The Sooner the Better

If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner.

--Tallulah Bankhead, actress and bon vivant, in her autobiography



The Last Thing

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first.

--Blaise Pascal, Pensées, Section I, 19


Early 90s Music Flashback: Dream On, Dream Away

Outtake dialogue* from this 1991 Color Me Badd video for "I Adore Mi Amor":

"These now-soggy denim overalls were a poor choice for the beach."

"My enormous white sweatshirt is even longer than my blue shorts!"

"What is this treasure chest of Color Me Badd swag doing here??"

"Who cares -- let's set up camp--"

"AND FOUR PART HARMONY!" (said in unison, of course)

*This dialogue takes place completely in my head.


Early 90s Music Flashback: Let the Next Life Off the Hook

When this song came out in 1992, I didn't yet understand the value in buying an entire album instead of a cassette single when you liked a song from a band. So instead of plunging head first into the Indigo Girls' music then, I played this track over and over and over, and that's all I knew of their music until 1999, when a friend introduced me to them as an actual band.

The harmonies hooked me first, then the lyrics. Reincarnation -- such a cool concept to a romance-obsessed fourteen-year-old! And now, I'm completely delighted by this video with its captions and the laughter between the two singers.

My friend, Gareth, who has seen the Indigo Girls in concert countless times, tells me that she's heard that Amy and Emily deeply dislike playing this song live anymore. I can't blame them, considering how many times they must have performed it since it hit the charts in 1992. Which makes the video that much sweeter -- they're having such fun together, being so playful and smart and sincere with a song that captured many hearts when it came out.


One Becoming Two

It was my senior year in high school. I was getting into costume with my fellow cast members in the high school band room which served as a dressing room for our UIL theatre competition that afternoon.

When my mom came to that band room door, bearing a broad smile and a full size envelope with my acceptance letter from New York University, I did not think about her. That is to say, I was entirely immersed in my own experience of that moment; I was eighteen and nothing else. I was going to move to New York City and begin my life. I did not consider how it must be to hand over the letter that will send your daughter halfway across the country, far away from your own roof, under which she had lived her entire life.

In the same way, when my son is eighteen, and ready to move away and begin his life, I know he will not think about me. I understand; this is the way it is, the way it has to be (in our Western world), right? Children are the arrows, they move forward, they dwell in the house of tomorrow. Often during the first month of his life, I cried without warning, overcome with the inescapable awareness that he would one day leave. To begin a relationship as one physically connected beings, then slowly transform into two whole, separate creatures -- surely, this will be the hardest emotional path I will ever walk. How do you begin as one, then separate into two? I have no idea.

I am thinking of this life moment today because my dear friend Suzi's son has just finished his final day of high school. He graduates on Sunday. She writes so beautifully about this on her site, Laundry Line Divine (here, and here). As I told her there, that life moment still lives so presently for me. I feel it thrumming in my bones, in my tissue. I am halfway between my experience as the child and her experience now as the mother in this situation. She stands on another side of this sculpture, seeing all the angles and curves there. What a privilege. What a challenge. Suzi also shared with me a New York Times blog post where Lisa Belkin wrote a ten-point list of "How to Send Your Son Off to College" that brought me to tears all over again (5-10 are where it gets good).

For now, I can only imagine (and imagine I do) what it will be like to stand and wave as my son leaves home. It seems so far from today, when our sitter arrives and he tells me tearfully, "Mommy. Stay home," or when his entire body glows with a smile when I come home from work.

What a mystery.

Suzi, as you cheer on your son, I cheer every visible and invisible act of your mothering that helped him reach this day. My heart is with you.