was pleased to be proofed, and that warm, appreciative feeling lasted for years (Yes, I’m over 21. Giggle giggle.)

Tonight, when I handed my license to an oversized, young man who shined an interrogation light in my face, I was a cougar in a bar filled with drunken cubs. He knew it. I knew it. It took a few nasty tasting shots before I was ultimately able to erase my shame. We popped in to a few more places, then hailed a cab back uptown to our hotel. Practical, suburban mom secretly tsks.

The line at our hotel’s club is still out the door, but we are guests and get right in. It is loud, dark and crowded. Everyone is young, drunk and dancing. We get drinks and dance a little too, but I am very aware that my knees ache and the high sandals I am wearing are no longer comfortable. The 25 year-olds around us don’t seem affected by the same casual complaints. I appreciate watching them. They are at once, insecure and over-confident, trying too hard or too little. Who are they? Who will they be? Their world is still a frightening and fascinating open highway.

We dance some more and then there’s the collective nod all around. It’s time to go. It’s almost 2am. Respectable. I give an inner cheer.  I made it and had fun. I look to my sister-in-law and friends. I remember back when we were the ages of the people in these bars; throwing up in the bathroom and making out with the bartender (Uh, them, not me. 😉 ). It is a long time ago and a minute. Very much changed and all the same. Time is a funny thing.

At 40, some might say it’s all down-hill, but I say, the view is better and it’s a lot easier than climbing to the top, especially with these knees.