Fern frond

October 17, 2011

A childhood memory:

I was with my mother in downtown San Diego. We were always riding buses back then, to the hospital for Mom’s prenatal visits, and to visit Jim.

It was rainy. That was unusual, and the streets were gray and shiny. A florist at his stall handed me a Boston fern frond. He showed me the underside, the tiny raised bumps of seeds. I ran my fingers over the bumps and smiled.

My mom let me push the button for the pedestrian signal at the crosswalk. I pushed it 3 times. But then I couldn’t remember if I’d really pushed it 3 times. What if I’d really pushed it 4 times? Then the light would never change. You have to push the button an odd number of times to make it change. So I pushed the button again, just in case. A panic set over me then. What if I had really pushed the button 3 times, and by pressing the button again just in case like I had, what if I had messed it up? So I pushed the button again. I was paralyzed. I was terrified that the pedestrian signal wouldn’t come on, and it would be my fault.

The forward motion of my mom as she moved to cross the street pulled my hand that was in hers. The light had changed. I hadn’t broken it. I rubbed the undersides of the leaves on the fern frond, the tip of my finger tracing the lines of the fern seeds. We crossed the road.

My father and I, 1992

March 29, 2011

Today is Day 1 of my Spring Break trip home to California with my daughters. This morning I found this photobooth strip in an album, and it made me cry.

I would have been newly 14 in these photographs. My dad would have been newly 40. My mom thinks this was taken at the Del Mar Fair.

He is so dark. I know he spent so much time in the sun, but they do say the Welsh are dark. Look at my striped shirt! Madchester! That was the year I tried to do without bangs, an experiment that didn’t go too well. Later that summer, right before school started, i think I finally chopped my hair off into a bob.

My father died in August of 2009. I loved him so much. We had a tenuous relationship throughout most of my adulthood, but I miss him and still grieve for him.

Do we look alike? I find myself searching the images of his face for signs of me.

In so many ways I am so glad to be home. I’m remembering a lot about what has made me me.


June 13, 2010

1. Let the wild rumpus begin., 2. Day 364/365–Deflated, 3. 11/52, 4. Running with Balloons, 5. balloons 3, 6. die welt steht still…., 7. 03, 8. Up & Away, 9. Held By Strings

I am pondering balloons tonight.

When I was a little girl my mother would decorate the ceiling with helium-filled balloons for the occasional party. I enjoyed having to push the hanging balloon ribbons aside while walking through the room.