1 sep 1999        

- finding balance -

It was a month off to avoid the usual August conflict between being productive and spending time with my daughter. This August I abandoned all desire for literary accomplishment in favor of a frustration-free month in the full-time company of one seven-year-old girl.

We both ended up pretty happy. There was none of those metal-on-metal grinding noises in my head that come from interruption at the keyboard. Amy was so completely immersed in the free-floating bubble of a childhood summer that from now on August is the Official Month of Letting Go.

August showed me the swiftness of childhood. Amy will wander off singing through the backyard trees and suddenly a flood of my own memories floats me down a river of time. I can see how close we are, how she and I take to the waters in the same way. I learn again the ache of attachment. As we go along we will drift apart, I'm sure, until in the river's bends we'll all too soon lose sight of one another, by mysterious design, only to float once again into relieving view of our proximity as the river slows and calms and moves us perhaps to swim together in reunion.


Our little backyard pool served as the launching pad for most of summer's gushing glee. The purple-pink floating mat provides a powerful sense of natal recollection, bobbing gently, making little splooshy sounds, as if in a landscaped womb. I was lucky enough to steal a few moments there alone, without the demanding presence of Amy The Splasher, where I floated, and tanned, and worked up such a guilt for living out a typically suburban tableau that all I could do was laugh about it and float some more. If we ever hold elections for Minister of Suburban Living, I will be your Lawn Order Candidate.

When the pool became most necessary in the middle of August's worst heat, however, I got an ear infection. I pounced on it early, zapped it with Zithromax, and am only now regaining normal use of my left ear.

But the tan, the glorious golden patina of luxury's vanity, has faded. Waaah.


We had the Atkin's's's over for a barbecue a few weeks ago, as was reported, and it was a chance to work ourselves into a delightful froth over journaling and the folks engaged in it. It's fun to feel out the opinions of folks who read the same stuff you do, to state your own position, and to do it without regard for karma.

And yes we talked about... well, nevermind.

I think it was the next weekend that Chuck and I went down to Newport on a photo safari. I haven't yet developed my black & white stuff from that trip, but I have gotten my slides back. Let me just say that Fuji Velvia is a friggin' magnificent film. I'll post the b&w stuff as soon as I get to it. I'll post the color slides as soon as giant bags of coin fall from the sky so that I may have a transparency scanner.

In my savoring of time this summer I've neglected my photographic responsibilities. Those of you out there who are waiting for prints from me will be glad to know that you should have them in your hands by the end of this millennium.

Speakin' a which, plans for the Fabulous Neighborhood Y2K Celebration are coming together nicely. It revolves around a concept ripe with promise. More on this later. Let me simply say that it involves roving packs of suburbanites and a man in a diaper.  It promises to be so spectacular that I hope Amy can stay awake for it. She hasn't seen a midnight yet. It may be time for her to get her first taste of French Roast. The party may be something worth remembering, and to have the arrival of the year 2000 as one's first New Year's memory would be a nice point from which to embark upon what I hope will be a century of memories.


I'm going to wrap this up now. It's the first day of school and the bus will be dropping her off soon. Lots of new stuff to hear about from the girl who grew so much this summer. In these last few months her muscles filled out, her sense of humor grew more refined, and a sort of equilibrium of awareness is settling into her.

I wish she was acquiring an equal sense of physical of equilibrium. Yesterday, when we went over to the school to see the posting of what class she'd be in, she tried to climb over a metal railing and slipped falling flat on her front side from three feet high. Her impact onto the cement walkway gave a resounding splat with some low-end bone percussion mixed in. She was perfectly horizontal when she hit which acted, luckily, to distribute her contact evenly giving her only an elbow scrape. The biggest effect was to frighten her so much that she shook until we got home. I felt like we'd dodged a bullet.

Throughout her life we've tried to strike a balance between letting her explore safely while finding her physical limits. This is something all parents go through, but when cerebral palsy gets thrown into the mix sometimes it's more difficult to negotiate the boundaries. When she fell yesterday I got that outbreak of instantaneous daddysweat coupled with the glory of having had an audience of other parents. A few seconds later, after the vision of Amy attending class in a full body cast had passed, and after checking out the reality of her injuries, I made note of the feelings, did my best to garnish what I knew might be a vivid memory for her, and added the experience to the others that I keep wadded up in my pockets.

They are very big pockets, full and weighty, and though they sometimes affect my balance as I go along, I'm really very proud of them.


  today's music:



today's wisdom:

"That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great."

- Willa Cather