A little over two years ago I wrote my first post, encouraged by my friend Amelia who had the foresight to sign me into Blogger, send me my password, and say go ahead, do it! I was wholly ignorant of the blog form at the time, but hoped to create a common space where my dear, far-flung friends - and maybe even their dear, far-flung friends - might find sustenance, support, humor and inspiration for the day of diaper-changing, story-telling, nose-wiping and song-singing ahead. I wanted everyone to write and read this blog together. Might as well come out and say it: I wanted a community.
The jury is still out for me on whether or not an online community can rightfully be called a community (one that satisfies, one that deepens human connection), and I quickly discovered that my friends didn't have the time or inclination to write for a blog that I imposed upon them, but I persisted nonetheless. I wrote each post as a letter to a very close friend, not the sort that are about reporting on major events, but rather letters that increased intimacy by sharing intimate details: alienation on the playground, creative energy at the kitchen table, tenderness at bedtime. Homemade Time has been a place to explore the themes that come up (and tend to stay up) in a mostly stay-at-home life: the conflicting allures of children and work, persistent feminist quandaries, finding a balance of independence and interdependence.
This is my two hundredth letter.
Today Gabriel and I went to the gym (he played with sports-related toys in the child care area and later played basketball on the court with me), then to the library where we checked out books with such titles as All Star!, Superguides: Tennis, For the Love of Soccer, and - I kid you not - Winter Olympic Sports: Ice Hockey and Curling. Lordy, these nonfiction sports books are deadening to read aloud! Yet they fuel the fires of my boy's imagination like nothing else. After we came home and dumped the pile of awful sports books on the couch, we played soccer in the backyard. Then lunch, then reading the awful sports books, and now he is napping, doubtlessly dreaming of balls.
At the gym, we paused in the hallway so Gabriel could peek into the cardio room where television screens are affixed to the wall and watch some of the college football highlights on ESPN. After a few minutes, there was a commercial break. I squatted down next to him and Gabriel, eyes still glued to the screen, leaned his cheek against mine.
"Maybe they'll have superhero highlights next," he whispered earnestly.
This is the bank we made together yesterday, after three dollars tucked into a Halloween card arrived for Gabriel in the mail from his Grammy and Poppy. We covered an empty baking powder canister in paper, and my plan was to help him decorate it with sequins, feathers, buttons, whatever struck his wild fancy. Gabriel suggested I cut an ice hockey player from paper that he might paint and glue on instead. Then he'd have a hockey bank. Of course. What three year old doesn't want a hockey bank?
Oh, this boy! His alien boy-ness captivates me. Frances wants to put on a show, she wants to write stories and draw pictures, she wants to craft, she wants to connect. I get this. My mother gets this, my friends get this. We all want to sit down and make stuff and snack on carbs and talk talk talk with Frances. But Gabriel channels a different energy and direction altogether. The sports stuff littering the house is bordering on tiresome, but his passion for sports is not tiresome at all. When he runs around the yard pretend tackling and sliding into the mud, he expresses all the big, passionate feelings that course through his growing body and mind with contagious, delightful exuberance. I love it.
So that's what's happening here in Annapolis today. What's happening where you are? No blog posts required, but I always love to read your comments and emails. You are, after all, why I keep at this. I am replete with gratitude for all of you, who over the past two years have helped me find (among many other things) my footing as a mother. Thank you, friends.