Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Party Like it's 1999

Hank enjoying his party, originally uploaded by hjw3001.

So Hank's first birthday has come and gone. We had a party in Tilden park on Saturday and it was a blast. Hank was so, so happy and so many of the people who have been such an indispensable support to us through this past year were there -- many of them with their own babies. We celebrated with an eight foot long submarine sandwich, a lemon cake, and cupcakes in mint chocolate and spice. I was proud to have baked them all myself. We also had balloons, which were of endless fascination for Hank, bubbles, and small cups of snackies for all the little ones -- Teddy Puffs, Banana Crunchies, Cheddar Bunnies -- all of Hank's favorites! It was a really great day.


The past several days I've been recalling last year at this time -- how terrifying those first few days and weeks were, how strange and disorienting the nights were. I remember in those first few weeks Discovery Channel was showing a reality show about climbing Mount Everest, and I was obsessed with Mount Everest. I would sit in the green comfy chair in the dark, rocking and nursing Hank, burping him, singing him back to sleep, all the while watching episodes of the Mount Everest show. I remember waking to the sounds of Hank crying for milk or for a change and having to fight through a wave of anxiety as I stumbled down the short hallway to get everything prepared for the baby. I remember Henry and I would sleep in shifts -- one of us up with Hank while the other slept, and then we'd switch off around three in the morning. I remember lots of wonderful friends and family coming by with food and to help, and the gratitude I felt (still feel). I remember a cloud of sleeplessness and pain as I recovered physically from pregnancy and childbirth, and a sense that if we could just keep one step ahead, everything would be fine. I remember crying in the shower because I was just so worn out and didn't believe it would ever get any better. I remember worrying that Hank could be broken so easily -- that if bent the wrong way his tiny fingers might just snap off.

But I also remember the nightsweats easing off, and the anxiety lifting, and the terror subsiding. I remember that little by little we began to trust ourselves and to trust that Hank wasn't going to break or disappear, and as we started to believe that, we started to really enjoy being parents and being a family.

Thank goodness, or we may have had to send him back to the baby farm! (just kidding -- you are stuck with us, Hank! Stuck!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday!

Dear Beautiful Boy --

For a few hours today is still your birthday and I just want to quickly tell you how proud we are of all you've accomplished this year.  You've already learned and discovered so much in 12 short months.  I am so excited to see what the next year (years!) bring.  

Your Mama

Wanderings and Peregrinations

We have been so very busy the last several weeks! I managed to report on Hank's first presidential election, but haven't had a chance to get back here and catch up on other things we've been up to. The best events have been our trip to Half Moon Bay and the Nolan Bunch to search for pumpkins and roam a giant corn maze, and our trip to NY where Hank had his first Halloween, cheered for Uncle Mike as he ran the NY Marathon, and sampled his first birthday cake at the early-birthday party thrown by my mother- and father-in-law.
The pumpkin hunt was terrific. Hank was looking very autumnal in overalls, a fair-isle inspired sweater, and a floppy pumpkin hat. The weather at the coast was fall at its best -- foggy and chilly, just right for pumpkin-ing. We found a fantastic pumpkin patch/event with the biggest corn maze I have ever seen, and a pumpkin patch that meandered through a corn field. It was perfect! Hank LOOOVED the pumpkins. We put him down on the ground and let him stumble around and pick out his own. The whole thing was a delight.
NY was a quick and busy trip, but a lot of fun was had. We dressed Hank up on Friday night for Halloween and took him around the neighborhood to visit several neighbors and friends. Unfortunately Hank fell asleep within moments of leaving the house, but it was still fun to push our little Yoda through the streets. The next day most of Henry's extended family came to the house for an early-birthday party for Hank. He was a trooper -- charming the pants off everyone. I was excited that my friend Kate and her baby M were able to come up from NJ, as Hank and M have been betrothed since birth (and they need to take advantage of every opportunity they get to hang out before the inevitable wedding). Then the next day was the marathon. Mike did great! We zipped all over town to meet up with him at spots he'd told us to be. He really planned it out perfectly -- sticking pretty much exactly to the schedule he had planned. We barely made it to a couple of spots, ourselves! And again, Hank was a trooper. It was a good trip.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Election Day, originally uploaded by allthingssara.

Polls close in CA in 2 minutes. Obama currently has 220 electoral votes. If CA goes to Obama, which it undoubtedly will, Obama will win -- CA will have decided an election!!

MSNBC just projected OBAMA the WINNER!!!!!!


A Very Big Day

We've been pretty busy over the last few weeks, and I want to report on all our comings and goings, but before the moment escapes me I wanted to record some thoughts about today's presidential election.  So.  Some random thoughts.  


The polls are still open all over this great country, so one might say it is still anyone's game.  A huge part of me is incredibly nervous about the results that will start coming in this evening, but an equally huge part of me is bursting with pride, excitement, and patriotism after casting my vote for Barack Obama today.  This is the fifth presidential election I have had the privilege of voting in.  My first was Bill Clinton's first campaign.  At the risk of jinxing everything, Obama's campaign has brought out the same feelings of hope and excitement as that campaign did, so many years ago.  I had to vote absentee back then, because I was in college and not home in California for election day.  I remember wishing I could have been at a polling place to cast my vote, and I remember watching the returns with an excitement I could not contain.  I remember calling my mother from the house phone downstairs in Wilder House to share the excitement, and having her tell me happily how lucky I was that in my first presidential election, I got to vote for a winner.  

I deeply hope that today a whole slew of first time voters, voters energized and excited by Obama, are getting to vote for a winner.  Nothing could be better.  


Just like on Super Tuesday, this morning Henry and I packed Hank up in the stroller and made our way to the local poll.  Reports from around the country of incredibly long lines and extraordinary voter turn-out had us motivated to get there in the morning, hoping to avoid after-work crowds.  We didn't have much of a wait, but there were certainly more people present than we have seen at previous elections in the same place.  In front of us in line there was an African American woman and her son, who was maybe 12 years old.  He was bursting with excitement.  They had brought a special pen with them to sign the voter rolls -- the mother was going to let her son sign for her, and then they were going to put the pen away, only to be used for special signatures in the future.  The boy was so enthusiastic and so happy to be involved in the process.  He was beaming.  It was a lovely thing to see -- after so many years of discontent and apathy, to see a young person so excited about the democratic process, hopefully his thirst for the political process will last until he is eligible to vote himself.  


I believe that Barack Obama has energized young people in a way that I have never witnessed.  I can only hope that the new wave of voters will embrace the right -- the privilege -- to vote, and that voter apathy can become a thing of the past.  Many many years ago I saw a photograph of a long line of people, snaking across a field, of people waiting to vote in a nation's first election in many many years.  I don't remember the nation, but I remember the photo and the knowledge that it captured the essence of voting -- giving the populace a voice.  I always think of this photo, and of people who have fought so hard for the opportunity to vote, when I hear of low voter turn out in this country, and I feel disappointed in Americans when they don't understand the gift we have in the right to vote.   


I really, really hope that Proposition 8 fails in California.  I am saddened that it is even on the ballot as it will constitutionalize discrimination and homophobia -- two things that are unacceptable to me.  A constitution should never be used to strip a person of individual rights -- it should be used to expand individual rights.  


Obviously political opinions differ, but I think no-one can disagree that this has been an incredible election and an incredible campaign.  I see so much more excitement, interest, and optimism than I have ever seen before and I hope it can last.   The entire world is watching this election and hoping for change in America, I just hope we can give it to them. 


More thoughts to come as the returns come in.